Art Monthly 434: March 2020

Art Monthly cover Art Monthly back cover
Samson Kambalu

Interviewed by David Barrett

MoMA Redux

Marjorie Wellish

An Experimental Education

Peter Suchin

A Feminist Axis

Luisa Lorenza Corna

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Samson Kambalu, Capsules, Mountains & Forts, 2016


Scholar and Slacker

Samson Kambalu interviewed by David Barrett

I always say that Situationism is the most African art I have ever seen in the West. This is because the situationists think art has to be an infrastructure, not a superstructure. In Africa, art is infrastructure. It starts with the economy, with everyday life, and then art manifests. Art doesn’t start on canvas and then go into everyday life, it’s the other way around.

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Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, and Faith Ringgold, American People Series #20: Die, 1967, MoMA, New York


MoMA Redux

Marjorie Wellish on the reconfiguration of Modernism at MoMA

At MoMA, poetic gallery titles suggestive of thematic clusters provide the non-binding affiliations, temporary and provisional, yet are also evasive. For the real crisis, take note; to the provisional congeries of the current moment comes the challenge: is contemporary art modern?

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‘Punctuality is Essential’, one of the several ‘Locked Room’ dictums to students at St Martin’s 1969–73


An Experimental Education

Peter Suchin argues that art schools in the past offered freedoms that today’s universities have lost

In using the term ‘Being in a Band’, Gavin Butt is alluding to several overlapping concerns, especially to the benefits gained through the collaborative process itself, irrespective of the medium involved. The phrase also connects with notions of the commons, of shared – as opposed to privately owned – resources, a far cry from what Terry Atkinson has called the ‘monad-like’, self-determined avant-garde artist.

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Anja Kirschner, Moderation, 2016


A Feminist Axis

What has happened to feminism asks Luisa Lorenza Corna

Highlighting points of convergence between different struggles against gender oppression might provide a useful way of deflecting contemporary transphobic tendencies, both in the art world and elsewhere.

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Sophie Cundale, The Near Room, 2020


Sophie Cundale

Kathryn Lloyd on the London-based artist’s intimate films

Over the past seven years, Sophie Cundale has used film to explore the liminal, altered states that can arise around moments of flux, chaos, ecstasy and crisis. At times probing her own personal history and trauma to an unnervingly open degree.


Cummings and Goings

Oliver Dowden has taken to the crease at the DCMS, the eigth new culture secretary in the past six years, but how will the former paymaster general implement the populist ‘British’ view of culture promoted by his two bosses, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings?

People with ‘global talent’, like musicians and actors, will be the only groups of migrant workers entitled to come to the UK without points or a job offer. Great, but who gets to decide whose talent is ‘global’?


20–30 Vision

ACE outlines its ten-year strategy for the arts, or rather culture; the Horniman Museum publishes climate and ecology manifesto; the British Museum is occupied by climate protesters; univserity lecturers across the UK go on strike; Hans Haacke’s artwork is hacked; Zineb Sedira is caught in the middle of a row over her appointment as France’s Venice Biennale artist; plus the latest news on galleries, appointments, prizes and more.

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Judy Chicago, Purple Atmosphere, 1969
on show at Baltic


Lahore Biennale: between the sun and the moon

Virginia Whiles

We Will Walk – Art and Resistance in the American South

Sophia Phoca

Yelena Popova: The Scholar Stones Project

Lauren Velvick

The Undersides of Practice

Peter Suchin

Seized by the Left Hand

Tom Emery

Judy Chicago

Bob Dickinson

Slow Painting

Paul Carey-Kent

Shezad Dawood: Encroachments

Adam Heardman

Ruth Angel Edwards, Cole Denyer and Adam Gallagher

Lizzie Homersham

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Karrabing Film Collective, The Mermaids, or Aiden in Wonderland, 2018


49th International Film Festival Rotterdam

Adam Pugh

Whether as a means to make work, as something formed by the work, or as a route to showing work, five collectives here approached plural practice united by the will to reappraise dominant narratives, challenge political hegemony or lever real change – some all three.


Peter Weibel: Sound Art – Sound as a Medium of Art

David Briers

Some of the less-often-explored byways of sound art conscientiously tracked by Peter Weibel include radio art, musical instruments invented by artists, visual art incorporating working radio sets (more than you might think), the European culture of the horspiel, graphic musical notation, contemporary dance, vinyl LPs and sound poetry.

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Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares, Forest Law, 2014


Along Ecological Lines – Contemporary Art and Climate Crisis

Alexandra Hull

Contemporary art, according to Along Ecological Lines, can be the means through which we think about the climate crisis in a caring and productive way.

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Alvin Baltrop, The Piers (man outside warehouse), 1975–86


Fiona Anderson: Cruising the Dead River – David Wojnarowicz and New York’s Ruined Waterfront

Jonathan Weinberg: Art and Sex Along the New York Waterfront

Conal McStravick

As Fiona Anderson and Jonathan Weinberg further suggest, the piers ask us ‘what to do with the future ruins and debris of our present’. We are reminded that the seeming contradiction of an auto-archiving, web 2.0 culture of online and smartphone cruising can be couched in a city, or indeed a planet, hell-bent on self-destruction, ‘refusing to archive itself’.

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Adrian Blackwell, Anarchitectural Library (against the neoliberal erasure of Chicago’s common spaces), 2019

Letter from Chicago

Sweet Water

Agnieszka Gratza

Dubbed the ‘living room of the city’, the former Central Public Library in Randolph Square housed a sizable portion of the Biennial’s offerings, dealing with gun violence, the need for affordable public housing, social equity, land and property ownership, environmental concerns and other issues.

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Carey Young, Uncertain Contract, 2008


On Being an Artist’s Lawyer

Henry Lydiate

A widely accepted principle of good legal practice is that lawyers should ideally stand inside the shoes of their clients, to try to see and understand from their perspective. This principle requires the lawyer first to step out of their own shoes.

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