Art Monthly 363: February 2013

Art Monthly cover
Jonas Mekas

Interviewed by Gilda Williams

Virtual Exhibitions

Nicholas Warner

Virtual Curating

Omar Kholeif

Virtual Lives

Morgan Quaintance

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Jonas Mekas WTC Haikus 2010


Remains of the Day

Jonas Mekas interviewed by Gilda Williams

Jonas Mekas, central to the 1960s avant-garde scene in New York, is one of the most important figures in the history of experimental film. Here he discusses happiness as a subject, the role of technology in filmmaking, what prompted art galleries to exhibit film and why he refuses to describe himself as an artist.

'The tool you use to make the image and the result are inseparably connected, you cannot transfer film to video and think it is the same thing. You are no longer seeing the film, you are seeing something else. The texture is different, everything is different – it is a completely different thing. All that is left is "the story".'


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Natalie Bookchin Mass Ornament 2009


Virtual Reality Check

Nicholas Warner on exhibiting net art

With so much artistic activity taking place online, why is it that galleries struggle to exhibit internet art? Is it because the art itself, by artists like Ken Goldberg and Natalie Bookchin, with its origins in the 1990s movement and affinity with Fluxus, is resistant to exhibition culture?

'An interest in new technological advances and online social relations is neutralising the previously anarchistic values of net art production.'


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Tony Oursler Valley 2011


The Curator's New Medium

Omar Kholeif discusses the culture of virtual curating

Traditional curatorial notions of researching, selecting and articulating are increasingly under threat from algorithmic approaches to gathering artefacts, epitomised by online efforts to tag artworks with searchable categories. Isn't it time for critically minded curators to get to grips with the internet as a medium before it is subsumed by commercial interests?

'The supposed democratisation of curatorial practice through virtual platforms threatens the traditional art-historical approach to curating, as witnessed in Paul Schimmel's forced exit from MOCA, LA.'


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still from Jemma Pixie Hixon's 2010 YouTube video Alejandro



Morgan Quaintance on the phenomenon of virtual lives

While it is increasingly possible to live your entire social life online, the technology companies that enable such interactions have their own commercial imperatives for shaping that intercourse. How do artists such as Denis Knopf and Thomson & Craighead reflect the channelled experience that is being-online?

'The parametrical narrowing that is a fundamental design feature of online services constricts the behaviours of those engaged in the practice of being-online (living socially on and through the web).'



Ebacc to School

The coalition government's attack on the arts and humanities in higher education has expanded into secondary education with the ill-conceived Ebacc proposal to squeeze the arts out of the national curriculum. But when even business lobbies argue the case for the arts, shouldn't the government listen?

'Yet even the voice of the mighty CBI has failed to catch the coalition's ear, despite reporting that not only are arts important to the economy, but that the creative and cultural sector contributes a staggering 6% of the national GDP – second only to the government's cherished financial sector, the UK's biggest industry.'


Chancellor George Osborne announces further cuts on top of those already inflicted; culture secretary Maria Miller accuses the arts lobby of peddling 'pure fiction' while relying on misleading data of her own; the battle over the sale of a Henry Moore sculpture takes a twist; artists continue their protests against the construction of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; Third Text loses its founding editor Rasheed Araeen; Flash Art launches its own art fair; galleries open and close; all the latest news on appointments, events, acquisitions, prizes and more.

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Film in Space

Christopher Townsend

London Fieldworks: Null Object: Gustav Metzger thinks about nothing

Paul Carey-Kent

Keith Arnatt

Cherry Smyth

Joel Sternfeld

Mark Prince

Lawrence Weiner: Be That As It May

Deborah Schultz

Prophetic Diagrams

David Barrett

Members Show 2012

Adam Pugh

Savorr X

Nicholas Warner

London Round-up 1

Chris Fite-Wassilak

London Round-up 2

Peter Suchin

Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Teresa Gleadowe

Light from the Middle East: New Photography

Omar Kholeif



Round-up: A Selection of Collections of Perspectives

Sally O'Reilly examines a crop of recent titles

'It is difficult to think of two books more different from one another than Dora Garcia's All The Stories and Guy Mannes-Abbott's In Ramallah, Running. Where Garcia dashes between hundreds of sketched vignettes of potential worlds, Mannes-Abbott travels methodically on foot along Palestinian byways of various viability and access.'



Three Reflections on Jonas Mekas

Christopher Townsend, Kate Villevoye and John Lowe

'Let's begin with language, with Mekas as exile not speaking American. Henri Michaux wrote somewhere of "travelling in order to become homeless". Compelled by history to "travel", Mekas found a home in the homelessness of the neo-avant garde, in postwar America's photostat of the international European cultural contract that the war had torn up and tossed to the winds. And he found it too in the un-American language of experimental film.'

Experimental Film Round-up

Maxa Zoller on the art film in the age of YouTube

'As contemporary cinema is undergoing fundamental changes due to new film viewing technologies such as YouTube, it is time to redefine the nature of the film apparatus. Is cinema really transmuting from a top-down image-producing machine into a new social tool?'


Public Policy

Moral Rights: A Suitable Case For Treatment?

Henry Lydiate reviews the success or otherwise of the UK's legislation

'Artists' moral rights laws have been in force in the UK since 1989. Have they been operating well for the past 20-odd years or is there room for improvement? This question is triggered by two recent cases: Richard Serra insisting on changing artworks after selling them; Durham County Council's imminent destruction of a public artwork.'



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