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Photograph © Clay Perry, courtesy England & Co gallery, London

Gustav Metzger and David Medalla. Photograph © Clay Perry, courtesy England & Co gallery, London

‘London Art Worlds: Mobile, Contingent and Ephemeral Networks, 1960-1980’ is a day-long conference on Friday 29th November 2013 at the University of York.

Speakers: Elena Crippa (Tate), Antony Hudek (Liverpool John Moores), Dominic Johnson (QMUL), Carmen Juliá (Tate), Courtney J. Martin (Brown), Lucy Reynolds (Central St Martins), Joy Sleeman (UCL), Lisa Tickner (Courtauld Institute of Art), Andrew Wilson (Tate) and Isobel Whitelegg (Nottingham Contemporary).

Bringing together new research on the national and international networks that came to characterise the London art world during the 1960s and 1970s, this conference at the University of York aims to trace the many informal, impromptu and experimental relationships that exist alongside, and fragment, more established institutional histories of British art in this period. The day will explore a diversity of practices, movements and spaces, ranging from painting, sculpture and film through to land art, performance and activism, addressing in particular the impact of feminism, international exchange – specifically with Latin America – and changes in art education on the works produced during these two extremely lively and innovative decades, when understandings of the ‘art world’ were challenged and reformulated in multiple ways. Papers will include studies of Alexander Trocchi’s Sigma Project, Stephen Willat’s Control Magazine, Expanded Cinema at Gallery House, the emergence of the artist performance-lecture, and the performances of COUM Transmissions.

The symposium is kindly supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Centre for Modern Studies at the University of York.

The event is organised by Dr. Jo Applin, lecturer in the history of art at the University of York and two post-graduate researchers under her supervision, Catherine Spencer and Amy Tobin.

Jo is the author of Eccentric Objects: Rethinking Sculpture in 1960s America (Yale University Press, 2012) and Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field (Afterall and MIT Press, 2012). She has also recently published an essay  ‘When Attitudes Became Formless: Art and Antagonism in the Sixties’ in Dana Arnold and David Peters Corbett (eds), A Companion to British Art (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013).

Catherine Spencer is finishing her PhD and moving on to teach at the History of Art department at Edinburgh College of Art. In 2012 her essay ‘The Independent Group’s Anthropology of Ourselves’ was published in British Art in the Visual Field 1939-69 a special issue of Art History edited by David Peters Corbett and Lisa Tickner. Her PhD project is titled ‘Fieldwork: performing social science in North America, 1959-71’ and is fully-funded by the AHRC.

Amy Tobin is in the second year of her PhD titled ‘Working Apart, Working Together: Feminist artists and collaboration 1970-1985’ she is also funded by the AHRC. Amy has recently published in Jo Spence: The Final Project (London: Ridinghouse, 2013) and is also participating in the Courtauld Institute of Art research project, ‘Collaboration and its Discontents’.

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