Mark Leckey: O’ Magic Power of Bleakness

Ecstasy and melancholy are different kinds of euphoria. When Johnny Rotten sang, in God Save the Queen (1977), that ‘England’s dreaming’, it wasn’t the psychedelic celebration of British suburbia of, say, The Beatles’ Penny Lane (1967), but an ironic, caustic admission of a darker sort of delirium. Mark Leckey’s show is part retrospective, embedded in history, and… Continue reading Mark Leckey: O’ Magic Power of Bleakness

Hiding in plain sight

Thinking of Francis Bacon’s paintings as constantly touching on and circling around what can and cannot be shown, what can and can’t be revealed, opens a different perspective on the artist’s shifting, fugitive representation of the human body. Rather than be explicit in works only shown in private, Bacon was hinting and suggesting in public… Continue reading Hiding in plain sight

Jennet Thomas: Animal Condensed>Animal Expanded

It’s a mistake to think that Jennet Thomas’s eye-boggling, comic, sinister, techno-folkloric videos are ‘about’ something. They are, but it does them an injustice to say that they’re about nothing more. Set in motion by some recognisable bit of subject-matter, Thomas’s narrative spins kaleidoscopically, ideas tumbling out, other ideas spooling out of those. At Tintype, the first… Continue reading Jennet Thomas: Animal Condensed>Animal Expanded

Art Market, meet Blockchain

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? And can cutting edge technology do the teaching? Christie’s seems to think so. Their Art + Tech Summit: Exploring Blockchain, which took place on Tuesday in London, was representative of the old auction house’s enthusiasm for the promise of blockchain technology, which the summit’s organisers were keen to… Continue reading Art Market, meet Blockchain

Forensic Architecture at the ICA

Institutionally, the group’s activity is indicative of how both academic and curatorial cultures have become entwined in this wider shift in the locus of political activism, with the art gallery becoming just another channel of dissemination for this broader political culture of independent and quasi-institutional activism. My review of Forensic Architecture at the ICA, for… Continue reading Forensic Architecture at the ICA

Violence and representation

In the wake of the controversy over Dana Schutz’s painting Open Casket, my comment on an artist’s right to make images of other peoples’ suffering, for artreview.com What effect can paintings have on politics? It’s a recurring, never-really-resolved question, since as an artform, the history of painting is one in which the question of its power as… Continue reading Violence and representation

David Hockney: Sixty Years of Work

Tate Britain, 9 February – 29 May   If there’s one overarching sensibility running through this retrospective of David Hockney’s work spanning six decades, it’s not necessarily the artist’s much-touted commitment to the ways of best representing the visible world, or indeed the emphasis the Tate want to put – in the fiftieth anniversary year… Continue reading David Hockney: Sixty Years of Work