Page 19 - Studio International - July August 1971
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News and notes                            Milow, Mali Morris and Colin Self.         Experimental art:
                                                        The exhibition has not been prepared purely
           Art Spectrum Exhibitions, organized by The   for the Biennial but is designed to tour   Stubbs to Sonfist
           Arts Council of Great Britain. This summer, for   extensively in Latin America after the close of
           the first time, there will be an opportunity of   the Biennial in November.          Technology and art 27
           seeing what is going on in the field of   Dorchester Museum Gallery recently held
           contemporary art all over the United Kingdom.   an exhibition of work by John Miles and the   I was surprised to learn from the March
           Seven exhibitions representing different regions   Bettiscombe Press. Recent publications of the   Artforum that its Boston correspondent,
           and countries of the United Kingdom—North,   Bettiscombe Press include 'The Tom O'Bedlam   Kenneth Baker, considers Alan Sonfist's work
           South, Central, London, Scotland, Ulster,   Manuscripts', a series of photographic pictures   `mindless'. Possibly Mr Baker's anxiety about
           Wales—will be shown concurrently in places as   by John Mills; 'Orion's Sword', a photographic   an old problem, the quality of Boston's culture,
           far apart as Aberdeen, Belfast, Cardiff,   poem with colour by Michael Pinney and John   predisposes him towards other types of mind
           Southampton and London, and will          Miles; 'City Zen', a book of photographic poems   than Sonfist's. But his description of the
           subsequently tour to a total of 17 art galleries   by Neil Mills.                   exhibit in question—a transparent container in
           throughout the country before the end of the   The Richard Demarco Gallery is mounting   which crystals vaporize and condense—as a
           summer.                                   an Official Festival Exhibition of Contemporary   `high-school physics project' is challenging and
              Preparations for the Greater London Arts   Rumanian Art, during the Edinburgh Festival   worth rebuttal.
           Association's Spectrum Exhibition in Alexandra   period from 21 August to i i September. The   Baker chooses to regard this work as an
           Palace, open from 11-30 August, are now   exhibition is the result of what is now quite a   experiment in science too elementary to be
           nearing completion. The scope and variety of   long association with artists in Rumania.   taken seriously. But it is conceived and presented
           new art in London can therefore be gauged in   Eleven artists will take part, some of whom   as an experiment not in science but in art—a
           circumstances well clear of the normal official   have already visited and exhibited in Edinburgh   kind of natural system in vitro. It is
           art circuits this summer. More than a hundred   before: Horia Bernea, Ion Bitzan, Serban Epure,   understandable that this confusion should be
           artists will be represented in the Great Hall and   Pavel Ilie, Ovidiu Maitec, Paul Neagu, Ion   made by a critic since there is hardly any
           grounds. Owing to changes in the overall   Pacea, Dieter Sayler, Vladimir Setran, Radu   rigorous theory on experimentation in art. All
           organization of the exhibition John Sorrrell of   Stoica, Radu Dragomirescu and Group Sigma.   Sonfist's work would indeed by meaningless if
           the firm Down to Earth has withdrawn from the   As was the case last year the Gallery must   considered as scientific experiment.' The same
           preparations, and other commitments have   provide accommodation for the artists and give   would be true of, say, Nicholas Negroponte'
           meant that two of the selectors, Ann Seymour   them a living allowance and the Gallery depends   use of gerbils in the computer-based work
           and Nigel Greenwood, were obliged to withdraw   very much on its friends to help in important   Seek.2
           from the later stages of the process of selection.   matters such as this. If you can give   Stephen Bann's Experimental Painting,
           The Greater London Arts Association, which is   accommodation to one of the artists during the   though not without faults as a work of
           dependent on voluntary as well as salaried staff,   period 14 August—I I September, or even for   criticism,3   deserves to be much better known
           has an advisory panel which consists of Andrew   part of the time that would be of enormous help.   for its central argument. Bann defines the
           Forge, Tim Hilton, Peter Sedgley, David   Tel. 031-2261050.                         experimental artist as one 'committed to a
           Thompson and Peter Townsend.              Giant environmental art project in rocky   particular path of controlled activity, of which
           Ace Space Company has organised what      wilderness. Valley Curtain, an 8000 lb nylon   the works which he produces remain as
           Dana Atchley, its director, describes as a 'group   curtain suspended between two slopes 125o feet   evidence. In other words, the direction in which
           consciousness', called Space Atlas. It is a   apart in the Rocky Mountains near Rifle,   the artist moves is at least as important as the
           collection of visions, charts, maps, plans and   Colorado, was raised by the artist Christo on   individual statements which record the track
           reflections contributed by about a hundred and   I July, where it will hang until September. As   that he has taken... The "experimental"
           twenty artists, designed to a standard format   an integral part of the project, the Museum of   procedures which I shall be tracing will ...
           and bound in a loose-leaf folder.         Fine Arts, Houston, one of Valley Curtain's   approach at their most extreme the scientifi
           São Paulo Biennial                        sponsors, mounted an exhibition documenting   analogy of the research worker, whose
           Great Britain will be represented at the XI Sao   Valley Curtain in all stages. Valley Curtain, a   experiments are valuable only in so far as they
           Paulo Biennial scheduled to open on 5     bright orange to withstand the sun's heat, will in   can be inserted into an evolving theoretical
           September by a group of young artists for the   no way disturb the location's natural ecology,   scheme. At the other end of the scale, this
           most part concerned with conceptual tendencies.   and has been approved and endorsed by federal,   emphasis upon the artist's "path" need imply
           Unlike the selection in previous years there will   state, and local authorities.   very little more than Mondrian meant when he
           be no painting or sculpture, the whole section   The Marlborough Fine Art Gallery has   wrote: "True art like true life takes a single
           consisting of prints in various media, including   opened a new extension to its present galleries,   road."  Bann traces the idea of art as 'open
           photography. The artists represented are Ivor   at 6 Albemarle Street, with an exhibition called   research' back from the GRAV and New
           Abrahams, Keith Arnatt, John Blake, Victor   `Masters of the loth Century'.         Tendency artists of the 196os to Monet and
           Burgin, Barry Flanagan, Ted Hawke, John   Zella 9, a new gallery for young artists, at   Constable. (Turner he sees as being more
           Hilliard, Richard Long, Bruce McLean, Keith   2 Park Walk, SWro, opened onI July 1971.   `venturesome' than 'experimental', and therein
                                                                                               akin to the abstract expressionists.)
                                                                                                  Bann's argument lends weight to the
           nature, are still open to the issues by which the   the meaning and 'constructing' the Artist's   withdrawal by artists today away from artefacts
           Artist can only deny that the aesthetic has no   intention; all this ostensibly focused on the Art   and masterpieces. The term 'experimental art',
           part to play in his notion of the work. (You can't   Object, which under Judd's dictum leaves the   without such a definition as his, can become a
           stop someone making aesthetic assertions about   Artist little to do but to assert. By assuming an   mere euphemism for failure. What are the
           a framed Douglas Huebler sentence—just as you   ineluctability to the methodology by which Art   implications of accepting Bann's case ?
           can't stop someone making assertions of a   is vaunted Buren is sanctioning this tradition   First of all, experimental art (which from
           similar nature about Duchamp's Bottle-rack.)   rather than revoking it.             now on I shall use in Bann's sense) should never
           The problem is not putting the object into a   DAVID RUSHTON                        be judged from isolated exhibits in group
           gallery but in having an object in the first place.   Faculty of Art and Design     exhibitions. A one-man show by Alan Sonfist is
           The Critic has the traditional role of providing    Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry   scheduled for August at the ICA; perhaps the
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