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State of the Art: Ideas and Images in the 1980s

Group show at Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Harris Museum and Art Gallery. 1987
Date: 8 May, 1987
Curator: Sandy Nairne
Organiser: ICA/Channel 4

Multi site touring exhibition television series and book. Exhibition tour began at the ICA, London - then toured to Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; Harris Museum, Preston; Cartwright Hall, Bradford; Sainsbury Centre, Norwich.

From a text reproduced on the front flyleaf of the publication produced to accompany the exhibition: “State of the Art is a timely and intreging investigation into the contempoary visual arts. Organised around the six themes of History, Value, Imagination, Sexuality, Politics and Identity, the book examines the visual arts today within the broader framework of intellectual debate and social change….How are commercial and aesthetic values determined? What place do artists have in our vision of the world? What makes art political? State of the Art considers these and other questions about the institutions of the art world and about art itself.”

From the book introduction by Sandy Nairne: “State of the Art was written to accompany a series of six television films for Channel 4, London and WDR in Cologne. It was planned as an important element in the project, incorporating more extensive interviews and commentary than the programmes themselves could include. The book has the same title as the series; the chapters follow the themes of the individual programmes; the layout, illustrations and use of quotation are designed in a manner parallel to the television format.”

From a review of the exhibition by Tony Godfrey in the Burlington Magazine, vol. 129, no. 1008 (March 1987) pp.197-198: ”State of the Art: Ideas and Images in the 1980’s, which is to tour to four more places in England, is accompanied by a book written by Sandy Nairne who selected the exhibition. Perhaps it would be more precise to say that the exhibition accompanies the book, which is itself subsequent on a series of six TV programmes. Individually these cover “history’, “value’, “imagination’, “sexuality’, “politics’, and “identity’. The rooms of the exhibition follow such a division but omit “value’ which is concerned with the operations of the art market.”

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People in this exhibition + view all 28

»  Sutapa Biswas

Born, 1962 in Bolpur, India

»  Lubaina Himid MBE

Born, 1954 in Zanzibar, Tanzania

»  Cindy Sherman

Born, 1954 in New Jersey, USA

»  Imants Tillers

Born, 1950 in Sydney, Australia

»  Michael Nelson Tjakamarra

Born, 1949 in Vaughan Springs, Australia

Exhibition venues

»  Harris Museum and Art Gallery

Preston, United Kingdom

»  Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

London, United Kingdom

»  Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Norwich, United Kingdom