Posts tagged ‘John Hansard Gallery’

December 1, 2013

Iowa Blizzard | Elaine Summers

One of the most interesting works from the Intermedia Program at University of Iowa, on display at the Anti-Academy exhibition at John Hansard Gallery, was Iowa Blizzard by Elaine Summers.

Elaine Summers, a pioneer of intermedia art who merged film and dance during her association with the Judson Dance Theatre in the 1960s.  Summers first worked with Intermedia students in 1973, developing site-specific dance pieces in various locations within the city.

The Intermedia Programme at the University of Iowa was established by the German artist Hans Breder. At Intermedia, students experienced workshops by various visiting artists with an emphasis on exploring ‘the boundaries between media, between artistic and scholarly practices, between genres, between social and political universes, between viewer and artist’.  The Iowa programme was characterised by an innovative use of media and technology. Key to its early years was the involvement of visiting artists who developed work with student participation, including creations by Robert Wilson and Allan Kaprow amongst others. There was an emphasis on development of a collaborative relationship with the local community and the utilisation of the local landscape as site for the making of student work. Anti-Academy includes works made with students (notably with the year group of students that included Ana Mendieta and Charles Ray) by Elaine Summers, Mary Beth Edelson and Vito Acconci, alongside a broader review of the archive.

November 30, 2013

Anti-Academy | John Hansard Gallery

ImageAbove: Students in the class of Nakanishi Natsuyuki, Bigakkō, Tokyo, 1970, photograph Morinaga Jun.

Well worth a visit to John Hansard Gallery in Southampton to see this incredible exhibition.  You can read further info about Anti-Academy here.

Anti-Academy examines the ideas, processes, workshops and legacies of three radical educational models in 1960s Japan, the USA and Denmark. Comprised of three installations, each relating to one of these school’s programmes, Anti-Academy explores life at Bigakkō, Tokyo (installation by Yoshiko Shimada), the Intermedia Program, School of Art and Art History, at the University of Iowa (installation by Cornelia Schmidt-Bleek), and Ex-School, Copenhagen (film by Alice Maude-Roxby and Tom Chick)…….

Anti-Academy is an interpretation of how these three academies situated themselves on the peripheries of the art world, existing in opposition to the mainstream, and responding to the political and social climate, location and cultural context of the day.

Below are images from the Bigakkō installation by Yoshiko Shimada.

Bigakko can be seen to draw most directly from its current political context. Founded in 1969 by the publishing house Gendaishicho-sha, infamous in their commitment to publishing an eclectic selection of controversial contemporary Japanese writing, alongside French philosophy and political theories including the first Japanese publication of Marquis de Sade’s ‘Juliette’, Bigakko also exercised an extraordinary high-disciplined learning environment to accompany their progressive literature, including one teaching year where students were made to attend all classes. The school employed the most radical artists of the day and the teaching programme involved diverse approaches, ranging from vociferous political conferences to quiet meditation. For Gendaishicho-sha, Bigakko operated in response to the social backdrop of student revolt in the post-war climate, acting as a rejection of western modernism and a questioning of Japanese cultural and political history.

ImageAbove: Zero Yen Bill | Akasegawa Genpei
ImageAbove: Multi-positional work benches, designed by Nakamura Hiroshi and Nakanishi Natsuyuki in 1969 for Bigakkō, were intended to offer students various modes of working from kneeling on the floor to using the boxes as seats and desks.Image

Above: Chronology Wall | Installation of artefacts relating to Bigakkō history from the archives of Imaizumi Yoshihiko and Yoshiko Shimada.

A new publication accompanies the exhibition, comprehensively illustrated and with a range of essays exploring the themes and contexts of the show.