Art Monthly 387: June 2015

Art Monthly cover
Pavel Büchler

Interviewed by Patricia Bickers

Right Shift

Morgan Quaintance

Smithson’s Legacy

Paul O’Kane

Venice Biennale

Griselda Pollock • Shama Khanna

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Pavel Büchler The Castle 2005-15


Honest Work

Pavel Büchler interviewed by David Briers

Czech-born conceptual artist Pavel Büchler has long been an influential figure beyond his role as a professor at Manchester School of Art. Here he discusses the value of uselessness and obsolescence, boredom and insincerity – and the avoidance of honest work.

'We live in a culture of jobholders (and jobseekers) where almost all identity is derived from what you do for a living. Within this culture the ambiguity of artistic practice as a job is what really creates a space for it and what gives artistic production a meaning as a kind of idle protest against the way things are, including the ways in which our professional and personal identities are formed, seen and understood.'

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Eva & Franco Mattes 'Breaking Banality: The Dysfunction of Remediation' 2015 installation at Feldman Gallery, PNCA, Portland


Right Shift

Morgan Quaintance on the end of post-internet art

The recent shift to the political right has been mirrored by a celebrated group of so-called post-internet artists whose work embraces an aesthetic that relinquishes criticality for a compliance with corporate thinking. Grab a bag of popcorn and watch as the movement implodes.

'Broadly speaking, from 2011 to 2015 post-internet art has been operating at varying levels of intensity around the "peak of inflated expectations". It is now descending headfirst into the "trough of disillusionment".'

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Robert Smithson Dead Tree 1969 installation view at 'Prospect 69' Kunsthalle Düsseldorf



Paul O'Kane on Robert Smithson's continuing relevance

Robert Smithson's 'A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic' set the tenuousness of cultural meaning into a long history that stretched forwards and backwards through astronomical time. So what are contemporary artists unearthing as they continue to dig through his text almost 50 years on?

'Robert Smithson's text begins in that special, unorganised and uncommodified downtime, often gifted by chance and necessary to the artist, poet, flâneur or wandering photographer for an imaginative, inspired and individuated experience to occur.'

From the Back Catalogue
Robert Smithson Now For all its environmental, theoretical and literary significance Smithson’s work was above all visual insists Joseph Masheck



Everything Will Be Taken Away

The Venice Biennale offers a chance to survey the civil rights gains that have been made over the years, but with a clear understanding of how precarious these gains are. Is the recent lurch to the right, with borders blocked and unions threatened, a sign of reversals to come?

'Adrian Piper herself, who is now based in Berlin, knows what it is to have things taken away from her: in 2008 she refused to return to the US from Berlin, where she was on unpaid leave from her post as a professor at the prestigious Wellesley College, because she was listed as a "suspicious traveller" on the US Transportation Security Administration Watch List; instead of supporting her case the college responded by terminating her contract.'


Protesters close the Guggenheim in New York; activist artists are blocked from entering the UAE; an arts patron and activist is assassinated in Pakistan; Christoph Büchel's Icelandic pavilion in Venice is threatened with closure by the authorities for being a 'threat to safety'; artists fail to get elected in the UK but succeed in getting their messages across – if they have one; the National Gallery strike turns even more bitter as the gallery sacks a union representative; the latest news on galleries, appointments, prizes and more.


Chris Burden 1946-2015

Submissions: Send news items to

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Christoph Büchel The Mosque: The First Mosque in the Historic City of Venice 2015


56th Venice Biennale

Griselda Pollock

Shama Khanna

Modern History vol 1

Bob Dickinson

Faiza Butt: Paracosm

Virginia Whiles

Maud Sulter: Passion

Ella S Mills

Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness

Paul Carey-Kent

Carol Bove/Carlo Scarpa

Carol Bove: The Plastic Unit

Martin Herbert

Cally Spooner: Post-production

Lizzie Lloyd

Vong Phaophanit & Claire Oboussier: it is as if

David Barrett

Magic Mirror: Claude Cahun and Sarah Pucill

Mark Harris

London Round-up

Keren Goldberg


Artists' Books

Katrina Palmer: End Matter

Jamie Sutcliffe walks an artist's book

'It is imperative to read, listen and walk the narratives proposed by End Matter in order to understand the way it performs its absences sculpturally, something it does deftly through describing the peripheries of an absent whole.'



Essay Film Festival

Alex Fletcher is posed the question: why the essay film now?

'Laura Rascaroli questioned whether certain historical moments necessitate essayistic practices, such as the emergence of critical documentaries in the 1960s, and how such auteurs reflexively inscribed themselves into the purported objectivity of the form.'

Letter from Berlin

Lament for the Void

Brian Hatton on the overbuilding of architectural voids

'But if Berlin was itself a void at the centre of Cold War Europe, the architectural void was Mies Van Der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie: a cultural zoo-cage at a time when the main station of West Berlin – itself an exhibit of capitalism – was Zoo Bahnhof.'



Permission to Sell

Henry Lydiate on a new global register of art sales

'The inclusion of restrictive reselling conditions in a contract of sale is not a new practice in the western art ecosystem, especially for the first/primary sale directly by the artist or via an agent/dealer; gallerist Andrea Rosen told the Wall Street Journal: "I have used these clauses on every invoice since I opened in 1990."'



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