Conference: Ben Nicholson

10.30am – 5.30pm, Friday 18 May 2007
(Registration from 10.00am)
10.30am – 3.30pm, Saturday 19 May 2007
Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Speakers: will include Robert Burstow (University of Derby), Andrew Causey (University of Manchester), Charles Harrison (Open University), Lee Beard (Courtauld Institute of Art), Paul Hendon (Open University), Ysanne Holt (University of Northumbria), Margaret Garlake (Independent Art Historian), Jeremy Lewison (Independent Art Historian), Chris Stephens (Tate Britain), Andrew Stephenson (University of East London), Alice Strang (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art).

Dr Lee Beard, organiser, intends that this conference will provide a re-evaluation of the art, life and legacy of Ben Nicholson. Whilst viewed by some as an innovator within visual modernism others have positioned Nicholson as a receptive follower of artistic trends abroad. In turn the artist’s engagement with an ‘international’ avant-garde has appeared to have created a certain degree of anxiety concerning his identity as an English artist, and vice versa. The conference will also consider key questions concerning the artist’s career. Central to this will be an inquiry into the ways in which his art has been presented through publications and exhibitions. This will include an analysis of the artist’s own strategies of promotion as well as a consideration of the many important retrospective exhibitions. In addition the symposium will focus on the private spaces in which Nicholson produced and displayed his work, including recent research into the home/studio space that he shared with Barbara Hepworth in London during the 1930s.

Tickets: £30 (£10 concessions and Courtauld staff and students) to include refreshments on both days. Send cheques, payable to Courtauld Institute of Art to: Research Forum Events Co-ordinator, Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, marked Ben Nicholson Conference. For further information email


Lecture: Encounters in the Virtual Feminist Museum

5.00pm, Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Speaker: Griselda Pollock (Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art, and Director, Centre CATH (Cultural Analysis, Theory & History) at the University of Leeds)

Organised by Professor Patricia Rubin and Dr Catherine Grant

This lecture is the first in the Writing Art History Series, organised by the Research Forum, which includes lectures, workshops, conversations and symposia, and addresses the changing role of the art historian, critic and writer throughout art history.

For thirty years Professor Griselda Pollock has been exploring feminist interventions in art’s histories by proposing concepts that build up a process for ‘differencing the canon’. This has involved a critical return to some of the earlier academic debates in the history of art. At the intersection of Freud and Warburg, repositioned in relation to late twentieth century, feminist desire for a means to make a difference and pay attention to the specificities of aesthetic practices, Professor Pollock’s current working concept is a virtual feminist museum. The lecture will examine this concept and explore some of the ‘exhibits’ it is currently proposing.

Griselda Pollock’s most recent publications include edited volumes: Encountering Eva Hesse (2006), Psychoanalysis and the Image (2006) and Museums after Modernism (2007). She has recently completed a monograph on Charlotte Salomon. Forthcoming publications include essays in Art History and an edited volume Conceptual Odysseys, 2007 and Encounters in the Virtual Feminist Museum: Time, Space and the Archive published by Routledge. She currently directs an AHRC research project on Concentrationary Memories as part of research interest in trauma and cultural memory.

The lecture will be followed by drinks to celebrate the new issue of immediations, the Courtauld’s postgraduate research journal.

The lecture is open to all, free admission.


Writing Art History Series

This series includes lectures, workshops, conversations and symposia, and addresses the changing role of the art historian, critic and writer throughout art history. How have art historians influenced our impression of certain eras and artworks, which art histories have been celebrated and which have been ignored or revised? How does art history incorporate the range of writings on art, by the novelist, the critic, the philosopher? In the twenty-first century, the role of the art historian is often overlaid with those of critic, curator, artist, creative writer and archivist. From performative texts to the many postmodernist perspectives, writing art history is never straightforward. This series addresses the problem of writing art history across the historical periods, from the classical to the contemporary.


Seminar: Modern and Contemporary

Monday, 4 June 2007, 17.30, Seminar Room 1
“Look But Don’t Touch”: Changing Views of British Modern Sculpture

Speaker: Dr Lee Beard, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Courtauld Institute of Art.

Organised by Professor Mignon Nixon

Open to all, free admission
Ben Nicholson c.1932. Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate