Art Monthly 473: February 2024

Art Monthly cover Art Monthly back cover
Disproportionate Force

Francis Frascina

Taking a Stand

Sarah E James

Aria Dean

Profile by Jenny Wu

Friends and Neighbours

Eliel Jones

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Alfredo Jaar, Tonight no poetry will serve, 2023, Piccadilly Circus, London


Disproportionate Force

Francis Frascina wonders what an effective political intervention in the field of image-making would be during times of war

The central question for art practice seems painfully the same now as in 2009 and the aftermath of Israel’s devastating ‘Operation Cast Lead’ on Gaza: given the horror of the present, what would an effective political intervention in the field of imagery be like?

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Tania Bruguera, Where Your Ideas Become Civic Actions (100 Hours Reading The Origins of Totalitarianism), 2015


Taking a Stand

Sarah E James argues that the art world must resist the culture wars being waged by the political right as a result of the deadly war in Gaza

Germany provides a context worth proper consideration because, despite its unique relationship to Israel, it serves as a disquieting study of what might yet come about in the UK, and what we need to collectively resist.

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Aria Dean, Abattoir, U.S.A!, 2023


Aria Dean

Jenny Wu

The Abattoir video is left open-ended, but it nevertheless orbits a central, troublesome question: when did you die?


Silence Is Not an Option

The fact that artists are among the first to be silenced by oppressive regimes proves the value of speaking out.

Despite what Francis Frascina describes as the almost insurmountable difficulty of finding effective means to do so, many artists feel impelled, as Sarah E James puts it, ‘to take a stand’ against perceived injustice, inequality and state-sponsored aggression, including with respect to Israel’s war on Gaza.


Reply to ‘The Art of Dissuasion’

Paul Wood responds to Francis Frascina’s feature on the pressures faced by the Open University team and Frascina’s fractious relationship with Charles Harrison



The British Museum returns to BP for financial support; many English local councils cut their arts funding, the Welsh government proposes to slash its arts budget; Argentina axes its arts ministry; the Istanbul Biennial is postponed over political interference; Italy’s far-right government sacks its non-Italian museum directors; Poland’s centrist government removes right-wing cultural appointees; UK artist agencies publish reports on AI’s relationship to art, creativity and copyright; plus the latest on galleries, people, awards and more.


Giovanni Anselmo 1934–2023
Martin Holman

Pope.L 1955–2023
Margot Heller

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Max Göran, Dieseline Dreams, 2023, Cell Project Space


Stepping Softly on the Earth

Daniel Culpan

Li Yuan-Chia & Friends: Making New Worlds

Ellen Mara De Wachter

David Panos: Gothic Revival

Peter Suchin

Josefin Arnell and Max Göran: brave and pathetic is better than drowning in shame

Michael Kurtz

Self-Determination: A Global Perspective

Adam Hines-Green

Siobhán Hapaska: Medici Lion

Michaële Cutaya

Seasonal Affective

Mimi Howard

Dunkirk Triennale of Art & Industry: Human Warmth

Matthew McLean

14th Shanghai Biennale: Cosmos Cinema

Stephanie Bailey

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Mark Nash, Curating the Moving Image


Mark Nash: Curating the Moving Image

Maria Walsh

Mark Nash states that ‘theory and theatre … both [involve] the bringing of ideas into visibility’. Curating the Moving Image tells of how, along with collaborators and friends, he did just that in historically prescient and field-defining ways.

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Grant H Keste, The Sovereign Self


Grant H Kester: The Sovereign Self – Aesthetic Autonomy from the Enlightenment to the Avant-Garde

Matthew Bowman

Grant H Kester’s book is a highly valuable examination of the intertwined trajectories of aesthetic experience and autonomy.

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Ibrahim Mahama, Untitled, 2023, Kaunas Biennial


Friends and Neighbours

Eliel Jones

I visited Tbilisi, Baku and Istanbul in order to explore how the practice of friendship might allow artists and cultural workers to resist and survive various social, economic and political challenges or hostilities.

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Mark Manders, ‘House with All Existing Words’, Van Wassenhove House


Letter from Ghent

Chris McCormack

If the weather and architecture seemed momentarily to keep at bay the current widening abyss of global politics, then a more unexpected, alarming image surfaced when reading that one of Ghent’s emblems is that of a noose.

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Wilhelm Sasnal, Untitled, 2000


Letter from Kraków

Deborah Schultz

The art scene in Kraków is expanding through institutions – such as MOCAK, MuFo and Bunkier Sztuki – that are shaped by the past in many interesting ways, but with a clear view to the present and the future.

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Lemuel Francis Abbott, Horatio Nelson, 1797, presented as © National Portrait Gallery


Freedom and Creativity

Henry Lydiate

The year started with publication of a seminal judicial decision confirming that UK copyright law’s originality test – for creating a copyright-protected new artwork – requires the expression of personal creativity by the author. The UK Court of Appeal’s clear judgment embraces the CJEU’s originality test, and thereby validates the contention that photographs of non-copyright two-dimensional images, such as museum photographs of historical paintings, do not create new copyrights.

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