Art Monthly 351: November 2011

Art Monthly cover
Ryan Gander

Interviewed by Alex Coles

The Made v The Readymade

Mark Prince

Works in a Minor Key

Marcus Verhagen

Emma Smith

Profile by Colin Perry

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Ryan Gander Locked Room Scenario 2011



Ryan Gander interviewed by Alex Coles

Currently exhibiting at the Venice Biennale, Ryan Gander studied interactive art in Manchester and his eliptical work frequently involves open-ended investigations and collaborations. Here he discusses working with designers, reimagining publications and architecture, and his recent Artangel commission Locked Room Scenario.

'The whole thing about the current design market is odd. This year I went to Design Miami/Basel. Everything there looked like art that did stuff: here's an Anish Kapoor with a light on top; there's an Antony Gormley with a rug attached to it. So strange! It's all so compromised in its integrity by needing to have a function or be shiny and unique. I thought it was awful. What did you start with that book [DesignArt] you did?!'


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Phyllida Barlow untitled: columns 2010


The Made v The Readymade

Mark Prince on the resistance of objects

In the story of recent sculpture, making has given way to assemblages and installations of known objects that carry narrative overtones – but there are artists who resist this trajectory. If the readymade reduces the object to a transferrable set of signs, how have artists such as Phyllida Barlow, Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon and, more recently, Nairy Baghramian, Michael Dean and Alexander Heim short-circuited this current?

'If art is expected to function as a vehicle for a set of branded narratives that should be as summarisable as possible from a digital remove, "eliminating recognisable things" might be a form of resistance.'


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Jim Lambie Boyzilian (Dancing in the Dark (Mash-up)) 2010


Works in a Minor Key

Marcus Verhagen discusses the politics of whimsy

The whimsical is often frowned upon as lacking a political edge. But is it not the very lightness of works – by artists such as Alexandra Bircken, Gabriel Kuri and Gabriel Orozco – that engages with the coming austerity's 'liquid modern' state of precarity?

'Whimsy is an awkward category, one that could stretch to cover a vast array of different practices. It is also far from new. But whimsy today does not carry exactly the same implications as it did in the work of Joseph Cornell, for instance, or Alighiero Boetti, or even Tom Friedman.'



Taking Stock

It is a year since the Tory-led coalition government published its Comprehensive Spending Review and adopted former BP CEO and now Tate chairman Lord Browne's suggestions for increasing student fees and eliminating funding for arts and humanities courses. At the time, the government argued that student numbers would not be affected – recent evidence shows otherwise.

'The facts bear out last year's worst predictions: figures released by UCAS show that overall admissions to university have fallen by 9%, while Goldsmiths – seen by many as the flagship of fine art education in England, especially abroad – saw a drop of 35%.'


Elizabeth Price responds again to Peter Suchin's article on fine art PhDs, and Peter Suchin once more argues his case. Kristin Kreider is unhappy with John Douglas Millar's article on art writing, and Millar responds. Mark McGowan rails against the art world's moral bankruptcy.


The Whitechapel Gallery becomes the test case for new endowment funding; the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board closes following its numerous legal tussles; Venice Biennale has an unwelcome new chairman foisted upon it; organisations chase diminishing funds; museums get into hot water over deaccessioning and forgeries; all the latest news on galleries, prizes, people, events and more.

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Emma Smith Playback 2011


Emma Smith

Colin Perry profiles the socially engaged artist

Emma Smith embeds herself into specific social contexts and produces participatory performances that draw outsiders into an engagement with issues driven by local agendas.

'The time Smith spends among communities and in a specific place is one of the fundamental aspects of her practice. It runs counter to the idea of art as a form of transient tourism, in which the specialist artist is parachuted into a location to engender some form of social betterment.'



Arte Povera 1968

Martin Holman

Barry Flanagan: Early Works 1965-1982

Mark Prince

Richard Tuttle: Light & Colour

Mark Prince

Emma Hart: TO DO

Larne Abse Gogarty

Josephine Meckseper

Alison Green


Eliza Williams

Roy Ascott: The Syncretic Sense

Omar Kholeif

Anri Sala

David Ryan

Between Heaven and Earth: Contemporary Art from the Centre of Asia

Stephen Lee


Martin Herbert

New Contemporaries 2011

Pryle Behrman



Paradox – Fine Art European Forum

Maria Walsh on the European art education conference

'Contrary to Bologna's treaty that change should come from bottom up and that institutions should be autonomous, the changing face of fine art education is felt by those at the bottom as stemming from a super-structural level that relates to but is also eerily separate from the experience of working as a lecturer in art education.'



Italy v the World

Colin Gleadell on the Frieze-week sales

'Last month's Frieze-week auctions were up against an escalating international debt crisis and looked to be weighed down by it.'



Editions v Series: Picking up the Pieces

Henry Lydiate on selling off dismembered artworks

'The court agreed, stopped the sale of the single-panel painting and ordered that the work must not be taken apart – not only when publicly exhibited, but also privately.'



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