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HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH INFORMATION? Mark and Hannah Hayes-Westall have been working in, and writing about, contemporary art for almost 20 years. Each month they introduce an artist who should appear on your agenda

This month: FRANCES STARK LEFT Agonizing yet Blissful, 2001. Image courtesy of Galerie Buchholz, Cologne & Berlin BELOW, RIGHT Bobby Jesus’s Alma Mater b/w Reading the Book of David and/or Paying Attention is Free (Multichannel projection with sound, inkjet mural, and takeaway offset posters), 2013. Image courtesy Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles, photo by Brian Conley

her from producing art in the studio. The sex chat piece, My Best Thing came from exploring the fleetingly famous and famously rude Chat Roulette app, and while it began as a divertingly saucy pastime, the strength of feeling, and the wide ranging ‘post-coital’ conversations between the artist and two of her online partners, both Italians, led her to a piece of work that vividly captures both the sense of disenfranchisement of an underemployed generation (the suggestion being that the

“There’s just no separation for me in terms of what is personal and what is my art” What’s so interesting? In an age of oversharing, it’s rare that we are confronted with art work of a level of openness that causes us discomfort, rarer still that this openness is used as a teaching tool. But then it’s a rare teacher who admits that she herself is learning as she goes along, and it’s exactly this sentiment that informs Californian artist and poet Frances Stark’s work. Having risen to international attention with a film piece that recreated her own online sex chats in animation, she has just been awarded the prestigious Absolut Art Award, which funds an artist to create a piece of work and will soon present a ‘pedagogical opera’, an opera about the act of teaching. If an opera about the act of teaching sounds as if it might be a little dry, the artist herself makes this prospect unlikely. A self-confessed work-avoider, the surprisingly productive Stark has repeatedly found her way into interesting concepts and startling executions through the very things she is using to divert


THE CITY MAGAZINE | November 2015

reason so many people are in chat rooms is because they are not in work) and a new way of thinking about how friendships are formed with and without commercial platforms mediating them. Unsurprisingly, the piece was one of the most talked about at 2011’s Venice Biennale and continues to draw huge audiences on the rare occasions it is screened. Focused on understanding her own artistic motivations, Stark has said: “There’s

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The City Magazine November 2015  

Welcome to the latest edition of The City Magazine, celebrating the dynamism of the area and bringing you the latest features, articles and...

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