Art Monthly 466: May 2023

Art Monthly cover Art Monthly back cover
Roni Horn

Interviewed by Cherry Smyth

Plant Matters

Michaele Cutaya

Group Think

Bob Dickinson

Letters from São Paulo and Sydney

Rebecca Jarman and Felix McNamara

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Roni Horn, Untitled (‘The tiniest piece of mirror is always the whole mirror’), 2022


Still Waters

Roni Horn interviewed by Cherry Smyth

We all know that we are coming to the end of the material potential of the planet. The actual is becoming so attenuated and rare, and my work depends heavily on the actual – I refuse to forsake it.

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Lois Weinberger, What is Beyond Plants is at One with Them, 1997


Plant Matters

Michaele Cutaya on the politics of plants and the paradoxical nature of our relationship with them in the Planthropocene Age

There are affinities between weeds and artists: weeds are ‘useless’, they are ‘unwanted’, they grow in unexpected places, they disturb the established order. What’s not to like?

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Stine Marie Jacobsen, Group Think, 2020


Group Think

Bob Dickinson looks at how the focus group has taken over our lives and how artists have devised ways of resisting the pull of groupthink

Dreamt up in the 1930s by the psychologist Ernest Dichter, focus groups are on the front line of our politics as well as our commerce. Who can blame artists for wanting to poke fun at these mind-altering methods, closely linked to the dark arts of marketing?


I Protest

Placards have long fascinated artists, but a growing awareness of injustice now makes the interest as much an activist as an aesthetic one

Whereas other workers can draw attention to their case both by taking to the streets in protest and by withdrawing their labour though strike action, for artists such action, however justified, would not only be unlikely to make headlines let alone achieve its aims, but would also be the equivalent of an act of self-harm.


Side Gallery Closure

Susan Jones laments the funding disconnect between artist-led galleries and the flagship museums that present work nurtured by these grassroots organisations.


Clean and Green?

Activist group Fossil Free Science Museum stages a guerrilla book launch at the Museum; Boris Eldagsen’s AI-generated ‘promptograph’ wins a major international photography prize; the Met Museum’s financial ties with antiquity traffickers are revealed by investigative journalists; an international police raid uncovers a previously unknown Jackson Pollock drip painting; a new report slams the art market’s openness to organised crime; plus the latest on galleries, people, awards and more.


Phyllida Barlow 1944–2023
Colin Perry

Irma Blank 1934–2023
Martin Holman

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Anne Collier, Filter #4 (Cyan), 2021


Johanna Billing: Each Moment Presents What Happens

Adam Heardman

Michael E Smith

Ellen Mara De Wachter

Practise Till We Meet

Morgan Quaintance

Anne Collier: Eye

Daniel Culpan

Nalini Malani: My Reality is Different

Ranjana Thapalyal

Traces of a Cathode

Bob Dickinson

Liz Magor: The Rise and The Fall

Henry Tudor Pole

Mark Barker and Terence McCormack: Stone Soup

Alexander Harding

Body Poetics

Paul Carey-Kent

Angelo Madsen Minax: A Crisis of Human Contact

Tom Denman

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David Joselit, Art’s Properties


David Joselit: Art’s Properties

Morgan Falconer

David Joselit points out that modern art increasingly depends on the concept of self-possession; indeed, artists are valued as exemplary cases of expressive self-possession. But those who cannot fully possess themselves, those to whom the dominant society denies full selfhood due to, say, their race, cannot mount this primary claim.

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Derek Jarman, Through the Billboard Promised Land Without Ever Stopping


Derek Jarman: Through the Billboard Promised Land Without Ever Stopping

Adam Heardman

This crucial artwork reminds us that the excavating work of criticism and the ‘pure vibes’ of biography-fetish can both miss the point by placing a barrier between artist and viewer that had already been overcome by the artwork.

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Michelle Williams Gamaker, Thieves, 2023, production still


Michelle Williams Gamaker: Our Mountains Are Painted on Glass

Amie Corry

Despite its time-travelling, the new film Thieves employs a linear narrative structure. It has a clear arc, complete with denouement (a short, sharp moment of bloodletting before the set is claimed by our heroes) and the satisfying sound of the director’s ‘Cut!’ to end.

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Dissenter for Space Studies, Edinburgh


Outer Spaces

Greg Thomas reports on the rise of short-let artist-run spaces in Edinburgh city centre

Landlords get rates relief or other benefits from properties let in this way as long as artists are visibly present; they can also cancel the lease at short notice if a new corporate tenant comes knocking.

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Renan Suyá/Rede Xingu+, Khĩkatxi village of the Khisêtje people during a fire caused by non-indigenous people around the Wawi Indigenous Land, part of the Xingu Indigenous Territory, 2022, from the exhibition ‘Xingu: Contatos’ at IMS


Letter from São Paulo

Rebecca Jarman

To greater and lesser degrees of success, Brazilian institutions are determined to create spaces for reflection and debate in order to emphasise the importance of collaboration. Such aspirations are tempered by simmering tensions in a country in which political divisions are visceral.

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‘Sydney Buries Its Past’ poster, Tin Sheds Gallery


Letter from Sydney

Felix McNamara

The exhibition ‘Sydney Buries its Past’ was a welcome alternative to the class-blindness often manifested by supposedly ‘political’, generally middle-class artists/writers/ filmmakers, an effect of the all-too-familiar internationally pervasive individualism that favours solipsism over solidarity.

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Boris Eldagsen, Pseudomnesia | The Electrician, 2022, AI-generated ‘promptograph’ which recently won the Sony World Photography Award


AI Authorship

Henry Lydiate

The new guidance from the US Copyright Office clarifies that work containing wholly AI-generated material may not be copyright protected, if it was not the product of ‘human authorship’.

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