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Editorial

Vale Every so often, even in sadness, it is the pleasure of an editor to thank colleagues for all their hard work and their wisdom. In May this year we said farewell to John Link, a contributing editor and long time writer for the New Art Examiner. His quality of mind is rarely equalled and we are happy to reprint …

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Speakeasy – Art, like life, is not fair

John Link ‘Regional artist’. Being called one is not much of a compliment. Still, it is better than being called provincial or minor. All three words mean about the same thing when they refer to artists. They mean being less than the best. Regional refers to being out of it, being cut off from the source of power due to …

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Sex, Pills and Crazy Women in American Movies

Scott Winfield Sublett Apart from Covid vaccines, the big pharmaceutical story in the US these days is the saga of Purdue Pharma, which has filed for bankruptcy and sooner or later will pay an enormous settlement to compensate for their wildly addictive pill OxyContin. It’s basically opium, peddled by street-level dealers in lab coats known as physicians. Historically, psychotropic drugs …

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Iain Baxter& & the Ampers&

  “Don’t look at this unless you’re ready for anything. Ok. Sit down and with a pair of scissors cut 4 inches off your tie and please mail it immediately to Iain Baxter Pres. N.E.Thing Co (address supplied)… Now you are ready for anything.” (N.E.Thing Co. 1967 Xerox.) Disclosure; I did cut 4 inches off my tie recently and sent …

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Katherine Anne Porter and the Spanish Flu

Frances Oliver We can have no idea what masterpiece, if any, will emerge from experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic. We do know that the ‘Spanish’ influenza of 1918 produced at least one classic, Katherine Anne Porter’s short story, Pale Horse, Pale Rider. The Spanish flu, another species-jumping virus, probably actually originated in America. Unlike with Covid-19, those who did not …

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Art for the Blind

Bridget Crowley Although it’s now 20 years since the introduction of audio-description of painting and sculpture in art galleries, this is still often the first question sighted people ask when I tell them that’s what I do. Before we go into the how, when and where, here are a few answers to the question from experts in the field – …

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Eat Bread and Salt and Speak the Truth

[Eat Bread and Salt and Speak the Truth (Хлеб-соль ешь, а правду-матку режь – old Russian proverb)] Al Jirikowic More often than not, critical analysis of much modern or postmodern art is stymied by its simplicity of appearance. Critically explained: the more seemingly simple or basically apparent the art is, the bigger the modernist or postmodernist mess or confusion there …

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Day of the Tentacle: Yayoi Kusama at Martin Gropius Bau

Christian Hain The retrospective of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at Gropius Bau starts in the employees’ parking lot (they do still have one, despite an outspoken political agenda that doesn’t exactly approve of private transport), where we find some trees transformed into a smurf-like village, or fly agaric-styled art objects. “Hard wood, wearing a (white and red-dotted) dress, wrapped up, …

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Displaced

Eleonora Schianchi Entering MAST, one has the impression of being teleported into another dimension, a feeling which might well be shared by anyone seeing this space for the first time. The modern and shiny building, designed by STUDIO LABICS (Rome) in 2005, is the last thing you would expect in an historical and very much lived-in city like Bologna. Inside …

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Pierre Alechinsky: Carta Canta

Sam Vangheluwe To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. Samuel Beckett Belgium is a beautiful city, in the words of the previous POTUS, Brussels, alas, is a hellhole. In these times of division, polarisation and discord, nationally and internationally, we Belgians shrug our schizophrenic shoulders and sigh. Belgium having so often …

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The History You Save May Be Your Own

Aleksander Hudzik What do you know about socialist realism? Perhaps that it was a weird aberration in art during the Cold War era, when nebbish Soviet artists were trying to depict life in a heavy handed manner like the sculptures of Kim Jong-il that adorn every square in Pyongyang. There were paintings of workers and tractors and factories and fields, …

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Contemporary Art in Galleries in Milan

Graziella Colombo Museums and exhibitions are open again in Milan. That’s why I’ve recently visited two different shows in two different galleries, trying to understand something more about contemporary art, which is often difficult for me to approach and appreciate to its full value and in its fullest expressive power. Mimmo Paladino is a very well known artist in Italy. …

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A New Look at Italy

Anna Maria Benedetti Painting in late 19th and early 20th-century Europe isn’t only about the avant-garde! In the second half of the 19th century, the impressionists mastered a revolution by eliminating non-naturalist subjects from painting with their ‘retinal painting’ (Duchamp). They eliminated past and future in time, reducing the present to the moment. Reality was what you saw. The inventio, …

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Laura Knight – A Celebration

Mary Fletcher This exhibition covers Laura Knight’s art from her early studies at Nottingham Art College to her work as a war artist. What a remarkable career she had and what a wide range of work. The book published to accompany the show has further pictures and essays and is edited by Elizabeth Knowles. We can see her colours brighten …

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That Special K.

Christian Hain There are many ways to write a biography, and different reasons for reading one. At the beginning of his comprehensive work on Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), Rüdiger Görner, German professor at London University, touches upon the difficulties in painting any ‘true’ portrait in written form, or for that matter a ‘painted’ one. Kokoschka himself admitted that his …

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