john latham: exprmntl

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


whitechapel gallery

77–82 whitechapel high street


e1 7qx


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