Public Vs.Private

My column for the January-February 2016 issue of ArtReview, now online. Read it here (requires free registration to

‘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?’…

The End of Human Experience

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…”

‘Phantom Limbs’ at Pilar Corrias

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…”

Subjects v Objects

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.

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How not to make public art

My column on the latest sculpture commissions for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth on 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.”

Review: Hannah Sawtell at Vilma Gold, London

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…”

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