Looking at Art-Language

Thursday 12 October 2017, 10.00AM to 7.00pm

Despite Art & Language’s prominence and reputation, key aspects of their output and legacy remain overshadowed by dominant histories and narratives of conceptual art practice. The importance of the collective’s contribution to the field of artists’ writings and publications, for example, should not be under-estimated, as recent exhibitions focusing on conceptual art in Britain have shown.

This one-day symposium, to be held at the University of York on Thursday 12th October 2017, will explore in particular the often under-considered journal Art-Language, published between 1969 and 1985 within the wider context of artists’ magazines and their production, distribution and consumption during this period. The periodical was originally conceived as a discursive platform for the group’s text-based work, circumventing the space of the gallery and questioning the status of the art object as static, museum-bound artefact. Yet Art-Language has been frequently overlooked or misunderstood, being read instead through its exhibition history, and the critical discourses which surround it. These often re-situate the journal in precisely the object-based frameworks of display and consumption that the collective sought to question and challenge.

Papers will seek to position Art-Language within the burgeoning field of the study of artists’ publications and their histories, and with particular interest in how magazines and journals come to be framed subsequent to their original production.

  • Reading Art-Language: The Publication in/as Art Practice (Ruth Blacksell, University of Reading/Kingston University)
  • ‘An Archive of Archives’: Tate’s Curatorial Framing of Art-Language and its Critical Reception (Louisa Lee, University of York/Tate)
  • Art & Language and the Repudiation of Magazine Art (Kim Charnley, Plymouth College of Art)
  • Conceptual Art, Art & Language, and Student Magazines, 1969-1979 (Mark Dennis, Coventry University)
  • Paper Politics: Internal Struggle in Art-Language, The Fox, and Red-Herring (Felix Vogel, University of Basel)
  • ‘The Delicate Nuances of Tone and Texture’: Art-Language, Artscribe and the Materiality of Meaning (Samuel Bibby, Association for Art History)
  • Conceptual Art History (Robert Bailey, University of Oklahoma)

More details on the conference website

Location: The Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building