Art is the ultimate hustler: it will sidle up to anything which promises it access to experience, knowledge, or power. For evidence, one need only look at pairings between art and law, art and the environment, or art and business. How might we evaluate the limits of art’s claims to knowledge and the political potential of its interaction with knowledges beyond?
In the 1960s, the German Marxist activist Rudi Dutschke proposed that the road to the revolution would involve a ‘long march through the institutions’ first. A few decades on, Dutschke got what he wanted but the revolution isn’t coming. In its place, a reactionary backlash.
In Martine Syms’s art school-insider satire ‘The African Desperate’, clichés such as ‘the work’ or dramatic jeopardy are long gone. Everybody is trying so hard to look like they’re not trying that they nearly succeed.
Knee-jerk accusations of fascist thought and the refusal to embrace aesthetic ambiguity have meant that that ‘the left can’t meme’. It’s all Walter Benjamin’s fault – but artist like Joshua Citarealla and Monira Al Qadiri offer alternatives.
The Monkeypox outbreak exposes the failings of the technocratic biopolitical rule and the erosion of our ability to act as moral agents that plagued the Covid pandemic.
Sometimes, ‘it’s not race, it’s class’ is the correct response to inequality.
Documenta 15 reads like a series of creative workshops staged by corporate HR departments to boost loyalty at the lowest possible cost. Perhaps the next Documenta should be curated by an artist.
Kader Attia’s Still Present!, the 12th Berlin Biennale is an attempt to unpick the centuries-long threads of imperialism one by one in the hope that they can reconstitute a universe capable of averting its demise. But this is a vain hope.
This year’s Biennale is in denial of the circumstances that have forced the event to shift from odd to even years. To find artistic politics in Venice, one has to consider form and matter on their own terms: in the long term.
In the biennial, art could do all the things that we like to believe that art can do: deliver us from our concerns, transcend the limits of our imaginations, inspire us, give us hope. Art could do all those things. But often, it doesn’t.
Is the fiction of art’s economic value now the key measure of culture? Does it matter that we don’t understand the figures? What would Baudrillard say about NFTs? Can we hope to restore aesthetic ideas of value?
Class may be the ultimate English taboo. The understanding and signalling of class or other identity attributes may become an obstacle to classical class analysis. An entirely different political class narrative may be called for that transcends the boundaries of sociological understanding before returning to the discipline once again.
Are art and its institutions ready to desert from the culture wars and engage with the subconscious?There are many places that need to be occupied, but the museum is not on the list.
Contemporary art’s profound paradox: the drive to become more inclusive for its audiences ultimately contributed to the inequalities experienced by its workforce.
Are we witnessing a solidarity turn in art production? If artists are workers and workers are artists, who’s standing in solidarity with whom?Artistic solidarity could be a powerful tool, but only if it is twinned with a careful examination of the claims that art makes about its own needs, desires, and abilities.
Would Sohrab Shahid-Saless see his work succeed or fail in the cultural landscape of media, galleries and commentary today?
When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer… Eric Bristow’s only 27.
When Marshall McLuhan coined the term ‘global village’ in The Gutenberg Galaxy of 1962, he could not have imagined how quickly reality would outgrow the model he proposed.