Art Monthly 431: November 2019

Art Monthly cover Art Monthly back cover
Frances Stark

Isobel Harbison

Déjà vu, all over again

Francis Frascina

The Interface: Mark Fisher and John Berger

Paul Walsh

The Politics of Appeasement

Morgan Quaintance

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Frances Stark, Reading Ian Svenonius’s Psychic Soviet from 2006, 2019


An Un-American Pavilion

Frances Stark interviewed by Isobel Harbison

The LA-based artist discusses Mike Kelley, her favourite art films, telling stories, binge-watching The Wire, the failed promise of social media, constructing her own pavilion, and the importance of amateurishness.

I feel like we are in a cultural moment where there is an explosion of hyper-promiscuity and hyper-exhibitionism, and the monetising of any kind of art. Everything on Instagram is about how and what these amazing creative people are going to teach you while, in fact, the support systems for civic life and any kind of culture are completely under duress. And I find that sickening.
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Martha Rosler, Lounging Woman, 2004, from the series ‘House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home’


Déjà vu, all over again

Francis Frascina looks back at 50 years of art activism and discusses approaches that current activists might take

Guerrilla Art Action Group argued in 1969 that ‘a group of extremely wealthy people are using art as a means of self-glorification and as a form of social acceptability. They use art as a disguise, a cover for their brutal involvement in all spheres of the war machine.’
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Alain Tanner, Jonas Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000, 1976, film co-written by John Berger


The Interface: Mark Fisher and John Berger

Paul Walsh seeks a space from which voices of contemporary dissent might emerge

The interface walls of Northern Ireland, structures that on the surface divide, dominate and destroy, also exist as liminal entities in their own right. They indicate what is at stake when two bodies encounter one another, and the potential this encounter holds.
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Kara Walker, Fons Americanus, 2019, Tate Modern, London


The Politics of Appeasement

Morgan Quaintance anatomises the problems raised by Kara Walker’s Tate Modern commission

What renders Kara Walker’s brand of ‘critique’ so attractive and so appealing to institutions keen to virtue signal? The historical distance. For hers is work that miraculously ‘speaks to the present’ by ignoring it entirely, training its monomaniacal vision on the past.
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Imran Perretta, the destructors, 2019


Imran Perretta

George Vasey discusses the coercive role of images and hidden racial, social and economic biases of photographic and other technologies, as revealed in the work of the London-based artist.

Imran Perretta’s films interrogate visual regimes, exploring how power and surveillance are focused on black and brown people’s bodies. His films are, in part, a product of growing up in London as a teenager in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and being of Bangladeshi heritage.



Creative Thinking

The current valorisation of ‘creativity’ – in strategies for the arts, health and education, not to mention pro-Brexit political strategies – reveals how this term, when unmoored from disciplines such as the arts, has no ethical underpinnings can be hijacked to support market-orientated ideologies on the one hand, and to mask cuts to social and community care on the other.

For populist politicians and their political advisers, the arts are an easy target for funding cuts. Yet, at the same time, the arts are shamelessly deployed by ministers to plug gaps in social policy.
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The Twist, Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker, Norway


Creativity for All!

The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education publishes its first report promoting the teaching of ‘creativity’; BP is dropped as a sponsor by the Royal Shakespeare Company after pressure from young protesters; Arts Council Wales publishes guidelines on minimum rates of pay for artists and technicians; the DCMS promises more money for long-suffering libraries and regional museums; plus the latest news on galleries, appointments, prizes and more.


Eliseo Mattiacci 1940–2019

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Alberta Whittle, between a whisper and a cry, 2019
on show at DCA, Dundee


Walking Through Walls

Martin Herbert

16th Istanbul Biennial: The Seventh Continent

Chris Clarke

Toronto Biennial of Art: The Shoreline Dilemma

Harry Thorne

Still Undead: Popular Culture in Britain Beyond the Bauhaus

David Trigg

Susan Hiller: Ghost/TV

Andrew Hibbard

The Body Electric

Glen Helfand

Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery: Misbehaving Bodies

Maria Walsh

Sidsel Meineche Hansen: Welcome to End-Used City

Frances Whorrall-Campbell

Alberta Whittle: How Flexible Can We Make the Mouth

Adam Benmakhlouf

Sligo, Cork and Leitrim Round-up

Joanne Laws


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Nina Danino, I Die of Sadness Crying for You, 2019


BFI London Film Festival: Experimenta

Elisabetta Fabrizi

By curbing the ability of the festival’s audience to consider the works as contemporary art, it allows them to be read more clearly as film culture.


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French & Mottershead with The Ballad of Peckham Rye, Woodland, 2019


French & Mottershead: Woodland

Adam Hines-Green

The work places the viewer in the role of the corpse – your own corpse – and then narrates what it feels like to be your body in that state.



Mckenzie Wark: Capital is Dead – Is This Something Worse?

Dave Beech

Mckenzie Wark argues that the classic confrontation between proletariat and capital has been replaced or displaced by the rise of a class of owners and controllers of information: ‘A vectoralist class owns the means of organising the means of production.’


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Stefan Kruse, The Migrating Image, 2018

Letter from Samos

Island Home

Stephanie Bailey

The EU, one of the Mediterranean Sea’s custodians, emerges as a clear culprit in the ‘13,700,000km3’, exhibition curated by Katerina Gregos at Art Space Pythagorion.


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Pamela Rosenkranz, Healer (Waters), 2019


Letter from Okayama and Kobe

Agnieszka Gratza

Notably, most of the 18 artists and artist collectives featured in the Summit, including Pierre Huyghe, hail from France and the US; barring perhaps Mika Tajima, Japanese artists were conspicuous by their absence.



Tariff-Free Art Trade

Henry Lydiate

Little or no attention has been paid to the US’s far-reaching and unilateral imposition on 18 October of new stringent 25% tariffs on the importation of artwork into the US from the UK.




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