The Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS) was held at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden, London, from 9-11 September 1966, launching a series of events. It brought together a diverse group of international artists, poets, and scientists, including key representatives of the counter-cultural underground, to speak on the theme of destruction in art. Throughout September Happenings, poetry readings, and performances took place in venues all over London.

Effective marketing by the Honorary Committee, led by Gustav Metzger, brought the symposium a great deal of attention in the national and international media, as well as throughout the international art community.

This general overview of DIAS was taken at the Africa Centre in Covent Gardens, London in 1966. The DIAS press release claimed that: ‘The main objective of DIAS was to focus attention on the element of destruction in Happenings and other art forms, and to relate this destruction in society.’ 

General Overview of DIAS symposium, London, 9-11 September 1966

General overview of the Destruction in Art Symposium

Photo: Tom Picton
Lent by the artist’s family

Gustav Metzger, Wolf Vostell and Al Hanson speaking on a panel at DIAS

Gustav Metzger, Wolf Vostell and Al Hanson DIAS symposium at the DIAS convention, London, 9-11 September 1966

Gustav Metzger, Wolf Vostell and Al Hanson

Photo credit: Tom Picton
Lent by the artist’s family

Pro-Diaz producing his work Painting with Explosion at the Freeschool Playground in London, on 12 September 1966.

Pro-Diaz producing Painting with Explosion DIAS symposium 9-11 September 1966

Pro-Diaz producing Painting with Explosion

Photo: Tom Picton
Lent by the artist’s family