Art Monthly 422: Dec-Jan 18-19

Art Monthly cover Art Monthly back cover
Dara Birnbaum

Interviewed by Maria Walsh

Dematerialised and Dark

Francis Frascina

Deep Time

Rob La Frenais

Bow Gamelan

Morgan Quaintance

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Dara Birnbaum Hostage 1994


Break In

Dara Birnbaum interviewed by Maria Walsh

The pioneering video artist who took on television and embraced activism discusses the power of media and the importance of remembrance.

I used to envy my brother who is a doctor and saves lives. Art doesn’t save lives but it saves the life of the spirit. Actually, art is one of the highest forms of human potential for me.
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Trevor Paglen Comet (Corpus: Omens and Portents) Adversarially Evolved Hallucination 2017


Dematerialised and Dark

Francis Frascina examines archival activism in the digital age

Is the work of pioneering archive activists, such as Lucy Lippard and Luis Camnitzer, negated by the archive’s technological turn, as tackled by the work of Trevor Paglen and Hito Steyerl, or in dialogue with it?

‘The work of art is a document of civilisation and of barbarism. The job of the materialist is to think the two identities – the two kinds of belonging to history – together. Not to reduce one to the other.’ The same could be said of the two identities of the digital ‘technological turn’: radical and enabling/invisible and controlling.
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IC-98 House of Khronos 2016-


Deep Time

Rob La Frenais on art that might outlive the human race

As the reality of climate change comes into sharp focus, what does it mean for long-duration artworks by artists such as Robert Smithson and John Latham or Katie Paterson and Bebe Williams – and does it matter that no one may be around to see them?

One of the central aspects of long-term art projects is the element of the ‘contract’ or ‘legacy’ that enables the artwork to continue beyond the artist’s lifetime. Bebe Williams’s early 1980s conceptual project Instructions for Meeting Time Travellers relies on the passing on through the generations of a document which cites a meeting place that you may know to exist in the future.



The ‘C’ Word

Arts Council England’s current so-called consultation on its next ten-year strategy (the ‘proposed outcomes for 2030’ have, it seems, already been drafted) is based on a Strategy Consultation Framework that prefers to avoid the word ‘art’ – but without the arts, what is the point of an arts council?

This shift in language from ‘arts’ to ‘culture’ merely shunts the issue of what is meant by the arts into what is meant by culture. Who defines what is and is not culture?


Art Prescribed

Health secretary Matt Hancock calls for GPs to prescibe art via public libraries; ACE publishes a new report on the socio-economic divisions in arts engagement, education being noted as a prime factor; artist Gavin Turk is arrested during the Extinction Rebellion climate-change protest blockading London roads; oil giant Shell ends its relationship with the National Gallery to focus its corporate influence on schools; fake exhibitions purporting to be by Yayoi Kusama and Takeshi Murakami tour China; plus the latest news on galleries, appointments, prizes and more.

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Victoria Santa Cruz They shouted black at me 1978
on show at Nottingham Contemporary


Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974-1995

Lizzie Homersham

Antarctica: An Exhibition on Alienation

Rose-Anne Gush

Low Form: Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Agnieszka Gratza

John Akomfrah: Mimesis – African Soldier

Tom Snow

Henrik Olesen: Hey Panopticon! Hey Asymmetry!

Mark Prince

mounir fatmi: This is My Body

Aoife Rosenmeyer

Still I Rise

Ellen Mara De Wachter

Bow Gamelan Ensemble: Great Noises that Fill the Air

Morgan Quaintance

Judson Dance Theatre: The Work is Never Done

Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe

Chris Paul Daniels: Northern Lights

Tom Emery

Nashashibi/Skaer: Thinking through other artists

Martin Holman

Chila Kumari Singh Burman: Tales of Valiant Queens

Virginia Whiles

Flo Brooks: Scrubbers

Larne Abse Gogarty



k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher (2004-2016)

Jack Smurthwaite

What k-punk is undeniably clear about is Mark Fisher’s stand against today’s anti-intellectualism. It places him as a thinker and writer whose work – varied and prodigious – will continue to have relevance as long as there is any doubt that we should function in solidarity.


Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia: Thresholds of Empathy with Art

Maria Walsh

While phenomenology is acknowledged and addressed positively by many of the book’s contributors, contemporary neuroscience’s grounding in technologies that evidence the workings of the brain overshadows the former’s more imaginary projecting consciousness.


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Zheng Yuan Dream Delivery 2018

Letter from North Rhine-Westphalia


Marcus Verhagen

Just to the west of Dusseldorf, in the slightly down-at-heel town of Monchengladbach, is Museum Abteiberg, which deserves to be world-famous.


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Raja’a Khalid Fortune/Golf 2014

Letter from Dubai

Bad Timing

Stephanie Bailey

Oil, a material that is both life-giving and life- destroying, is taken as something both ‘magical’ and ‘insidious’.


Art After Death

Living Legacies

Henry Lydiate

Two interesting new tools have recently been published to help artists plan their legacies. These endeavours are welcome additions to the growing number of initiatives developed in recent years focusing on artists’ estates – whether from the perspective of living artists planning for posterity, or of heirs and successors inheriting management duties.




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