Latham, John, 1921-2006. (7 of 18). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    1998-03-26 and 1998-04-06 and 1999-02-19 and 2000-07-18

  • Recording locations

    Interviewer's home, London, United Kingdom

  • Interviewees

    Latham, John, 1921-2006 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Steveni, Barbara, 1928- (speaker, female), Roberts, Melanie (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 7. John Latham (JL) talks about his controversial exhibition at the Bear Lane Gallery in Oxford in the early sixties which he felt exactly expressed the role of new art as one creating a subversive energy over the old. He goes on to refer to Kasmin's being funded by a millionaire to start his gallery in the sixties. He describes Kasmin's first exhibition of Kenneth Noland's work being successful but felt that his show, which followed on, received little attention and was possibly purposefully critically disqualified. He refers to the arrangement that Kasmin made with a Belgium dealer Maurice d'Arquian, but says that his work of this time did not sell in London or in Europe. JL continues talking about his developing ideas at this time including Soft Skoob. He discusses the difficulties he has in articulating abstract ideas when explaining his work, as well as his feeling that the critics and historians have done a 'thoroughly bad job' of recognising what he has achieved after Zero Action. He goes on to discuss the problem of the term sublime in relation to his time theories. JL talks about how his films operate as event-structures, a form in which he sees a philosophical coherence that stands at odds with the postmodern discussion. [loss of sound during this section] Again he extends his ideas towards scientific insights. He expresses his contempt for the academic approach to knowledge which he believes lacks structure. JL continues talking about his own work and ideas behind it as well as his belief that if he had the facilities it would be scientifically provable. He talks about an item in the journal Nature in 1996 in which the author recognised the constant 'bifurcation' created as a result of the young scientist not wishing to repeat or extend his senior predecessor's ideas.

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