ask any art student worth their salt who john latham is and they’re likely to refer to the oft quoted story of his expulsion from st. martins for the ‘digestion’ of clement greenberg’s art and culture but latham has bequeathed (he died in 2006) a major body of work and is rightly widely acknowledged as a key figure in late 20th century british modernism and the avant-garde conceptual movement of the 60s.
his work was always concerned with the connections, tenuous or not, between art and science, in particular he was interested in the disciplines related to fundamental physics, and in particular the notion of the ‘least event’, reaching its fulfilment in his view with the exhibiting by robert rauschenburg, in 1951, of an untitled and unmarked canvas.
later latham became much more closely connected with event based art of the 1960s collaborating with fluxus artists, gustav metzger, and yoko ono.
the controversy in latham’s life and work continued throughout his life, culminating perhaps in his very public spat with art historian john a. walker.
since his death there has been an ongoing re-evaluation of his work and interventions, part of this can be experienced at the whitechapel gallery on the 10th june, where two of his films: unedited material from the star and talk mr bard will be presented. both films will be contextualised by the presentation of supporting illustrative material and talks by guest speakers Anthony Hudek andAthanasios Velios, developers of the Latham Archive
thursday 10 june
77–82 whitechapel high street