Miscellany for today

Recent things I've obsessed over include:

Lygia Pape, Livro do Tempo (Book of Time) 1961-63 Installation view, Magnetized Space, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 2011. © Projeto Lygia Pape and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Lygia Pape – her Livro do tempo, her Trio do embalo maluco … if you've not seen the Serpentine show, you really ought to. It closes February 19. I often wonder if artistic experimentation can ever be what it was in the first decades of this century. Video works, installations, happenings from the 60s still now have an awesome – and I use that word literally – quality to them, an aliveness, a rawness, a sense of fearless discovery that feels unattainable now. Seeing Lynda Benglis's work first in a Le Consortium catalogue, and then at the New Museum last year was mad exciting. More so than any other shows I'd seen for a long time. I really hate nostalgia, that cramped, stifling feeling of being stuck or wanting to be, so it isn't out of some longing for things to be as they were that I say this, but rather out of sheer astonishment that these works still retain this power over me. That it is still possible for them to astonish, to excite – to make me imagine I'm experiencing a similar curious searching and trying out while looking at these works as the artists did when they made them.

Lynda Benglis, Blatt, 1969. © Lynda Benglis. DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2009. Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York.

Benglis is here next week for the opening of her first solo show in London at Thomas Dane, on February 9. Something else not to miss. And then there's Yayoi Kusama at the Tate. A basic google image search for Kusama is enough to send you spinning. The dots are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg, a portal into this most intense of worlds.


Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirror Room - Phalli's Field (Floor Show) (1965)

Relentess, undaunted, open, unfazed by trend or money or the lack of it. Benglis was born in 1941. Kusama is in her 80s. And both are still making work that is fiercer and more out there than any student shows I've seen in ages. Like Patti Smith on stage, or Tina in 1971, or Björk. Here: 

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