Art Monthly 331: November 2009

Art Monthly cover
John Baldessari

Interviewed by Simon Patterson

UK v US Conceptual Art

Mark Prince

Beyond Public Art

Mark Wilsher

Polaroid RIP?

David Barrett

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John Baldessari Hands and/or Feet (Part One): Monkey Arms / Hands 2009


Seeing the World Askance

John Baldessari interviewed by Simon Patterson

John Baldessari was one of the founders of Conceptual Art in the 1960s and has gone on to become a giant of the West Coast art scene in the US, both as an artist and highly influential teacher at CalArts. At this year's Venice Biennale he was awarded the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award and currently has a major retrospective at Tate Modern. Here he talks with artist Simon Patterson about utilising stereotypes, his decision to abandon painting for text and photography, humour, using images like words, and the importance of art that looks like art.

'I decided to be reductive and shrink everything in some way, metaphorically. My first idea was that I was going to change the photographs into microdots and put them under stamps and mail them out to my artist friends, sort of like James Bond, but that was kind of labour intensive. But I liked the idea of somehow atomising things. And then I thought, I'll just burn them all.'


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Susan Hiller Dedicated to the Unknown Artists 1972-76


The Lost Conceptualism

Mark Prince on UK v US Conceptual Art

Conceptual Art in the UK and the US had distinctively different approaches: one looked inward, the other outward. What happened to those self-reflexive tactics and how do young artists recycle such practices today?

'A crucial form for early British Conceptual Art is the self-reflexive loop: art which examines its own workings and only secondarily reveals the world.'


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Late at Tate visitors


Beyond Public Art

Mark Wilsher proposes redefining public art

In September's feature, Dave Beech argued that public art should be understood through a redefinition of 'public space' in terms of activity rather than access. But couldn't we also define public art in terms of mainstream media rather than physical space, and shouldn't the idea of audience 'dialogue' be reframed as 'negotiation'?

'I would like to expand the notion of public art until it spills over into gallery or studio-based practice, and there is a wider idea of a kind of art that takes publicness as its subject without necessarily needing to expose itself to the weather.'



The Mayor, the Minister, the Deputy and His Lover

Boris Johnson wants to give a major arts job to one of his cronies as a reward for supporting his mayoral election campaign. While he has never been one to avoid a stereotype, couldn't Johnson's hearty embrace of the 'corruption at City Hall' cliché yet come back to bite him in his long-standing rivalry with David Cameron?

'The main complaint against her appointment is that, in the words of one of the three selection panel members, Ms Wadley was "manifestly the least qualified of the four candidates". Despite this, Johnson went ahead and appointed her anyway.'


Boris Johnson gets his traditionalist way over the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square; Tate curators faced being added to the sex offenders register over the 'Pop Life' exhibition; London art fairs suffer differing fates; gallery openings and closings; online resources; and all the latest news on art world appointments, events, commissions and more.

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David Troostwyk 1929-2009



Shake It: An Instant History of the Polaroid

David Barrett

Thomas Demand

Alex Coles

Anne Hardy

Laura McLean-Ferris

Sonia Boyce

Colin Glen

Helena Almeida

Cherry Smyth

Shaun Gladwell: Seven Year Linework

David Trigg

Re-Imagining October

Coline Milliard

AND - Abandon Normal Devices: Festival of New Cinema and Technology

Maxa Zoller

Lyon Biennale: The Spectacle of the Everyday

Pryle Behrman

ANTI Festival 2009

Frederika Whitehead

2nd Thessaloniki Biennale

Anna Dezeuze



Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before

Morgan Falconer on Michael Fried's conversion to photography

'Big stuff is always "at stake" for people who work in the humanities departments of universities - it must be the do-or-die lives they lead. Ordinary folk are inclined to miss the urgency of it all, so you shouldn't be too surprised if you find yourself knee-deep in Michael Fried's new book and still not too sure why photography matters as art as never before.'

Modern Art Culture

Rachel Garfield on Francis Frascina's new reader

'Frascina has brought into dialogue texts that exemplify how claim and counter claim are bound to his notion of the modern.'



Dress Codes: 3rd ICP Triennial of Photography and Video

Kathy Battista on the influential New York triennial

'"Dress Codes" coincides with ICP's Year of Fashion, which explores fashion photography in an expanded context. The curators chose artists whose work includes props, costumes or disguise to construct cultural identity. The result is a show that is international in scope and tackles abiding issues including race, class, gender and sexuality.'



Bergen Biennial Conference: To Biennial or not to Biennial

Teresa Gleadowe follows the debate about the form of a future biennale

'What can a biennale bring to a city? What agendas does it serve and what role does it play in the cultural, social, political and economic life of its locale? These were among the questions addressed in a three-day conference convened to discuss the proposition that Bergen should join the throng of 40 cities around the world currently hosting biennial exhibitions.'


Moral Rights

Chapman Kelley v Chicago Park District

Henry Lydiate on a legal wrangle over the destruction of a public artwork

'At the heart of the case lies the question of whether Kelley's work was an artwork entitled to protection under US moral rights legislation or whether it was merely landscaped public parkland - and therefore not entitled to such protection.'



November exhibition listings

Art Monthly's exhibition listings can also be viewed online.

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