The Fine Art of Performance

20 February 2019
Symposium and performance reenactments
Ddart, performance of Animal Magic, Leeds University, 1975. Photo: Michael Bennett.

Focusing on the emergence of performance art in colleges and city scenes in Leeds, Reading and Brighton in the 1970s and 1980s, the day brought together artists and scholars to reflect upon creative practices made possible at a time of full state-funding of fine art education, contrasting this with the changed economic circumstances of the neoliberal academy.

The day mixed panel discussion and first-hand accounts with a rare opportunity to see live performances by artists who came of age in this period, alongside documentary slide-shows of avant-garde work hitherto unseen in public. Performance art groups Hesitate and Demonstrate and Ddart were reconsidered, and memories of Brighton’s Zap Club and Public House Bookshop shared. Issues of permission and pedagogy, politics and creative limits were addressed.

Contributors included: Anne Bean, Sutapa Biswas, Neil Butler, Gavin Butt, Richard Cupidi, Dennis De Groot, Angie Dight, Dominic Johnson, Lois Keidan, Geraldine Pilgrim, Dave Reeves, and Dave Stephens.

The event was organised by Gavin and artist Dave Stephens.