Art Monthly 435: April 2020

Art Monthly cover Art Monthly back cover
Georgina Starr

Interviewed by Maria Walsh

Decolonising Decolonialism

Morgan Quaintance

No New York

John Douglas Millar

Letter from Istanbul

John Parton

Buy Nowselect:


Want to read this right now?
Get instant access to the entire back catalogue via Exact Editions from only £8.99!


artwork image

Georgina Starr, Quarantaine, 2020


Hearing Voices

Georgina Starr interviewed by Maria Walsh

The idea that you could hallucinate and it wouldn’t be visual but auditory, that’s quite fascinating to me. It only happened a few times over a year when I was a kid and we never really got to the bottom of it, but it was something that stayed with me.

artwork image

Naeem Mohaiemen, Two Meetings and a Funeral, 2017


Decolonising Decolonialism

Morgan Quaintance challenges the reductive conception of the decolonial project

This abhorrent state of affairs can only continue if the partial decolonial view within the art world remains in place, a view that also passes over in silence the invasion, plunder and seizure of one land’s sovereignty, infrastructure and natural resources by a foreign power – that is to say, real and literal colonisation.

artwork image

David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Green Head), 1982


No New York

John Douglas Millar argues that the recent historicisation of David Wojnarowicz’s work fails its radicalism and continued relevance to the present

At the time, New York City was bankrupt, leaving little scope for major redevelopment or gentrification, so the ruined piers flickered briefly into life as almost utopian spaces of queer living and culture. Dangerous, liminal, cut off from the main body of Manhattan, unreachable other than by foot or bicycle, they were the precise antithesis to the established institutions of art on the Upper East Side where the Whitney resided at the time.


Apocalypse Now

While Dominic Cummings insisted government held a steady course towards the cliff edge before performing a last-minute ‘switcheroo’, concerned citizens could see disaster looming and took action into their own hands (in the art world this meant pre-emptively cancelling events and closing galleries), but the deadly cost of this delay is yet to be counted.

Every disaster reveals to us something of ourselves: Russia spreads disinformation, China shuts down, Americans buy guns, the Italians sing to each other, the Australians take to the beach and the British literally take to the hills.

artwork image

picket line outside Royal College of Art, London, 10 March 2020


Reflections on Education from the Frontlines

Members of the Royal College of Art’s University and College Union question the commercialisation of university-based art education; and the RCA responds.

Within educational structures, openness, curiosity, experiment, freedom, discipline, generosity, engagement and equality breed the same. This is equally true of their insidious opposites.


Cleaners’ Rights

Central Saint Martins students Elvira García and Álvaro del Fresno call out UAL’s outsourcing of its low-paid workers.

As part of our strike action this year, in which 74 other campuses across the UK also took strike action, from 9th to 11th March UAL students occupied London College of Communication, demanding all contracted cleaners to be employed by UAL.



The art world shuts down as the SARS-CoV-2 virus begins to spread around the world; ACE responds to the Covid-19 pandemic with strong leadership and significant financial support; former a-n director Susan Jones calls for the arts sector to offer immediate direct financial support to artists as freelance workers fear falling through large cracks in the state’s support schemes; new research suggest that arts degrees may cost graduates £100,000 in lost income; ACE releases its annual diversity report and calls for more urgent action from the organisations it funds; Shell is ousted as a sponsor of the Southbank Centre and the British Film Institute; plus the latest news on galleries, appointments, prizes and more.


Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen) 1943–2020
Dominic Johnson

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge 1950–2020
Andrew Wilson

Panamarenko 1940–2019
Martin Holman

Barbara Steveni 1928–2020
Gareth Bell-Jones and Jo Melvin

artwork image

Gabriel Kuri, ‘spending static to save gas’, Douglas Hyde Gallery


Gabriel Kuri: spending static to save gas

Conal McStravick

Cameron Rowland: 3 & 4 Will. IV c. 73

Tendai Mutambu

Stellenbosch Triennale: Tomorrow there will be more of us

Don Handa

Sean Edwards: Undo Things Done

Tom Emery

Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium

Amy Tobin

Cauleen Smith: Mutualities

Gemma Sharpe

Johanna Unzueta: Tools for Life

Peter Suchin

Chooc Ly Tan: Crepuscular Dreams of (Dis-) Alienation

Tabitha Steinberg

Julijonas Urbanos: Planet of People

Martin Vincent

Transparent Things

Alex Bennett

artwork image

Helen Cammock, They Call it Idlewild, 2020


Helen Cammock: They Call It Idlewild

Maria Walsh

Helen Cammock’s film essay weaves together a number of otherwise mutually exclusive strands to reframe the social and cultural meanings of ‘idleness’ and its stake in creative work.

artwork image

Leslie Thornton, Ground, 2020


Leslie Thornton: Ground

Adam Hines-Green

As in much of Leslie Thornton’s work it appears that catastrophe, individual or collective, is the engine of discovery. Endings reign; newfound understanding beckons. Sometimes, it seems to be the other way round: acquired knowledge generates destruction.

artwork image

Carl Craig, Party/After Party, 2020


Carl Craig: Party/After-Party

Wen Tao

The affinity between Carl Craig and Dia is thematic as well as aesthetic. Techno’s tradition of engaging with industrial spaces has a particular meaning for Detroit.

artwork image

Ellie Harrison speaking at the Glasgow Film Theatre about The Glasgow Effect in 2017


Ellie Harrison: The Glasgow Effect

Elinor Morgan

Ellie Harrison scrutinises the background of the project, the haranguing she received on social media and her experience of undertaking the work. For me, the discussion about how the social-media berating affected her health and emotions is one of the most timely aspects of this narrative.

artwork image

Ayse Erkmen, Blue Stone, 2019, rock found in the excavation site during the construction of Arter’s new building in Dolapdere

Letter from Istanbul

Invited Guests

John Parton

If the surrounding neighbourhood seems a bit bullied by the arrival of this glitzy new gallery, at least the art inside is managing to stand up for itself.


Death of a Gallery

Henry Lydiate

Blain|Southern’s sudden closure of its three gallery operations at London, Berlin and New York in February 2020 shocked the contemporary art world; the most immediate and practical questions for the gallery’s creditors are whether they will be paid what is owed and, if so, how.

Sponsored Links