Art Monthly 369: September 2013

Art Monthly cover
Art & Politics

Dean Kenning and Margareta Kern

Art & Oil

Colin Perry


Nick Warner

Pratchaya Phinthong

Profile by Eliza Williams

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the dispersal of protesters by Swiss riot police from Tadashi Kawamata's Favela Café outside Art Basel


Art & Politics

Which side is art on ask Dean Kenning and Margareta Kern

In the face of government austerity measures which have squeezed artists and public arts provision more than any other sector, an elite art world has continued to prosper. Isn't it time that, in order to develop political agency in their work, artists begin to acknowledge this glaring dichotomy?

'Can art act in opposition to neoliberal power and manifest values based in equality, commonality and solidarity? Or does art simply manifest and further the interests of a transnational capitalist class?'

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Nasrin Tabatabai & Babak Afrassiabi Seep 2012


Art & Oil

Colin Perry on the greasing of the art industry

Today's debates around the sponsorship of art by oil companies would benefit from a historical understanding of the long tradition of arts commissions by industries with pressing PR problems; an analysis of the results of this almost century-long practice reveals the pernicious, compromising effects of such greasing.

'In confronting the corporate "art-wash" enacted by BP and Shell today, we should not be particularly surprised that mass spectacle and art are still conjoined.'

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Ed Fornieles Character Date 2012-



Nick Warner on the phenomenon of the producer/consumer in online art

As the rapidly developing social aspects of the internet make producers of us all, how have artists such as Ed Fornieles and Iain Ball developed online projects that mask their status as artworks and undermine the traditional notion of the artist-maker?

'Where the consumer of yesteryear would passively digest the spectacle provided, whether capitalist, political or cultural, the prosumer likes and shares, rates and reviews, remixes and uploads.'



Putting the PR in Press

The increasing professionalisation or outright outsourcing of PR departments in art galleries has led to a shift in power between the public-image controllers and the critical press, with access carefully gated for friendly media. But won't this short-termist thinking simply undermine faith in the cultural discussion that is art's lifeblood?

'The rot probably set in when, in the wake of savage cuts to the arts under Margaret Thatcher, publicly funded galleries were urged, as now, to forge new "relationships" with the private sector: enter the PR pandars.'


Michael Hampton wonders whether the curating behind Venice's 'The Encyclopedic Palace' exhibition signals a new world order.


Tate chairman and the UK's fracker-in-chief Lord Browne uses an Art Fund speech on philanthropy to outline an end to taxation as a wealth redistributor and the death of museums' arm's-length independence; local-government arts budgets are cut even as wider spending increases; The Public in West Bromwich finally meets an inglorious end; BMW abandons a high-profile Guggenheim sponsorship; the ICA launches an art rival to Twitter; galleries open, move and expand; the latest news on events, appointments, prizes and more.

Walter De Maria 1935-2013
Allan Sekula 1951-2013

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Pratchaya Phinthong Broken Hill 2013


Pratchaya Phinthong

Eliza Williams on the Bangkok-based artist

Pratchaya Phinthong's seemingly straightforward interventions – displacing museum artefacts from one country to another, eschewing an art residency to work alongside migrant labourers – reveal a complex set of border-driven power relations and interdependencies.

'Politics runs through all of these pieces, yet Phinthong avoids dogma or didacticism in his work, instead choosing to raise questions and invite comment. Also uniting the works is their emphasis on collaboration, with Phinthong at times taking the role of encourager and persuader rather than of autonomous artist, and inviting others to become active participants in the shaping of his art.'



IAIN BAXTER& and Adam Chodzko

Martin Herbert

Haroon Mirza

Andrew Hunt

Misdirect Movies

Christopher Townsend

Omer Fast: 5,000 Feet is the Best

Sophie J Williamson

Haris Epaminonda: Chapters

Paul Carey-Kent

John Newling: Ecologies of Value

David Lillington

Roxy Walsh and Sally Underwood: Dependent Rational Animals

George Vasey

Manchester International Festival: do it 20 13

Bob Dickinson

Yorgos Sapountzis and Ian Hamilton Finlay

If Not Always Permanently, Memorably

Martin Holman

Dublin Round-up

Chris Clarke



This is Not Art: Activism and Other 'Not-Art'

John Douglas Millar on a provocation to the London art world

'If any single debate defines current discourse around contemporary art it is the question of art’s relationship with the category of "the political" and the scree of sub-questions produced in its wake: is art able to contribute to social change? Should art aim to make direct interventions? Can art mimic or demonstrate utopian social relations? How can art and activism meld and should they?'



Digital v Paper

Mark Wilsher argues against digital archives

'The migration from paper to digital archives has a negative side, especially in the case of education in the visual and creative arts where a qualitative mode of reading is required rather than simple information gathering. In fact I would say that electronic journal storage is actively bad for art education.'


Art Syndicate


Sophia Phoca looks at a shared-ownership model for art organisations

'The V22 plc shared ownership art organisation is constituted with the collection, while shareholders, made up mainly of 430 participating artists, can sell and buy shares in the publicly quoted company and steer and curate the collection and exhibitions. At the same time, V22 aims to increase shareholder value through growing the size and value of the collection.'



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