This paper was presented by members of Art & Language (Michael Baldwin, Charles Harrison and Mel Ramsden) at Tate Modern in March 2003 as part of the talks series Painting Present. It argues that painting resists the Institutional Theory of art in as much as it does not depend on institutions for its status as art. In this respect, painting after conceptual art may be seen as just as critical of art institutions as conceptual art used to be.
Colombian artist Doris Salcedo (born 1958) addresses the themes of loss and bereavement in her sculpture Unland: audible in the mouth, 1998. Focusing on this work in Tate’s collection, the paper looks at the position of witnesses to violent events and how their testimonies are translated by Salcedo into the formal language of sculpture.
This paper discusses the painting of the courtier and writer Sir William Killigrew and the companion portrait of his wife Mary Hill, Lady Killigrew, both painted in 1638, by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599–1641). The pair were acquired by Tate in 2002 and 2003 from two entirely different sources.
Strategies for the conservation of a complex installation by Gary Hill (born 1951) are discussed with special reference to the cathode-ray tube monitors and the system that controls the distribution of sound and images. The conservator’s role and responsibilities in the care of time-based media artworks are explored, and particular aspects of this new area of conservation are related to traditional notions of conservation and collections care.
The American artist Joseph Cornell (1903–1972) is famous for his allusive box constructions. This paper examines the history of Planet Set 1950, a work in Tate’s collection that has received little critical commentary. In particular, it explores Cornell’s fascination with the early nineteenth-century opera singer Giuditta Pasta, and shows how this relates to a number of other themes in his work, including stars, maps and birds.
Henry Fuseli (1741–1825) was one of the most inventive artists of his age, exploring the strange and fantastic in a way that anticipates modern horror. By focusing on a pageant held in his honour, this essay interprets Fuseli’s work in relation to the wider culture of the Gothic and the historical trauma of the American Revolution.
During the 1990s Michael Landy made four major installations, including Scrapheap Services, 1995. Although motivated by personal concerns, these installations caught the mood of social change, labour market reforms and political ideology at the tail-end of the Thatcher era in Britain. All this had a profound impact on the emerging, metropolitan art scene of the time, soon to be labelled ‘young British art’.
Bernd and Bernd and Hilla Becher first began their project of systematically photographing industrial structures in the late 1950s. This paper, first given at a conference at Tate Modern, investigates the rhythmic continuity of the comportment or bearing toward the world that they have made into an epic form and that has gained broader influence in the work of their successful students.