Morgan Quaintance looks beyond identity constructs
The fight for identity and equal representation that so occupied the second post-colonial generation in the UK has been co-opted by the very forces that it was meant to combat. Isn't it time this new black identity that the dominant ideology has constructed – depoliticised and consumerist – be shaken by those it claims to represent?
'If identity is constructed, by whom is it constructed? Whom does it serve, and according to what ideological commitments? Seeking answers to these questions would at least open the way for analyses of black identity.'
Richard Hylton revisits diversity
Does the spate of recent high-profile UK exhibitions by African-American artists such as Ellen Gallgher, Theaster Gates and Rashid Johnson signal the rise of a new political awareness – or simply the triumph of the market? And whither the British artists?
'Such favourable readings of particular strands of African-American artistic practice contrast noticeably with the ways the UK art establishment has traditionally considered race politics a stumbling block.'
Dave Beech on art's economic exceptionalism
Since art operates at the limits of economic understanding, economists have been reduced to declaiming its seemingly 'perverse' irrationaility. Instead of such name calling, isn't the art anomaly better understood as revealing a flaw in neoliberal economic ideologies?
'It makes sense to see the apparently irrational choices of artists as exerting a counter-force on economic rationality which sets limits on its efficacy. Economic exceptionalism results from a range of limits placed on market forces by non-economic forces.'
The chancellor's continuing austerity measures are causing increasing conflict between baby boomers and the so-called Generation Y, but perhaps, as youth unemployment jumps a further 15,000, we should look not at generations but social heirarchies to find the roots of the tension.
'It is important to remember, for instance, that Macmillan was addressing a rally of fellow Tories who had indeed "never had it so good", but they were and are the minority, albeit a powerful and vocal one. The majority of workers in postwar Britain worked long hours for poor pay and lived in bad accommodation, and now they eke out their lives on meagre state pensions.'
The forced friendliness between France and Germany to mark the 50th anniversary of the Franco-German Treaty of Reconciliation, with joint exhibitions and Venice Biennale pavilion swapping, has revealed an ill-concealed hostility. Perhaps a little cordial understanding is in order.
'No wonder Giulia de Manincor, a French pavilion staff member, was quoted as saying that she was looking forward to the next Biennale when: "Hopefully France will be France again and Germany Germany."'
Russia's continued intolerance over gay rights poses a problem for next year's Manifesta; Northern Ireland sets social benefit as the top priority for its arts organisations; UK museums visitor numbers recover after the Olympic blip; Mayfair property developers fire up the bulldozers and head for Cork Street; the Frieze Art Fair gallery boom begins as dealers open their new West End spaces; the latest news on events, appointments, prizes and more.
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Bob Dickinson on the art duo Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen
HeHe draws on its founders' backgrounds in engineering to construct prop-like versions of major industrial equipment. These performative sculptures give viewers a visceral understanding of controversial practices more often encountered amid media hysterics and PR fog.
'Combining conjecture with satire and radicalism with absurdity, HeHe's mechanised performances deliberately create mixed messages, avoiding overt activist intent in what they do.'
Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe
Hoxton Square, London
Newlyn Art Gallery
MOT International, London
Cell Project Space, London
Morgan Quaintance on a publication reaching for landmark status
'Art and Queer Culture's real draw is as an exhibition in book form: a potentially groundbreaking, long overdue exhibition that it is impossible to imagine a large-scale international institution having the courage or, perhaps more accurately, the corporate support to stage.'
John Douglas Millar experiences Soviet sounds
'The show charts the growth of experimental, state-funded sound studios across the Eastern Bloc in the quarter century after Krushchev's famous speech to the 20th Party Congress in Moscow On the Personality Cult and its Consequences.'
Michael Hampton peruses some artist-produced newspapers
'Destabilisation of truth, or rather a deliberate clouding of the official version of events, is the main aim of virtually all newsprint modification strategies.'
David Lillington on the row over a French show of German art
'The French, they point out, had Realism – with syphilis and poverty. The Germans sowed dreams – and would reap a nightmare.'
Henry Lydiate on recent court rulings over fair use in copyright law
'Some are concerned that Prince's appeal result decidedly outlaws the practice of Appropriation Art.'
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Art Monthly's exhibition listings can also be viewed online.
Submissions: Send listings to firstname.lastname@example.org