Art

Art and revolution

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Sacha Ismail reviews the Tate Modern’s exhibition of paintings and sculpture by Liubov Popova and Aleksandr Rodchenko.

“We must be consciously proud that we live in this great new epoch, the epoch of grand undertaking... We must break from the past because we do not believe in it any more, because its premises are not acceptable, and we will create the new ones.” Liubov Popova

Sacha Ismail reviews the Tate Modern’s exhibition of paintings and sculpture by Liubov Popova and Aleksandr Rodchenko.

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Dreaming of human liberation

By David Broder

A recent exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, Undercover Surrealism, conveyed the redundancy of surrealist art — why would we be “shocked” by works which have been ripped off and imitated by a million ad campaigns? In the wake of World War One, surrealists tried to attack the destructive logic of bourgeois rule, and instead idealised what lay within the human imagination. Nowadays, Surrealism might seem less of a cutting response to bourgeois culture than a rather quaint throwback to an age of pretentious artist-theorists.

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The Artist and Communard

Mike Rowley reviews The impressionists (Channel 4)

This programme made a refreshing change from Channel Four's usual. It showed that it is possible to talk about art accessibly for two hours without becoming tedious. The most "political" of the four major figures considered was Gustave Courbet, the great precursor of Impressionism.

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Robert Frank

Now showing at Tate Modern London, until 23 January 2005, is a very comprehensive exhibition of the work of photographer Robert Frank.

His groundbreaking documentary work of the 50s came together in his book The Americans. For two years he travelled America taking pictures: they showed the diversity and the social divisions of the American people in a changing society. They also showed individuality. Above “New York City” 1955.

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The ideology of Monet and Rolf

Lucy Clement asks, is the consumption of art elitist? And why?

The headline said "Britons can't tell Rolf Harris from Monet". That was a little unfair: in the survey in question only seven per cent had thought Rolf painted Waterlilies. Mind you, almost half didn't know that Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, and only 15% knew the artist behind the Scream.

But the survey - carried out by the Encyclopaedia Britannica, presumably for purposes of peddling their website subscriptions - was revealing in other ways. It found that forty-three per cent of the people questioned had never visited an art gallery in their lives.

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John Berger and seeing politically

Author: 

Hugh Daniels

Since the death of John Berger on 2 January the bourgeois press has squirmed over the task of commemorating a major public figure who was also a lifelong Marxist. Some have responded by simply attacking him.

As demonstrated in his seminal 1972 BBC TV series (and accompanying book) Ways of Seeing, John Berger shared the period’s wariness about the dangers of seductive ideologies. However he responded by encouraging us to locate contradictions and complexities within our experience of the world, rather than keeping our distance.

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Autocollants: the public face of the activist

Author: 

Beth Redmond

Workers' Liberty has produced a set autocollants (political stickers, widely used in other countries but not until now in Britain: see here)

In his book on autocollants, Zvonimir Novak argues that in France, progressively over the last 40 years, the autocollant has become the “means of expression of those who do not have access to the mainstream media”.

Buy a batch of the new Workers' Liberty autocollants, and get your socialist message out and about!

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William Morris in political context

Author: 

Michéal MacEoin

The William Morris exhibition Anarchy & Beauty at the National Portrait Gallery is well worth a visit for anyone interested in Morris, his art, and the late nineteenth-century socialist movement.

The William Morris exhibition Anarchy & Beauty at the National Portrait Gallery is well worth a visit for anyone interested in Morris, his art, and the late nineteenth-century socialist movement.

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The gothic reaction to industrial capitalism

Author: 

Luke Hardy

What have Karl Marx, Dracula, a modern robotic production line and St Pancras station got in common? According to Andrew Dixon they all have more then a touch of the gothic about them.

In this three part series, Dixon makes a convincing and fascinating case that the gothic sensibility has become a way of responding to and critiquing industrial capitalism and the urbanism, technology and pollution that comes with it.

A review of The Art of the Gothic, BBC 4.

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Between art and activism

Author: 

Luke Neal

As the Labour and Conservative parties staged their annual conferences, an exhibition entitled Politika: Art & the Affairs of the City was staged in a former cotton mill in Ancoats, Manchester.

Curated by the “insurgent art activist” collective Upper Space, 20 artists put on a programme of workshops, speakers and activities “to generate starting points for an answer, another view, in order to to sustain another ideology against consumerism and the disempowerment that it represents”.

A review of Politika: Art & the Affairs of the City, an exhibition staged in a former cotton mill in Ancoats, Manchester.

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