Still image of Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day - Part 5

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day – Part 1: Introduction

Introduction

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

This study day explores Utopian beliefs in the power of culture to transform both the individual and society at large

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day – Part 2: Paul Wood

Session 1: Paul Wood, Senior Lecturer in Art History, Open University, on Dreams and Plans

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

Paul’s talk is an introduction to the notion of ‘Utopia’ and its meaning in 19th-century socialism, with reference to how it played in the early 20th century avant-garde. He contrasts idealism and materialism in the avant-garde, with a focus on debates in Russia after the Revolution of 1917.

Further Reading

The Challenge of the Avant-Garde, edited by Paul Wood, Yale U.P. 1999

Art of the Avant-Gardes, edited by Steve Edwards and Paul Wood, Yale U.P. 2004

Imagine No Possessions, Christina Kaier, MIT Press 2005

The Artist as Producer, Maria Gough, Univ of California Press 2005

The Concept of Utopia, Ruth Levitas, Syracuse Univ Press, 1990

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day – Part 3: Tim Benton

Session 2: Tim Benton, Professor of Art History, Open University:  Le Corbusier

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

There is a preconception, backed by a growing literature, that Modernist architects had trouble meeting the psychological and physical need for comfort and enclosure of ordinary people. Architects tend to perceive architectural value in visual terms whereas, for most people, the other senses are more important in producing a sense of well-being. Furthermore, Modernism imposed an attitude to the use of ‘modern’ materials which gave Modernist houses the appearance of being ‘unnatural’ and abstract. Tim Benton’s talk considers these ideas, on both a domestic and urban scale, through the eyes of Le Corbusier between 1928 and 1935.

Further Reading

Benton, Tim. 2003. The petite maison de weekend and the Parisian suburbs, in Le Corbusier and the architecture of reinvention, edited by M. Mostafavi. London: AA Publishing: pp.118–39.

Benton, Tim. 2005. ‘Creating Utopia’ and ‘Modernism and Nature’. In Modernism, edited by C. Wilk. London: V&A Publications, 2006

Passanti, F. 1997. ‘The vernacular, Modernism and le Corbusier’. JSAH 56 (4):pp.438–51.

Le Corbusier. [1935] 1967, The radiant city; elements of a doctrine of urbanism to be used as the basis of our machine-age civilization. New York: Orion Press.

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day – Part 4: Achim Borchardt-Hume

Session 3: Achim Borchardt-Hume, Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art, Tate Modern: Albers and Moholy-Nagy

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

Achim’s talk explores Josef Albers and László Moholy-Nagy’s shared belief in art being not just an aesthetic but an ethical experience. Both detested romantic notions of art as self-expression and instead were concerned with the contribution art and artists could make to the positive development of modern society. Imbued with democratic aspirations, they challenged traditional notions of art as the preserve of a bourgeois elite, and sought a unity of art and life.

Further Reading

Albers and Moholy-Nagy: From the Bauhaus to the New World, ed. Achim Borchardt-Hume, Tate 2005

Josef Albers: A Retrospective, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 1988

The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy: 1917–1946, Victor Margolin, Chicago and London 1997

Moholy-Nagy, edited by Krisztina Passuth, London: Thames & Hudson 1985. Bauhaus, Frank Whitford, London: Thames & Hudson 1984

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day – Part 5: Discussion 1

Discussion 1

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

This study day explores Utopian beliefs in the power of culture to transform both the individual and society at large

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day – Part 6: Introduction 2

Introduction 2

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

This study day explores Utopian beliefs in the power of culture to transform both the individual and society at large

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day – Part 7: Ian White

Session 4: Ian White, Adjunct Film Curator, Whitechapel Gallery: Cinema, Cinema, Utopia

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

Ian’s talk considers representations of Utopia in classic and experimental cinema asking how these reflect not only the general idea and operating principles of an avant-garde but also how they mimic the way in which the cinema auditorium itself functions.

Further Reading

Close Up 1927–1933, ed. James Donald, Anne Friedberg, Laura Marcus (Cassell, London 1998)

The Great Art of Light and Shadow; Archaeology of the cinema, Laurent Mannoni (University of Exeter Press, Exeter, 2000)

A History of Experimental Film and Video, A.L. Rees (British Film Institute, London 1999) www.lux.org.uk (LUX) www.bftv.ac.uk (AHRB Centre for British Film and Television Studies)

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day – Part 8: Claire Bishop

Session 5: Claire Bishop, research fellow in the Curating Contemporary Art department, Royal College of Art: Utopias and Microtopias: Contemporary Art in the 1990s

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

Claire’s talk addresses the idea of Utopia as it has been played out in contemporary art since the 1990s, focusing in particular on the notion of the work of art as a ‘microtopia’. She makes reference to two contemporary artists: Rirkrit Tiravanija and Thomas Hirschhorn.

Further Reading

Relational Aesthetics, Nicolas Bourriaud, Paris: Presses du Réel, 1998

Thomas Hirschhorn, Carlos Basualdo, Alison Gingeras et al, London: Phaidon, 2004

Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics, Claire Bishop, October no.110, 2004.

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day – Part 9: Discussion 2

Discussion 2

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

Utopias and Avant-Gardes Study Day, video coverage of a past symposium at Tate Modern

The speakers consider how changing Utopian ideologies have motivated artists, architects, designers and filmmakers in Europe and America over the last hundred years. The topics covered include the pioneering first wave of abstract art in the early twentieth century, visions of Utopia in avant-garde film, and post-modern explorations of the concept of Utopia by contemporary artists