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This reading group offers the opportunity to delve into the identity of one of the most radical artistic groups of the sixties and seventies. For many, Art & Language is synonymous with difficulty (often mythologised) and inscrutability. But if Art & Language is read aloud, it is not so inaccessible. For this reason, a group of students from MACBA’s Independent Studies Programme (PEI) is offering to share their reading experience with anyone interested in learning more about this group. The deposit of works and documents from the Philippe Méaille Collection at MACBA allows us to enter into direct contact with the conversational practice of Art & Language.

The work of Art & Language, which arose in the context of British art schools, would successively shift from the school to the studio, from conversational practice to the gallery, and from there to the pages of magazines, even adopting music as an ideal medium of expression. Furthermore, the complexity of the collaborative forms of Art & Language can be seen as an example of extremely sophisticated work organisation and has little in common with other artistic practices. While in the beginning their most prevalent tools were borrowed from the philosophy of language and analytic philosophy, in recent years Art & Language have maintained a fruitful relationship with the so-called systems theory of the German philosopher Niklas Luhmann.

These and other aspects of Art & Language are synthesised in four sessions open to the public: the first proposes an inventory of the different collaborative practices characterising the group’s work throughout its history; the second explores a number of works in which Art & Language use music in collaboration with the band The Red Crayola; the third examines the fascination that Art & Language have shown for philosophy, specifically that of Niklas Luhmann; and the last looks at the role of the art school in the early work of Art & Language.

Auditori MACBA

Programme

WEDNESDAY 22 MAY, 6.30 PM
Strategies for collaboration and the management of shared work

Text:
Michel Corris, ‘Introduction. An Invisible College in an Anglo-American World’, in Michel Corris (ed.), Conceptual Art. Theory, Myth and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 1–18.

WEDNESDAY 29 MAY, 6.30 PM
Music Language: When Conceptual art is sung

Screen:
Art & Language and The Red Krayola: Nine Gross and Conspicuous Errors (1974)

Audio:
Art & Language and The Red Krayola: Corrected Slogans (1976)

Text:
Art & Language, ‘Kangaroo? (Some Songs by Art & Language and The Red Crayola)’, Art Journal, no. 2 (summer 1982).

WEDNESDAY 5 JUNE, 6.30 PM
Art & Language and Niklas Luhmann

Texts:
Michael Baldwin, Charles Harrison and Mel Ramsden, ‘Roma Reason — Luhmann's Art as a Social System’, Radical Philosophy, no. 109 (September–October 2001), pp. 14–21.

Niklas Luhmann, ‘The Function of Art and the Differentiation of the Art System’ in Art as a Social System. California: Stanford University Press, 2000, pp. 133–84.

WEDNESDAY 12 JUNE, 6.30 PM
Conversational practice, from art school to the gallery

Texts:
Philip Pilkington and David Rushton, ‘Models and Indexes: Fringe Benefits’, Art-Language, vol. 2, no. 3 (September 1973), pp. 12–17.

Philip Pilkington, ‘Some Darwinian Conditions of the Art & Language Indexes’, Art-Language New Series, no. 2 (June 1997), pp. 3–11.

Room 0: On Wednesdays from 22 May to 12 June 2013

MACBA Public Programmes
Tel. 93 481 46 81
programespublics [at] macba [dot] cat

Exhibition

I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life
Jean-Michel Basquiat