Una Mullally’s cultural highlight of 2016: ‘Grace Jones at the Olympia’

Culture review 2016: Post-truth, American fascism and white supremacy will affect art and pop culture for a long time

What were your cultural highlights for 2016?

Grace Jones at the Olympia was the gig of the year. Christine & the Queens at Glastonbury made flesh the viral TV performances that made her famous outside France. Anohni made a protest album of pure brutal beauty that no one saw coming. Tino Sehgal's Blank Cheque at Palais de Tokyo in Paris made audiences reimagine what an "exhibition" is and was so good I went three times. The opening of The Broad in LA heralded a very Los Angeles gallery and shows what super-rich people can do in the art world when they set their minds to it. Back home, Drop Everything was a stunning mix of art, place, weather, tunes, and people. I also loved James Vincent McMorrow's sophisticated We Move. Camera Person remains the must-see documentary of the year for me as well.

And what let you down?

The death of icons. It was all just so sad.

What was the dominant plot twist of 2016?

What post-truth and American fascism and white supremacy means for art and pop culture. I think the swerve into darkness the world took with Trump will colour art and culture for a long time, across film, television, protest art, hip hop, graphic novels, theatre and literature.

How did our centenary celebrations strike you?

I thought they went well overall, especially considering the fractious beginnings of the planning. Certainly the Easter Monday in Dublin was hopping. Hopefully the rhetoric surrounding how important artists are will translate into more funding to artists themselves. How other artists outside of officialdom took on the challenge of commemoration was especially interesting, from the female graffiti collective Minaw, to the TG4 series Eipic. I did feel that some of the cheesier moments we could have done without, the finale of the Centenary event at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre was a bit like ending Jurassic Park with Barney.


What will be your cultural resolution for 2017?

Read more, write more, party more. The world is in flames, we need to protest and party in equal measure and with love, anger and creativity.

2016 in three words

Go to hell.