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”→
“There are artworks that work on the viewer’s apprehension of an implied absence, and then there are artworks that simply stand there waiting for that apparent lack to be filled in by contextualizing talk. The former has something to do with aesthetic experience, the latter with a loss of interest in it, and standing among Yto Barrada’s work at Pace Gallery London, I get the feeling the talk wins…”
What’s the value of an art college education? And is it really worth getting into shitloads of debt for? That’s the question that continues to grind away in the world of UK higher education, as students this year begin to face the new, austerity-era regime of £9,000-a-year tuition fees for an undergraduate degree, cooked up by our pantomime-horse liberal-conservative coalition government. Want to go to art college? Well, you could be looking forward to more than £40,000 of debt.Continue reading “The value of art school?”→
It may be cold in Europe at the moment, but in the fraught relationship between art and the political world, things only seem to be getting hotter, with controversies breaking out all over the place. A characteristic of recent upsets is the way that artists’ freedom of expression comes into conflict with public and private interests, especially when this freedom shifts from ‘artistic’ into ‘political’ expression. Continue reading “Art, politics and branding”→
“I’ve got a game on my phone which consists of a grid of randomly coloured spots. It looks a bit like one of Damien Hirst’s many spot paintings. But at least with the game on my phone, if you get a row of the same colour, the spots go away…”
My review of Damien Hirst’s Spot Paintings extravaganza just up on Time Out…
“Commenting on new work by a “great” artist is always difficult. The task is fraught with paradoxes. After all, the moment you’re faced with recent work from an artist who has long ago been elevated to the canon of contemporary art history, what is there left to say?”