Art Monthly 364: March 2013

Art Monthly cover
Docu-art Dilemmas

Francis Frascina

Viral Images

Sophie J Williamson

Border Control

Marcus Verhagen

James Richards

Profile by Omar Kholeif

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Mark Boulos Comrade Teteng II 2010


Docu-art Dilemmas

Francis Frascina on schisms, 'splitting' and contradictions in documentary art

When Renzo Martens criticised the work of Mark Boulos in an interview with Artur Zmijewski, the work of all three video artists was thrown into relief. Martens argued that Boulos's work was not self-critical concerning its own position within the global art market, but don't each of these artists in their own way question the ethics of docu-art itself?

'Each artist has to rely on their own ethical monitoring and face the dilemmas of representation when such care is trampled by acts of state power.'


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Mosireen Collective's Tahrir Cinema


Viral Images

Sophie J Williamson on the case of Khaled Mohamed Saeed

Following Khaled Mohamed Saeed's death at the hands of Egyptian police officers, his family's decision to release a striking montage of photographs showing him before and after death catalysed mass protests and ultimately revolution. Does the subsequent proliferation of poster images through protestors' networks highlight the urgent power of the image when embedded within grassroots movements?

'The viral image is outside the scope of the law so it facilitates the construction of anonymous global networks and a shared history that political institutions are incapable of regulating.'


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Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen Promised Land 2011


Border Control

Marcus Verhagen on the contradictions inherent in globalisation

As the promise of globalisation is undone by ever-stricter border controls, how do artists such as Ursula Biemann, Mircea Cantor, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Amar Kanwar, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen and Barthélémy Toguo reveal this contradiction through their work?

'The absurdist overtones serve as a phantasmal means of dislocating the logic and workings of border control, but they also work mimetically, reflecting the arbitrariness of a system of global migration and exchange in which rights are underwritten by nationality.'



Ebacc Down

The coalition government has backed down on its despised anti-arts Ebacc education proposals, but it is still determined to push through its reforms to the curriculum with the result that future schoolchildren are more likely to learn about anti-art from Dadaists than from politicians:

'As for the art and design curriculum, there is an insistence on the equivalent of the three "Rs" – drawing, painting and sculpture – in primary school education, while in secondary school pupils "should learn about movements such as Impressionism and Dadaism".'

Break Down

Does Westminster City Council's vindictive decision to axe its entire arts funding, a cut that only saves 0.0004% of its annual budget, pave the way for other councils to target local arts organisations for ideological rather than economic reasons?

'If local councils continue to abandon their responsibilities to the arts, all the lottery money spent on building prestigious regional museums, theatres and arts centres to boost cultural and civic life outside London will be wasted.'


ACE hands out a budget cut to all of its National Portfolio arts organisations, regardless of their size; arts budgets come under attack at local councils in Newcastle, Westminster, Moray and Newport; national museums shed staff in a wave of redundancies; US 'soft-power' funding props up exhibitions at flagship London galleries; ACE announces £73m of funding for numerous capital projects; Haunch of Venison gallery closes while a range of other galleries move, open and close; Henry Moore's work outside Parliament is finally being restored; all the latest news on appointments, events, prizes and more.


Richard Artschwager 1923-2013

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James Richards Rose Bud 2012


James Richards

Omar Kholeif on the London-based video artist

The eclectic British artist James Richards produces video and sculpture, curates film programmes and composes music. This variety feeds into his video works in particular, which subject diverse imagery to intense scrutiny and jam the wheels of the media's rapid cultural production.

'The artist's approach creates a visceral landscape constructed purely out of textures. Indeed, Richards professes that his concern with enlarging and subsequently abstracting surfaces is partly a desire literally to unpeel the layers of skin that comprise an image.'



Caught in the Crossfire: Artistic Responses to Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation

Martin Herbert

Michael Smith: Fountain

Curt Riegelnegg

Raymond Pettibon: Human Wave

Larne Abse Gogarty

Piero Gilardi: Collaborative Effects

Giulia Smith

Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands

Maria Walsh

Body I Am

Cherry Smyth

Becky Beasley: Spring Rain

Laura McLean-Ferris

Silvia Bächli/Eric Hattan: What About Sunday?

Andrew Bick

Michael Joaquin Grey: Orange between orange and Orange

David Barrett

London Round-up

Jennifer Thatcher



Judith Butler: Parting Ways
Ariella Azoulay: Civil Imagination

John Douglas Millar on two critical explorations of Israeli cultural theory

'In order to explore what is clearly an emotional and personal topic for her, Judith Butler engages in a series of meditations on and engagements with Jewish philosophers (Walter Benjamin, Emanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt) and Palestinian intellectuals such as Edward Said and the great poet of the Palestinian people, Mahmoud Darwish.'


Letter from the M4

Office of Experiments

Michael Hampton goes on a 'Critical Excursion' day-trip

'After a brief stop for refreshments at motorway services, the itinerary took us into winding lanes, chocolate box Berkshire providing scenic camouflage for the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield.'



Creative Collaborators: Authors or Assistants?

Henry Lydiate asks who made what

'People hired as employees (with duties ranging from making tea, sweeping the studio floor, answering phones, sourcing and fabricating materials, developing ideas and/or executing them) may be legally regarded as joint authors (independent contractors or partners) unless there is a written contract of employment clearly specifying otherwise.'



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