The artists ensnared by the capitalist system they affect to despise

A few years ago, the American artist Barbara Kruger covered the façade of Frankfurt’s Kaufhof department store with a pair of huge eyes. It was as if Big Brother had come out of retirement. Above that unsparing gaze was the slogan, in Kruger’s signature Futura bold italic font: ‘You want it. You buy it. You forget it.’ It was a typical work of art by Kruger. She made her career from what’s called culture jamming, subverting media messages by transforming them into their own anti-messages and by indicting the business of capitalism. In 1987, for instance, she took an advertising image of an all-American boy flexing his juvenile biceps before

Join the counter culture, continue Christmas

The great Joan Collins, this paper’s occasional diarist, was quick off the mark in putting up her Christmas decorations… around November, I recall. But the really sane and sensible thing to do is to go retro and be late taking them down. Today is, I need hardly say, the Twelfth Day of Christmas when the three wise men turned up at Bethlehem with their gold frankincense and myrrh. Happy Epiphany. But in happier days, viz, before Christmas was commercialised last century, and in even happier times before the Reformation, the season didn’t turn out like a light. It went into a kind of slow-burn right down to Candlemas on 2