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Afterall issue 34 published

Afterall present issue 34, Autumn/Winter 2013, which looks at the inscription of ideology, power and desire in cultural production through the work of Lene Berg, Mary Ellen Carroll, Lili Dujourie, Lucy McKenzie and Haegue Yang. Accompanying essays discuss questions of artistic and curatorial agency in Mike Kelley’s exhibition The Uncanny (1993/2004), the legacy of social realist painting in the Philippines and the challenges faced by museums in adapting to today’s experience economy.

Afterall issue 34Sabine Breitwieser reflects on the ability of large institutions to absorb once emancipatory formats such as performance and participatory art, asking how these works can contribute to rethinking the ways in which museums engage with their publics. The dangers of institutionalisation are also at the heart of Valerie Smith‘s analysis of Mike Kelley‘s exhibition The Uncanny, which considers how the criticality of the project became muted once the artist’s collections were privately acquired.

Kelley’s exploration of desire resonates with Lene Berg‘s recent film Kopfkino (2012), whose portrayal of a cast of female sex workers is interpreted by Ian White as a reflection on how images are made and consumed. In her essay on Lucy McKenzie‘s paintings and installations, Isla Leaver-Yap similarly explores how art and architecture project both desire and power. In addition, Victoria Kelley and Lucy McKenzie discuss McKenzie and Beca Lipscombe’s collaborative project on the history of the Scottish textile industry, The Inventors of Tradition (2011), reflecting on the construction of myth through style.

Cultural history is also a central concern in Lili Dujourie‘s practice. Anders Kreuger surveys the artist’s work as it has shifted from one material to the next over the past four decades, and Sinziana Ravini focuses on her re-writing of art history from a decidedly feminist perspective. Leire Vergara, on the other hand, considers Haegue Yang‘s tangential approach to history through literature, and her use of abstraction to give form to the pleasure of the text.

Mary Ellen Carroll often uses performative strategies and architectonic interventions to comment on specific social contexts. In prototype 180 (1999–ongoing), for instance, she rotated a house in Houston, Texas 180 degrees to address the city’s no-zoning policy. Gavin Kroeber writes about this project as dissecting the ideological underpinnings of urban planning and Ruth Noack, in turn, considers the use of humour in the artist’s practice more broadly.

Finally, Patrick D. Flores examines 1970s social realist painting from the Philippines, arguing that the historical imagination embodied in these works reflects the use of images in the process of colonisation. The legacy of the movement, he makes clear, is still palpable in today’s postcolonial discourse and practice.

It is with great sadness that Afterall mourns the passing of Ian White, who has contributed enormously to the journal over the years.

This autumn Afterall presents a single-work exhibition by Rodney Graham in the Lethaby Gallery at Central Saint Martins, London, on view until 9 November. The work, Phonokinetoscope (2001), is also the subject of a One Work book by Shepherd Steiner, which we have recently published alongside an e-book re-print of Bas Jan Ader: In Search of the Miraculous by Jan Verwoert. The next guests in our Exhibition Histories Talks series, co-organised with the Whitechapel Gallery, London, are curators Ruth Noack (12 December) and Jasia Reichardt (23 January 2014). Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz and Sabeth Buchmann’s One Work book Hélio Oiticica and Neville D’Almeida: Block-Experiments in Cosmococa will be launched on 20 November 2013 at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. See more details here.

Afterall journal is published by Central Saint Martins, London, in editorial partnership with M HKA, Antwerp and the Smart Museum of Art and the Open Practice Committee, University of Chicago, in collaboration with UNIA arteypensamiento, Seville, and in association with the University of Chicago Press.

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