My column for the January-February 2016 issue of ArtReview, now online. Read it here (requires free registration to artreview.com)
‘The purpose of the public museum is to ensure the long-term availability and display of art.’ With his first sentence, Chris Dercon, soon-to-be-former director of Tate Modern, had already lost the argument. Back in June last year, Dercon gave a speech as part of a symposium made up of international art-museum big-cheeses, at the private Louis Vuitton Foundation, to consider such burning questions as ‘What are the challenges facing public and private museum collections today?’, ‘Who makes art history now?’…
My column for the summer issue of ArtReview, now online. Read it here
“What this seems to mean for contemporary artists is a peculiar approach to seeing humanity: either as just one more ‘thing’ among others – resulting in a fascination with other types of nonhuman entity out there – or as something already long dead and vanished, seen from some (virtual) future perspective in the form of its archaeological record. And you don’t have to look too far at the moment to see how artists and the artworld are lapping up this new zeitgeist…”
My review of ‘Phantom Limbs’ at Pilar Corrias, London, on Art Agenda. Read it here
“People who have lost arms or legs often report experiencing a “phantom limb”—the sense that the limb is still there, or that they can still move or feel it. It’s a good metaphor, too, for current post-internet art debates concerning the shifting relationship of real to virtual, digital to material.“Phantom Limbs,” Pilar Corrias’s smarter-than-most summer show, does a concise job of mapping the various poles of this cultural and theoretical inquiry…”
JJ Charlesworth & James Heartfield
First published in Art Monthly, March 2014
Recently, objects seem to have taken on a life of their own. This man thinks that another slice of cake will make him happy. That woman thinks that a better school will get her son good qualifications. This man has thousands of girlfriends stored on his hard drive. This girl thinks that a Hollister top will make people like her. Goods fly off the shelves. Exports boost Britain.
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…”
I’ll be discussing the power of private collectors and the purpose of public collections at this year’s Battle of Ideas, October 19-20. Do something more interesting with Frieze weekend! Details and tickets here
I’m one of the speakers on this panel discussion, next Wednesday at the ICA, 10 July, 6.30pm
Book tickets here
Cultural Exchange: More Harm than Good?
£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.
My column for the April issue of ArtReview.
“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.’”
Read on at ArtReview’s new website here
My column in the March issue of ArtReview.
“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….”
Read on at ArtReview’s new website here