Research Teaching Talks

Wall and Page Display. Reconsidering Presentational Context in Photographic Exhibitions, 1950-1970

Workshop at Central Saint Martins College, University of the Arts, London
April 18, 2018, 6–9 pm

Organised by Regine Ehleiter in cooperation with UAL’s research group ‘Exhibitions: Histories, Practices’.

In the long 1960s the status of publications and the role of the exhibition medium were drastically redefined. The pages of a book or magazine could now take ‘the place of the traditional exhibition space’ (Rorimer 1999). Located at the intersection of scholarship on artists’ publications, Conceptual art, photography studies, and exhibition history, the workshop will focus on projects in which publications with photographic works were understood to represent the sites of an exhibition.

Marian Goodman’s multiples box ‘Artists & Photographs’, selected art & project bulletins, and many of the highly experimental curatorial projects by New York art dealer and publisher Seth Siegelaub and critic Lucy R. Lippard are pertinent examples of projects so conceived. For the latter, the paradigmatic shift from art-as-object-production to one that ‘emphasize(d) the thinking process almost exclusively’ (Lippard/Chandler 1968) served as rhetorical framework for staging exhibitions in print media. The radical turn from gallery to publication display relied on a daring hypothesis: It was argued that because of their focalization of ideas, the ‘dematerialized’ practices of Conceptual art could take multiple presentational forms without changing the ‘intrinsic (communicative) value’ of art (Siegelaub 1969).

In response to this claim, this workshop invites participants to reflect on the relevance and specificity of different presentation contexts for the meaning and spatio-temporal experience of exhibitions. The selected case studies focus on post-war photographic exhibitions from 1950 to 1970, thus moving beyond the framework of Conceptual art to gesture towards the broader field of expanded display practices. The discussed exhibitions have in common the fact that although they were shown in a gallery (or other public space), the accompanying publication was considered the primary site of display and the conceptual nexus of the exhibition.


6:00–6:10 Welcome and introductory remarks
PhD candidate, Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig

Writer, curator, former art librarian at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

6:25–7:05 ‘The exhibition album is a working instrument’ – UNESCO’s Human Rights Exhibition and Album (1949/50)
Aby Warburg Fellow, Warburg Institute, London / PhD candidate, Universität Hamburg

7:05–7:45 ‘A visual-verbal experiment in repetitive photographs’. Reconstructing Lucy R. Lippard’s exhibition ‘Groups’ (1969/70)

7:45–8:25 ‘The B.C. Almanac(h) book/exhibition, 1970’
Chief Curator, Polygon Gallery, Vancouver

8:25–9:00 Book table and informal conversations