This issue contains four very different articles that explore the ways in which artists, writers, conservators and galleries have acted in response to constraints and pressures, be they political, material or self-imposed. Covering a broad range of artistic practices from the 1950s to present day, these papers cast a spotlight on the institutional conditions that shape the production, exhibition and conservation of art, from the US State Department’s sponsorship of abstract expressionism, to the contemporary collecting practices of international museums.
Combining art historical and technical perspectives, this paper examines Richard Hamilton’s
1965–6 reconstruction of Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass and the wider repercussions that Hamilton’s actions have had on our understanding of replication and the idea of authorship. The dramatic history of the work is unpacked thoroughly and provides a platform for thinking about the precariousness of materials and meanings, and the slippages that occur when replicas become part of the story of a work, an artist and an institution.
After graduating from art school in the late 1960s Bruce Nauman found himself pacing his studio, unsure how to produce work as a professional artist. Out of this practice arose several films and videos recording these performances of studio pacing. This paper draws upon Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (1975, translated into English 1977) to shed light upon the aesthetic of confinement and incarceration found in Nauman’s use of the walking body in this early work.
The recent interest in avant-garde art from Hungary shown by international museums such as Tate has been paralleled by transformations to the country’s art institutions as a consequence of sweeping political changes. This essay contextualises these changes in relation to the expanding global market for art from the region, and examines the impact that initiatives by private galleries as well as artists and curators are having on the writing of a critical history of Hungarian art.
This article analyses a talk given by the American art historian Meyer Schapiro in 1956 that was broadcast on BBC radio as a review of an exhibition at Tate Gallery titled Modern Art in the United States. It reveals that Schapiro’s broadcast was funded by the US State Department and argues that this unrecognised historical detail exposes a paradox about the relation between facts and values in art historical description.