Review Round Up: Lubaina Himid Exhibition, Tate Modern

We round up the reviews for the Tate Modern’s exhibition exploring the work of the Turner Prize winning artist.

Six Tailors, 2019. Photograph: © Lubaina Himid

The Guardian: *** “If Tate Modern thinks painting is now modern, it needs to give some thought to why some paintings are just decorative, while others are profound. There’s nothing here to show why this particular skilled and idiosyncratic, but not especially earth-shaking painter belongs in Tate Modern when others of her generation have to be grateful for a show at the less glamorous Tate Britain.”

The Financial Times:  “You need a little patience with this exhibition. Himid is uneven, and the opening galleries set an unfortunate tone of love-fest whimsy: a wraparound text piece “Our Kisses Are Petals, Our Tongues Caress the Bloom”; “metal handkerchief” paintings representing tools — screwdriver, pulley, saw — underlined with double entendre quotations from instruction manuals to “ensure sufficient space”, “provide adequate protection”, “keep moving parts lubricated”. Flags embroidered with body diagrams and twee inscriptions — an eye (“Why are you looking”); a heart (“So Many Dreams”) — are puerile. Portraits of black men painted on/incarcerated in drawers are sentimental, obvious.”

Evening Standard: *** “And the space between them is too vast, a void. This is all the more galling because Himid’s work Naming the Money is only here in the form of its soundtrack, in which we hear about the lives of Black slaves and servants – their real names, the names they have been given, and the changes in their lives – but not the full installation with 100 lifesize painted figures. Himid’s narration is moving, but it feels like only half the work.”

Time Out: **** “But these are just low lows in a show with some very high highs, with Himid’s big canvases as the star. Her brightly coloured, flat-perspective paintings have had a huge impact on young artists working today, and they’re great. The newest works are especially good, all filled with perfectly dressed black men in white masks, and tailors and architects.”

Culture Whisper: **** “Entering Lubaina Himid’s poetic world is mysteriously beguiling. Big, brightly coloured paintings, operatic soundtracks and questions asked on the walls: ‘What does love sound like?’, ‘What are monuments for?’… this exhibition doesn’t try to explain but leaves you to interpret and bring your answers instead.”

The Times: ** “Bear this in mind as you enter the new Lubaina Himid exhibition. From the outset, the 67-year-old artist has worked to erode barriers between cultures and genres, between personal stories and global histories, between individual responsibilities and collective actions.”

The Telegraph: **** “Tate Modern’s new retrospective of the Zanzibar-born Turner Prize-winner represents an important moment for both her and the gallery.”

The exhibition continues to be on display until the 3rd July 2022.

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