John is a writer and critic based in London. He works through producing writing and criticism with a specialist interest in art, language and sign.
John read modern history and politics at the University of Florida, languages and history at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland and history and critical theory at the University of Michigan. These experiences were framed by an interest and engagement in social movements bracketed by '68 and '89. An existential migrant, new left Marxist and fan of Malkmus from early on, he worked in the early 1990s as an assistant to the artist William Wegman in New York and was fortunate then to play dog baseball with Fay and also come in contact with the work of Allen Ruppersberg, Rodney Graham and Mike Kelley. John has written on contemporary art and culture while living in London since 1996.
Active research interests include: the legacies of conceptual art in contemporary practices; post-studio practices, painting and performance; the status of the image; the practice of theory and theories of practice in art; and art, agency and politics.
John works through producing writing and criticism with a focus on the operations of art, language and sign within contemporary culture and economy. His practice is expressed in an equation – ideally balanced – comprised of the values and activities: writing+teaching+talking. He has written extensively on the work of Sarah Sze, Gillian Wearing, Michael Landy, Carey Young, Cullinan Richards, Allen Ruppersberg, Rodney Graham, Pipilotti Rist, Charles Avery and Becky Beasley and has regularly contributed essays, reviews and interviews to major art magazines and journals. For Slyce, the form of the interview is an important research method and essential starting point for his critical writing and engagement with an artist’s practice. John has taught and lectured widely across the UK and Europe since the 1990s.
Current and recent projects
John's research interests include the legacy of conceptualism and the trajectory of practices centered on the move from studio to a post-studio condition and contemporary modes of art production, circulation and display. He is interested in expansive practices and approaches to painting in this context and elaborating an expanded frame for painting as well as what its post-object conditions might be.
Publications, exhibitions, other outcomes
Books and monographs
‘We have the technology: The conditions of art and its experience in a would-be age of the technological sublime’, in More Than Real: Art in the Digital Age, London: Koenig Books, 2018
Size Matters! (De)Growth of the 21st Century Art Museum, London: Koenig Books, 2017
“Oscar Murillo” and “Yelena Popova”, in Vitamin P3, London: Phaidon, 2016
“Werner Büttner and the Melodic Tactics of Subversive Affirmation: an introduction,” in Werner Büttner: Coincidence in Splendour, London: Blackdog, 2016
“A World Drawn: An Introduction to the art of Julian Opie (for a Polish Audience,)” in Julian Opie: Sculptures, Paintings, Films, Kraków: MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art Kraków), 2015
The Fox: A Reprint Series, numbers 1-3, with Arnaud Desjardin and The Everyday Press, London, 2014
“Adventures Close to Home, or The Conditions of Possibility from Then to Now: London and the 1990s to Now,” Artworld Series: Contemporary Art: UK, London: Blackdog, 2014
Artworld Series: Contemporary Art: North America, London: Blackdog, 2011
‘Allen Ruppersberg: Something Out of the Ordinary’, in Allen Ruppersberg: You and Me or The Art of Give and Take, Santa Monica Museum of Art/JP Ringier, 2009
‘The Travelling Scholar’ in British Weathervanes by R. Graham, London: Whitechapel Art Gallery and Christine Burgin Gallery, New York, and Donald Young, Chicago, 2009
Selected Catalogue essays
All art is local: Tom Hunter’s Unheralded Stories, Purdy Hicks, London, 2010
Christopher Orr: Time is the Diamond, Artsway, 2010
‘Becky Beasley: Vermischte Bemerkungen: Correspondences’, in the artist’s book Thomas Bernard Malamud, 2009
Pipilotti Rist: Video Organism, Museum Boijmans, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2009
Allen Ruppersberg: Something Out of the Ordinary, Camden Arts Centre, London, 2008
Surveying the surveillance – the art of Andrew Kearney, Gallway Arts Centre, Ireland, 2008
Peter Kennard: A Conversation, Pump House Gallery, London, 2008
Selected articles, reviews and interviews
'Elaine Sturtevant 1924-2014', Art Monthly, No. 377 June 2014, p 15
'Hanne Darboven', Art Monthly, No. 355 May 2012, pp 18-19
'Mike Kelley 1954-2012', Art Monthly, No. 354 March 2012, p 21
'Letter from Paris, Carte Blanche at the Palais de Tokyo', in Art Monthly, No. 342 December 2010
'Michael Fullerton: Columbia, Chisenhale Gallery', Flash Art, vol. XLIII No. 275, Nov-Dec 2010, p 102
'Becky Beasley, P.A.N.O.R.A.M.A. 2010', Portfolio, #52 Autumn 2010, pp 20-25
'Barbaric Freedom, Simon Lee Gallery', Flash Art, vol. XLIII No. 274, October 2010, p 120
'Vertical Integration: Armando Andrade Tudela’s Esquinas', Kaleidescope, issue 5, Feb-Mar 2010, pp 130-133
Interview with Seth Siegelaub, ‘The Contract’, part two in Art Monthly, No. 328 July-August 2009, pp 11-13
Interview with Seth Siegelaub, ‘The Playmaker’, part one in Art Monthly, No. 327 June 2009, pp 1-6
Interview with Liam Gillick, ‘Recuperating Modernism’, Art Monthly, No. 324 March 2009, pp 1-10
'Muzi Quawson: Pull Back the Shade', Portfolio, #48 Autumn 2008, pp 56-63
- Member of the advisory board of the Verbier Art Summit since its inception.
- Editor for the journal Bedeutung during its run and served as an editorial advisor for Blackdog Publishing and its Artworld Series, which surveyed global contemporary practice.
- Nominator and contributor to Phaidon’s edition on contemporary painting practices in Vitamin P3 and has also served as a nominator for the Deutsche Börse Prize in photography.