Art Monthly 347: June 2011

Art Monthly cover
Thomas Struth

Interviewed by Mark Prince

Photography as Work

Stephanie Schwartz

Into the Vortex

Christopher Townsend

Marjolijn Dijkman

Colin Perry

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Thomas Struth Museo del Prado 7, Madrid 2005


Paradigm Shift

Thomas Struth interviewed by Mark Prince

Thomas Struth is part of a celebrated generation of German photographers taught by the likes of Bernd Becher and Gerhard Richter. Struth's detached photographic gaze wrestles with the significance of the subjects he documents. Here he discusses visual overload, the psychology of images and why three months in Naples changed his life.

'As a primary-school child I was surrounded by this atmosphere of destruction. You didn't see much actual destruction, but you saw few old buildings. It was a view of disrupted history.'


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Dorothy Shakespear Composition in Blue and Black c1914-15


Into the Vortex

Christopher Townsend on the virtues of misanthropy

Despite the best efforts of art historians who work to enliven the past by showing its relevance to the present, the Vorticists remain deeply unfashionable. While the group's bad manners and dodgy politics are difficult to stomach, couldn't we borrow some of the group's intractable contempt and apply it to our own philistine government?

'Let's borrow some of Blast's sardonic humour, its sarcasm, its contempt. Let's blast George Osborne and his cronies, let's bless the students who occupied London Metropolitan University.'


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Allan Sekula and Noël Burch The Forgotten Space 2010


Photography as Work

Stephanie Schwartz questions the utopian potential of digital photography

Photo-sharing websites like Flickr and citizen-photojournalist agencies like Demotix are frequently hailed as a democratisation of documentary photography. Add in Twitter's role in the Arab Spring uprisings and some commentators are hailing the revolutionary potential of new media. But – when compared to the interwar Worker-Photography Movement, which treated photography as revolutionary labour – doesn't indymedia's Web 2.0 strategy simply democratise capitalism, allowing a mass of amateurs to feed corporate media giants?

'The issue of access to technology aside, has the emergence and subsequent fetishisation of digital photography effaced the very claims of realism upon which the promise of the photograph's revolutionary potential was based?'



Selling Off the Family Silver (and Bronze)

When the going gets tough, councils sell off their assets. But what exactly counts as an asset and what is merely held in trust on behalf of the public? Chancellor George Osborne's austerity measures have left local government in such a pickle that councils are trying to sell off artworks that were given as gifts. Isn't it time that the Museum Association's code of conduct for de-accessioning was enshrined in law?

'Artefacts sold must not be from the museum's core collection and the proceeds from "any disposal" must be used to benefit the museum's "remaining collections", not to plug a short-term deficit (and, presumably, not to pay for fixing the central heating system).'


Ai Weiwei's detention continues; available work for artists plummets by half following the recession; MPs recommend that arts organisations don't pester people not interested in the arts; London Metropolitan University evicts student protestors who had occupied its flagship Daniel Libeskind building; Liberate Tate produces another thoughtful protest against BP sponsorhip; the Venice Biennale is upon us; a full list of ACE-funded National Portfolio visual art organisations; all the latest news on galleries, art world prizes and more.

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John McCracken 1934-2011


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Marjolijn Dijkman Geography is a Flavour 2009-


Marjolijn Dijkman

Colin Perry profiles the Dutch artist

Marjolijn Dijkman is fascinated by mankind's pathological attempt to control the planet. Her projects have negotiated vast environmental interventions, such as reclaimed land and mechanically planted forests, as well as the human desire to control unruly natural systems with a taxonomic imagination: one work plots a timeline of the future detailing the fictional disasters that Hollywood has wreaked upon it.

'Marjolijn Dijkman is engaged with environmental issues that suggest that her work might be read as part of a chronolgy of ecological art, from Robert Smithson to contemporaries such as Tue Greenfort and Lara Almarcegui.'



Paul Graham

Mark Prince

Narcissus Reflected

Rosie Lesso

Revealed: Turner Contemporary Opens

Jennifer Thatcher

New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK

Stephen Lee

Huang Yong Ping

David Trigg

Wael Shawky

Omar Kholeif

Eve Sussman/Rufus Corporation

Laura Allsop

Young British Art

Peter Suchin

Gareth Jones

Andrew Bick

Provisional Painting

Richard Aldrich: Museo

Cherry Smyth



Exhibiting the New Art: 'Op Losse Schroeven' and 'When Attitudes Become Form' 1969

Lisa Lefeuvre on the first title in the 'Exhibition Histories' series

'The history of modern and contemporary art is a history of exhibitions. If one does take exhibitions as the means by which discourse is created around artworks, then it follows that the form, reception and structure of exhibitions must be studied alongside artworks themselves.'



China on Top

Colin Gleadell on the recent sales of art from emerging economies

'This was also about setting precedents for younger artists, and here the link between primary and secondary markets becomes exceedingly close, if not uncomfortable. The question is whether the function of the auction room is just to set new benchmark levels for such artists.'



Postmodern Art Law

Henry Lydiate on progressive and regressive art law

'An inherent difficulty for law-makers is keeping pace with changes in society. This frequently results in the courts trying to do justice in the contemporary circumstances of specific cases that were never envisaged by legislation enacted years or decades or even centuries beforehand.'



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