Galleries - February 2010

yard off Soho’s D’Arblay Street saw some of the best artist-led PV parties of the 70s and some ground-breaking shows before rapidly rising rents, the start of the East End art phenomenon and the need to expand made a move to Hackney both a shrewd and nec- essary move. From there, increas- ingly under the direction of her son Matthew, the growth of the Flowers’ empire has been un- ceasing. The celebratory show, ‘Angela Flowers Galleries’ 40th Anniversary’, opens at Flowers (Kingsland Road) this month and, though details of contents were still vague at the time of going to press, expect a wide-ranging sur- vey of the many artists she has shown in that time –Tom Phillips, John Bellany, Roger Hilton, Jack Smith, Josef Herman, Ken Currie, Peter Howson among them. LIGHT AT TUNNEL’S END? Early reports from January’s Lon- don Art Fair suggest that both at- tendance and sales held up well, despite the weather and eco- nomic anxieties. With 116 galleries showing, the largest number since it began in 1988, and attendance steady at over 23,000, it wasn’t just the most affordable end either, with, among others, Piano Nobile selling a Harold Gilman for £95,000 and John Martin 11 An- drew Giffords at prices ranging from £6,500 to £20,000. Hmm! still being added to –a tribute that works through the sheer stunning simplicity of its conception. Lastly, there is the 12 Star Gallery, using its position within the European Commission’s offices, to draw attention to an example of the largely overlooked educational work being done by Britain’s more enlightened mosques in after-school lessons. In this inst- ance it is the Pakistani-run Minhaj- ul-Quran Mosque in Newham, where voluntary teacher and exhi- bition organiser, Allegra Mostyn- Owen (of Christian background), is teaching 5-13 year old children to express in artworks aspects of their rich cultural traditions. Enti- tled ‘A Flower from Every Mead- ow’ (a line from the 14th C. Persian mystic poet Hafiz), the outcomes are uncomplicated and exhilara- ting. National press please note! FROM SMALL ACORNS . . . To be reminded that Flowers Gallery is 40 years old this Febru- ary has a certain personal poign- ancy for this writer given that the Angela Flowers Gallery (as it was then known), situated in a tiny space above the old AIA Gallery in Lisle Street, was the first commer- cial gallery space I can ever remember entering. It was proba- bly the best start one could have wished for, the friendly reception and lively conversation that fol- lowed distinctly unusual even then and almost unheard of in today’s chilly temples of art. A move soon after to a rackety space in a court- ANTENNAE 8 GALLERIES FEBRUARY 10 POLITICAL EDGE Art can’t avoid being political sometimes, even if it wanted to, and three powerful if very different kinds of show in London this month make clear what a punch it can carry when the situation demands. First there is the show at the Posk Gallery which cele- brates the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Solidarity, the Polish Trade Union resistance movement that can now be seen as setting in motion the downfall of the Soviet regime. And a key element in the way it galvanised opinion at the time was through the hugely effective use it made of Poland’s brilliant 20th C. graphic design tradition – this huge show brings together no less than 100 key examples of its posters from the 80s and 90s. Invigorating and intensely moving. No less powerful in a highly contemporary context is American artist Emily Prince’s huge install- ation at the Saatchi Gallery ‘s Project Room Space. Entitled ‘American Servicemen and Wom- en Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (but not including the Wounded, nor the Iraqis nor the Afghans)’, it consists of some 5,213 4” x 3” pencil drawings, with personal details attached, of each of the American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2004. Originally shown in the USA in the overall shape of a map of the country, it is now following a straight chronological order, draw- ing attention, as the artist ob- serves, “to the seemingly endless nature of the conflict.” Indeed it is Solidarity Poster. Posk Gallery ‘London Collage’. 12 Star Gallery