Since its inception, by British artist William Furlong, in 1972, the seminal sound art magazine, Audio Arts has become the most comprehensive and coherently focused aural archive of artists’ voices, and of sound art, in the world.
Bill Furlong – belonging to that generation of British artists like Gilbert & George, Bruce McLean and Richard Long who explored new concepts of sculpture – has himself become synonymous with the use of audio in art. Uniquely, Audio Arts provides a dedicated space in which artists and art world professionals speak about their work in a free and unmediated way.
One of the largest collections in the Tate Archive
Tate Archive acquired the Audio Arts archives in 2004 (TGA 200414), which amounts to more than 350 boxes and represents one of the largest collections to have entered the repository: certainly the largest to contain audio-visual material.
The collection comprises unedited and unpublished interviews and other audio material, original letters, documentation, photographs and publicity material. Interviewees include a veritable Whos Who of the art world: Damien Hirst, Gilbert & George, Howard Hodgkin, Tracey Emin, Mona Hatoum, Michael Craig-Martin, Gary Hume, Anish Kapoor, Mark Wallinger, Antony Gormley, Chris Ofili, Sam Taylor-Wood, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Serra, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Long, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Carl Andre, Art & Language, Robert Barry, Ian Breakwell, R. Buckminster Fuller, Victor Burgin, John Cage, Helen Chadwick, Noam Chomsky, Richard Hamilton, John Latham, and Bruce McLean.
The archives also contain related audio material from similar artists and organisations of the period, while the catalogued material comprises a veritable history of formats from reel to reel tapes (5 and 7 inch) and cassettes to digital formats such as DAT tapes, CDs and MPEGs. With such a wide variety of formats, Tate faced a considerable challenge to catalogue, digitise and publicise the material.
Acknowledgements for digitising Audio Arts
It was only through the generous funding of the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation (RHF) that the cataloguing, conservation and dissemination of this unique resource was made possible.
This online resource, featuring all the published versions of the magazine, is the culmination of their support following a two-year cataloguing and preservation programme undertaken by Allison Foster and Jack Maynard, who organised – with colleagues in Tate Learning – and took part in a highly successful conference held at Tate Britain on 13 October 2010.
We would also like to thank Bill and Violet Furlong who have provided invaluable assistance and guidance throughout the project, not only by greatly enhancing the catalogue entries but also by ensuring that the audio material is preserved in such a way that each technical process was meticulously documented.
Every effort has been made to obtain consent from copyright holders. We apologise for any inadvertent infringement, and invite the relevant copyright holders to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org