The John Hansard Gallery (University of Southampton) has recently opened its new exhibition, Anti-Academy, which runs until 18 January 2014. The exhibition presents three installations bringing together the ideas, processes and materials of radical art educational models. These ‘schools’, which emerged during the 1960s, each in different ways and in different geographical contexts, are known as: Bigakkō, Tokyo (installation by Yoshiko Shimada), the Intermedia Program, School of Art and Art History, at the University of Iowa (installation by Cornelia Schmidt-Bleek), and the Ex-School, Copenhagen (film by Alice Maude-Roxby and Tom Chick).
A symposium was held for the launch of the exhibition on 23 November 2013, which was attended by Alice Maude-Roxby (curator of Anti-Academy, and Head of Photography, Falmouth University), Yoshiko Shimada (artist and curator of Bigakko section of Anti-Academy), Cornelia Schmidt-Bleek (artist and curator of Intermedia section of Anti-Academy), Tania Ørum (Department for Cultural Studies and the Arts, University of Copenhagen), Sunil Manghani (Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton), John Reardon (Dept. of Politics, Goldsmiths College, University of London), Verina Gfader (Research Fellow in Cultural Theory, University of Huddersfield), Dean Kenning (Post-Doctoral Researcher, Dept of Fine Art, Kingston University), and Joan Giroux (Associate Chair, Art & Design Dept., Columbia College, Chicago). There was wide ranging discussion, with many issues resonating with contemporary concerns about the individual and collective (and the anonymity of group engagement), arts experimentation, and the perennial concerns of art, society and politics. Arguably the avant-garde experimental practices that these art schools represent have survived (in varying ways), but what is less evident perhaps is the emphasis on the collective. We might ask, what is the status and nature of experimental practice when it is not ‘witnessed’ and/or conducted as part of a committed group?
Further details can be found on the Anti-Academy website, and a dedicated publication from the exhibition is due out soon.
Those interested in the ideas and issues evoked by this exhibition might also be interested in some of the following articles published in TCS:
David Chaney, ‘Cosmopolitan Art and Cultural Citizenship’, Theory, Culture & Society, April 2002; vol. 19, 1-2: pp. 157-174.
Ken Friedman, ‘Freedom? Nothingness? Time? Fluxus and the Laboratory of Ideas’, Theory, Culture & Society, December 2012; vol. 29, 7-8: pp. 372-398.
Aaron L. Panofsky, ‘From Epistemology to the Avant-garde: Marcel Duchamp and the Sociology of Knowledge in Resonance’, Theory, Culture & Society, February 2003; vol. 20, 1: pp. 61-92.
Nikos Papastergiadis, ‘Modernism and Contemporary Art’, Theory, Culture & Society, May 2006; vol. 23, 2-3: pp. 466-469.
Nikos Papastergiadis and Charles Esche, ‘Assemblies in Art and Politics: An interview with Jacques Rancière’, Theory, Culture & Society, first published on April 12, 2013.