Art Monthly 374: March 2014

Art Monthly cover
Subjects v Objects 

JJ Charlesworth and James Heartfield

To Blog or not to Blog?

Omar Kholeif

Matthew Noel-Tod

Nick Warner

How to Improve your Algorithm

Chris Fite-Wassilak

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Ed Atkins The Trick Brain 2012


Subjects v Objects

JJ Charlesworth and James Heartfield make a case for the return of the subject

Rather than expanding art's scope, hasn't the recent dominance of the object – as championed by philosophies such as Speculative Realism, animism and object oriented ontology – been complicit in disempowering artists in relation to cognitive capitalism? And isn't it now time to fight back?

'If the object appears to have acquired ontological independence from the subject, it is because we too-readily accept that the subject, and our own subjectivities, have become evermore object-like.'

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Dennis McNulty A cloud of soft equations 2014


How to Improve your Algorithm

Chris Fite-Wassilak on reclaiming the digital landscape

As our self-surveilling culture of digital sharing turns increasingly dystopian, how have artists – such as Adam Curtis, Simon Denny, Fiona Marron, Dennis McNulty and others – worked to show that these all-encompassing datascapes remain ours to transform?

'Edward Snowden's disclosures have helped spark a public awareness and debate about where the internet's liberatory aspirations might have led us. The next step in shifting the debate could be away from paranoia and Matrix-like reductivism to a more proactive embrace.'

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portrait of James Bridle from his website The New Aesthetic /


To Blog or not to Blog?

Omar Kholeif asks the question

If online publishing holds so many advantages over print, why is it that much web-specific writing continues to suffer from sloppy sub-editing and link-bait, content-farming tendencies? And where does this leave art criticism in a post-blogging age?

'The worry is that the exploratory nature of longer forms of criticism is increasingly replaced with the quick-fire list which can be easily viewed on an iPhone – distracted cultural snacking.'



Payback Time

New government figures show not only that the creative industries account for a greater proportion of the UK's GDP than previously thought but also that they are growing at a rate ten times faster than the rest of the economy. So why does the coalition government persist with its idealogical financial attack on the culture sector?

'To put all this in perspective, the contribution of the creative industries to the UK's GDP stands at 5.2%, which compares rather well with the 9.6% contributed by that sacred cow of every Tory-controlled government, the financial services sector. Despite this, while the City is handled with kid gloves by the present coalition government, the arts have been savaged.'

Blog Logic

Although AM has just launched online-only Salerooms reports, the magazine's activities remain focused on the medium of print.

'The question of whether to blog or not to blog is one AM has periodically considered, eventually rejecting the idea. Omar Kholeif's feature about digital criticism offers a valuable opportunity to review some of the reasons for doing so.'


New figures from the DCMS are used in a campaign to promote the creative industries which paradoxically highlights the work of the very sectors that the government is cutting; the bizarre tale of the artist-less public artwork in Cambridge; psychology experiments prove that the tourist camera is a licence to avoid engaging with art; Wolverhampton Council is the latest local government body to feel Eric Pickles's squeeze and has cut arts funding; anti-oil protesters celebrate the end of Shell's sponsorship of the Southbank Centre; the latest news on galleries, events, appointments, prizes and more.


Nancy Holt 1938-2014

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Matthew Noel-Tod A Season in Hell 3D 2014


Matthew Noel-Tod

Nick Warner on the British video artist

Matthew Noel-Tod uses weightless CGI graphics to produce absurdist narratives of commodity fetishism, speaking to the atomising effects of consumer capitalism upon culture.

'The conceptual rigour with which Noel-Tod approaches the conception and production of his recent works, and his implementation of computer animation in this larger body of work en masse, transcends the ineloquent analogue/digital binary so often equated with the post-internet crowd.'



Hannah Höch

Christopher Townsend

Time & Motion: Redefining Working Life

Larne Abse Gogarty

Isaac Julien: PLAYTIME

Galit Mana

Eva Kotátková and Dominik Lang: Wasteland

Chris Clarke

Joeëlle Tuerlinckx: WOR(L)D(K) IN PROGRESS?

Paul Carey-Kent

Heather & Ivan Morison: Smile All the While

George Vasey

Jerwood Open Forest

Mark Wilsher

Glasgow and Edinburgh Round-up

Martin Vincent

Hanover Round-up

Saim Demircan

Paul McCarthy: Black and White Tapes

Everyone Agrees: Meetings and Failures in Meetings

Anna Gritz



The Spectacle of Disintegration: Situationist Passages out of the Twentieth Century

John Douglas Millar is inspired by McKenzie Wark's updating of Situationist thinking

'For Wark, theory is not about dry academic discipline, not about running a fine comb through a paragraph of Heidegger and then arguing the toss at dull academic conference after dull academic conference to no discernable effect. For Wark, theory needs to act like phosphorus in water: it must spark action.'


Stephen Wilson on Joshua Simon's appraisal of art and immateriality

'Simon contends that the materialisation of our being hinges on the ruptures and arrangements between the individual and society in play-offs between commodity, imperialism, and the conditions of overqualification/under-employment and labour.'


Letter from Oslo

Fuelling the Fjordist Art Workers

Chris McCormack visits a well-oiled local arts scene

'If Norway feels the remote outpost of a long-forgotten postwar European idealism – still fitted with its universal healthcare and, crucially, subsidised higher education – it is perhaps due to the unrecoverable gulf of low expectations about welfare and public subsidy for arts funding, education and health in the UK.'


Ways of Working

Suing Art Experts

Henry Lydiate on the distorting effects of litigious art owners

'Working within this increasingly litigious climate, experts are becoming wary of finding themselves pitted against other experts and/or exposed to legal challenge. A recent Courtauld Institute of Art conference, which addressed the authenticity of a set of drawings its owners claimed were by Francis Bacon, was cancelled due to experts being concerned about expressing their opinions on record.'



London Art Calendar

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Exhibition Listings

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