Published  21/01/2013

Special issue 2008, Volume 207 Number 1030

Studio International Yearbook 2008

Special issue 2008, Volume 207 Number 1030.

Publisher: The Studio Trust
Content: 254 pages, full colour
Language: English
ISBN: 0962514187 (Hardcover).
Dimensions: 11.0 x 8.7 x 1.0 inches
Price: Hardcover: US $29.99, UK £24.99

Editor: Michael Spens
Deputy Editor: Dr Janet McKenzie
Creative Director: Martin Kennedy
Vice-President: Miguel Benavides

To order your copy please contact

Full contents list >>


This year Studio International expanded its coverage of the southern hemisphere. We featured the phenomenon of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art, which is driven by deep political and cultural necessity. The Aborigines’ pride in their culture and traditions in the face of their appalling treatment by white settlers from 1788 onwards has resulted in art with rare and powerful qualities. Studio International is committed to presenting contemporary Aboriginal art to an international audience, thus supporting scholarship in the field of Indigenous art in Australia, with its global implications for us all. From it, we can all learn and re-learn about our common humanity in an attempt to redress the wrongs of colonial history worldwide.

From Latin America came a significant article – an interview with the Director of the Bienal Internacional de Arte de São Paulo, Ivo Mesquita. Mesquita made typically frank observations about present-day biennales, which he said have developed a ‘circuit of repetition’. This is of significance to other international biennales, which continue, amid commercial and media hype, beyond their original catalytic role. Indeed, the Bienal de São Paulo this year was distinguished by an entire floor without any art exhibits at all: The Void. Mesquita explained that large exhibitions needed to be pared down to create space for the vital critical dimension of exhibitions; size should be limited in order for there to be ‘a conceptual axis connecting the works’. But the question remains, how in future will the global biennale movement be resuscitated or replaced?

The year 2008 has been one in which society also peered into the void in economic terms. We have included in this Yearbook several critiques of individual or group artists’ work. One British artist, Damien Hirst, cannily perceived the dilemma of art galleries and the saleroom. He held his own auction of works at Sotheby’s, London, in a prescient and profitable venture, which also witnessed the operation of a new phenomenon, the ‘art hedgefund’. The timing of the sale, within a day of steep declines in world stock markets, could not have been better.

As the economic crisis took hold, it was surprising how a certain serendipity prevailed, as exemplified in the paintings of Peter Doig, and the installation spaces of Roger Hiorns, an inspired commission by Artangel in London. With hindsight, Hiorns’ Seizure (2008) carries intimations of impending disaster. Elsewhere in Studio International, photography is well represented, with the Hayward Gallery’s masterly display of Rodchenko images, and by the sublime naturalism of Nick Howard’s photographs from York and nearby, reminiscent in their theatrical referencing and irony of the visual language of the filmmaker Antonioni from the 1960s. Related here, too, are the moving stills from Derek Jarman’s excellent Serpentine Gallery show, together with Nina Kellgren’s frozen image of his friends Isaac Julien and Tilda Swinton standing at Jarman’s grave in private memoriam of his stature.

Within the 2008 Yearbook one can readily make apposite connections from contemporary to historic works. For example, John Bellany’s exhibition of portraits, in the same volume as Lucas Cranach the Elder, reveal Bellany’s homage to the northern tradition in art and the abiding power of symbol, formal device and iconography, which, in spite of globalisation and the necessary redress of the imbalance of centre and periphery in culture (issues that are also addressed by Arthur Watson in remote Gaelic communities in Scotland), continues to link individuals both throughout the world and from different centuries. There are marvellous connections between the portrait Helen [Bellany] (1964) and St Helena and Self-Portrait (1966) and Cranach’s Portrait of Martin Luther (1525). We present different approaches by artists to the politics of war and peace: Richard Hamilton’s guntoting cowboy Tony Blair at the ready, trigger-happy for mass destruction with six-shooters, encapsulates that erstwhile warmongering image. American-born Australian artist William Kelly re-emphasises the longstanding social role of the ‘Artist as Peacemaker’, following Picasso’s own commitment. Kelly’s personal and literal revisiting of Guernica (1938) indicates how and where some artists still choose to go, whether commercially beneficial or not.

This unpredictable year has been one of bewildering transition. Creative sensibilities are stirring and new ethical tenets emerging, many free from curatorial predilections. New models are needed to replace the old and wilting stockades of the past half-century, aided by emerging networks of electronic communication and knowledge exchange. Studio International will continue to observe and report on these pivotal issues.

Michael Spens

Back to the top



  • The Art of Nothing: Ivo Mesquita and the Bienal Internacional de Arte de São Paulo
  • Down among the Bowery boys
  • The One and the Many: Carlos Ortiz and the Dance of Life
  • Chris Ware Builds Stories for Our Time
  • John Bellany, Exhibition of Portraits
  • Modern Painters: The Camden Town Group
  • Pallasmaa phenomenon
  • Revisiting Juan Soriano in Philadelphia
  • Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia
  • Face to Face – The Daros Collections
  • That Man from Rio: Celebrating Oscar Niemeyer’s Centennial
  • Alexander Rodchenko: Revolution in Photography
  • China Design Now
  • Derek Jarman: Brutal Beauty
  • Lucas Cranach
  • Mars Collects!
  • Papunya painting: out of the desert
  • Arthur Watson: poetic conceptualist
  • Peter Doig
  • Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons
  • The Hanging Gardens of Colas: Bernard Lassus
  • William Kelly – Artist as Peacemaker
  • A Runaway Girl at Home in New York: Louise Bourgeois at the Guggenheim
  • Art, Consciousness and Other Intractable Problems
  • Chantal Akerman
  • Richard Hamilton: ‘Protest pictures’
  • Medium or rare: the art-market grill
  • Museums in the 21st century
  • Oscar Muñoz: the Presence of the Absence
  • To Die For, images of Castle Howard on a certain day
  • Roger Hiorns: Seizure
  • Utopia: the genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye
  • Aboriginal women as ambassadors of art and culture
  • A Creative Transatlantic Tango Shapes the Modern World: Paris/New York, 1925–1940
  • A dish of local ingredients with regional flavour and international appeal
  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
  • Robin Rhode
Follow us twitter facebook instagram

Click on the pictures below to enlarge

Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum

After a residency prolonged by the pandemic, Veronica Ryan delivers a profound and playful selection...

Enough Is Definitely Enough – book review

As this captivating book shows, when Andrew Bracey asked 62 contemporary artists for their interpret...

Charlotte Keates – interview: ‘I want my paintings to feel more like d...

Charlotte Keates talks about her series of paintings in the group show Just What Is It …?, at Cris...

Eileen Agar: Angel of Anarchy

A packed retrospective of the surrealist fellow-traveller spirals off in all sort of directions, off...

Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty

Dubuffet’s curiosity and playfulness with serious and complex ideas shines through in this show, w...

El Anatsui: Art and Life – book review

Susan Mullin is both an expert on and a friend to the Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui. This second edit...

Tahnee Lonsdale: Under the Shell

In this solo exhibition, Tahnee Lonsdale presents 12 large oil paintings, produced this year, that p...

Walter Price: Pearl Lines

Walter Price’s works reflect the instability and unpredictability of our times, with the themes of...

Ryoji Ikeda

An ear-shredding, eye-rending survey of the audiovisual artist Ryoji Ikeda transforms data into engu...

Heather Phillipson: Rupture No 1: Blowtorching the Bitten Peach

This show is a fully sensate experience, a meditation of sorts on the state of the world that turns ...

Richard Hamilton: Respective

Richard Hamilton: Respective – Key works and a wealth of fascinating archive material make this sm...

The Making of Rodin

With about 200 items, including some of his best-known, most groundbreaking works, this exhibition d...

Bring Into Being

Mariam Zulfiqar, the curator of an exhibition of art installations at Chiswick House, says it marks ...

Black art matters: what not to miss in Miami

Miami Art Scene May 2021 – leading America’s obsessive, overdue, and necessarily over-weighted a...

Clare Woods – interview: ‘Fragility and vulnerability have always been...

Clare Woods talks about her new prints and collages, now on show at Cristea Roberts gallery in Londo...

Nina Hamnett and Lisa Brice

Charleston reopens with two exhibitions investigating the relationship between portraitist and model...

Alex Da Corte: As Long as the Sun Lasts

Alex Da Corte’s brightly coloured stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass installation, depictin...

Julian Opie – interview: ‘The work is about how we interpret and read ...

Julian Opie talks about travelling via Google Earth during lockdown, how colour blindness has shaped...

Challenging Convention

This exceptionally well-curated exhibition brings together four female artists, from a pivotal point...

Shara Hughes – interview: ‘I wanted the works to feel like figures you...

The American artist Shara Hughes talks about the new paintings in her exhibition at the Garden Museu...

Rafael Pérez Evans – interview: ‘Food contains a lot of emotion’

Rafael Pérez Evans talks about growing up in a farming community in rural Spain, queer and rural sh...

Night Fever: Designing Club Culture

With nightclubs facing massive uncertainty after more than a year of closure, the V&A Dundee’s exh...

Epilogue: Michael West’s Monochrome Climax

West’s willingness to take risks and reject stylistic uniformity shines through in this exhibition...

Kusama: Cosmic Nature

In a joyous coupling of art with nature, Yayoi Kusama’s cheering and restorative polka dots and pu...

Idris Khan – interview: ‘There was a struggle making these works’

Idris Khan talks about his new works at Victoria Miro, freaking out in lockdown and encapsulating a ...

Clare Patey – interview: ‘People don’t take humour seriously enough...

Clare Patey talks about 25 years of creating and producing powerful, participatory, public artworks ...

Art for SDGs: Kitakyushu Art Festival – Imagining Our Future

The premise of this 11-day festival is that art can draw attention to the state of our planet and pr...

Markus Lüpertz: Recent Paintings

A suite of new works by the German painter Markus Lüpertz, exploring the theme of Arcadia, mix insc...

Mika Tajima: Regulation

For her debut solo exhibition in the UK, the New York-based artist Mika Tajima focuses on the ways i...

Sam McKinniss: Country Western

A suite of works by the New York painter form a tribute to the stars of country music, the power of ...

studio international logo

Copyright © 1893–2021 Studio International Foundation.

The title Studio International is the property of the Studio International Foundation and, together with the content, are bound by copyright. All rights reserved.

twitter facebook instagram

Studio International is published by:
the Studio International Foundation, PO Box 1545,
New York, NY 10021-0043, USA