Art Monthly 375: April 2014

Art Monthly cover
Hito Steyerl

Interviewed by Jennifer Thatcher


Francis Frascina


John Douglas Millar

Public Movement

Profile by Bob Dickinson

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Hito Steyerl How Not To Be Seen 2013


No Solution

Hito Steyerl interviewed by Jennifer Thatcher

Filmmaker Hito Steyerl is one of the most prominent exponents of the so-called 'object turn', embracing a coevalence between self and object. Here, she discusses why the mind is like an iPad, searches for her martyred friend's remains and for images of herself as an S&M model, and explains why the art-education industry is a huge Ponzi scheme.

'I never promised to solve any problem. It is interesting that people keep expecting me to anyway, as if I had signed a contract. But I didn't. It's fine for people to have expectations to this end, but why should I fulfil them? People also expect me to represent Japanese culture, foreigners as such, the internet or to wear size zero. Let me repeat: I am not a social engineer and I don't want to be. And I don't think there should be any prescribed role for artists just as there shouldn't be any for mothers or secretaries.'

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Regina José Galindo Lesson of dissection 2011



Francis Frascina on the objects of exclusion

The recent 'object turn' in art is perhaps best understood as an extension of the regressive 'pictorial turn' of the 1990s. Seen in this light, are current trends a backwards step for all the representational gains made by artists since the 1970s?

'I want to examine whether the new discipline of the image/object turn is a reactionary re-entrenchment of exclusivity and marginalisation.'

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Ian Hamilton Finlay A, E, I, O, Blue 1992



John Douglas Millar makes a case for contemporary art literature

If the nascent 'art writing' field has lost its way, it is not from a lack of interest in the connection between the two disciplines. To continue being productive, however, should not art go beyond mere 'writing' and embrace the deep critical history of 'literature'?

'The question was always open as to what the "art" in "art writing" actually denoted. Was it used, as it would be for art music, to denote a sphere of formal difficulty and conceptual seriousness? Or was it writing about art?'



North & South

Arguments aimed at creating divisions within the country are unhelpful when evidence shows that pooled resources can create expanding, sustainable networks.

'Co-operation is the way forward for smaller organisations, not as an alternative to much-needed extra government funding, but in addition to it. The argument that has broken out between Bradford City Council and its counterpart in Leeds over perceived disproportionate funding is thus somewhat misdirected, which is ironic given that one of the organisations it funds is a theatre group called Mind the Gap.'


Under pressure of artist boycotts, Sydney Biennale drops its controversial corporate sponsor, an action that draws chilling rebuke from the Australian arts minister; Elmgreen & Dragset's public artwork Prada Marfa suffers artistic vandalism and is threatened with demolition; research shows the depressing state of the gender imbalance among directorships at US museums; reports suggest that London's poor pay and high living costs are leading to a curatorial brain drain; Boris Johnson courts the Guggenheim for a Stratford outpost; the latest news on galleries, events, appointments, prizes and more.


Rose Finn-Kelcey 1945-2014
Alexis Hunter 1948-2014

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Public Movement Dancing in the Streets / How long is now? 2011 performance at the Occupy social protests, Tel Aviv


Public Movement

Bob Dickinson on the Tel Aviv-based 'performative research group'

Public Movement utilises narrative fiction and commercial branding exercises to choreograph events that challenge institutional positions on migration, representation and public protest.

'I was introduced to a dark-haired, neatly attired woman who, during the next 20 minutes, imparted a complex story containing a great deal of information, about which I was not allowed to take notes but was requested to memorise, to the best of my ability.'



Keywords: Art, Culture and Society in 1980s Britain

Jonathan Harris

Recalling the Future: Post-Revolutionary Iranian Art

Jamal Penjweny: Saddam is Here

Virginia Whiles

5th Marrakech Biennale: Where are we now?

Daniella Rose King

AV Festival

Paul Usherwood

Edward Chell: Soft Estate

Stephen Lee

Camille Henrot: The Pale Fox

Adam Pugh

Cevdet Erek: Alt Üst

Morgan Quaintance

Martin Creed: What's the point of it?

Anna Dezeuze

Mark Garry: A Winter Light

Joanna Laws

Ship to Shore: Art and the Lure of the Sea

Jennifer Thatcher

London Round-up

Chris Fite-Wassilak



David Joselit: After Art

Morgan Quaintance queries this take on art after the internet

'While the attempt to dismantle the Benjaminian roadblock is laudable, the use of computational metaphor (the human artist as search engine) is reductive, restrictive and as inaccurate as the popular brain-as-hard-drive analogy.'


Letter from South-East Asia

The Pretenders

Andrew J Stooke visits the wannabe Asian art centres

'In all the cities aspiring to be an art hub for South-East Asia, mammoth new museum projects are taking shape. In Shanghai the state-run Power Station of Art, as the name suggests, like London's Tate Modern, has emerged in a cavernous riverside industrial site.'



Post-Internet Art

Henry Lydiate on copyright licences for digitally distributed art

'It is valuable to consider the use made by many artists of copyright licences developed and made freely available online by Creative Commons, a US-based not-for-profit organisation founded in 2001 whose licences are based on copyright but do not require would-be users to negotiate bespoke terms and conditions of use with copyright owners.'



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