Bob Dickinson on art and comedy
While galleries have recently turned to humour in the hope of engaging new audiences, art in the public realm has shown how laughter can be, politically speaking, deadly serious. How have artists such as Lucy Beech, Agnes Nedregard and Florence Peake disarmed audiences?
'Laughter is of the body, like speech, but interrupting, punctuating and interfering with it. At the same time, laughter is a social act, underpinning social bonds but also capable of undermining them. Its role in the debunking of power is well known to artists, but so too is its horrific mocking accompaniment to acts of extreme violence'
From the Archive
What's so funny? Anna Dezeuze on humour and contemporary art
Sarah James on the use and abuse of Bertolt Brecht
Why have so many disparate contemporary artists, from Mirza & Butler to WHW and Mark Neville, now turned to the guiding principles of a playwright born in the 1800s?
'Does Bertolt Brecht too often provide little more than an easy lingua franca for desperate funding bids or a superficial paradigm for an invested kind of praxis? Both of the former abound at present under conditions when artists and curators are increasingly forced to justify art's social impact and community ties under conditions that even David Cameron no longer bothers to call the "Big Society".'
'Je ne suis pas d'accord avec ce que vous dîtes, mais je me battrai jusqu'á la mort pour que vous ayez le droit de le lire.'
'I do not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.'
Attributed to Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet) 1694-1778
By SG Tallentyre (Evelyn Beatrice Hall) in The Friends of Voltaire, 1906
Anita Bhalla, chair of Iniva's Board, responds to issues raised by Morgan Quaintance and Grant Watson.
Cuban artist Tania Bruguera is arrested and detained in Cuba for a public performance artwork; the Information Tribunal rules that Tate must reveal the historical sums it received in sponsorship from BP; Artists' Union England organises hustings for the general election; National Gallery staff strike against the privatisation of gallery services; the latest news on galleries, events, appointments, prizes and more.
Sue Arrowsmith 1950-2014
David Dye 1945-2015
AL Rees 1949-2014
Sophie J Williamson on the London-based artist
Gail Pickering uses video, performance, installation and live transmission in order to throw mediation itself open to scrutiny.
'Political agendas fall away, forming only a backstory or footnote, so that the interwoven narratives – between the camera, the images, their creators and their audiences – are allowed to come to the surface with, at the centre, Pickering's own editorial, subjective relationship with the material.'
Matt's Gallery, London
Baltic 39, Newcastle
Lisson Gallery, London
Kettle's Yard, Cambridge
Serpentine Gallery, London
Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland
Standpoint Gallery, London
Alan Cristea Gallery, London
Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno
John Hansard Gallery, Southampton
Piper Keys, London
Maureen Paley, London
Gimpel Fils, London
Cornerhouse • Castlefield Gallery • International 3 • Bureau
Power Station of Art
Andrew J Stooke
Jennifer Thatcher enjoys some guidance from Gilda Williams
'On a recent press trip, a critic confided that he writes with his mum in mind. She is more intelligent than me, he reasoned, and therefore it was embarrassing if she could not understand his writings about art.'
Nick Warner finds that it is not the destination but the journey that counts
'While walking has long been equated with deep philosophical thought, endless pondering and a slow, deliberately contemplative pace of being, in modernity this act of walking and thinking takes on something of a political bent, becoming a defiant act against quicker, more efficient, less laborious modes of transport.'
Josephine Breese finds a new spirit of experimentation in Colombo
'Colombo is neater and shinier than ever before. Arriving in Sri Lanka's leading city or travelling beyond on new tarmac highways foregrounds the city's facelift in recent years: its lawns are clipped, railings painted, bus stops lit and streets swept. What's more, Colombo is becoming a varied and rich cultural hub, hosting the country's major exhibitions, arts projects and festivals.'
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