Art Monthly 452: Dec-Jan 21-22

Art Monthly cover Art Monthly back cover
James Benning

Interviewed by Mark Prince

Closed Loop

Morgan Quaintance

Art and Dyschronia

Bob Dickinson

Letter from Kosovo

Agnieszka Gratza

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James Benning, 13 Lakes, 2004


Time and Place

James Benning interviewed by Mark Prince

It takes time to understand place. And the idea of this piece, of course, is to understand place in order to understand the people who lived in those places. I think of the whole project as a performance for one, for myself, and the installation as a summary or documentation of that performance.

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Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Art Class, 2020


Closed Loop

Morgan Quaintance argues that the art world will only break circles of power by recognising social and class-based inequality in more complex ways

Drawing attention to the reality of inequality in the UK is always the necessary and important foundational work in all progressive activity directed at redressing discriminatory practices, but it has now become part of the closed circle.

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Lola Arias, Minefield , 2016


Art and Dyschronia

Bob Dickinson on art that reveals why right-wing populist governments are intent on rewriting history

The initials, standing for Welsh Not, were a stark reminder of the days, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when the Welsh language was illegal and schoolchildren overheard speaking it in class were made to wear a wooden board marked WN around their necks.


Us and Them

Tony Blair’s 1998 introduction of student fees effectively created a two-tier system for university students. Now there is an ever-widening divide between staff, including academics, and senior management whose corporate levels of pay are their reward for wielding the axe.

It is scandalous that university vice-chancellors on overinflated salaries seem to think doing nothing on pay, casualisation and inequality is acceptable in a sector awash with money.


Cheers Chancellor

The chancellor’s spending review delivered a welcome boost to the DCMS, but most additional funds are ringfenced for estate-management; some organisations receive further Cultural Recovery Funding; new culture secretary demonstrates her intentions in her first TV interview; the Science Museum draws ire for further cosying up with fossil-fuel conglomerates; plus the latest on galleries, people, prizes and more.


Jimmie Durham 1940–2021

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Shannon Finnegan, Do you want us here or not, 2018/21, ‘Crip Time’, MMK, Frankfurt


Melissa Gordon: Liquid Gestures

John Parton

Nine Nights: Channel B

Tess Charnley

David Medalla: Parables of Friendship

Adam Hines-Green

and then, a harrowing

Frances Whorrall-Campbell

Renée Green: Inevitable Distances

Hana Noorali

Crip Time

Martin Herbert


Chris Clarke

Coventry Biennial

Denise Courcoux

Folkestone Triennial: The Plot

Paul Carey-Kent

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Culture Strike cover


Laura Raicovich: Culture Strike – Art and Museums in an Age of Protest

Dave Beech

Part memoir and part exposé of the systemic conservatism of the art world, the book is a personal reflection on a thwarted (or interrupted) campaign to change the art museum from within.


Rolando Vázquez: Vistas of Modernity – decolonial aesthesis and the end of the contemporary

Maria Walsh

While decolonial activists are critical of Rolando Vázquez for foregrounding the decolonisation of the mind rather than seeking legal justice for the incommensurate crimes of colonialism, concepts such as ‘decolonial aesthesis’ are important; language shapes worlds and the deep listening to other voices is crucial to a more equitable planetary cohabitation.

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Boston’s Christopher Columbus statue damaged in June 2020 by protesters


Teachable Monuments: Using Public Art to Spark Dialogue and Confront Controversy

George Vasey

What can controversial monuments teach us? Can we adequately interpret traumatic histories in public spaces? Is the best place for Edward Colston’s statue on the plinth, in the museum or swimming with the fishes at the bottom of the harbour?


Josefine Wikström: Practices of Relations in Task- Dance and the Event-Score – A Critique of Performance

Fiontán Moran

For Josefine Wikström, the event-score and task-dance dis- solved the traditional relationship between object, subject and environment by questioning the limits and conditions of art.

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Matterlurgy, Hydromancy, 2021


Matterlurgy: Hydromancy

Jamie Sutcliffe

The term ‘hydromancy’ here alludes to the exchanges of empirical evidence and hopeful speculation that underscore our last-ditch attempt to save the planet from ecological collapse.

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Sarah Dobai, The Donkey Field, 2021


Sarah Dobai: The Donkey Field

Martin Herbert

Resistance is the accumulated sum of small acts carried out by individuals who recognise that you can’t trust others to remember.

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Haveit, Ceylon Island, 2016/21


Letter from Kosovo

Agnieszka Gratza

My own journey began with a ferry crossing from Bari in Apulia over to Durrës in Albania; several hours, a broken bus and a taxi ride later, I finally made it to Prizren in time for the mid-afternoon muezzin call echoing across the city centre with its numerous mosques.

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Alberto Giacometti, Le Nez, 1947–49/1965, estimated at $70-90m, sold for $78m


Out of Court

Colin Gleadell

It feels strange reporting some of the highest art auction totals ever when the world is facing climate catastrophe, massive debt and continuing concerns about the progress of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.



Henry Lydiate

Eventually, a re-sale is made to a final purchaser, acting in good faith and unaware of the art asset’s nefarious provenance. This whole process is known as ‘layering’. Shell entities typically use the proceeds of re-sales to buy further art assets, using clean money from additional good faith purchasers; the cycle is thus perpetuated.

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