"This is an evening of performances" was the opening statement of this event by the Head of the Research Forum, Professor Patricia Rubin. The evening highlighted seven books published by members of the Courtauld Institute in the last academic year. The Research Forum’s celebration also included an impressive performance commissioned to reflect the diversity of the publications.

The seven books were:

Internet Art: The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce
by Julian Stallabrass

Impressionism: Paint and Politics
by John House

The Reformation of the Image
by Joseph Leo Koerner

English Public Sculpture: London
by Philip Ward Jackson

Roman House — Renaissance Palaces: Inventing Antiquity in Fifteenth-Century Italy
by Georgia Clarke

Statues in Roman Society: Representation and Response
by Peter Stewart

Whose Muse? Art Museums and the Public Trust
by James Cuno

which were presented by seven distinguished guest speakers, respectively, Charlie Gere (Birkbeck College), Eric Fernie (Courtauld Institute), Stephen Bann (Bristol University), Simon Bradley (Yale University Press), Deborah Howard (University of Cambridge), Robin Osborne (University of Cambridge), and Neil MacGregor (The British Museum).

In her introduction to the presentations Pat Rubin noted how the work represented by these authors, and by the many other authors in the audience was not only the result of formidable scholarship, but also the product of enormous creativity. Following the presentations, the event was transformed into a party designed to "properly honour our collective — creative — enterprise", and to also celebrate the inaugural year of the Forum, which "was established to foster the sort of intellectual exchange and level of endeavour exemplified by the books."

Brian Catling, Professor of Fine Art and Head of Sculpture at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, had been commissioned on the artistic advice of Vivien Lovell, Director of Modus Operandi Art Consultants. A sculptor, poet and performance artist, Catling has had several solo exhibitions and commissions, including performances throughout Europe and the Far East. Organisers and guests had been told nothing other than to expect that he and "inmates from Cabaret Melancholique (his experiment in abnormal music hall) will infest, enlighten and shimmer the celebration, in a performance that draws its colour and language from the books, the evening, the building and its history".

The nine highly individual performances, care of the Cabaret Melancholique, were instrumental in setting a tone reflecting the Forum; a creation within the Courtauld, but an independent entity with a character and life of its own. The show-stopping entrances created by Hayley Newman "The Spoon Lady", who in her dress made entirely of spoons shimmied her way through the crowd, followed by Lawrence Harvey "The Anorak", Kirsten Norrie "Lady with Wolf", Ed Fornieles "The Fop", Kasha Fudakowski "The Statue", Jack Catling "The Conjurer", Brian Catling "Crown", were accompanied by a tireless performance by professional spoon player Simon Beresford. Seiriol Davies "The Time Angel" came dressed in gold

to sing a farewell poem to guests announcing the end of the party and thanking them for the pleasure of their company.

The performances were remarkable, particularly in the way they transformed the space. The combination of party, performance and music breathed a completely different life into the building.

Amanda dos Santos
Director’s Office and Research Forum