Art Monthly 467: June 2023

Art Monthly cover Art Monthly back cover
Andrea Büttner

Interviewed by Ellen Mara De Wachter

Against Immersion

Adam Heardman

Earth Matters

Colin Perry

Tolia Astakhishvili

Profile by Chris McCormack

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Andrea Büttner, Karmel Dachau, 2019



Andrea Büttner interviewed by Ellen Mara De Wachter

I am interested in the reactionary roots and the reactionary potential, politically speaking, of the retreat into craft that is happening everywhere and that signals a form of anti-modernity.

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an escaped helium party balloon trapped against the ceiling of The Summer Palace, Agustin Vidal Saavedra’s immersive video at Outernet Arts, London


Against Immersion

Adam Heardman looks beyond the spectacle and finds sinister forces operating behind the new trend for high-tech, immersive art experience

Far from being an active, experiencing subject in dialogue with an artwork that’s meaningfully addressed to you, in the projection room or the VR space you’re in no real sense ‘addressed’ by the ‘work’. You become a passive receptacle for a dazzlingly hollow spectacle.

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Delcy Morelos, Earthly Paradise, 2022


Earth Matters

Colin Perry finds that the earth work of contemporary artists is fundamentally different from either the Land Art of the past or the eco art of the present

Today’s soil artists do not usually present themselves as representatives of authentic and unchanging cultural identities, but rather as vectors of complex global, cosmopolitan and rural imaginaries.

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Tolia Astakhishvili and James Richards, I Remember (Depth of Flattened Cruelty), 2023


Tolia Astakhishvili

Chris McCormack

For Tolia Astakhishvili, habitations are the places in which we fasten aspects of our former and even, perhaps, future selves onto the exterior world.


Rhyming Times

Even football presenters have noted how Tory rhetoric echoes political debate in 1930s Germany, but does art’s recent turn to craft and ecology also reflect nationalist ideologies?

History does not really repeat itself, rather, it ‘rhymes’, as Mark Twain put it. In these troubled times there is much that rhymes with the past: increasing censorship and attacks on freedom of speech, curbs on the right to protest and even to vote, and the persecution of minorities.


Finnish Red Line

Finland’s National Gallery adopts new guidelines on ethical funding and in the process distances itself from a London-based collector; Oxford University finally dumps the Sacklers; the Met Museum puts together a task force to investigate its own dubious acquisitions; Danish artists join forces with scientists to protest industrial pig farming; JSTOR reaches a milestone in its push for Open Access research publications; plus the latest on galleries, people, awards and more.


John A Walker 1938–2023
Brian Hatton

Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa 1976–2023
Joy Sleeman

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Marta Minujín, Simultaneidad en simultaneidad, 1966, from the exhibition ‘Signals’


Signals: How Video Transformed the World

Mimi Howard

Evil Eye: The Parallel History of Optics and Ballistics

Jamie Sutcliffe

Isaac Julien: What Freedom is to Me

Maria Walsh

Alfredo Jaar: If It Concerns Us, It Concerns You • 50 Years Later

Tom Denman

Grace Ndiritu Reimagines the FOMU Collection • Grace Ndiritu: Healing the Museum

Judith Wilkinson

Florence Peake: Factual Actual – Ensemble

Cherry Smyth

Uri Aran: Take This Dog For Example

Chris Clarke

Barbarella’s Kiss

Tom Hastings

Kira Freije: River by Night

Daniel Culpan

Lizzy Rose: Things I Have Learned the Hard Way

Hannah Wallis

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Simon Cutts’s Allotment project at Renshaw Hall, Liverpool, 1987


Simon Cutts: The Small Press Model

Andrew Wilson

Simon Cutts has been active at both the centre and periphery of debates about artists’ publishing, and this book takes stock, dropping polemic and metaphor in equal measure.

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Steve McQueen, Grenfell, 2023


Steve McQueen: Grenfell

Elisabetta Fabrizi

The camera’s relentless circling of the building leads to a feeling of confusion and sickness that mirrors the emotions the viewer feels when confronted by the violence of the blaze.


Curating Art in Challenging Times

Chris Hayes

The allure of artistic freedom, claimed by many as a cherished ideal, has always been a kind of fiction resting on a shifting landscape of political turbulence and economic fortune.

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posters announcing ‘This is Croydon: London Borough of Culture’, East Croydon train station


Crisis in Croydon

Matthew Noel-Tod

Croydon is London Borough of Culture 2023, but who would know? The fallout from Covid and Croydon Council’s subsequent series of bankruptcies has meant that the delivery of this year’s BoC continues to be a chaotic sequence of delays under the management of interim staff.

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Alvin Baltrop, Pier 52 featuring Gordon Matta-Clark’s ‘Days End’, 1975/86


Letter from New York

Brian Hatton

With galleries but without studios, Chelsea marks New York’s transition from being art’s biggest productive centre to its financial capital. Artists made SoHo, but Chelsea was dealer-led.

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Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Knuckle-Duster, 1914, estimated at £8,000–12,000, sold for £50,400


Christie’s Tests the Vorticist Market

Colin Gleadell

Also taking off was a unique brass knuckleduster by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska made in 1914, the year before he died on the Western Front. Gaudier-Brzeska apparently made it for the philosopher TE Hulme to brandish when involved in philosophical debate.


Structurally F-cked

Henry Lydiate

An especially challenging issue arises when commissions involve the origination of new artworks that commissioners may wish to reject if they have not been developed and completed to meet their expectations.

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