Trained as a fine artist and art historian, Gavin is a writer, curator and filmmaker.
Across his diverse output, he is interested in how the social worlds and aesthetic preoccupations of visual artists can be connected, sometimes in surprising ways, to those within popular music, queer culture and performance.
His latest book No Machos or Pop Stars is a detailed cultural history of the subversive influence of UK art school on popular music culture, telling the story of how fine art painters and performers became post-punk and pop music pioneers. He is currently researching a related volume which will tell the hitherto untold story of the roots of US pop, rock and disco performers in the art and theatre milieu of the 1970s queer underground.
Gavin has written widely on queer art and culture, showing how LGBTQ+ artists have challenged us to think again about how aesthetic judgements are routinely linked to social ones. He has published essays on artists and performers Oreet Ashery, Joe Brainard, Mel Brimfield, Shirley Clarke, Samuel R. Delany, David Hoyle, Kiki and Herb, Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol and others.
He often works collaboratively with other authors and artists on creative projects too, including as co-director of feature film This Is Not a Dream. With writer and curator Heike Roms, he is currently exploring the civic importance of experimental art and education through a new exhibition project Live Class: Performance and the Art School.
Gavin was formerly Professor of Visual Cultures and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is currently Professor of Fine Art at Northumbria University, Newcastle.
Follow me on instagram @gavin_butt_ and sign up for my newsletter below