Socialist Review

Banksy "Out of Context"

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Kezler Gallery, the Hamptons, US

Above is a picture of street artist Banksy's "Stop and Search", a mural in Bethlehem, Palestine. Except that it is no longer in Palestine - it's been removed to be exhibited and sold on at a gallery in the Hamptons, an upmarket area near New York in the US. The current asking price is $450,000.

It is not the only work by Banksy that has been stolen from Palestine.


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Syrian revolutionaries are using every weapon at their disposal to resist the regime of Bashar al-Assad - including cartoons. In the comic strip reproduced above, Bashar al-Assad tickles the sleeping dragon of sectarianism, only for it to swallow him whole. In this case, a picture paints a complex political situation.

As the regime has heavily censored the press for years, Syrian artists have a long tradition of using metaphorical imagery to convey dissent. Now, as the armed struggle intensifies, that creative artistry has been unleashed.

John Heartfield Photo montages

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Tate Modern currently has a display of 54 works by the German artist John Heartfield (1891-1968).

Heartfield pioneered photomontage and used the technique of cutting up and combining photographic images to strong political effect. His most famous works were powerful satirical attacks on Hitler and the Nazis.

Heartfield was born Helmut Herzfelde. He anglicised his name during the First World War in protest against German nationalism.

The inside story: Waving or drowning?

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Considering the state of the UK economy, the figures for employment appear to present a paradox. While GDP has fallen by around 4 percent since the start of the slump in early 2008, employment is down by less than 1 percent over the same timescale. And the latest official figures show that employment has actually increased over recent months. What is going on? How can the economy have flat-lined, while employment seems to be holding up?

If we look behind the headline figures, we'll see that a number of factors are involved. Together they point to the conclusion that the labour market is nowhere near as healthy as it seems.

The End of Oil

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Edward Burtynsky says that the main aim of his work is to depict nature transformed through industry. Over a long career he has photographed mines, quarries, scrapyards, shipyards, recycling yards, refineries, oil fields and oil spills, factories and urban landscapes.

Through these images he attempts to show us places that are outside most people's normal experience, but whose output is central to our daily lives. These landscapes are often scarred and damaged by industrial development - but Burtynsky's photographs are often hauntingly beautiful.

Summer of culture

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Our round-up of some of this summer's cultural highlights

Total Recall
Out 3 August

The 1990 film adaptation of Philip K Dick's short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale", starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as forgetful fugitive Douglas Quaid, was a huge hit.

This reboot of Total Recall stars Colin Farrell and will try to put some of the political punch back into Dick's sci-fi romp.

Extraordinary Life

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Stephen Jay Gould, who died in 2002, was among the great scientists of his generation. Socialist Review spoke to Steven Rose, co-editor of a new collection of Gould's essays.

Interest in Charles Darwin's theory of evolution among those on the left stretches back a long way. Karl Marx wrote of Darwin's Origin of Species, "Although it is developed in the crude English style, this is a book which contains the basis in natural history for our views."


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