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Jonathan Monk's ICA show is the best of a type of work that is not meant to last. If the art world still liked isms, this idea would be called ephemeralism

By Ben Lewis   December 2005

Nowadays in the world of contemporary art it is necessary to be able to distinguish between the slight and the ephemeral. The slight is a quickly and easily made work of art that costs a lot of money and makes a small or tired point. The ephemeral is a quickly and easily made work of art which uses the aesthetic of the transient and makeshift. It’s the conceptual art version of the doodle and of Cartier-Bresson’s photographic “decisive moment.” It’s such a distinctive and recent genre of artistic activity that, were it still a fashionable thing to do in the…

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