This is Not an Art Show: On Mixed Forms of Visual Culture

Mary Anne Francis

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


More visual essay than artwork, this exhibition builds on Mary Anne Francis' recently published book, 'Mixed Forms of Visual Culture: From the Cabinet of Curiosities to Digital Diversity' (Bloomsbury 2021), with a wall-based text that finds hybrid forms in all kind of cultural spaces: from carnivals to cyborgs, gadgetry to gastronomy and agitprop to architecture. It asks us to review our thoughts about the hodgepodge when presented with the latter’s eclectic history.

Inevitably, perhaps, when this project is materialised as a sprawl of A4 printouts and old postcards, Aby Warburg’s 'Mnemosyne Atlas' is never far away. But here is an 'Atlas' – in its early stages – for the Anthropocene, which, in prospecting the creative principle of synthesis, regards that as productive and problematic.

Likewise, if 'Atlas' invokes the idea of taxonomy – via its themes and motifs – This is Not an Art Show refuses the comfort of the category as its organising principle. Decisions about what goes where have been outsourced to a randomising method in order to maximise the possibility of new forms emerging across existing hybrids. And formal mixture is extended further by the offer of a DIY version of the archive, which visitors can purchase at a modest price.

Presented as hard-copy, the essay has been made possible by two digital databases: Wikimedia Commons (to which a percentage of sales income will be donated) and ebay.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon UK
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventOnline talk on 'This is Not an Art Show: On Mixed Forms of Visual Culture' between Mary Anne Francis and Claire Scanlon - Online/ Handel Street Projects gallery, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Mar 202214 Mar 2022


  • Mixed Forms
  • Visual Essay
  • Visual Culture
  • Warburg's 'Atlas'
  • Creative Commons media
  • Cultural hybridity
  • Not Art


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