ORGAN: The twenty art things that stood out in 2022 – Upfest, Ken Currie, SaiakuNana, Caroline Coon, Kevin Sinnott, Lee Maelzer, I Just Can’t Think Straight, Jeffrey Gibson, Miss Bugs and…

Ken Currie, who paints like that these days!

The new art year is up and galloping then, well maybe not quite galloping but we did go to our first openings of the year last night, the first Thursday of 2023, the fifth day of the year. We’ll be along with some coverage and a typo or two in a moment. As we’ve said before, we do feel these things should be recorded in some kind of way and quite often it feels like if we don’t do it ourselves here on these fractured pages then who will? It feels like all these great art shows that come and go should at least be recorded in some way, that something should be laid down before they’re lost forever in a haze of cheap red wine and where were we last month? Too many great art shows just come and go…

“I love Sean Worrall’s writings, his tireless writings in his ‘Organ Thing’ journal/blog. Here is a fine text about the exhibition at Angus-Hughes Gallery. At some point in the not too distant… one has the inkling (more than an inkling, I foresee it) his wonderfully written texts/reviews, will be an absolutely go to historical resource, and I look forward to some intelligent/clever publisher throwing him a book contract to put the best together under one cover, again one hopes, in the not too distant …” (Paul Sakoilsky, Artist, October 2018).

So 2023 kicked off last night with the now almost traditional start to the London year that is Cacotopiaat Annka Kultys Gallery and we’re already looking at where we’re going to be in terms of art this weekend, we’re itching for art and galleries after the way-too-long end of year break, we’re already previewing forthcoming shows and looking forward to new exhibitions. Before all that though, before the business of dancing around the architecture of 2023’s art kicks in, a look back and one of those obligatory lists, the best of 2022’s art. And yes, we are based in London, East London, most of the art shows we go to are in our own town, and no, there’s no claim here that we’re covering everything, of course we’re not! We go to lots of art exhibitions and events, I visit a gallery or two on more days than I don’t, not everything we see is brilliant, far from it, not everything is worth covering, not everything needs our tine, space and coverage (not everything deserves it). This is certainly not a list of the best of 2022, this is a round up and a look back to the best of the art we encountered during what felt like a very (very) long year.


SaiakuNana‘s Redchurch Street residency, what a glorious mess!

Was 2022 a good one in terms of art here in London? Well yes, there’s always good art, how could there not be with so much going on? But 2022 did feel a little undercooked didn’t it? Did the year lack a certain spirit of adventure? Was there a lack of artist-led positivity? Attitude? Did the underground or the alternative (or whatever you like to call it) offer much during the year or indeed during a rather quiet Frieze Week? Frieze itself, on the whole, was disappointing, was it even more conservative than ever this year?  And there was very little in terms of shows around Frieze besides Lee Maelzer‘s very painterly show at D Contemporary or Gina Birch‘s ambition over at the rather unfriendly Gallery 46, nothing anywhere near the challenge and the excitement laid down by that big Factory Project exhibition in that very big Docklands warehouse during Frieze week in 2021. There was a lack of artists pro-actively coming together to make things happen in 2022 (whatever happened to those car park shows?), if there was artist-led activity then was mostly tied up in tediously conservative art school attitudes, does it feel like the formal establishment has tightened the grip? That the potential for danger, adventure, real challenge, has been diluted by conservative art school attitudes, has curation become way too formal? Are art schools strangling art? Is the East End dead? Is Cork Street king again? Is it all becoming a middle class sport? Did you need to have money to be an artist or a curator now? Who’s kicking against the pricks? Where’s the bite, the attitude, the danger, the desire? Why has the year been so damn polite? Dare we say predictable? And where did street art go? is it all just about way too slick “urban art” shows and print releases now? Oh come on, we need more in 2023.

There were good things though, of course there were good shows, exciting exhibitions, that feeling when walking in to Ken Currie’s Black Boat at Flowers Gallery, on the Kingsland Road or watching Hazard one’s piece evolved in the Upfest field in Bristol, Jeffrey Gibson,  Caroline Coon‘s West London morning light, those Kevin Sinnott paintings, that Muss Bugs opening, there were good shows, there was genuine excitement, surely there was?  Here then, for what it all be worth, before we kick in to 2023, are our art highlights from 2022…              

Upfest, 2022 – People, art, communication, engagement in field in Bristol

1: Upfest 2022 – It was back after Covid, back and bigger than ever, It has to be at the very top of the list, if you were there in Bristol then you know why. Upfest was two days of art really connecting, connecting with something like 20,000 people over the Summer weekend. It was just cheering, the whole thing, the whole weekend in the Bristol sunshine, the whole Bristol vibe, the people, the art, the music, the feeling around Bedminster for Upfest 2022. Now this isn’t going to be an attempt to critically review the whole festival or the art, for a start, as a…Upfest, It was just cheering, the whole thing, the whole weekend in the Bristol sunshine, the people, the art, the positive feeling around Bedminster for Upfest 2022…

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2: Ken Currie’s Black Boat at Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road, East London probably was the most exciting exhbition of paintings we got to see in 2022. Giant paintings full of so so much, and as we asked at the time, who paints like this in 2022? Lost count of how many times I went back to this excellent show, Flowers must of got sick of me ringing their Kingland Road doorbell last year. It did all start with Kevin Sinnott’s big big paintings at Flowers Gallery. Wow! Wasn’t expecting that… and there was that really enjoyable, really simple, uncluttered, Sean Scully curated group show at Flowers Gallery… and well if you missed seeing that Ken Currie show then you really missed something very special – that breathtaking Ken Currie exhibition at Flowers on the Kingland Road. Wow (again), who paints like this in 2022?!

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4: Caroline Coon‘s Love of Place – It was indeed with a genuine froth of excitement that we headed towards Caroline Coon‘s newly opened exhibition of paintings Love of Place on the first full day of it being open over in the plush gallery district of the West End – might have been even more exciting to see it in an unused shop next to a chippy on the Harrow Road or on Ladbrook Grove but hey, this was an excellent show that probably needed to be in a formal well lit West End gallery. Clearly Stephen Friedman Gallery were laying down a marker or two at the end of the Summer and just before Frieze week… Anne Rothenstein and Caroline Coon both open at Stephen Friedman’s West End Galleries in a stylishly lead up to Frieze…

5: Art On A Postcard – AOAP have been going from strength to strength with their events and auctions in recent yearts, their strong curatorial sense of things, their ablity to dig out exciting new artists to show postcard sized art next to their big names. Discvered more than a few exciting new names via their events in the last few years and last November’s event at the Bomb Factory over in Covent Garden really did cap another fine year for Gemma Peppé and her team – Art On A Postcard events have grown to become a much anticipated fixture on the London art calendar. Last night’s viewing at Covent Garden’s Bomb Factory really was another curatorial triumph…

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6: New Art Projects – there were some excellent show’s at Fred Mann’s basement space over here in Hackney in 2022, including Joseph Wilson’s ‘Fragments Between Us’, that brilliant Andrew and Eden Kötting exhibition, the paintings of Charles Williams, James Crowther’s I’ll Drive, .The gallery has been consistantly putting on shows that matter for the last half a dozen or so years. Back in early November Fred Mann announced the gallery was to move to a new Docklands home a resurface in early 2023, we makred the news with a look back at some of the excellent shows of both 2022 and the previous years – Fred Mann’s New Art Projects is on the move, there’s been a lot of good art in their Hackney space, here’s a quick celebration of some of those fine shows… We look forward to the new space in 2023.

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7: Kevin Sinnott – Liebestod at Flowers Gallery, East London – Wow! – Wow really is the only reaction once you walk in to that main room, wow! Wasn’t expecting that! Look at the size of the painting on the back wall, I’d seen it on line, we used it here at Organ as part of a preview, but nothing really prepares you for the powerful scale of it. You really do get a rush when you first see it there on the back wall and then from the sides, the rest of it hits you, wow! We wondered how the gallery was going to follow up the excellent Dump Circus show from Nicola Hicks at the end of last year, they more than followed it up with their first show of 2022 – Kevin Sinnott’s big big paintings at Flowers Gallery. Wow! Wasn’t expecting that…

8: Lee Maelzer‘s West End solo show at D Contemporary was a definite stand out as well as a very painterly challenge in 2022, she is very much a painter’s painter – Lee Maelzer’s Lost Sleep at D Contemporary. As a painter she really is a pleasure but as paintings, this is hard-boiled reality… – “and yes, I did find some of it voyeuristic, from the point of view of the viewer rather than the painter,and now here we are, the gallery pretty much silent and to ourselves, sun shining in and this painterly body of work to explore and really enjoy. Yes, it is, as bleak as the subjects may be, it is a joy. There’s so much humanity here, Both is the subject and the way she paints those beds, so much in terms of reality, guts. There guts here, this is not an easy subject, not a comfortable choice, not every painter would have the artistic strength to take on something like this, to say these things, to expose herself, there are so many ‘nice’ things she could be painting, there are so many easier options she could take in order to make the rent….” 

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9: The Art Car Boot Fair – There were the various forms that the Art Car Boot Fair took in 2022, a post-covid return to physical things in the early summer over in Kings Cross here in London as well as the on-line events the treach out beyond the London bubble in such a healthy way. Not quite the anarchic artist-led thing it was back when it first started but then both London itself and the London art scene are both very different beasts now to what they were back then and it was good to have one of the vitally important highlights of any London art year back in full physical form in 2022 – the Art Car Boot Fair is back as a real life event, this Saturday, here in London, Kings Cross, back for all the fun of the fair, back for a 19th slightly anarchic year, a unique artist run thing done the right way… The art Car Boot Fair celebrates twenty years in 2023, we look forward to more adventures both online and in real life, we’re told to expect events in London and at the seaside, bring it all on….

10: I Just Can’t Think Straight, Margate Pride’s riot of artistic attitude at the Turner Contemporary… There was certainly a powerful energy in the Pride room back in the Spring, a pride as well as Pride, a pride of artists, a visual strength by the seaside in Margate, a wonderfully curated room, an exciting hang, a challenge as well as a few questions (and maybe an answer or two) thrown out… I Just Can’t Think Straight, Margate Pride’s riot of artistic attitude at the Turner Contemporary…

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11: Miss Bugs – Do No Harm – The Dispensary / Walk in Centre at Jealous East, London – it felt like an event rather than just another Thursday night opening last night in East London. True, we don’t have so many of these openings now, they were once ten a penny, but this one did feel like something a little bit special. Why was that? Not sure, It wasn’t the burning bright sunshine or the big crowd outside enjoying the free cocktails and the slices of pizza, it isn’t that Miss Bugs is that big a name, I mean yes, Miss Bugs is fast becoming a name, but not a household name, not a name that rips off the tongues of the media, I mean who, what or where is Miss Bugs? The gallery will tell you that… Miss Bugs, last night’s event of an opening at Jealous East, pop art pill popping and a ‘sentient’ dispensing machine called Damien…

12: Jeffrey Gibson was a standout at Frieze London – we noted his very colourful installation as a highlight during the week and then revisited it later in the year – The Stephen Friedman Gallery, one of London’s more rewarding galleries of recent times with artists like Jeffrey Gibson, Deborah Roberts, Caroline Coon, have just announced they’re on the move… “Gibson’s work fuses his Choctaw-Cherokee heritage with references that span club culture, queer theory, fashion, politics, literature and art history. The artist’s multi-faceted practice incorporates painting, performance, sculpture, textiles and video and is characterised by vibrant colour and pattern”.

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13: The Stephen Friedman Gallery itself was warthy of mention in 2022, as well as standing out a mile at a rather dispapointing Frieze London in 2022 with their rather exciting jeffrey Gibson installation, the West End gallery, who announced their anbitious move to a bigger space in 2023 – The Stephen Friedman Gallery, one of London’s more rewarding galleries of recent times with artists like Jeffrey Gibson, Deborah Roberts, Caroline Coon, have just announced they’re on the move… – have put on a number of rather good shows in 2022, especially that Caroline Coon exhibition and her West London morning light that you really had to see in real life to really get.

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14: Emma Harvey‘s ribbon istallations and encounters with trees, that wraped up tree trunk in Leytonstone, her excellent piece in the back yard of Five Points Brewery in Hackney, that one hanging from that big tree in Finchley… There’s been one or two rather fine paintings as well, she is mostly a very fine painter and a bit of a vegan feminist riot grrrl whe nshe needs to be…

15: SaiakuNana‘s long-term takeover of that shop space on East London’s Redchurch Street and the glorious mess she made was something rather required frequent visits What is going on here?! This is exciting, SaiakuNana says she’s doing things on her own terms, she says she doesn’t want to be at the mercy of anyone, that she doesn’t like numbers, she doesn’t like that art is about numbers and money (I guess you have to have some to be able to… SaiakuNana is an artist doing things of her own terms, she’s opened a rather exciting gallery on East London’s Redchurch Street, she’s made a glorious mess in there, we love it! yeah, she might have come over as a bit of a rich kid, but hey, she was using her money well…

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16: And there was the already mentioned exhibtion from painter Gina Birch, she of The Raincoats and such, with her excellent solo show at Gallery 46 during Frieze Week – Frieze week, Gina Birch at Whitechapel’s Gallery 46. There’s a feeling here that she’s experimenting, discovering, not so much finding her painterly voice but feeling she can start to visually shout…

17: Kate Bickmore has to figure in our end of year round up again… The previous Kate Bickmore exhibition at the same gallery was one of our picks of the art year back 2021, this second show for Annka Kultys Gallery is pretty much the same as it was first time around, well besides the two video screens on the wall and the digital pieces made in collaboration by British digital artist Sian Fan,,, Unfurling features four large-scale “florascape” oil paintings, Kate Bickmore is at her best when she goes big, she was a little lost in the group show  at Annka Kultys at the start of the year, she needs to be big, bold, expansive and once again, like last time, these paintings are deliciously exciting – Kate Bickmore, Unfurling at Annka Kultys Gallery, East London. She’s at her best when she goes big, these paintings are deliciously exciting…

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18: Joseph Wilson’s ‘Fragments Between Us’ at New Art Projects – film, fear, defiance, installation, blurred boundaries back in the heat of late summer and what was actually going on down there in the basement – Joseph Wilson’s ‘Fragments Between Us’ at New Art Projects – film, fear, defiance, installation, blurred boundaries, don’t miss it!

19: Mother’s Ruin at The House Mill Gallery, London E3 –  You have to like that you don’t quite know where the exhibition starts and what was already here before the actual art pieces were added, surely those old gin boxes are part of it aren’t they? I guess the whole building is part of it, this isn’t just a white cube, this isn’t a blank canvas of a space, I like the way this building has been used by the artists, that no one has thought to dust the windows, I like the conversations the pieces are having with the building, with the industry, with each other.  I like the history in here, both in terms of the building itself and the art within… Let the gin run free, a drop of mother’s ruin and a lot lot more at The House Mill Gallery, London… – a show curated by Julia Maddison and Rebekah Dean

20: Stik has been way way too quiet in recent times, all we ever seen to hear about is the latest auction, we miss seeing new Stiks on our streets. His Ochre Man proved he still has a lot to offer though – Stik’s Ochre Man an artwork twenty metres underground in a Cave in the Forest of Dean…

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Also worth more than a mention in 2022…

Andrew and Eden Kötting – Excuse me, can you help me please? I’m terribly worried at New Art Projects – It isn’t quite a sense of innocence or, well, no, not quite a sense of anything that I want to try and (hopelessly) put a finger on. What are we seeing here? Whatever it… ORGAN THING: Andrew and Eden Kötting at Hackney’s New Art Projects, phishing against the tide? Is it really that simple? That brilliant? Far more complex? The Wondrous Realities?

Anna Rothenstein‘s exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery – Anne Rothenstein and Caroline Coon both open at Stephen Friedman’s West End Galleries in a stylishly lead up to Frieze…

The Barney Bubbles shop opened this year, Thedesign of the late great Barney Bubbles has always been something to celebrate – The Barney Bubbles Online Shop has opened. The influential artist and designer known for his work with Hawkwind, The Damned, Ian Dury, John Cooper Clarke and more has…

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Benjamin Murphy‘s Disasterpiece at Lychee One Gallery, Hackney, East London – Needed to go back for a second look at this one, Lychee One is a strange gallery, a cold gallery, a squeaky clean… Benjamin Murphy’s Disasterpiece at Hackney’s Lychee One Gallery. There is order, there could maybe be disorder? The unforgiving medium of charcoal on raw canvas can be dirty, somehow that adds to it all…

Bruce Conner’s ‘The White Rose’ at Thomas Dane Gallery was rather good – First UK exhibition of Bruce Conner’s ‘The White Rose’ Showing at Thomas Dane Gallery this month. There’s a crash course in Bruce Conner here including the film for Brian Eno and David Byrne’s ‘Mea Culpa’…

Caitlin Keogh‘s show of at East London’s The Approach was well worth the more than one visit, we took it in several times as the year came to an end – Caitlin Keogh at East London’s The Approach. Bold paintings, images from all over the place, very much for now though, a narrative for now and another recommended art exhibition to go check out…

There was that two day Camden Inspire street festival, two days of painting out on the North London street – Two days of street art, music and more, did Camden inspire? as well as the show that followed – Those paintings from last month’s Camden Inspire festival, now on show at Camden Open Air Gallery, who’ll be Prime Minster by the time the show ends? Who’s in charge today? Is anyone driving?

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Camille Walala – Look at that! It’s big. It’s bold. It’s “Ice and a Slice”, we like it lots! It was painted by artist and colour wizard Camille Walala and curated by Just Kids – “Unprecedented, this summer we tackled the curation of a colossal scale 360° takeover of two airport hangars and a special lounge inside the Northwest Arkansas National Airport to greet travellers coming or going!” – Camille Walala’s big bold “Ice and a Slice” at Northwest Arkansas Airport, a colossal artistic takeover of two giant aircraft hangers…

Carter Potter’s overlapping haze of film strip weaves that were hanging at East London’s Rocket gallery – L.A. artist Carter Potter’s overlapping haze of film strip weaves currently hanging at East London’s Rocket gallery…

David Shillinglaw is a painter who always excites, a painter with a very distinctive instinctive style, we seemed to encounter his art rather a lot in various shows on 2022. Didn’t get to see his very big Margate mural piece in the flesh but the phots did look good – David Shillinglaw’s impressive Margate wall…

Eleonora Bourmistrov‘s installation at the top of that Ruins of Time | Tower group show at St. Augustine’s Tower in Hackney was rather good – Went up a 13th century tower last night, always a challenge getting up those tighter than tight well worn stone stairs, best not to partake in too much of that private view refreshment if you want to get back down in one piece…. Ruins of Time, installation and lot more in a 13th century tower, the latest in a beautiful series of site-specific projects by artists of the LME…

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Was Frieze Week in London a little flat in 2022? Back in October we wrote one of those lists that people like us like ot make at the end of the week – there was good art there, how could there not be? There were highlights and it was well worth going but…. Well now that the art circus is leaving town and taking the big white elephant that was right there in the middle of the room on the plane with it, that elephant that hardly anyone else wanted to address, climate crisis? What climate crisis? Buy art, fly art, “Climate Change? Not my problem mate” said…Frieze Week, the obligatory top ten list – Jeffrey Gibson, Jadé Fadojutimi’s seven paintings, Ken Currie at Flowers, Gina Birch, Caroline Coon, Lee Maelzer’s beds, Selome Muleta, Emma Amos, that DIS bench, Madeleine Strindberg’s spider and yes, painting itself…

That #43leaves installation in Finchley, yes I am going to blow my own trumpet just a little bit… Did the sky move for you? An artist-led sculpture trail in North London. Installation, performance, ribbons, plates, a heron all during London Sculpture Week and until September 18th… There was quite a few #43Leaves pieces in 2022, London, Bristol, the year end with a feaf left under a bridge by the River Severn in Shrewbury (and 2023 started with leaves left in Hackney on New yerar’s Day), just as it was in 2022 – The latest #43Leaves piece just ended, 43 paintings left hanging on the streets of East London throughout January….

Gavin Turk’s Blue Rich Tea Biscuit made us smile – Gavin Turk’s Blue Rich Tea Biscuit, released today, April 1st, no joke, signed and bitten by the artist, only 30 available…

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Ivan Michael Blackstock’s Traplord, back in March, it was dark, it was wonderful, it was dance but it was more than that – The Sadler’s Wells x 180 Studios production of Ivan Michael Blackstock’s Traplord is stupendous, thrilling, moving, something utterly engaged with our times…

John Stezaker – Double Shadow at The Approach – Duality, both literally and metaphorically. Opening night of a new exhibition at the always rather rewarding gallery space up above the The Approach pub over here in East London. The Approach is a great place to view art, the big walls of the big upstairs room really do let you look properly. Those are sharp edges, John Stezaker’s obviously very very careful process of… John Stezaker’s Double Shadow at The Approach – Duality, both literally and metaphorically. A fine fine exhibition, an intriguing narrative, highly recommended…

Julia Maddison keeps on coming up with those things only she can do, quiet statements that take a barbed bite, adventures in horses heads, strange goings on on Scottish islands, words stitched, things said. Back in November we got her to answer out 13 quesations – What has artist Julia Maddison made today? What is that white horse doing there? A road movie?

Hazard One was rather busy again in 2022, it really was a pleasure to paint right by her at Bristol’s Upfest and watch her peice evolce over the two days, do like the way she uses colour, her work at Glastonbury this year was brilliant – The further adventures of Hazard One

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Hugh Mendes and His Mentors at The Tub, Hackney – back in April, a relatively intimate show by Hugh Mendes standards and… Hugh Mendes and His Mentors at The Tub, Hackney, The right show, the right place, the right time. There’s something very spiritual about  this collection, something reverential…

Lamin Fofana was doing interesting things in 2022 – Artist and musician Lamin Fofana continues with the second of his triptych of albums ahead of an exhibition and sound installation “JMW Turner With Lamin Fofana: Dark Waters” at Tate Liverpool…

We surely do have to mention that Leigh Bowery exhbition at Fitzrovia Chapel back at the start of the year in any kind of credible list don’t we?

Lidia Lidia introduced Bag Lady to us in 2022 – Ahead of Mixtape, who is Lidia Lidia? Who is Baglady? Who…

Mark Nader’s very colourful sugar rush of a show Crystalline Candy Clouds at IMT, Bethnal Green was well worth visiting – There a delight or two here with the cakes and the biscuits and the doughnut flavoured colour and yes those paintings do have a touch of the dancing around the maypole about them, whoever said that was right, there is something delightfully English, something a little Alice in Wonderland, something a little wicked this way comes as well?  An undercurrent maybe? – Mark Nader’s Crystalline Candy Clouds, his cake and E numbers and kissing apple pies at IMT Gallery, Bethnal Green, East London…

Melike has been working away over in Turkey with he r big drawings, her paintings, her performance, her music and her photography. Ww featured her work in pretty much every on line show we put on under the Cutivate banner in 2022 icluding the the fifth Three x Three show back in September. We plan to be back with lots more Melike in 2023, we like the way our online shows take us all over the land and indeed the glove – Cultivate presents Three x Three (Part Five) – an online art exhibition featuring Melike, Mark Burrell and Sofia Martins Gray…

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Michael Dean – Jungle is Massive – Herald St Gallery, Bethnal Green, East LondonMichael Dean’s Jungle is Massive – Herald St Gallery, Bethnal Green, East London – It feels exciting, those concrete textures, the scale, the edges, the decay, the space between pieces and the conversations they have…

Nick Grindrod, Strata, Smithson Gallery, Bateman Street, Solo, London W1 – Word is you couldn’t move at Nick Grindrod’s much anticipated Soho opening last Thursday night, no space to move, let alone see anything so… Nick Grindrod’s Strata hits Soho, a rather nice art exhibition in the best of possible senses…

Nicoletti Gallery – There’s been one or two rewarding shows at Nicoletti in 2022. The only gallery on East London’s once art-rich Vyner Street now, they ended their year with a rather strong Nana Wolke exhibition – ORGAN THING: Nana Wolke at NıCOLETTı, Wanda’s under the Westway, ultramarine tales of taxis and… while back in March, “Somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyond” is well worth catching at Nicoletti Contemporary… and well there was a number of shows in there between the two exhibitions just mentioned. You do kind of want the gallery to be a little more pro-active and do the shows have to go on for so long? And yes, they do sometimes get bogged down in the art talk but hey, they’re doing it, there were some good shows in that space in 2022…

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And then there was Perdita Sinclair‘s Ice Cream – more of Perdita Sinclair’s ice cream style, back at the start off the year she answered our 13 questions – Perdita Sinclair’s paintings are alive with appeal, with deceptively soft ice creamy colour, there’s an undertone though…

Peter A Leigh – We lost Peter in 2022, Peter was a regular in terms of Cutivate shows and well, his art was (and is) a highlight, it was a pleasutre to including him in numerous shows, we’ll miss him – R.I.P artist Peter A. Leigh…

Prem SahibBurner phone Hex, a piece by Prem Sahib, it happened last week (weill alst February) in the window at Ridley Road Project Space, over there by the market in Dalston on the edges of Hackney. It was there looking very sinister from sundown-sunrise for three days, it did look good in the darkness and the quiet of the sleeping market – Five pieces of art – Jimmy C, Prem Sahib’s Burner phone Sex, Gina Birch, Kevin Sinnott’s big big paintings, Stephen Noake’s rather human paintings…

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The just mentioned Ridley Road Project Space put on a number of short sharp shows in 2022, almost a throwback to more pro-active almost punk rock art times (has art gone through a punk rock phase yet? probably not). They weren’t ever that big in terms of communication or information but there were some good shows in the threatened-with-gentrification space before they closed – The Grotto at East London’s Ridley Road Project Space, it was a “secluded and treasure-like notion” of an art show…

And there was also Roxy Lee’s Cold Lunch  at the aforementioned Ridley Road Project Space – The Hackney born photographer’s show of her work withim the London underground queer scene was wall worth seeing. Not sure why we only previewed it and didn’t review it, never enough time to do everything….

Sarah Jones and her poles and sticks. Sarah Jones has been busy making posts, making art with posts, making art out of posts, there’s something very spiritual about her posts, I feel a great need to quietly walk around one of her posts, I love the way the they just stand there in the sunshine, I love the tactile qualities of those wooden posts, the way they’re made, the way they fit together – Artist Sarah Jones and her recently discovered deep love of posts…

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That Sean Scully curated group show at Flowers back in August was rather good, one of the artists told me we were the only ones to cover it, i don’t get the London art media, as the other Sean would say, most of the time they don’t know shit from shinola – Just a really enjoyable, really simple, uncluttered, Sean Scully curated group show at Flowers Gallery…

The Sky is Moving Sideways – Did the sky move for you? An artist-led sculpture trail, it happened over in North London last September, curated by Rebekah Dean, an artist in her own right, last seen co-curating that excellent Mother’s Ruin exhibition and letting the gin run free with Julia Maddison at the equally interesting House Mill Gallery – Did the sky move for you? An artist-led sculpture trail in North London. Installation, performance, ribbons, plates, a heron all during London Sculpture Week and…

The Split Gallery opened their doors and put on a couple of well recieved group shows along the Hackney Road here in East London before things beyond their control (and it seems really not their fault) resulted in the bailiffs closing things down. They plan to be back in a new East London location in early 2023, watch this space, fingers are crossed, they made a good start, two hopeful shows – A strong start along the Hackney Road, The Split Gallery opens with a rather painterly group show… and Second Expression at The Split Gallery, a second painterly mark made along the Hackney Road…

There was Sweet Toof‘s train set – Sweet Toof’s train set,,,

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There was more from Sterling Ruby – didn’t get to actually see any Sterling Ruby paintings in the flesh this year, just looked at the solo show he had over in New York online, still got those big yellow and green pieces from a few years back in my head though, his New York show looked exciting, the thought of those 2019 yellow paintings still excites – Five pieces of art – Sterling Ruby’s Turbines, Berlin-based painter Wolfgang Betke, Nara Walker, LUAP and that pink bear again, David Shillinglaw’s impressive Margate wall…

And there was Well Hung Gallery’s – The Modest Magnificent at Hoxton Arches – It was a quick one, some of the best art shows are, bang, there it is, open and then, almost before you’ve had time to go, bang, shut again, I kind of like that. I kind of like that you’re forced to make make time, make an effort, a  commitment. East London’s Well Hung Gallery have taken over Hoxton Arch (at no doubt considerable expense, that place is not cheap to hire), a show that opened on a Thursday night to reportedly big crowds, and closed again on the Sunday…. Well Hung’s The Modest Magnificent at Hoxton Arches, far more than just a modestly good exhibition… 

And the year started with the last day of Yoko Ono’s Mend Piece at East London’s Whitechapel Gallery so this feels like a good end to the list – Yoko Ono – Mend Piece – Whitechapel Gallery, East London, January 1st 2022 – Okay, can I claim to have spent New Year’s Day and the start of my art year with some leaves left and a collaboration with Yoko Ono? Not that Yoko knows it was me who left that piece on the shelf – my piece is anonymously sitting there on the white shelf with with all the otherS. Yoko’s rather under-publicised Mend Piece had been happening at Whitechapel Gallery since… Starting the new art year with Yoko Ono’s Mend Piece at East London’s Whitechapel Gallery…

And that was it, a 2022 that started on January 1st with Yoko One, and…. and well, bring on 2023, we’re not done with all this yet…

Ken Currie at Flowers

3 thoughts on “ORGAN: The twenty art things that stood out in 2022 – Upfest, Ken Currie, SaiakuNana, Caroline Coon, Kevin Sinnott, Lee Maelzer, I Just Can’t Think Straight, Jeffrey Gibson, Miss Bugs and…

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