Browsing Category: Uncategorized

  • Entangled: Threads and Making

    There are two major subsets of the art world which have grown in visibility in recent years: ‘women in art’ and ‘contemporary crafts’. For reasons below, a venn diagram of their relation would be heavy on the overlap. Add another circle labelled ‘domestic production’ and you might find textiles in the central corral. Given that women-making-textile-based …

    April 5, 2017
  • Where culture sinks in: a look at Hull 2017

    At time of visit, the city of culture franchise was barely a month old and already the statistics were out in force. In the run up to 2017, Hull attracted £1 billion in terms of investment, with £100 million spent on cultural infrastructure. Job creation is up 12 percent since 2012. Those are just the measurables. …

    March 17, 2017
  • Jean Tinguely, Study for an End of the World No.2 (1962)

    In these end times, it is worth remembering we have been here before. We have had more than 70 years to get used to the idea of nuclear weapons. In 1962 the psychic shock was fairly raw. As in rock music, fast food and situation comedies, the USA led the rest of the world, the …

    February 22, 2017
  • Diary: a flying visit to Amsterdam

    Since Amsterdam is most famous for narco-tourism and legal sex work, it is the perfect city to get high on art and get in bed with a famous airline in return for a 24-hour trip there. KLM had got in touch to publicise a new art history primer which sits quite comfortably on the pages …

    January 30, 2017
  • What’s left for art in 2017?

    The vital importance of visual art, in this emerging plutocracy, is without doubt. Even though, for most politically engaged artists, it can seem like swimming against the popular tide. But the cultural reversals of 2016 are, in fact, just a reaction against the false promise of aesthetics. They are anti-art, anti-intellectual, anti-fashion, and opposed to …

    January 2, 2017
  • Drawing the line somewhere: writing for free about art

    Art Rules was a shortlived online experiment from the ICA and in 2013 I was one of many people asked for some wisdom. “Don’t plan on getting paid or laid,” I wrote. “The work is its own reward.” Well, Lucky pdf, an arts collective who are much cooler than me, wrote “Don’t work for free”.  But …

    September 7, 2016
  • Mark Leckey, Dream English Kid, 1964-1999 AD (2015)

    We can tell a number of things about Mark Leckey from this autobiographical film. So, the Merseysider grew up in the shadow of the Beatles, the A-bomb and the 1999 solar eclipse. Dream English Kid is a life story made with footage found online. So we also pick up on memories of motorways, pylons, football crowds, …

    July 11, 2016
  • Accessory to the fact: art in American Psycho

    Next year it will be 25 years since American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis; in that time various crimes have been exposed in the banking industry. So it seemed timely to reread. But it’s not just about greed and Wall Street. It’s about fashion, food, designer goods and popular music. It’s hardly about art at all, but …

    April 27, 2015
  • Photos: Museo Nacional de Escultura

    A National Sculpture Museum is to be found in a small city, some 200 km north of Madrid. But don’t expect too much marble, bronze or mixed media here in Valladolid. During their golden age, Spain’s sculptors worked in wood. Presenting exhibit A: close up of a sizeable tiered seating arrangement for a church choir. Its makers …

    September 3, 2014
  • The Martin Creed Band @ Brighton Festival

    Martin Creed has some good tunes. No, really. For the week following his gig in Brighton, there are still one or two which bounce around between the ears. His lyrics are to the point. Highlight of the show was a rendition of the alphabet, from “a-a a a a-a-a-a” through to “z-z z z z-z-z-z”. …

    May 12, 2014