Since 1960, progressive forces within art education have fired new impulses in the field of artistic production. As society at large embraced youth and popular culture, art school students with international aspirations exploded class barriers, fused fashion with Pop and insisted that art was integral to social change. Art schools across Britain, and notably in London, responded to these seismic changes, beginning to widen the range of artistic exploration from a craft-based curriculum to more art-historical and experimental approaches. A new generation emerged, whose techniques, perspectives and arguments were more influenced by ideas of art theory and personal exploration than draftsmanship and life-drawing, and whose forms of expression maintain their influence on artists today.
Now, for the first time, this history of innovation is uncovered by scholars in the field who, across nine thematic chapters, address key aspects of a dynamic period, from the work of early pioneers in international styles, through to changes in studio practice, and new roles in the art school for art history, architecture and the art market. This essential survey will appeal to students, scholars and practising artists, as well as everyone fascinated in the workings of the contemporary art world.
Nigel Llewellyn is a freelance art historian and curator. He was Director of the Research Centres programme at the Humanities Research Council before leaving in 2007 to establish the Research Department at Tate.
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