Art Monthly 381: November 2014

Art Monthly cover
Oreet Ashery

Interviewed by Larne Abse Gogarty

Walk like an Egyptian?

Omar Kholeif

Museum as Metaphor

Mark Prince

Gintaras Didziapetris

Profile by Adam Pugh

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Oreet Ashery Party for Freedom / Party for Hire 2013 performance



Oreet Ashery interviewed by Larne Abse Gogarty

Israeli-born British artist Oreet Ashery challenges viewers with performances that provoke questions about identity and agency. Here, she talks about antagonising her audience, the trash aesthetic and her disastrous early career as a witch in Jerusalem.

'The participants in Party for Freedom were all white except for one Asian. They were also all young, "beautiful", slim and able-bodied. This was antagonistic in itself, apart from for those viewers who took the lack of diversity for granted. I wanted the work to speak of white privilege in the context of freedom, and of the fascist fantasy and nightmare of homogeneity.'

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Khaled Hafez The A77A Project: On Presidents & Superheroes 2009 video


Walk like an Egyptian?

Omar Kholeif on artists' mining of Egyptian culture

Egyptian culture has a long history of being 'borrowed' by the West. But have contemporary artists, from Matthew Barney to Camille Henrot and William Kentridge, managed to avoid the mythological clichés while referencing Egypt's now-revolutionary culture?

'The figure of the trickster can be seen in a range of contemporary works, such as Khaled Hafez's film Of Presidents and Superheroes, 2009, a three-minute pastiche that traces the journey of the iconic Anubis figure from ancient history as he thrusts into a contemporary moment of Egyptian civil unrest.'

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Kader Attia Repair. 5 Acts – Act 4: Nature, Mimesis as Control 2013 installation detail


The Ethnographic Turn

Mark Prince on the museum as metaphor

If the museum as an institution frames objects as artworks, how have artists from Marcel Broodthaers and Daan Van Golden to James Benning, Mario García Torres and Louise Lawler set about revealing the ethnographic fictions inherent in museal display?

'The museum objects which constituted Marcel Broodthaers's Section des Figures all represented an eagle, its imperialistic figure an emblem for the rampant arbitrariness of conferred value; but by converting value into a metaphor for value, Broodthaers marks out a clearing in the field of distribution.'



Card Clash

Like an alien invasion, there is nothing like the arrival of an art fair to remind everyone of both the strangeness of the art world and of its extreme financial stratification. And while VIP card holders are greeted with fawning smiles, it seems that the currency of celebrity will now even buy a private encounter with the most knowing smirk of all: Mona Lisa's.

'The tent in Regent's Park increasingly feels like an alien presence, a spaceship that has landed temporarily in our midst before it takes off again for, it is rumoured, China. The appearance, in one of the booths, of a life-size replica of the eponymous alien from the film Predator seemed entirely appropriate.'


Anti-racism activists censor a Barbican exhibition when their protests prevent it from opening; Paul McCarthy and his art are both physically attacked in Paris; NY-based collective WAGE creates an online artists' fee calculator; the Arts Council for Wales suffers further cuts; the latest news on galleries, events, appointments, prizes and more.

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Gintaras Didziapetris Clock 2013


Gintaras Didziapetris

Adam Pugh on the Lithuanian artist

Through videos, photographs, projections and digital files, Gintaras Didziapetris explores what it means for an artwork to be – like a medieval symbol or a religious icon – a thing in itself rather than a mere representation of something else.

'A sense of the co-existence of divergent meanings, and, crucially, of the simultaneity of their existence, is what exercises Gintaras Didziapetris. In his work, it is not enough that there is a multiplicity of possibilities, but that they are all possible at once.'



São Paulo Bienal: How to (...) things that do not exist

Anna Gritz

Asia Triennial Manchester 14: Conflict and Compassion

Bob Dickinson

Bloomberg New Contemporaries

Eleanor Clayton

Mario Merz

Martin Holman

Stuart Brisley: State of Denmark

Elinor Morgan

Kai Althoff

Andrew Hunt

Ed Fornieles: Modern Family

Morgan Quaintance

The Mechanical Garden and Other Long Encores

Isabella Maidment

Edwin Burdis: UIB

Tim Dixon

The Influence of Furniture on Love

Jonathan P Watts

London Round-up

Paul Carey-Kent


Artists' Books


Michael Hampton on the artists' books publisher

'To unfamiliar readers, the contents' list of Uniformagazine maps out Colin Sackett's long-term preoccupations with cultural geography and history, the book, and what has come to be widely known as conceptual writing; his style 'glocal' rather than provincial.'



Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory

David Ryan delves into James Hellings's new book

'James Hellings's Adorno and Art goes some way in unravelling what we might call the "Adorno problem". Here, Hellings rescues Theodor W Adorno (1903-1969) from his all-too-often specialised containment in a musical sociology, and looks at the value of his writings for art, aesthetics and politics not only in Adorno's own time but also for recent practices.'



Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard: 20,000 Days on Earth

David Barrett spends a fictional day with Nick Cave

'Forsyth & Pollard, their practice has taught us, walk the line between theatrical effect and performative affect, the difference between the fictional narrative stagecraft beneath the proscenium arch and the supposedly more direct emotional connection between, say, a post-punk rock group and its audience.'


Letter from Berlin

Frictional Expectations

Martin Herbert sees the city serve up its expected antagonisms

'It isn’t that any of these proposals wholly refuse the market. But, like the loose-limbed, chaos-edged yet increasingly serious abc fair itself, they accept it in a frictional, wary manner that feels related to the host city’s prized self-image.'


Artist's Resale Right


Henry Lydiate

'Artist's Resale Right legislation strives to balance legal rights on both sides of the equation. Mutual trust is required to make this balanced scheme work. But perhaps trust and patience have now run out.'



London Art Calendar

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Exhibition Listings

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