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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

Richard Hylton

Research Outcomes

Outcome 1 - Doublethink: The Art of Donald Rodney
Doublethink presents the first in-depth assessment of the work by the late Donald Rodney. Employing a wide range of art forms in which self-portraiture and the body are often conduits for wider social and political narratives, Rodney’s art refuses easy categorisation and can be as humorous as it is poignant.
Doublethink spans two decades (1983 and 1997), charting a chronology of works in painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, and photography. The book includes newly commissioned essays by Eddie Chambers and Virginia Nimarkoh which consider the formal aspects of Rodney’s art and the shifting artistic, social, and political contexts in which it was produced.


Outcome 2 - The Nature of the Beast
In this book the art world comes under a scrutiny that challenges many widely held assumptions around cultural diversity and the case for institutional support of Black artists’ activity. The Book charts cultural diversity’s various incarnations, from "ethnic arts" in the late 1970's, "black arts" in the 1980's, "new internationalism" in the 1990's and "culturally diverse arts" in the 21st century. It traces the struggles for power and representation and assesses the extent to which certain policies and initiatives might have assisted or hindered the progress of Black artists within the English gallery system.
The book raises wider questions about the political agenda behind New Labour’s promotion of an "inclusive society" and its effect on the Arts Council’s prioritization of cultural diversity in the arts.


Outcome 3 - Flying Down To Moscow
Over the past decade the contemporary art market has witnessed a significant global expansion through the proliferation of international exhibitions. No longer (if ever at all) can an easy dichotomy be made between public and private sectors of the art world. Within this context, the notion of a politically-motivated artistic practice - one which is premised on the transformative powers of art - appears if not untenable then certainly more problematic. How can artists aspire to be political and not duplicitous in a market environment in which commodity is the primary basis for production? What strategies might artists/producers seek to adopt that actively acknowledge both the limitations and possibilities for a "critical" practice? Can an embrace of market forces itself be a critical tool or strategy? Now that art institutions are seemingly embracing their own form of self-criticality, where does this leave the notion of an "outside" and a critical art practice?


Outcome 4 - Landscape Trauma in the Age of Scopophilia
Does the term "landscape" merely conjure up idyllic notions of the countryside? Or is the seemingly neverending industrial malaise in the countryside symptomatic of a broader crisis of identity that has begun to erode the distinctions between the metropolitan and the rural tradition?
Through processes of construction, destruction and reconfiguration, the exhibition catalogue Landscape Trauma in the Age of Scopophilia provokes a re-examination of our relationship to landscape - be it geographical, cultural or political - by examining the interplay between these different dimensions. Rejuvenating and expanding the subject of landscape, it presents spectacular illusions of scale and space, combining the macro and the micro, the scientific and the psychic.


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