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Transformation and Defiance in the Art Establishment

Abraham, Julia Ann Paige (2012)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

The aim of the research is to examine the activist role of the BLK Art Group and argue that it fought against racial alienation in the Western art establishment by using
exhibitions Black Art an’done at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery in 1981 and The Pan-Afrikan Connection, which travelled through Britain from 1982-1983, as platforms to radiate their political positions throughout Britain. Using these two exhibitions as case studies, the thesis examines theories including spatial transformations from the geographical to the abstract; strategies of dissent against institutions beginning with the art school followed by the art museum; and the public reception of these activities leading to the creation of subsidiary publics. The exhibitions have been investigated in secondary literature, but have not formed the centre of detailed analyses. Therefore the thesis relies heavily on documentary material from exhibition archives. The thesis presents a detailed account of early 1980s black visual culture through exhibitions rather than individual art works due to the BLK Art Group’s activist political aims. The thesis has considered the trajectory of contemporary exhibition and visual culture and placed the Group at a fundamental axis of politically driven artistic practice in 1980s Britain.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Vinzent, Jutta
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of History of Art
Subjects:N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3300
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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