rfm in print – reviews featured in latest issue of The Jackdaw

February 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Posted in art, musings, not bloody music | Leave a comment
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To any readers of The Jackdaw following the link to this blog published in the latest issue: hello, and thank you for visiting.  The usual topic of discussion at radiofreemidwich is experimental music, rather than visual art, but I hope you will find some musings of interest to you here.

To explain for the regulars: I have a lengthy and largely negative review of two recent art exhibitions featured in the March/April issue of The Jackdaw.  I lament the hopelessness of the Northern Art Prize at Leeds City Art Gallery and am a little less dismissive of Undone next door at the Henry Moore Institute.  The review expands on my suspicions of contemporary visual art, briefly alluded to before in the post about mainstream vs. underground below.

The Jackdaw describes itself on its website as follows:

…a bi-monthly paper founded in 2000.  Its purpose is to keep interested parties informed and entertained about aspects of art which are in the news.

By and large it’s pretty nasty and critical of many things, and especially of the art establishment which stinks like the rotting carcase it is.  If The Jackdaw isn’t amusing in parts then it has failed. It’s pretty childish sometimes too and do beware because parts of it are not entirely true – I’ll leave it up to you to believe whichever bits you like and to disregard the rest.

Some of it is serious. Some of it is just downright bad. Some issues are better than others. But no other art publication dares to be like it.

The last thing I want you to think is that The Jackdaw has an agenda. On the contrary, it doesn’t believe in anything at all…

This is largely accurate but overly self-deprecating.  The Jackdaw casts a deeply suspicious and refreshingly cynical eye over the contemporary art world.  The writing ranges from hilariously irreverent, scabrous satire to nostril-flaring polemics to closely argued, calmly considered reviews and articles.  I don’t always agree with everything it says, nor would you be expected to, but it is (almost) always well-informed and deeply passionate about its subject matter.  I usually read each issue from cover to cover on the day it arrives.

At £7 a throw for a black-and-white newsprint journal you may consider it expensive but, for obvious reasons, it carries few advertisements and attracts zero subsidy.  I suppose Private Eye is the closest comparable publication.  In the field of art, however, it is unique and your money is more wisely spent on this inky organ than on any of its vacuously glossy competitors.

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