Tag Archives: art magazines


29 Dec


(Originally written late 2011, obviously.)

For roughly every two advertisements promoting a UK art gallery in this magazine, there is one promoting a luxury clothing or jewellery brand. There are about 75 pages of advertising in this issue of Art Review, including 4 pages of advertiser directory listings. The magazine has 162 pages. It’s not until after page 100 that there are any UK advertisers from outside of London. The highest prestige positions and therefore the most expensive places for advertising are occupied by Cartier (inside front cover),  Investec (inside back cover) and Louis Vuitton (outside back cover). There are no less than nine different art fairs advertised in this one issue of the magazine and taking place over October, November and early December 2011.

This is unrelated except for the fact that it’s the same magazine: There’s a grocer’s apostrophe typo ON THE COVER, a quote from Tacita Dean “I don’t wan’t [sic] to know what I’m doing.” Can anybody tell me which two words “wan’t” might be contracted from? “Want not”? So she does not want not to know what she’s doing? Oh well, it’s not like the cover is the first part of a magazine that everyone sees– oh, wait, that’s exactly what it is. Plus it so happens that I don’t want to know what Tacita Dean is doing either, so she and I are alike in that regard. I learned something from this magazine. Continue reading


13 Apr

It’s an understatement so massive as to defy analogy when I say that I’m not a fan of Frieze’s corporate brand and their self-appointed role as corrupt policeman of “proper” contemporary art’s boundaries. I deal in my book with the magazine’s generally quite vile ethos, which I experienced first hand at Venice Biennale. I also discuss in the book my feelings about Frieze Art Fair; these feelings are not particularly warm and fuzzy either. I won’t repeat them here. Read the book. I’m reliably informed that Frieze’s senior bigwigs take violent exception to being criticised as well, one of the true hallmarks of a whacked-out despot. Naturally this makes any criticism one engages in much more enjoyable: Matthew Slotover as Kim Jong-Il via Team America, so ronery and ranting impotently about which uncooperative artists or gallerists he’s going to have “disappeared” from critical discourse…

However, a somewhat old (early 2009) but very interesting article by Dan Fox was dug up from Frieze’s archives by somebody on Metafilter yesterday. It’s a relatively long read, but it still manages to cover quite efficiently the art world’s various overt and covert interfaces with money and prestige, and to do some serious analysis of the art world’s and many artists’ enduring, perverse love affair with obfuscatory, artbollocks language.

Other highlights include:

Fox using Sally O’Reilly as a human shield to put a round in the forehead of Sarah Thornton’s glossy, Grazia-esque, drooling, “… and of course Damien was attracted to me…” starfucker book about contemporary artists, Seven Days in the Art World. O’Reilly: “To take [Takashi] Murakami as the subject of the studio visit chapter is rather like offering Turkish Delight as a typical foodstuff.” Nice one.

Some good advice to artists from Gilbert and George, of all people.

Reference to philosopher Nina Power’s view of what she calls “Nu-Language” to create illusory gravitas, complexity and engagement with ideas where none of these things truly exist; very much along the lines of my own views on that subject, and of George Orwell’s (discussed on this blog a while ago.)

Fox’s discussion of the art world’s uncanny ability to assimilate, neutralise and monetise resistance… and the romanticism of some artists themselves in imagining how effective their resistance is, or not as is more usually the case.

… and so on. No comments or discussion are allowed on the article itself of course: THIS! IS! FRIEEEEEEZE! <Kicks unimportant civilian art lover and their worthless pauper opinions into the pit.>

Intelligent comments and discussion beyond the clutch of Frieze’s cold, dead hand at Metafilter, though.

A Serious Business by Dan Fox, at Frieze:



12 Mar

Just a quick link without much commentary today, to something I wrote for a-n last summer but had completely forgotten about. It was a response to Lee Cavaliere’s Visions of the Future in the same magazine previously, so you might want to read that first.

While I understand that any manifesto is to some extent a provocation or a utopian document and while I do agree with some of Cavaliere’s points- perhaps even the majority of them- I also couldn’t resist taking the piss out of adolescent melodrama like “I will be allowed to paint” (yes, it is brutal and unjust the way those anti-paint squads come around every single time you pick up a brush, to kick in your door and defecate on your canvases. I mean, how do they even know?) or bourgeois, lefty drivel about the supposed truth that every human being is a unique and beautiful potential blossom with the nectar of creativity at their heart, e.g. “everyone will be allowed to sing and dance in public” (No thanks. That would be extremely inconvenient and annoying, or it would be like living in an episode of Glee that lasted your entire life, with no respite ever. In either case, a thousand times no. Not if I have any say in the matter or the  strength to resist such a ghastly development.)

“[1] Contrary to Cavaliere continuum, advertising and art became 
strictly separated, forming a particular contrast with the early 21st 
century’s rampant and mostly unpunished exploitation and plagiarism of 
the ideas and work of artists. The name for a person who creates art 
is “artist”. The name for a person who carries out the obsolete 
profession of “engineering improved sales for a product” is 
“advertiser”, not “creative” or “artist”. Artists never make work that 
resembles or could be mistaken for advertising, and vice versa. NB: 
advertising became extinct several centuries ago.


Read the rest at a-n.

But before you go, please note that I also love the standfirst saying

Artist, writer and ‘time traveller’, Alistair Gentry, responds to Lee Cavaliere’s Visions of the future.

with time traveller in those scare quotes, as if some of their readers might otherwise think I really was from the 26th century, or that the first Earth-Proxima Summit and the Deideation of the Eight Art Forms were real events. Indignant letter to the editor: “Dear a-n, I must complain in the strongest possible terms about your recent publication of work by an artist from the 26th century. Many artists born in the 20th century are struggling to make ends meet, find studio space and get their work exhibited, but now you are adding insult to injury by choosing to support a time traveller who works in a medium that doesn’t even exist yet. As a painter of seafront scenes and nice bunches of flowers who has not set foot in a contemporary art gallery for thirty years I already feel undervalued and marginalised by a-n’s constant coverage of contemporary art I don’t understand…”

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