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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.

Read more…

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…”

read more…

From Medici to Saatchi: should art collections be public?


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

Cultural Exchange: More Harm than Good?

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.


Are you experienced? The relentless rise of experience art

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

The end of the artworld

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

Critical value and market value way out of whack? So what?

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? Read more…


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