Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Category: The Art Newspaper

Pedro Reyes

The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Pedro Reyes1

Cynical commentators often point out that politically activist or socially-engaged art isn’t going to save the world. The position has become something of a truism, even among proponents of the genre. The question, these days, is just what can art achieve? Read the rest of this entry »

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What Nerve!

Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence

What_Nerve-Nutt-Her_Face_Fits

Jim Nutt, Her Face Fits, 1968

The rambunctious exhibition “What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present” began life as an idea for a show about the Hairy Who. Seeking to broaden the scope of the project, curator Dan Nadel traced the lines of influence around the 1960s group of Chicago Imagists to include an alternative, subversive history of modern art that is little studied in art colleges and under-represented in museum collections. Read the rest of this entry »

Allen Ruppersberg

Ruppersberg hotel

At 6am on 9 February, 1971, Allen Ruppersberg was thrown out of bed onto the floor of his studio. Later, he would learn that the 6.6 magnitude earthquake – Los Angeles’ worst in decades – had killed 64 people and caused half a billion dollars in damage. It also delayed construction of the new California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), 30 miles north of Los Angeles in Valencia. When CalArts finally occupied its new building in November that year, the progressive school ushered in a new era for Los Angeles’ art world. Read the rest of this entry »

Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer, Problem Painting, 2011
© Urs Fischer Photo by Mats Nordman

Your new series of silkscreens, ‘Problem Paintings’, overlays Hollywood publicity shots with objects such as screws, nails, fruit and vegetables. Has Hollywood always been an influence?

I think you’d have to live in the forest not to have been influenced by Hollywood. You turn on a TV and you’re in Hollywood. I think the entertainment industry and advertising industry shapes everybody these days. It’s like the Catholic Church; Hollywood is like the Vatican. It shapes how you imagine the world to be, who you want to be, what’s good, what’s bad. But that’s for all of us. So, to answer your question, no more than anybody else. Read the rest of this entry »