Art Monthly 379: September 2014

Art Monthly cover
Yvonne Rainer

Interviewed by John Douglas Millar

Hand Signals

Laura McLean-Ferris

Lonely Arts

Ajay Hothi

Liverpool Biennial

Bob Dickinson

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Yvonne Rainer Chair Pillow 1969
dancers in training with Pat Catterson and Yvonne Rainer, July 2014


Running Dance

Yvonne Rainer interviewed by John Douglas Millar

Yvonne Rainer immersed herself in the vibrant San Francisco and New York art scenes of the late 1950s and early 1960s and, inspired by John Cage's compositions and the dance innovations of Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham, she brought Minimalism to contemporary dance. Here, she talks about developing experimental works that were not recognised as dance by the medium's authorities, and the dangers of democracy in art.

'I used cinematic techniques for creating empathy and then destroying it. So there is this push and pull, this unpredictability where the audience has to stay on its toes, not send their minds away. As a spectator you have to keep hold of your critical faculties.'

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Ed Atkins Even Pricks 2013


Hand Signals

Laura McLean-Ferris on reading the manual

In this digital age, the digits of the hand have come to the fore in work by artists such as Cécile B Evans, Ed Atkins, and Nina Beier and Simon Dybbroe Møller. What does this trend tell us about the hand of the artist in the age of the touchscreen?

'While humans share opposable thumbs with the chimp, it is the thinking thumb that separates us. But what is that thumb – waggling in the air, liking things – thinking, precisely?'

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Cécile B Evans AGNES 2014


Lonely Arts

Ajay Hothi philosophises about art on the web

While recent discussion around networked art has tied it to relational practices, works by Cécile B Evans and Yuri Pattison have positioned themselves as proxies between the viewer and the wider internet in order to block social interaction. Isn't it time that the essentially lonely, impoverished and atomised nature of the browsing experience was fully acknowledged?

'From Edward Snowden's leaks, to David Cameron's proposed ISP filtering systems and to net neutrality and its corporatisation, web scrutiny is now more than ever an identifiable social concern.'



Anti Social Media

When the National Gallery joined Tate recently in lifting its ban on photography, it brought itself in line with the lastest cultural fad: the public presentation of an individual mediation of all lived experience. Will art engagement now be measured in gallery selfies?

'In our rampantly consumerist age it is difficult to distinguish between genuine engagement with social media and mere consumption, between what is real and what is virtual, between political empowerment and exploitation.'


Teaching the Unteachable

Michael Corris again takes issue with Dave Beech's thoughts on art education; Dave Beech responds.

Against Political Art

Manchester Left Writers address Daniel Miller's polemic about the art world's left-wing rhetoric; Daniel Miller responds.


ACE announces its £340m National Portfolio funding for the next three years, with some notable winners and losers; the Arts Council of Northern Ireland implements immediate cuts, lopping 10% off its client organisation's budgets for the remainder of the year; ACE hands out £77m in capital grants for major building work, with more than a dozen galleries among the recipients; the latest news on galleries, events, appointments, prizes and more.


Harun Farocki 1944-2014
On Kawara 1932-2014

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Alice Theobald They Keep Putting Words in My Mouth! An Operetta of Sorts 2013


Alice Theobald

Anna Gritz on the video/performance artist

Alice Theobald borrows tropes from acting and group therapy methods in order to question the idea that the self is a controlled, linguistic construct.

'Both the performances and films are drenched in a heightened, almost caricatured sense of awkwardness not dissimilar to certain mannerisms common in method acting and retrieved by Theobald as a way to access a type of unaffectedness generally uncommon in performance art.'



Giulio Paolini

Martin Holman

Liverpool Biennial: A Needle Walks into a Haystack

Bob Dickinson

Phantom Limbs

Martin Herbert

London Round-up 1

Chris Fite-Wassilak

London Round-up 2

Paul Carey-Kent

London Round-up 3

Nick Warner

Last Seen Entering the Biltmore

Julia Crabtree & William Evans: Antonio Bay

Galit Mana

Magic Touch

Chris Clarke

A Modern Panarion: Glimpses of Occultism in Dublin

Chris Clarke

Fieldworks: Animal Habitats in Contemporary Art

Ewa Partum: Installations and Provocations

Dennis McNulty: Prototypes

Joanne Laws



Ann Hirsch: Playground

Morgan Quaintance on 'a landmark for internet-aware art'

'Brechtian distanciation or some other avant-garde strategy of spectator activation might have satisfied a conservative desire for an oblique and austere denial of pleasure, but it would have been entirely inappropriate. In order to hit home the two-step message that affect leads to emotion and emotion leads to action (in "real" life), Hirsch had to utilise the most affective strategies theatre had to offer.'



Internet Round-up

Morgan Quaintance sorts a crop of internet art publications

'This is invaluable stuff in a field awash with anecdotal reflections on digital media that oscillate between entreaties for the field to be taken seriously and weak assertions that ironic tendencies have cultural value (the dreadful narcissism of artists using Facebook as a "platform for performance" being one).'


Letter From Sweden


Sophie J Williamson witnesses the Nordic independent spirit

'While publicly funded art always entails a certain amount of political negotiation, the government is introducing a new policy that will force all creative projects – including exhibitions and residencies as well as commissions – to follow open competition procedures in line with commercial industries, with each opportunity open to submission and ending collaborations through invitation.'


London and New York


Colin Gleadell sees the odd flip go flop

'The sales also witnessed the growing trend of "flipping", ie buying young artists in demand at gallery shows and reselling for big profits at auction within a year or two. This is a practice in which the auctioneers become willing instruments in a more complex price-ramping procedure.'


Art After Death

Post-Mortem Fees

Henry Lydiate examines the case of the Rauschenberg trustees

'Having already been paid $8m by the Robert Rauschenberg Revocable Trust for their work over four years, the court awarded the three trustees a further $16.6m, making their "reasonable fee" a total of $24.6m. The very size of these payments and the detailed unpacking of the work involved is a valuable wake-up call.'



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