• Art criticism: the mediation of art in Britain 1968-76

Charlesworth, J.J., 2016, Thesis, Art criticism: the mediation of art in Britain 1968-76 PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This thesis studies the changes in the nature of critical writing on contemporary art, in the context of the British art world across a period from 1968 to around 1976. It examines the major shifts in the relationship between the artistic production of the period and the forms of writing that addressed it, through those publications that sought to articulate a public discourse on art in a period where divergent accounts regarding the criteria of artistic value, and the terms of critical discourse, came increasingly into conflict.

This thesis takes as its main subject a number of publication venues for art-critical writing of the time, and their responses to the rapidly changing scene of artistic production. It examines the forms of writing that attended emerging artistic practice and the theoretical and critical assumptions on which that writing depended, highlighting those moments where critical discourse was provoked to reflect self-consciously of the relation between discourse and artistic practice.

By tracing the repercussions of the cultural and political revolts of the late 1960s, it examines how the orthodoxies of art criticism came to be challenged, in the first instance, by the growing influence of radical artistic practices which incorporated a discursive function, and by leftist social critiques of art. It explores how, in the first half of the 1970s, radical and political artistic practice was promoted by a number of young critics, and sanctioned by its presentation in public art venues.

Examining the history of magazines such as Studio International and a number of smaller specialist and non-specialist magazines such as the feminist Spare Rib and the left-wing independent press, it attends to how debates over the cultural and social agency of art began to draw on continental theoretical influences that put into greater question the role of subjective experience and the nature of the human subject. It examines how this shift in the relation between practice and discourse manifested itself in the editorial and critical attitudes of publications both from within the field of artistic culture, and from a wider context of publications embedded in the radical political and social currents of the early 1970s. It gives particular attention to the careers of a number of prominent critics, while situating the later reaction against alternative artistic practices in the context of the politically conservative turn of the end of the decade.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V340 Intellectual History
Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V350 History of Art
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2016 10:26
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:45
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1803
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