British History Dissected At The Hayward Gallery
Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆
A lot has happened in Britain in the 70 years since the end of World War II and in this exhibition, seven artists have been asked to look across that period and curate a series of interlinked shows within the Hayward Gallery. It's an ambitious project to take on and the key question is: does it deliver the right balance of art and history?
Each artist has taken on a separate theme, for example Jane and Louise Wilson investigate conflict, while Hannah Starkey's photography section explores homelessness among other themes. John Akomfrah has installed 17 videos but a lot of them focus on the history of art and will be far too academic for most visitors while Roger Hiorns' analysis of mad cow disease, supplemented by two Damien Hirst cow heads, is very thoroughly-researched but far too detailed to hold the attention.
The one section we liked was based on war and curated by Richard Wentworth. It features two fantastic Paul Nash paintings and an actual Bloodhound missile system out on the balcony.
Much like the previous exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, Mirrorcity, this show is a curatorial mess and the solid concept of the show would have been better served if they'd adopted a 'less is more' approach. There are some great works and ideas on display, but unfortunately they are drowned out in the noise.
History Is Now: 7 Artists take on Britain is on at Hayward Gallery, South Bank until 26 April. Tickets are £10.90 for adults, concessions available. This exhibition is part of the Southbank Centre's 'Changing Britain' festival.
For more art to see in London, see our top 10 art exhibitions for February.
Last Updated 10 February 2015