Art Monthly 471: November 2023

Art Monthly cover Art Monthly back cover
Catherine Opie

Interviewed by Chris McCormack


Anna Dezeuze

The Art of Dissuasion

Francis Frascina

Ali Cherri

Maria Walsh

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Catherine Opie, Blood grid #4, 2023, detail


Blood Work

Catherine Opie interviewed by Chris McCormack

Homophobia is back. It’s kind of like a 1980s band has come back and regrouped. We don’t need this concert tour again, we really don’t. We did it all before and I mean that was bad music.

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Cady Noland, Percussion and Cartridge Revolvers, 1984



Anna Dezeuze asks whether it is possible for art to turn the tide on ‘alt-right’ conspiracy theories

When Donald Trump was inaugurated as president it seemed that conspiracy, and its particular modes of constructing stories from reality, had officially moved from the margins to the centre.

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protester marching against the funding cuts at Brighton University


The Art of Dissuasion

Francis Frascina shows how the so-called culture wars can be traced back to Margaret Thatcher’s attack on education and the arts

Deliberate right-wing confusions of ‘academic freedom’ and ‘freedom of expression’ are authoritarian strategies to unsettle and dissuade, to deflect attention from what Sarah E James describes as underlying ideological agendas of university underfunding, privatisation and marketisation.

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Ali Cherri, The Watchman, 2023


Ali Cherri

Maria Walsh

‘What would happen to me if I went with you?’, the watchman asks the ghostly soldier towering over him. It is as if he has crossed into a liminal space in which the fear of the other that maintains division is momentarily dissolved.


Lines in the Sand

The complex history of Middle Eastern politics has ensured that many cultural commentators have shied away from engaging with the current escalation in violence, but art is well equipped to engage with humanity’s complexities.

War is politics writ large and, while the mode of address may vary, the best art about war engages directly with its subject: think of Francisco Goya’s The Third of May, 1808, commemorating the execution, by firing squad, of Spanish rebels against the occupying French forces of Napoleon Bonaparte.


Ceasefire Demands

Artists demand a ceasefire in Gaza; the Tory government issues flawed guidance over contested monuments; arts budgets are cut in Scotland and across local councils; a national museum survey paints a concerning picture; the shadow culture secretary launches Labour’s anemic plan for the arts; plus the latest on galleries, people, awards and more.


Brice Marden 1938–2023
Mark Prince

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Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Augustyn Gabor with his daughter Elzbieta, 2022, Frith Street Gallery


In the Shade of the Sun

Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou

Rirkrit Tiravanija: A Lot of People

Jenny Wu

Prem Sahib: The Lifecycle of a Flea

Marek Sullivan

Black Atlantic: Power, People, Resistance

Jade Foster

Małgorzata Mirga-Tas: Siukar Manusia

Ellen Mara De Wachter

Against Apartheid

Dylan Huw

The Casablanca Art School: Platforms and patterns for a postcolonial avant-garde 1962–1987

Martin Holman

Chester Contemporary: Centred on the Periphery

Laura Harris

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Alex Niven, The North Will Rise Again


Alex Niven: The North Will Rise Again – In Search of the Future in Northern Heartlands

Henry Broome

Grounded in the region’s dissident art and culture as well as its history of industrial innovation and invention, Alex Niven’s book provides the North with an optimistic vision for the future, a collective narrative for which northerners can claim shared ownership.

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Theo Cuthand, The Lost Art of the Future, 2022


BFI London Film Festival: Experimenta

Chris Hayes

In a welcomingly unpretentious monologue that feels as if it was recorded in one go with a minimal script, Theo Cuthand’s vlog-style polemic is heartfelt and daringly sincere.

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Rachel Jones, Hey, Maudie, 2023


Rachel Jones: Hey, Maudie

Tom Hastings

The air is thick with intrigue in St James’s Church on Piccadilly, its pews filled with people waiting for the painter Rachel Jones’s operatic performance.

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Noriyuki Haraguchi, Oil Pool, 1971


Letter from Tehran

Luisa Lorenza Corna

The way the story of Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art is narrated in western media distracts readers from asking how Shah Reza Pahlavi accrued such disproportionate wealth and at what social cost.

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Wolf Vostell, Why did the process between Pilate and Jesus take only two minutes?, 1996


Letter from Extremadura

Duncan Wheeler

Extremadura is in the vanguard of the struggle to find ways in which art might bring nuance to Spain’s current political consensus which, until now, has avoided opening old wounds and battlelines by staying silent on the sins of dictatorship.

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Andy Warhol, Diamond Dust Shoes, 1980, estimate £1.65m, sold for £3.3m


Riddled with Uncertainty

Colin Gleadell

Going unsold was Andy Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes, 1980, with a £1.5m low estimate – surprising given that another Warhol from the series sold for £3m the night before at Sotheby’s. But then those shoes were pink, and these were brown.


Dealers, Agents, Advisers: Beware

Henry Lydiate

Art lawyers explained to journalists that the art industry is mostly unregulated worldwide and is a natural target for fraudsters with high-end transactions commonly executed in secret; as one lawyer put it pithily, ‘money plus trust plus opacity equals trouble’.

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