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Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time
Service95 How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time

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The White Pube co founders Zarina Muhammad and Gabrielle de la Puente Zarina Muhammad and Gabrielle de la Puente © Maria Gorodeckaya

How The White Pube Is Revolutionising Art Criticism, One Searingly Honest Review At A Time

Hanging out in a London art school studio, eating dried mangoes, watching reality TV and chatting about the looming challenges of life as working-class creatives: two Fine Art undergraduates describe their founding of The White Pube as a villain origin story. The battery acid is a mixture of disenchantment, anti-elitism, and change – or, to put it in their language, 🏛️🤮😈.   

Zarina Muhammad and Gabrielle de la Puente founded art critique platform The White Pube in 2015 as a salty stinger against the often white, wrinkled, wealthy establishment of the art world. The name throws subtle shade at The White Cube – known as one of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries. De la Puente explains the distinction between The White Pube and traditional art criticism: 

“A lot of art criticism has an agenda,” she says. “A lot of critics are embedded in the gallery scene. The artists and everyone are trying to make each other look good so that everyone can keep their jobs and have fun at the openings when they bump into each other. We don’t care because we don’t go to those parties, so our writing has a certain honesty that doesn’t exist in other art criticism.” 

The White Pube is art criticism flipped on its head. It’s not just about art; the duo of what British Vogue termed “cowboy critics” discuss everything from video games, books and rollercoasters to episodes of Come Dine With Me and games of bingo. Gone are the bland five-star reviews; instead, the content feels like an intimate confession session at the pub with your friend – a very cool and cultured friend, that is, who won’t make you feel bad if you don’t know as much as they do. The duo want their content “to help make sense of what it means to exist because that’s a weird thing. So, of course, our criticism stretches around all sorts of cultural objects,” says De la Puente. 

Memorable articles from TWP include Can White People People Ever Be Radical?, Why Museums Are Bad Vibes, and Art! On The Underground, to name a few. Each article also comes with a podcast alternative to support the duo’s message of championing accessibility. 

Almost nine years later, the duo is on the brink of releasing their upcoming book: a profound exploration into the working conditions of artists amid a cost-of-living crisis, set to be unveiled in October 2024.  

I was curious to know their thoughts on the current state of the art world, and whether being a part of it has left them feeling disenfranchised. “The problems are so much bigger than one person can fix,” says De la Puente. “It just all needs to be ripped down and started again. It has got to a point where sometimes I have to remember why I enjoy any of it, and it’s taken this book to accept my answers to those questions and make peace with it.”  

“A part of me genuinely believes that there is not a healthy, equitable psychology under capitalism to produce art,” adds Muhammad. “I don’t know why artists of colour continue to create when so many of these institutions are so institutionally racist. This country is invested in that; in industrialised racism as a post-colonial project. Why do disabled artists continue to make art when society is so profoundly ableist? Why do people continue to make art against all logic?” 

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Despite their frustrations with the art world, Muhammad and De La Puente remain committed to supporting young creatives into the industry with The White Pube Creative Grant – a one-off £500 no-strings-attached grant for UK working-class creatives, given out monthly. It supports various art forms beyond writing, such as art, performance, music, craft, comedy and games.  

With this in mind, I wondered what their advice is for people from working-class backgrounds wanting to pursue a career in the creative industries. “Honestly, go to art school but still get a trade,” says Muhammad. “Get a trade or a marketable skill, a skill that you can use, because there is no way anyone makes money from art. It’s just crazy out there. So everyone has to have a second job. That’s not to say don’t go to art school, though. Your parents are right, it doesn’t make money. But you are going to do it anyway, and that’s fine!” 

“I know someone who is a plumber but also is the lead singer of a heavy metal band,” adds De la Puente. “They actually just broke up, but he\s fine because he has that safety net.” 

As for the future of The White Pube? The duo candidly acknowledges the ongoing challenge of attaining their own financial stability. “Both of us need to make a living wage so that we can pay rent and bills and continue to live this weird, creative existence that we find so much value in that capitalism doesn’t really value,” says Muhammad. “I think that’s the future. I don’t really want anything else beyond that.” 

The 5 Cultural Moments The White Pube Is Excited For In 2024 

  1. The Philip Guston exhibition at Tate Modern – on until 5 February. 
  1. Comedian Sam Campbell’s 2024 tour – 2 February-28 March. 
  1. The release of Dune: Part Two – 1 March. 
  1. Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival – 7-10 March. 
  1. Holly Gramazio’s book The Husbands – out 4 April. 

Jamie Styles is Digital Editorial Assistant at Service95 

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