Ai Weiwei – Human Rights Dissident – Environmentalist?

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has mounted 1200 bicycles in a magnificent floor to ceiling installation as part of a solo exhibition in Taipei. The artist likely has no environmental statement to make with this installation, but these days it is hard to look at so many bicycles without being put in mind of the …

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Why is environmentalism so unimportant? Thomas Hirschhorn at the Venice Biennale.

A couple of days of slogging hard through the Venice Biennale this year left one message – the environment doesn’t matter and neither do those concerned with ‘preserving’ it. I spent my days enjoying some wonderful art, being astonished by art that was bland or crass – or both – and looking for art that …

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What’s Your Fetish – People or Nature? Works by John Stezaker

I came across the work of John Stezaker in the latest issue of Ag Magazine.  Photographer, writer and critic Gerry Badger writes a review of an exhibit of Stezaker’s work at the Whitechapel Gallery. Of the images that you see here (from the series “Mask”), Badger says “By sticking a postcard over a face, and …

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Mitch Epstein and the Prix Pictet

Last week Mitch Epstein was announced as winner of this year’s Prix Pictet for his series American Power which was reviewed in this blog some time ago. The Prix Pictet is one of the most prestigious photography contests. This year’s theme was Growth and it is interesting that most of the photographers chosen as finalists …

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Trash – Again: The Art Of Huang Xu

It’s hard to imagine that the diaphanous forms created and photographed above are discarded plastic bags. Huang Xu, a Beijing born artist, collects plastic bags from the endless rubbish heaps now to be found in China and, using 3D scanners normally used by archeologists, digitally re-models them to create these wonderful images. Plastic bags are …

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The Best Art Can Happen By Accident – Barbara Kruger and the End of Plenty

Barbara Kruger asserts that her art may not be social commentary but simply ‘observation’.  Intentional or not, it comes across as commentary to most people – and pretty pointed commentary at that. The artist has, over the years, addressed many issues including women’s reproductive rights, how development squeezes out lower income people, etc., etc.  Our …

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What is American Power? – Mitch Epstein

In 2003, photographer Mitch Epstein was commissioned to do an unusual job. “I had been hired to photograph a town in the process of being erased. The American Electric Power Company had paid residents of Cheshire a lump sum to leave, never come back and never complain in the media or in court if they …

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Damien Hirst and Sustainability – What?

Damien Hirst – love him or hate him – is probably today’s wealthiest artist. Some say that he is a symbol of bad art and senseless consumption.  To my mind, he has probably done more than any other single artist to mock the very art world itself, turn its pretentions to his own personal advantage …

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Clever or Effective? The Work of Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan’s art examines the massiveness of our consumption and its effects.  In his artist’s statement he says “The pervasiveness of our consumerism holds a seductive kind of mob mentality. Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for …

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