Art Monthly 354: March 2012

Art Monthly cover
Lis Rhodes

Interviewed by Maria Walsh

On Participation

Morgan Quaintance

The Ethics of Discomfort

John Douglas Millar

Nice Style

David Briers

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Manon de Boer Dissonant 2010


Private Moments

Morgan Quaintance makes the case for imaginative engagement as a form of participation

Discussion around particpatory art has missed one important category of engagement. Where is the analysis of artists – such as Manon de Boer and Marjolijn Dijkman – who purposefully cue up and then direct the individual viewer's imagination?

'Since the 1960s a real devaluation of the individual subject has seen the position of the communal and societal group as the rightful addressee of participatory art ossify.'


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Santiago Sierra No Global Tour 1 2009


The Ethics of Discomfort

John Douglas Millar on art and politics according to Simon Critchley

There is increasing crossover between radical political groups and experimental art practices, where aestheticised politics meets politicised aesthetics. Philosopher Simon Critchley shows a route through this slippery terrain, so what kind of work does he call for?

'Simon Critchley looks to the work of the Viennese Actionists as a possible model: "So much of what is produced in the art world is contained and obsessionally ordered and polite. I'd like to argue for an ethics of discomfort that would be immoral in terms of socially established ethics but deeply ethical in another way."'



Location Location

The ruse of utilising temporary art exhibitions as a prelude to up-market development projects has spread from the West to the Middle East. But some economies depend upon a constant torrent of art tourists, so what is to be made of the recent news that Venetian town councils have flogged off historic art venues for superstores and private flats?

'Like Marley's ghost, "captive, bound and double-ironed", dragging his chains behind him – with "cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel" attached – so contemporary art today brings in its train all the trappings of the market.'


Peter Suchin responds to JJ Charlesworth's comments on fine art PhDs and then also takes issue with Paul O'Kane about outsider art, as does Sarah Gillam. O'Kane points out that art outside an art world is not always outsider art.


Central Saint Martins settles into its new building with the announcement of a new name and a new head of college; free exhibitions in Scotland are under threat with a new licensing arrangement; artists refuse royal honours; Chicago Art Fair is cancelled; artists support the NHS; all the latest news on galleries, people, prizes and more.

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No Lone Zone

Colin Perry

Zarina Bhimji

Stephanie Schwartz

Simon Fujiwara: Since 1982

David Trigg

Richard Grayson: The Magpie Index

Mark Prince

Jarek Piotrowski: Soft Machine

Morgan Quaintance

Elizabeth Price

Martin Herbert

Laura Buckley: Fata Morgana

Cherry Smyth

The Curator's Egg, Altera Pars

Laura Allsop

A Plea For Tenderness

Laura McLean-Ferris


Artists' Books

Material Conditions

Jennifer Thatcher considers the necessary conditions for making art

'It would appear from this sample that the romantic vision of the lone artist has been replaced by the desire for public participation and workshops, and collaboration with colleagues. No one mentions that seemingly dirty word "delegation". Few mention that once-essential premise, the artist's studio.'



Rosalind E Krauss: Under Blue Cup

Maria Walsh on the technical supports underpinning each medium

'Under Blue Cup is an extraordinary exercise in art critical writing. As well as being a polemic against the forgetting of the medium in Postmodernism and the installation art much beloved of contemporary art institutions, the book demonstrates art critical writing as an exercise in self-reconstruction, which in turn reinvents the critic's style.'

West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America 1965-1977

Colin Perry finds there was more to the counterculture than psychedelia

'The counterculture was far more diverse and, at times, successful than is recognised. This has fundamental implications for the way we read art today, for today's relational or dialogical art is deeply indebted to a set of experimental lifestyle models and cultural iterations.'



Nice Style

David Briers witnesses the reforming of 'the world's first pose band'

Nice Style's earliest motivation was to achieve some sort of essentially sculptural activity that retained its object-based and highly formal nature, but which otherwise stepped decisively out of the orthodox gallery system. Instead they adopted the profile and persona of a glam-rock group.'


Helen Frankenthaler

Who loves yer? Remembering Helen Frankenthaler

Griselda Pollock nuances the abstract expressionist's recent obituaries

'The escape into Modernism came at a price. Nothing of what was particular or significant about being a woman or experiencing the world as a woman was allowed to compromise participation in the universal, neutral sphere of art as its own pursuit.'



Artwork Liabilities

Henry Lydiate on the UK's adoption of EU legislation

'A publicly sited sculpture falls over, causing personal injuries to spectators and/or their property. Even though such victims do not have contractual business relationships with the artist, product liability laws may nevertheless place legal responsibility on several parties.'



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