Art Monthly 343: February 2011

Art Monthly cover
Andrea Zittel

Interviewed by Alex Coles

Performing Feminism

Kathy Battista

Performing the Self

Omar Kholeif

Protest. Occupy. Transform.

Dean Kenning

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Andrea Zittel A-Z West



Andrea Zittel interviewed by Alex Coles

Andrea Zittel, whose self-made studio is based in the Californian desert, has been at the forefront of the design/art debate since the early 1990s. Here she discusses her habitable and wearable art, how the work of art might find a life outside the gallery, and the recent trend for mega-sized studios and galleries.

'The islands that I construct are meant as utopias for one person – a bitter-sweet idea. A number of my works touch on the societal construction of individualism as a way of discussing how individuals are not able to live within the construct of a collective any more.'


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Carolee Schneemann ICESTRIP 1972


Performing Feminism

Kathy Battista on feminist performance art in 1970s London

Major museums are rediscovering 1970s US performance art. Yet the pioneering work by British and London-based feminist artists, such as Carolee Schneemann, Rose English, Bobby Baker et al, which was characterised by both humour and a move beyond the gallery, remains largely uncelebrated. Surely this work is now more relevant than ever?

'The move away from the mainstream art system was not a conscious reaction to the fact that galleries were usually run by men, but rather an instictual urge to connect with a wider audience.'


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James Franco SOAP at MOCA: James Franco on General Hospital 2010


Performing the Self

Omar Kholeif on the blurring of fact and fiction in the age of YouTube

While the idea of a constructed self was played out by artists amid the identity politics of the 1980s, the rise of social networks and online video has allowed a new generation to torque cultural stereotypes. Does the interpersonal nature of video-sharing websites make them the perfect platform to examine the manufacture of identity?

'The process of using the "self" to espouse critical commentary about identity issues is hardly a new phenomenon. Still, new media have made the performance and documentation of the "self" a nearly ubitquitous mode of artistic practice.'



The Cut Direct

Local councils are faced with a 28% budget cut and, since they have no statutory duty to fund the arts, are applying cuts of up to 100% to local organisations they have previously supported. While the councils are taking their lead from the Tory-led coalition, in ignoring strong evidence of the arts' positive benefits to local economies and amenities, aren't these drastic cuts short-sighted, short-termist and, quite frankly, rude?

'It is hardly surprising that local councils feel they can cut the arts willy-nilly when the government has given them the green light, signalling its own priorities by slashing ACE's budget and withdrawing funding altogether from university courses in the arts and humanities.'


The Smithsonian censors a David Wojnarowicz artwork in its own exhibition and triggers a wave of protests; Jeffrey Deitch censors a vast mural he commissioned for MOCA LA and then pretends that this is not as bad as the Smithsonian's actions; crowd-funding is in vogue as arts budgets are slashed; galleries open and close; long-term studio groups face eviction; and all the latest news on art world appointments, prizes and more.

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Nam June Paik

David Briers

Len Lye: The Body Electric

David Trigg

Yvonne Rainer: The Yvonne Rainer Project

Sophia Phoca

Anja Kirschner & David Panos: The Empty Plan

John Douglas MIller

Philippe Parreno

Colin Perry

Manon de Boer: Framed in an Open Window

Morgan Quaintance

Ai Weiwei: Sunflower Seeds

David Barrett

Dan Holdsworth: Blackout

Paul Usherwood

Mark Dean

Eliza Williams

Carey Young: Memento Park

Christopher Townsend

On Becoming a Gallery: Part Three

Martin Herbert

School Days: The Look of Learning

Maeve Connolly



Correspondence Course: an epistolary history of Carolee Schneemann and her circle

Kathy Battista on the artist's collected letters

'The final two letters illustrate the paradox of Scheemann's career: one missive is from a young art student inspired to carry on by the artist's work; another is Schneemann's polite refusal to take part in a fellowship panel because of her incapacitation from ill health and her struggle to pay for the treatment. This contradiction – the critical acclaim without correlating financial benefits – is perhaps the most indicative passage of the book.'

Searching for Art's New Publics

Andrew Hunt on Jeni Walwin's edited collection of essays

'Searching for Art's New Publics claims to present strategies to develop new ways of working with the public that attempt to blur the distinction between artworks and their audiences.'

Leaving Art: Writing on Performance, Politics and Publics 1974-2007

Sally O'Reilly on Suzanne Lacy's collected writing

'Since the early 1970s, Lacy has been conducting an overtly political performative practice in the public domain, where giving voice and encouraging dialogue is its main thrust.'


Art Education

Protest. Occupy. Transform.

Dean Kenning reports from the inside on the wave of art school protests

'The college occupations were not something that occurred while lessons ceased, but were themselves a reimagined artistic and educational alternative in action. In one go, boundaries were dissolved. Education became a critical problem-posing process necessary for the immediate task in hand, and one which therefore opened up naturally to a much wider curriculum.'


New York

All About Andy

Colin Gleadell on Warhol as a bellwether in the winter sales

'There was criticism after the sale, generated by comments in The Economist, that the Warhol was not worth the price, and that for Segalot to bid for the client who bought it might represent a conflict of interest as he was also representing the seller. Art critic Jerry Salz then used the comments to launch a tirade against auction houses in a highly entertaining blog, saying that they should have their collars felt by the law. However, if there was a set up, no one proved it, and neither critic seemed to acknowledge that auctioneers have, for years, represented both buyers and sellers by taking percentage commissions from both – like it or not.'


Import Tax

Flavin's Fittings

Henry Lydiate on a bizarre EC ruling over Dan Flavin's light works

'Undoubtedly having strong regard to the Brancusi judgement of 80 years earlier, the Tribunal ruled that the imported materials were artworks. According to a leading international lawyer who fought and won the case for Haunch of Venison, Pierre Valentin of Withers International, "there the matter should have rested". Not so.'



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