Looking Back at the Life Room; Revisiting Pevsner’s 'Academies of Art Past and Present', to Reconsider the Illustrations and Construct Photographs Representing the Curriculum.
Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London.
Abstract or Description
This project considers the relationship between the theory and practice of art as a historical narrative of conflict and contradiction, beginning over four hundred years ago in Renaissance Italy, with the emergence of the first art academies, concluding, in the British context, with a number of battles in art education after the Coldstream report of 1960. Nicholas Pevsner’s Academies of Art
Past and Present (CUP 1940) is the starting point of this research, a text which has proven of continual importance for enquiries into art education. Immediately relevant are feminist art history, (Nochlin 1973, Parker & Pollock 1983), and a number of American academics’ accounts of art education in America. (Goldstein 1996, Singerman 1999, Elkins 2001).
Guided by Pevsner’s Academies, my project develops through site visits to European Art Academies, where I photograph life drawing and anatomy rooms and collect historical imagery from archives. No longer the height of art theory, the life room is the historical object of this thesis, analysed as the remains of a previous fine art system, and as a space of fantasy. Juxtaposing original material gathered on site visits with their reproduction in Pevsner’s book I offer a re-reading which considers the tradition of copying in the academy with that of the mechanisms of reproduction in modernity. My use of photography in the life room abuts one system with the other, while image maps follow each chapter using the convention of the image essay and Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas. My chapters prepare a context in which my photographs can be read as traces of a much older tradition of observation, representation and pedagogy. I consider the anatomy theatre in relation to the life room and questions of feminism, representation and the female body. I move on to the Bauhaus and the rejection of academic art and finally to of the Hornsey Sit-in of 1968 and the
Coldstream Report, where the relationship of theory to practice, and to the ‘academic’ in art education is fiercely debated.
The abstract, introduction and first chapter, and 5 chapter maps are available digitally on Goldsmiths Research Online.
The complete thesis is available in the Library at Goldsmiths, University of London.
||art education, pevsner, life-drawing, life room, art academies, feminism, feminist art history
|Departments, Centres and Research Units:
||Art > Research student output
||02 Feb 2010 14:31
||07 Dec 2012 12:51
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