My column on the latest sculpture commissions for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth on ArtReview.com. Read it here
“The Fourth Plinth committee appear to imagine the public as a strange fusion of bored teenager and angry mob; restless, distracted, excited by bold shapes and colours and thoughtless political truisms about the state of the world.”
My discussion of Hannah Sawtell’s show RE PETITIONER IN ZERO TIME for Art-Agenda
“The building, superimposed on the larger sequence of the pre/post-historic wasteland, is of a factory of sorts, a place for the production of political ideology, at a time when working people’s actions had a direct effect on the world. The building stands in for the people who produce things, rather than for the desert of use(r)less commodities…”
£10 / £8 Concessions / £7 ICA Members / £5 ICA Student Members
‘Cultural exchange’ is a much touted yet often rarely examined concept. In the context of the exhibition Points of Departure, this panel discussion explores its complex implications, centring on the key questions: how do artists work within culturally different and predetermined contexts? What is the role and impact of cultural marketing? Are artists and organisations simply fighting for position in an increasingly globalised world? Do nationalist distinctions perpetuate stereotype definitions and perceptions of other cultures?
Speakers include Mark Rappolt, writer and editor of Art Review, artist Rosalind Nashashibi, Andrea Rose, Director of Visual Arts, British Council, and critic JJ Charlesworth.
“There’s a poster on the platform at Barbican underground station, my stop now when I head to ArtReview’s fancy new offices. The poster is for the Hayward Gallery’s current exhibition, Light Show, with an upbeat, punning quote from The Independent newspaper: ‘Hayward Gallery trips the light switch fantastic!’ On the show’s website, a YouTube clip previews the show’s glowing array of artworks that use artificial light, and a warning banner declares that ‘Light Show is extremely popular and tickets are selling out daily. You should expect to queue upon arrival and advance booking is strongly recommended.’”
“It’s an early January evening at London’s ICA. I’m here as part of a panel debating whether or not we’re witnessing ‘The End of the Artworld…?’ Alongside me are The Art Newspaper’s newshound editor-at large Georgina Adam, the avuncular Cork Street dealer James Mayor and youngster commercial gallerist Danielle Horn. Given the hysteria-inducing title, it’s inevitable that the discussion veers towards the downbeat….”
My column for the January-February issue of ArtReview. Read the whole issue for free here
The extreme mix of art and money that makes up a large part of the artworld has few defenders at the moment. After all, how can the values of art – which is supposed to be something good, exemplary or at least disruptive in a positive way – have got so entangled with the values of money, with the apparently evermore- venal culture of ostentatious luxury and financial chicanery that now seems to be the main driver of the international market for art? Continue reading “Critical value and market value way out of whack? So what?”→
ICA Quickfire: The End of the Art World…? 19 January 2013
£5 / Free to ICA Members
Chaired by Gregor Muir (ICA Executive Director), this Quickfire talk addresses the profound sea change presently gripping the art world. Muir is accompanied by a panel including Georgina Adam (Art Correspondent,Financial Times/Editor at Large, The Art Newspaper), JJ Charlesworth (ArtReview, Associate Editor), Danielle Horn (Director, Nettie Horn Gallery) and James Mayor (Mayor Gallery).
This discussion will examine the perceived backlash against contemporary art with headlines of record breaking auction prices contradicting news of artist defections, disillusioned critics, over-production, the collapse of the middle market, and the growing difficulties faced by younger artists and their galleries. All the above have contributed to a climate of widespread suspicion, bolstered by splits between big name galleries and their star artists.
Is this the end of the art world as we know it, or are we simply moving into unchartered territories…?
Berlin-based Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s exhibition at Carroll / Fletcher might appear visually spare, but with each work, Haghighian draws you further into a game of institutional hide-and-seek, in which visibility and invisibility, the act of remaining hidden and being revealed, are played out as Machiavellian manipulations of the conventions of spectatorship and exhibition, where voyeurism plays a critical role. Continue reading “Natascha Sadr Haghighian at Carroll/Fletcher, London”→
“Do you remember things? Actual things? And you could touch them, couldn’t you, remember? The physical world, I’m talking about — remember it, older people? Matter? The older people, they remember… actual matter. Remember? Things? And it was all real and it all existed, yeah? Not like now.”
I’m watching the brilliant British standup Stewart Lee on YouTube, in a show from his Comedy Vehicle series, in a skit in which he satirises the voguish discussions of how virtualised, digital culture is making material objects – like paper letters and vinyl records – redundant. (“For the younger people, a ‘record’ was like a giant, flat MP3, right?”) Around the same time, I’m reading an interview with much-feted international artist Tino Sehgal on the Guardian website. Sehgal doesn’t seem to like things very much:’Our culture is hung up on and overemphasises what can be derived from material objects,’ Sehgal muses. Continue reading “Fear of things”→