Hold the hyperbole

How the self-promotion phenomenon gained widespread traction

Exhibition view: Ryan Gander, The Self Righting of All Things, Lisson Gallery, London (2 March–21 April 2018) © Ryan Gander. Courtesy Lisson Gallery, ph. Jack Hems

So my pet hate/rant this month focusses on the emergence, over the past 30 years or so, of the requirement for artists to ‘big themselves up’. With the explosion of social media and online content in the past 2 decades I am asserting that the problem is now well out of hand, having reached epic and epidemic proportions (sorry Covid you don’t have the complete monopoly here). read here

The naked city

Where is the place for art and culture on an uninhabitable planet?

Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, (1991), ph. Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012

As the movie1’s narrator said:

There are 8 million stories in the naked city, and this is just one of them.

In recent months, my art/world dichotomy has polarised itself around the need to reconcile the relative merits of artworks by the great and good on the one hand, and the urgency for all of us to act on climate change on the other. This may seem a very unequal contest in terms of their respective corners and weight divisions, but where is the place for art and culture on an uninhabitable planet? read here

A Crisis at Scale

Public art and the winds of change

‘Spiral Jetty’, the earthwork sculpture constructed in April 1970 that is considered to be the most important work of American sculptor Robert Smithson. Smithson documented the construction of the sculpture in a 32-minute color film also titled Spiral Jetty. Built on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah entirely of mud

Lately, I have been reconsidering much in terms of the past, present and future of the visual arts. More particularly, the Covid-19 variations (sounds musical), and even more ominously, the climate crisis, are increasingly – and not incrementally – altering our lives for the future. Combine this with escalating global tensions and it’s not a pretty picture, in fact, it’s just about beyond contemplation for us mere mortals. read here

The problem with science

Let’s play statues (III) Classification and perception in the work of Hans-Peter Feldmann

It seems that the human world and the planet may be at some kind of tipping point; not that I necessarily use this term expressly in relation to environmental climate change, but perhaps there is a wider cultural and aesthetic change in the environmental conditions for culture. It is in the light of this conjecture that I explore an unromanticised approach to art-making, epitomised in the work of Hans-Peter Feldmann. read the full article here

Only the dead have seen the end of war

Let’s play statues (II)

In this follow-up to my last article, which covered the work and sensibility of the Italian sculptor Claudio Parmiggiani, I attempted to established a precedent for the synecdochal object and traumatic processes in particular as a way of implicating wider culture. I now want to move on to explore, albeit briefly, what I would see as a conceptually related, but aesthetically distinct approach to creating monuments that similarly collide virtue and terror. read HERE

Ian Hamilton Finlay Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery 1988

Contesting culture

Let’s play statues (I)

The first leg of this three-part article explores the question of how artists can contest a received cultural narrative or artistic convention by using fragmentary, or vestigial components as visual proxies for disruption, fracture and protest. read the full article HERE

The Haçienda must be built…

Fac 51, The Hacienda c.1982. Copyright Ben Kelly Design/Peter Saville.

This month I touch on what may be a unique, but equally momentary opportunity to forge new partnerships as old orthodoxies are ravaged by the Virus, Climate Change, Brexit, Woke/Gammon, Cancel Culture and all points East. The titular reference is a tribute to both Ivan Vladimirovitch Shcheglov’s Formulary for a New Urbanism (1953), and an idea that one could be applied to create something out of nothing: Enter Fac 51 The Hacienda – and part a Mancunian legend to boot. Read HERE.

Do the Standing Still

For my title reference I would refer you to a punk classic by the Welsh band The Table from 1977. I also thought this captured a certain zeitgeist of the moment. Read the full article for Wall Street International HERE.

Yo-yo Kusama with Installation courtesy of the artist, photo copyright Hans G. Anderson

Id | Ego | Super-Ego

Subsequent to the recent ‘Beast from the East II’ storm last week I hereby claim this dislodged fragment of sea defences as a fitting structuralist metaphor for the current state of the ‘self’: a true concrete poem.

Image credit Ⓒthe author 2021