Visual Arts

Visual Arts

"What do you think an artist is? He’s a political being, constantly alive to heartrending, fiery, or happy events, to which he responds in every way. No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war, for attack and defense against the enemy."

Pablo Picasso

Because Them's The Rules, Anon, HMP Kirklevington Grange
Monday, 14 March 2016 20:24

Because them's the rules

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'As part of a drawing project I had to draw a view from a window. Security allowed me to do this but I was not allowed to draw the wall. I decided to replace it with the lines to the outline of the wall, following the rules, but still getting…
Fish and Chips by the ADS 2015 and by Fred Laidler, 1948
K2_PUBLISHED_ON Saturday, 05 March 2016 21:44

The Pitmen Painters and the Ashington District Star

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Not all art is encased in gilt frames in galleries. An extraordinary arts collective has been developed in Ashington, Northumberland, where the Ashington Group - commonly known as the Pitmen Painters - worked in the 1930s. Michael Flynn and Julian Germain tell the story of how a remarkable photographic art…
K2_PUBLISHED_ON Monday, 04 January 2016 21:45

Artist and Empire

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Mike Quille explores the relations between art, politics and empire, in the current Artist and Empire exhibition at Tate Britain. Has there ever been a more successful engine of global exploitation than the British Empire? And has any other empire been better at reframing that exploitation as benevolent paternalism, moral…
Unofficial War Artist: Peter Kennard at the IWA
Friday, 11 December 2015 00:00

Unofficial War Artist: Peter Kennard at the IWA

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“The people’s peace museum” is Peter Kennard’s suggested name change for the Imperial War Museum, where his stunning images are currently on display. If Kennard ever does get his way on that one, it will be partly thanks to his 50-year artistic campaign of militant anti-war and anti-capitalist activism, the…
Thursday, 10 December 2015 23:38

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

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Although he has used a wide variety of media, Jeremy Deller is perhaps best known for orchestrating large numbers of the public to create artworks such as his collaboration with ex-miners to re-enact the Battle of Orgreave in 2001. In his current exhibition and catalogue, 'All That Is Solid Melts…
Thursday, 26 November 2015 18:33

Art and the Bolshevik Revolution

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How did the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 affect art and artists? It did so at every level: art education, production, patronage, distribution and reception were all transformed. Fierce debates about the form and function of art in the new worker state raised fundamental issues; from these stemmed so rich a…
Thursday, 26 November 2015 01:38

The Communist Vision of Ai Weiwei

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Is Ai Weiwei the most famous artist in the world? If so, it’s not because of his art but because of his celebrity status as a political dissident who’s been carefully shoehorned by the media — and sections of the cultural establishment, judging from some of the accompanying notes to this…
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