Browsing Category: contemporary art

  • Literary pictures: two art world novels and their authors

    When it comes to the world of contemporary art, it can be difficult for a journalist to paint the people and the parties in their true colours. So perhaps it is unsurprising, given the suspension of disbelief required by the market and the legal protection afforded by fiction, that the most convincing picture of the …

    June 7, 2017
  • Interview: Suzanne Treister

    The time tested way of introducing a story (“Once upon a time…”) is little help when writing a blog about art. And so faced with the most narrative-driven work in this year’s Liverpool Biennial, I don’t know where to begin. HFT The Gardener is a multi-faceted piece display which comprises of some 174 works on paper and a …

    September 26, 2016
  • Interview: Sahej Rahal

    The artist appears to have a simple and urgent proposition: to render the past absurd is to neutralise the rhetoric of the political right. Without a golden age to hark about, no one can promise to make America, the UK, or India ‘great again’. And we can instead progress to a state of internationalism, equal …

    July 30, 2016
  • Bob and Roberta Smith, Letter to George Osborne (2015)

    You cannot help but wonder: did a 50-line letter painted onto the front and rear of a pair of white radiator units have any incidental effect on government policy? Did it really spark a heated debate? Beyond the headlines about tax credits, the Autumn Statement revealed that the Arts Council can also breathe a sigh …

    November 26, 2015
  • Morley Threads @ Backlit

    In the late 19th century, a wool factory in Alfred House, Nottingham, became an asset of the largest wool manufacturing company in the world. Now the premises are an artist-led studio space. On the face of it, artists have plenty in common with textile workers. Low pay, hazardous conditions (albeit psychologically speaking) and, in the …

    November 19, 2015
  • Carsten Höller, Karussell (1999)

    It’s just a working carousel in an art gallery, no big deal. We are not only used to such wholesale borrowings from the real world, we might expect as much from Carsten Hölller. This Belgian, after all, is the artist responsible for turning Tate Modern and Hayward Gallery into theme parks (as if they weren’t …

    October 18, 2015
  • Bonnie Camplin, Patterns (2015)

    There are certain areas of human experience which don’t get on the news, don’t get written into soap opera plotlines and evade the attention of reality TV. They are pretty much off the menu. But testimony does survive around, say, mind control, belief in ESP, perception of extra-dimensional beings, witchcraft, fringe religious beliefs and a general …

    October 6, 2015
  • Ai Weiwei, Straight (2008-12)

    There are two epicentres under consideration in this monumental installation at the Royal Academy right now. One was in Wenchuan County in Sechuan; the other is the government in Beijing. The first meant a quake that destroyed 20 schools. The second has monitored the ongoing work of China’s best known artist and kept him at …

    October 1, 2015
  • Franz West, 6 Adaptives for Rolls Royce Silver Shadow (2007)

    On some level you may already be offended. You don’t need to be a total petrolhead to find the addition to this prestigious bonnet to be something of a defacement. Let’s be honest, it lacks the easy romance of the flying woman usually found on the prow of a Rolls: The Spirit of Ecstasy by Charles Robinson …

    June 28, 2015
  • Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades (2010-2015)

    4000 years after their first use in Egypt, Wael Shawky has made marionettes a central part of his art practice, spooking the viewer with what some say is the oldest form of theatre. These puppets are not found objects. The artist has them made using glass and ceramic to render a cast of plenty, in …

    March 16, 2015