Art

Disobedient Objects

Author: 

Rachael Barnes

The Disobedient Objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, emits a strange atmosphere. It is a curation of works, or “objects” which have contributed to social change, collected over the last three decades.

V&A exhibition of objects which have contributed to social change.

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Art and Anarchy

According to the curators Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning and artistic director David McKean, the exhibition explores the British Library’s collection of comics and plumbs the depths of private collections, to show the history of British sequential art, as well as its writers and artists. It partially succeeds.

The curators wanted to show the political history of comics, the medium’s ability to subvert, and its role as a medium for analysing class, sexuality and ethnicity, not to mention the many occasions when it has become the subject of political battles.

A review of the Comics Unleashed: Art and Anarchy in the UK exhibition at the British Library.

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"Left-wing cartoons and comics offer unique view of mid-20th century"

In an article originally published by the Labor and Working-Class History Association in the USA, labour historian and expert on socialist and radical cartoons and comic art Paul Buhle reviews Workers' Liberty's new collection of socialist cartoons.

This review was originally published by the Labor and Working-Class History Association, and appears on their website here. To orders copies of the book, click here.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

All that is solid melts into air

Jeremy Deller is a populist artist in the best sense of the word.

His 2012 retrospective was entitled ‘Joy in People’ and his works are often concerned with everyday life and the things people do with their leisure.

A review of ‘All that is solid melts into air’, an exhibition by Jeremy Deller at Manchester Art Gallery and touring.

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Claiming our lives

Vicki Morris reviews a major exhibition of works by Nottingham-born artist Paul Waplington.


The Paul Waplington exhibition at Nottingham Castle showed works from what the exhibition notes call “a recent but by-gone age”, the 1970s and 80s.

A Central TV documentary about Waplington, broadcast in 1984, forms part of the exhibition. In it the artist comes across as the original “Grumpy Old Man”, mourning the passing of this by-gone, almost golden, past.

A review of a major exhibition of works by Nottingham-born artist Paul Waplington.

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New book portrays an era

Between the 1930s and the 1950s the revolutionary socialist press in the USA had talented cartoonists such as “Carlo” (Jesse Cohen).

A new collection of their work gives a snapshot history of the times — the rise of the mass trade union movement in the USA, the great strike wave of 1945-6, the fight against "Jim Crow" racism, World War Two, the imposition of Stalinism on Eastern Europe...

It puts socialist policy proposals — opening the books of the corporations, organising workers' defence guards... — in vivid form.

A new book showcasing the work of cartoonists in the American revolutionary socialist press from the 1930's to the 1950's.

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Paul Klee: the quiet revolutionary

This exhibition is expansive, comprehensive, chronological, and as well-ordered as the work on display. All that is good.

However, I felt less inspired than I thought I would be. Klee should be my thing. Early 20th century, modernist, hated by the Nazis — what’s not to like?

In truth nothing here is not to like. Klee’s vast collection of work, in slightly different styles at different points in his life, shows him to be an artist who was constantly experimenting and pushing at boundaries.

A review of Paul Klee, an exhibition at the Tate Modern, London (until 9 March 2014).

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Why art fairs are thriving

“Frieze Art Fair” was held in Regent’s Park, London, from 17 to 20 October. Solidarity asked Lisa Le Feuvre, an art curator, about it. The interview started with Lisa putting a question to Solidarity.


Lisa Le Feuvre: My first response would be to ask Solidarity why you are choosing Frieze Art Fair as the impetus to talk about art, given that this is the most commercial side of art?

An interview with art curator Lisa Le Feuvre about the “Frieze Art Fair” held in Regent’s Park, London.

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The spirit of utopia and the art of healing

“Sanatorium” is one of ten installations that make up the Whitechapel Gallery’s summer exhibition, “The Spirit of Utopia”. The title alludes to Ernst Bloch’s three volumes, written in 1917. The exhibition is described as “a remarkable series of installations and events [which] engage us in playful, provocative and creatively pragmatic models for social change”. Here, Isobel Urquhart reviews “Sanatorium”.

A review of “Sanatorium”, one of ten installations that make up the Whitechapel Gallery’s summer exhibition “The Spirit of Utopia”.

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