Art Monthly 394: March 2016

Art Monthly cover
Jordan Baseman

Interviewed by David Barrett

Getting Art

Paul Carey-Kent

Art and the Chthulucene

Jamie Sutcliffe

Hrair Sarkissian

Profile by Omar Kholeif

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Jordan Baseman Blackout 2016 video



Jordan Baseman interviewed by David Barrett

Philadelphia-born, London-based artist Jordan Baseman was noted in the early 1990s for his object-based work, but then abruptly switched to narrative filmmaking. Here he talks about the ethics of collaboration, risk in art, the usefulness of abstraction – and unfortunate clown costumes.

I really wanted to get out of the studio, to look at the world and to be located in it. Making work out in the world feels really risky, genuinely frightening and exhilarating. It is never boring or static, always unpredictable.
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Mark Peter Wright I, the Thing in the Margins 2015


Art and the Chthulucene

Jamie Sutcliffe takes a worm's eye view

Naming the present age as the Anthropocene in order to acknowledge the human impact on the planet merely perpetuates the hierarchical separation of Homo sapiens from the rest of the biosphere. Do artist and anthropologist Zoe Todd, bio-artist and 'gene-tinkerer' Eduardo Kac, and arterial thinkers Anna Tzing and Donna Harraway offer useful alternatives?

The Chthulucene stresses the tentacular interconnectivity of life-forces across species and cultures, suggesting 'webs of speculative fabulation, speculative feminism, science-fiction, and scientific fact'.

From the Back Catalogue
Art and the Anthropocene Bob Dickinson on eco art

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'Modern Mirror' installation view at Bread and Jam


Getting Art

What does visiting a gallery offer the viewer asks Paul Carey-Kent

When art can be accessed online and digital images of the Mona Lisa are arguably easier to look at than the real thing, is visiting a gallery still an essential part of the aesthetic experience?

Tate's Agnes Martin and Frank Auerbach retrospectives suggest that the collapse of the physical and virtual into phenomenologically similar encounters is – at the very least – some way off.



Friends United

Tate wants to fold the separate Tate Members charity into the gallery's existing governance structure. With members raising uncomfortable issues over Tate's controversial sponsorship by BP, the question must be asked: why end 60 years of independence now? And should members stay silent on this or should they take a leaf out of the football supporters' song book?

Liverpool fans, chanting 'you greedy bastards, enough is enough', staged a walkout during a match against Sunderland at Anfield. Liverpool, which had been in a winning position, promptly conceded two goals and lost the match, proof of the very real support fans bring their team.


Public Service, Private Employment

The V&A plans to privatise its staff contracts so that future employees miss out on existing benefits; a Rotterdam museum is to give tours of art from private collections alongside its own holdings; the Royal Photographic Society's collection is moving from Bradford to London; a new report proposes rebalancing Lottery arts funding; Kurt Schwitters's Elterwater Merz Barn in Cumbria suffers storm damage; a survey of art teachers is damning on the state of art education; Croatian artists protest against their new far-right arts minister; the latest news on galleries, appointments, prizes and more.

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Hrair Sarkissian Transparencies 2012


Hrair Sarkissian

Omar Kholeif on the artist's photo-based practice

For this Syrian artist, individual biography is an instrument to reveal the political failure of nation states.

Is the artist liberating himself from the oppressive nostalgia of return or, rather, is he mockingly pointing a finger at an international community that seems hell-bent on forcing Syrians to continue to live in a territory that will inevitably fall into ruin?
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Dinh Q Lê The Colony 2016 video


Seth Siegelaub: Beyond Conceptual Art

Patricia Bickers

Monuments Should Not Be Trusted

David Briers

Stan Douglas: The Secret Agent

Mark Prince

Larissa Sansour: In the Future They Ate From the Finest Porcelain

Tom Emery

Dinh Q Lê: The Colony

Stephen Lee

Iván Argote: An Idea of Progress

Kathryn Lloyd

Park McArthur: Poly

Chris McCormack

Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966)

Lynton Talbot

AL and AL: Incidents of Travel in the Multiverse

Laura Robertson


Chris Fite-Wassilak


Artists' Books

Lost and Exhausted

Michael Hampton rounds up some recent releases

Sherman's solution comes in the form of three proposals to reclaim 'vulnerable words' such as awesome, bondage, crotch, font, intercourse, marriage, printer, republican and twitter by incentivising students with credits and giving tax breaks for writers willing to use endangered or redundant words.



The Gulf: High Culture/Hard Labour

Maja & Reuben Fowkes on art and exploitation on Happiness Island

The irresponsibility of arts institutions in participating in massive building projects which, due to their ecological footprint and growth-oriented symbolism will contribute significantly to global warming, adds another dimension to the failures in social solidarity highlighted in The Gulf.


Letter from Sarajevo

Against the Odds

Bob Dickinson finds an art ecosystem struggling on fallow ground

'Nothing is easy here', Pierre Courtin says, describing what he sees as a paradox whereby the quality of contemporary art in Bosnia Herzegovina may be 'really strong', but there is 'no structure or organisation to support it'.

Dhaka Art Summit

Rewrite Those Histories

Virginia Whiles visits the Bangladeshi biennale/art fair/conference

Privatisation of art production is performing the unfilled role of state support throughout South Asian countries and it comes at a cost that would seem to be the price of feeding the ferocious appetite of globalisation.


Ways of Working

Moving Image and the Law

Henry Lydiate on the copyright complexities of non-fixed images

Usually collectors are interested in following the traditional acquisition method of buying full ownership of a physical/digital object holding audiovisual data of the film. It is important for both collector and artist to clarify at point of sale the extent to which the collector is also acquiring any rights/permission to show the film.



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