Fine Art Book Announcements News and Information That Means Business

Afterall issue 35 published

Afterall presents issue 35, spring 2014, which examines art’s relationship to its economic context. Through the work of Olga Chernysheva, Teatro da Vertigem and Tony Chakar we look at art’s capacity to challenge the commodification of life under late capitalism, while accompanying essays reflect upon the conditions of circulation and appreciation of art, and its entanglement within the systems of value that it often aims to critique.

Afterall issue 35Shepherd Steiner unravels the construction of financial and cultural values in Helen Frankenthaler‘s posthumous 2012 exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York, arguing that criticism is not immune to the circulation of art as finance capital. His call to consider artistic practice in relation to conditions of production, interpretation and presentation resonates with Eric Golo Stone‘s assessment of the exhibition Services: The Conditions and Relations of Service Provision in Contemporary Project Oriented Artistic Practice (1994–97), led by Andrea Fraser and Helmut Draxler. Focusing on the working discussions that preceded the exhibition, Stone analyses the significance of the project for current discussions around artistic labour.

In her drawings, photographs and films, Olga Chernysheva contests the commodification of both discourse and form. Situating her work in relation to nineteenth-century Russian realism and humanist Marxism, Ekaterina Degot suggests that Chernysheva challenges the false dichotomy between realism and modernism. Likewise, Robert Bird views Chernysheva’s film portraits as working against the grain of ideological representations of the Russian underclasses. How today’s market economy threatens to colonise all aspects of daily life is also a key concern for Brazilian theatre collective Teatro da Vertigem. Diana Taylor discusses their production Bom Retiro 958 metros (2012), a performance that analyses the economy of desire in a São Paulo commercial district, while Marcos Moraes examines the group’s aesthetic strategies, and how their interventions in the city of São Paulo comment upon the contemporary metropolis.

In her essay on Max Ophüls’s last film, Lola Montès (1955), Laura Mulvey considers another form of commodification: the cinematic construction of woman as spectacle. Tracing the parallels between Lola Montez’s compulsion to move from lover to lover, her daily re-enactment of her own life story as a circus performance, and the repetition at the root of cinematic reproduction, Mulvey presents Ophüls’s film as a critical reflection upon the economy of cinema. Brigid Doherty, on the other hand, examines how the parameters of authorship and originality that govern the economy of art were challenged in Rosemarie Trockel‘s recent exhibition A Cosmos (2012–13), which presented the artist’s own works alongside artworks and objects made by others.

The practice of Lebanese writer, artist and architect Tony Chakar marks an attempt to articulate the experience of Lebanon’s many recent wars without resorting to the production of marketable art objects. In a moving essay, Chakar writes about the weight of the past in Beirut today, while Haig Aivazian discusses the artist’s use of images as religious icons with ‘messianic potential.’ Finally, Filipa Oliveira looks at another example of the intersection between history and architecture in her study of Ângela Ferreira‘s Zip Zap Circus School (2002–03), which recuperated an unrealised architectural plan by fellow Mozambican-Portuguese Pancho Guedes. Focusing on the project’s intricate itinerary, as it fluctuated between architecture and sculpture and between Europe and Africa, Oliveira stresses its attempt to reject the marketing of modernism within contemporary art practice.

This spring Afterall Books is also proud to present the fifth publication in its “Exhibition Histories” series, Exhibition as Social Intervention: ‘Culture in Action’ 1993, as well as two One Work titles: Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer’s Lee Lozano: Dropout Piece and Craig Burnett’s Philip Guston: The Studio. On 11–13 April we will celebrate the London launch of Making Art Global (Part 2): ‘Magiciens de la Terre’ 1989 at Tate Modern, involving a series of screenings based upon the Centre Pompidou’s original film programme with accompanying debate. The next guest in our “Exhibition Histories” Talks series, co-organised with the Whitechapel Gallery, London, is curator Clémentine Deliss (19 June).

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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *