Art Monthly 361: November 2012

Art Monthly cover
James Welling

Interviewed by Kathy Battista

The Documentary Effect

Mark Prince

Conceptual Writing

John Douglas Millar

Frieze week

Colin Gleadell

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James Welling Gelatin Photograph 45 1984



James Welling interviewed by Kathy Battista

James Welling was part of the Pictures Generation group of artists who emerged in New York in the 1980s. Here he discusses the liberating effects of his move to Los Angeles, the expansive effect teaching can have on a tightly focused practice and how to infuse abstract photography with the sense of a distant time period.

'I'm happy to be included in "The Pictures Generation" but I always felt a little bit of an outsider to that grouping. My work is not really about media imagery, it is more of an epistemological questioning of photography as medium.'


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John Divola Zuma#3 1977


The Documentary Effect

Mark Prince explores tensions between reality and fiction in photography

If the photographic image still retains a sense of the authentic, how have artists, such as John Divola, Laura Horelli and Michael Schmidt, revealed the artifice at the heart of the documentary photograph?

'Withholding the real can be a rhetorical device representing personal or historical loss. Such emotive themes dramatise the moral ambivalence that ensues when the documentary mode is introduced within an artistic context.'


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excerpt from Kenneth Goldsmith's 2000 book Fidget


Conceptual Writing

Is writing still playing catch-up with art? asks John Douglas Millar

The term 'Conceptual Writing' was coined in 2003 to define literary works that may function as Conceptual Art, where the ideas behind the rule-based texts cannot be separated from the act of writing itself. But does this reliance on the act of authoring undermine the movement's distanciating intentions?

'Conceptual Writing might not seem particularly radical. After all, the Oulipo group have been experimenting with constraint-based writing for over 50 years and citation and appropriation are a fundamental of much modernist literature.'



The World is Not Enough

Where once it was a proliferation of biennales that got the art world onto EasyJet, now a proliferation of art fairs sends elite collectors to their Learjets. With biennales shifting dates to avoid art-fair conflicts and a major gallery opening in a private airport, where will it all end?

'It seems that the organisers of the Venice Biennale have resigned themselves to the fact that their best option is to place the Biennale, like the meat in the sandwich, between Art Basel and Art Basel Hong Kong.'


The National Gallery loses sponsorship from an arms manufacturer following protests; Tate asks protest group Liberate Tate to collect the artwork it donated to the nation; feminist protest group ELF conducts a survey of galleries at Frieze Art Fair; Mute magazine launches a crowd-funding campaign; galleries open, close and move; all the latest news on appointments, events, commissions and more.

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7th Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art: The Unexpected Guest

Francis Frascina

Cage's Satie: Composition for Museum

Virginia Whiles

Daniel Spoerri: Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri

Peter Suchin

The Future's Not What It Used To Be

Stephen Lee

Futures 12

Young London

Curt Riegelnegg


Omar Kholeif

Matthew Darbyshire

The Associates

Theaster Gates

Colin Perry

Rashid Johnson: Shelter

Morgan Quaintance

Sarah Dobai: Twenty Second Hold

Colin Glen

Fernando Garcia-Dory: A Dairy Museum

Chris Fite-Wassilak

Paul Sietsema

Cherry Smyth

London Round-up

Martin Herbert



A Guidebook to Alternative Nows

Larne Abse Gogarty looks for alternatives in socially engaged practices

'This leaves an aftertaste smacking of the privilege associated with promoting lifestyle choices financially inaccessible to most, or even in terms of having the room to imagine or participate in such "alternatives".'



Arefin & Arefin: The Graphic Design of Tony Arefin

David Trigg on a posthumous show by the UK art world's key designer

'Bringing his passion for magazine graphics to the world of contemporary art, Tony Arefin's bold, forward-thinking designs turned catalogues into lively, desirable objects that transcended mere documentation. By the late 1980s he had become the go-to designer for young artists in the UK from whom he sometimes accepted work in lieu of payment, as in the case of his catalogue for the seminal "Freeze" exhibition.'



Safety First

Colin Gleadell sees the Frieze-week buyers playing it safe

'However, closer analysis revealed a certain fragility in the market; over half the lots sold either on or below the low end of their estimated price guides.'



Art Commissioning

Henry Lydiate is impressed by a new guide to commissioning

'Jointly written by art critic and journalist Louisa Buck with art lawyer and curator Daniel McClean, Commissioning Contemporary Art is not a law book; it is a commission planning and management good practice guide, plainly narrated, and packed full of examples of commissions that went right and wrong.'



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