Art Monthly 348: Jul-Aug 2011

Art Monthly cover
Christine Borland

Interviewed by Rosie Lesso

Hepworth’s Legacy

Christopher Townsend

Adolf Loos: The Anti-Architect

Joseph Masheck

54th Venice Biennale

Anna Dezeuze • Klara Kemp-Welch

Buy Nowselect:


Want to read this right now?
Get instant access to the entire back catalogue via Exact Editions from only £8.99!


artwork image

Christine Borland Cast From Nature 2010-11



Christine Borland interviewed by Rosie Lesso

Christine Borland rose to prominence during the early 1990s, becoming one of Scotland's most influential young artists. Her research-led practice adopts forensic and medical techniques to test humanist notions of identity. Here she talks about the processes that led to the work in her current exhibition at Camden Arts Centre.

'Behind a creaky wooden door was a dingy basement full of cobwebs and corridor after corridor filled with body fragments preserved in all kinds of ways – an amazing sight.'


artwork image

Des Hughes Norfolk Flint (with prominence and with boring) 2007


Future Past

Christopher Townsend on a very British modernism

Wakefield's new Barbara Hepworth museum gives visitors a slice of mid-century British modernism, but how can we comprehend this historical period when it is refracted – via contemporary culture – through late capitalism's self mythologising?

'The era of mid-century modernism and modernity is lost to us now, its Utopias are as unattainable as the archaic ages of Knossos and Troy, and presented to us in fragments gathered from the archaeological excavation of what was to come rather than the digging up of what really happened.'


artwork image

Adolf Loos Knieschwimmer lounge chair c1905


The Anti-Architect

Just how artless was Adolf Loos asks Joseph Masheck

Adolf Loos is popularly characterised as a strict ascetic, easily understood through the title of his famous essay 'Ornament and Crime'. But doesn't his lesser-known interiors work reveal a more complex sensibility – one that indulges in, for example, vernacular brick laying and far-fetched furniture?

'Whatever the pretext, it is always worthwhile to confront particular works of this figure who proves much more than an anti-architect in the event than we are often led to think.'



Homage to the Square

Even as commentators contest the idea of public space and the effectiveness of protest, aren't populations across the world actually contesting the spaces themselves and demonstrating the effectiveness of courageous and determined, mass protest?

'Theoretical discussions – not least in these pages – about the efficacy of protest, or about what constitutes public space, have been overtaken by events. If protest were ineffective, governments would not be so keen to enact legislation to prevent it. Public spaces are, by definition, contested spaces.'


Victor Burgin clarifies his stance on fine art PhDs in response to Peter Suchin's 'Rebel Without a Course' feature, and Peter Suchin replies. Virginia Whiles responds to Kathy Noble and Laura McLean-Ferris's reviews of the Sharjah Biennale.


Ai Weiwei is released on bail, coincidentally three days before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the UK to announce £1.4bn in trade deals; the Arts and Humanities Research Council releases a report which finds that government methods of measuring the economic effectiveness of university research is skewed against the arts; the Dutch coalition government embarks upon a round of arts cuts more savage even than the UK's; the Azerbaijan pavilion censors its own work in Venice; the UK Public Catalogue Foundation launches an online database of publicly owned paintings; Frieze Art Fair announces two new fairs; all the latest news on galleries, art world prizes and more.

Submissions: Send Artnotes info to


artwork image

Song Dong Touching My Father 1997


Song Dong

Andrew Hunt Profiles the Chinese artist

Song Dong's contemplative work examines the artist's personal family history, and through this intimate lens he reveals the human cost of China's complex recent history.

'The circle is key to Song's practice; with no beginning or end, its lack of hierarchical arrangement is a clear alternative to the tradtional architectural power of the square, which has obvious connotations through the relationships to the politically loaded Tiananmen Square.'



54th Venice Biennale

Anna Dezeuze

54th Venice Biennale

Klara Kemp-Welch


Chris Clarke

Amen Brother

David Briers

Time Again

Katie Kitamura

In the Belly of the Whale

Morgan Quaintance

Andy Holden: Chewy Cosmos Thingly Time

David Ryam

Still Life

Martin Herbert

David Lamelas

Martin Herbert

Imogen Stidworthy: (.)

Laura McLean-Ferris

Josephine Pryde

Kathy Noble


Artists' Books


Stephen Bury rounds up some recent releases

'I have maintained in the past that the artist should choose the artist's book format when it is the medium most suited to the particular idea. Aleksandra Mir manifests her projects both as books and as installations concurrently.'



Junk: Art and the Politics of Trash

Paul O'Kane on Gillian Whiteley's examination of assemblage

'The theme of the book is clearly current; towards the end Whiteley jolts us into consideration of "spam", the latest form of virtual rubbish.'

Maria Lind

Alex Coles on the curator's selected writings

'While the rise of the curator has generally come at the cost of the critic, Lind has continually worked to demonstrate that a more complex relationship between criticism and curating is possible by developing both symbiotically.'

Summer Reading

David Barrett rounds up some recent releases

'There are some books that everybody knows about but few have actually read. Ulysses, for example. In the art world, me might consider Andy Warhol's endurance-test diaries or, if we're honest, the oeuvres of several French philosophers.'


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Time Machine Biennial: No Network

Bob Dickinson on the new, nuclear bunker-based biennale

'When the British industrial noise duo SZ Berlin performed at the end of the opening night a set that included 25kt, their sonic simulation of an atomic detonation, in the vicinity of the bunker, there were squabbles between the organisers and soldiers.'


New York

Up and Down

Colin Gleadell on artists' prices that have bounced back – or not

'An up and down week of sales held in New York in May saw the ups outweight the downs as 85% of lots offered sold for $718m, the fifth highest total on record for a series in New York.'


Public Policies

Deaccessioning Public Collections

Henry Lydiate on constraints proscribing the sale of publicly owned art

'Does the British Museum have the legal power to deaccession the Parthenon Marbles, or Tate Modern its Rothkos and Warhols? Both are public collections constituted and governed by UK statute law, as are most other national museums and galleries, and their deaccessioning powers are specified by the law.'



Exhibition listings

Art Monthly's exhibition listings can also be viewed online.

Sponsored Links