“Conversation Piece” is a British Art Studies series that draws together a group of contributors to respond to an idea, provocation, or question. The conversation will develop as more respondents enter the debate. Readers can also join in by adding a response at the bottom of the page.

  • Tom Crow

    Introduction by

    Thomas Crow, Rosalie Solow Professor, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

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The annals of art history can readily be reduced to a catalogue of names, but salient examples of group effort are never hard to find. In London, the example of the Independent Group (IG) need only be adduced, but its immediate successors are less obvious. Between the dissolution of the IG in 1956 and the founding of Art & Language (A&L) a decade later, there appeared one far less heralded alliance, its subsequent obscurity balanced by its remarkable prescience. Terry Atkinson, later an A&L founder, had earlier been instrumental in creating a collective artistic entity among fellow students at the Slade School of Fine Art—Roger Jeffs, Bernard Jennings, and John Bowstead—who called themselves the Fine-Artz Associates. By the time of the 1964 Young Contemporaries exhibition, the four submitted their work under this name alone, but their ambitions had already expanded beyond the studio into the orbit of radically more extensive collectives.

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The group’s published manifesto of that year begins with the defiant declaration that art-school faculties “are everyday sapping our brightest and most creative young minds”, encouraged by their tutors to “toy with their own subjective meanderings and reduce the impact-laden images and ideas of the outside world to worn-out tradition-bound media.”1 In public, they were four “ex-painters”, but they preferred among themselves to use the term “Stylists” as self-description, an intentionally anti-fine-art signifier that points to a larger project of research and reporting: excursions into what they called “the teenage Netherworld”. In contrast to the IG’s preoccupation with charismatic objects (their novelty, the intrinsic glamour of their design, and their potential as markers and devices of a new urban life), Fine-Artz Associates concentrated on the young people who were making the most of the potential latent in such objects: “highly fashion-conscious, environment-conscious, and music-conscious; in all these respects they are extremely selective and sophisticated compared with their predecessors.”2

Miss Misty and the Tri-cool Data
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Figure 1.
Fine Artz Associates, Miss Misty and the Tri-cool Data, installation, 1966.


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That template had been set in place by the Soho “Modernists” of the later 1950s, adolescent males marked out by a passion for “modern” American jazz (in contra-distinction to the atavisms of “trad”) and a refined mode of dress inspired by the impeccable turnout of black stars like Miles Davis and Lee Morgan. To call the Soho Modernists, and the Stylists who descended from them, an “identity formation” sounds a bloodless, social-scientific note, against which the Fine-Artz terms “netherworld” and “cult” seem preferable—not in spite of their gothic and mystery-mongering connotations but indeed because of them. Such terms acknowledge the fact that there remained much to be learned from these phenomena, that there were enduring enigmas in them. A sense of mystery attended the experiences of those within the netherworld as well, as sightings of strangers possessed as much significance as interactions among mates: a heretofore unknown Bluenote LP seen cradled under an arm, a new arrangement of pockets and vents on a bespoke suit, or a novel ornament on a Lambretta motor scooter disappearing round the corner. Cults constituted themselves by a shared predisposition to alert acuity and perpetual refinement of self-presentation in response to every input of new information.

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In the eyes of Fine-Artz Associates, the advanced style cults were not (as Cultural Studies orthodoxy would have it) subcultures unwittingly acting out larger social phenomena beyond their ken; their “sophisticated and selective” leaders were perpetually processing by their own lights the possible furnishing of life and definitions of self. Decoding such moments of style creation can become more than clinical exercises by according the cults the same assumptions of intention, intelligence, fine intuition, and self-critique that one would bestow on any certified fine art—but spread across a network far more extensive and democratic than even the most capacious avant-garde collective ever occupied. London ultra-leftists, in the 1960s, were fond of paraphrasing le comte de Lautréamont (Isidore Ducasse) to the effect that art should be made by the many rather than by the one, but were blind to that phenomenon taking place all around them. Had they taken notice, the reflexive accusation would doubtless have been that the young Stylists were in thrall to some commodity fetish, a perpetually misused term that still persists in social theorizing like a zombie hangover from the joyless laments of the Frankfurt School. How, one can ask, does a bespoke suit tailored to a young Modernist’s personal specifications fit under the heading of “commodity”—since the term applies to goods, like grains or metals, that are interchangeable with any other in the same category? The Stylists’ favoured off-the-peg items likewise resisted interchangeability and extreme sensitivity to price, which are the hallmarks of commodity behaviour. Indeed there appears to have been an unspoken collective decision by the Stylists that anything marketed as trendy was to be scrupulously avoided in favour of certain distinctive items never originally intended for their use. These were invariably of a style that went back decades in key instances and persist unchanged to the present day.

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The Fine-Artz project implicitly treated the style cults as a network of distributed intelligence, a kind of organic computer for processing the yet-unknown effects and possibilities for meaning latent in the economic machinery of consumer-product manufacture. In that sprit, my 2017 Paul Mellon Lectures offered extended excursions into work by other recognized fine artists—among them Robyn Denny, David Hockney, Pauline Boty, Bridget Riley, and Bruce McLean—who partook in some way of the cultists’ ethos of sharp concision, alertness to the lived moment, and sheer style. Nor is holding cults and fine artists in equilibrium unprecedented in art history. In 1956, Lawrence Alloway, reflecting on the pedigree of his own contemporary investigations, noted that “persistence of visual themes across lines of taste is well known to scholars of the Warburg Institute, of course”.3 Their namesake, Aby Warburg, had looked to the gesticulating mummers of the Florentine street processions as lying behind some of the most august rediscoveries of classical prototypes in art. For him, the figure in motion, derived from the direct experience of performers in the guise of ancient deities, constituted the true subject of advanced Florentine mimesis in the 1480s. His core idea was that the elusive rituals and props of local cults carried a vernacular charge necessary to the achievements of the most distinguished fine art, a potency that lay beyond any bookish catalogue of mythological stories and aesthetic canons. To have transferred the word cult to London in the 1960s, as the Fine-Artz Associates proposed, made possible a parallel project that seems to have barely advanced since their disbanding in 1966. For everyone who feels the British Art of the 1960s merits greater stature in relation to its American and Continental counterparts, this could be the further quotient of genius essential to the argument.

  • Lisa Tickner

    Response by

    Lisa Tickner, Emeritus Professor of Art History, Middlesex University, and Honorary Professor, Courtauld Institute of Art

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Ken Russell’s photograph of Iris Thornton and Pat Wiles, teenage Teddy Girls from Plaistow in East London, is one of a series taken in Notting Dale and Canning Town, some of which were published in Picture Post in June 1955.4 Those from Notting Dale wore American denim bought on the Portobello Road, jackets borrowed from their brothers, neckerchiefs, and ballet pumps. The Canning Town group combined single-breasted, velvet-collared jackets, with cameo brooches, coolie hats, clutch bags, and Perspex-handled umbrellas. “It was our fashion and we made it up.”5

The Party Line
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Figure 2.
Ken Russell, The Party Line, featuring Iris Thornton and Pat Wiles from Plaistow, January 1955, from the series The last of the Teddy Girls.


Digital image courtesy of TopFoto / Ken Russell.

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To stand in for the clothing choices of early Mods, a little later, here is the teenage narrator of Colin MacInnes’s novel Absolute Beginners (1959): in “full teenage drag” with “grey pointed alligator casuals, the pink neon pair of ankle crêpe nylon-stretch, my Cambridge-blue glove-fit jeans, a vertical-striped happy shirt revealing my lucky neck-charm on its chain, and the Roman-cut short-arse jacket.”6

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This would have been an expensive outfit in 1959, even if the “short-arse jacket” was off the peg from Cecil Gee or adapted from Burton’s, rather than tailor-made. Wages were staggered by age and gender. Russell’s Teddy Girls were fourteen and still at school, or they were fifteen–seventeen-year-old shop assistants and factory workers. Mary Toovey said of shopping in Portobello that: “It was all second hand then, we couldn’t afford new.” Theirs were “the little tactics of the habitat”, in Foucault’s phrase, tactics of assemblage and bricolage.7 Disposable incomes rose and retail options multiplied in the late 1950s. The Soho Modernists could order bespoke or practise fine discriminations among over-the-counter goods—most still lived at home—spending the greater part of their wages on the cultivation of a Baudelairean “cool”.8

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Which brings us first to the question of “commodities” and then to “art”. I don’t myself see any need to reserve the word “commodity” solely to undifferentiated goods—oil, wheat, metal—traded in commodity markets. There’s a perfectly acceptable dictionary definition and everyday use of “commodity” as “something bought and sold”. That applies to second-hand goods from Portobello, made-to-measure jackets from Soho tailors, jazz records, scooters, amphetamines—whatever we furnish our lives with—including (with some exceptions) works of art.

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Crow argues that the Soho Modernists provided the template for a “highly fashion-conscious, environment-conscious, and music-conscious” youth culture—a “netherworld” attractive to Fine-Artz explorers turning their backs on “subjective meanderings” and “worn-out, tradition-bound media” in 1964. In a looser sense, art world figures such as Lawrence Alloway and Robyn Denny in the 1950s, or Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips in Russell’s Pop Goes the Easel in 1962, shared a version of the snappy Mod “look”. But is this a one-way upwards transmission of street style, or a more general diffusion of some of the influences Crow identifies (American jazz, Italian tailoring) in an expanding retail and media environment? By what process, too, except through analogy (“sharp concision”, “sheer style”), do Mod cults provide a template for the art of Denny, Hockney, Boty, Riley, or McLean?

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I leave aside here the tilt at “Cultural Studies orthodoxy” to ask—rhetorically—why the Teddy Girls did not provide the template for a more influential, widely diffused and, yes, commercially successful subculture (let alone a template for artists and art)? Presumably because there were fewer of them; they were younger, female, poorer, and more eccentric in their assembled outfits; and the social, media, and retail context was not propitious (Teds were demonized in the press). Bridget Riley, to my knowledge, never sported a coolie hat and a Perspex-handled umbrella. Boshier and Boty, on the other hand, would dance with the Mods on the rock/pop music television programme, Ready Steady Go! The final point is perhaps that whatever its templates or resources, the art world transfigures them as art at border control (though they may look back). Crow, like Warburg, takes on the essential task of zooming out from an often-myopic disciplinary focus to the broader landscape in which a rich variety of sometimes-surprising gifts, thefts, and exchanges takes place.

  • Jonathan Weinberg

    Response by

    Jonathan Weinberg, Yale School of Art

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I am impressed by Tom Crow’s analysis of the importance of style and taste in the formation of British Art movements and subcultures of the 1960s. Throughout the entire modern period, the choices of dress, music, books, food, drugs, and alcohol were always connected to art production at its highest level. The mistake made by Clement Greenberg and his colleagues was to think that fashion and mass culture were somehow an anathema to the making of great art.

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I particularly love the way Crow’s lectures make us take the Mods’ name seriously in relation to modernism. And yet, I feel vaguely uneasy dwelling on how cool these artists looked. It may have been an anti-establishment gesture for young men to wear tailored clothes in the mode of African-American jazz musicians, but it also was cliquish, excluding those who didn’t quite look the part of young rebels, no matter what their intrinsic talents.

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My ambivalence undoubtedly arises from my own feelings of awkwardness and alienation in the 1980s, when I was in my twenties and trying to make it as a young painter in the East Village—another art scene all about clubbing and fashion. It was precisely at that time that I first met David Hockney at the very trendy restaurant, One-Fifth. I was introduced to him by one of my bosses, Henry Geldzahler, the famous curator and then Commissioner of Cultural Affairs of the City of New York, who I eventually came to know well. To a young nerdy-gay artist like me, these two men, who dressed in tailored clothes of extraordinary fabrics and colours, seemed intimidatingly glamorous, but also, I stupidly thought, superficial and decadent. I was threatened by how comfortable they were to be so visibly queer. In those days, the critic Robert Hughes homophobically called Henry a “popinjay”,9 but it was precisely the unabashed way this chubby, balding gay man strutted like a beautiful bird that made him so remarkable and such a worthy subject for the brush of Hockney and other painters. In Francesco Clemente’s words, “he made of himself an image as good as a great painting.”10

Looking at Pictures on a Screen
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Figure 3.
David Hockney, Looking at Pictures on a Screen, 1977, Oil on canvas, 183 x 183 cm. Private collection.


Digital image courtesy of David Hockney, Inc.

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Henry’s image literally became a great painting in Hockney’s Looking at Pictures on a Screen (1977). Resplendent in a dazzling white linen suit, he is more present then the reproductions of famous works of art from London’s National Gallery that are pinned to the screen in Hockney’s studio. The way Henry looks is as important as what he looks at. This is a painting that is all about the importance of taste. Who and what you look at and imitate is the artist you become. And so Hockney declares his realist forebears: Vermeer, Piero, van Gogh, and Degas. At the same time, however, by having Henry do the looking, he suggests that taste making is not a solitary activity—it is communal. As Hockney put it about going to museums with Henry, “to travel with an enthusiast seems to double one’s pleasure.”11 We look to each other in the process of looking, appreciating, and making art.

  • Lynda Nead

    Response by

    Lynda Nead, Pevsner Chair of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London

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The London style cultists of the 1960s sound like they were very cool: young art students at the Slade, the Royal College of Art, and St. Martin’s, wearing the right suits, listening to the right music, glamorous but understated. I see the legacy of their art school chic in my own experience of art school style decades later, with the heady association of music and mode of dress that was finally savaged by the cuts in art school education of the 1980s. I would have wanted to be in their gang, to be one of them, willing to share their “ethos of sharp concision, alertness to the lived moment, and sheer style”. But this was a very male cult; the style that it expressed through its bespoke suits and Lambrettas, defined a particular kind of post, post-war masculinity that did not yield easily or readily to female participants. Pauline Boty and Bridget Riley get a look in—a mention—but they were, necessarily, exploring different kinds of identity formation in relation to the particular demands of being a woman and an artist in a cult environment first shaped by young adolescent males in the 1950s.

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The generation of young art students that followed in the 1960s did not serve in the war and would probably have escaped conscription (the last conscripted soldiers left military service in 1963). The war was in the past but it continued to define the present; continued, I would suggest, to define and to shape the looks, manners, and attitudes of the Fine-Artz Associates. As the London style cultists cradled the latest black music album from the United States under their arms, the British government was passing the Commonwealth Immigrants Act (1962) restricting immigration from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia—a legal enactment, it might be said, of the colour bar. To place the style choices and art actions of the 1960s’ advanced style cults in the wider social, political, and cultural contexts of post-war Britain is not to be an academic killjoy or to deny their innovation, but it is to subject their positions to the social pressures that might explain better their choices and allegiances. Bespoke suits, Italian scooters, and black music are cultural statements that can only be understood as part of an incredibly rich landscape of style choices that opened up to the new generation that had grown up after the end of the Second World War—the “young meteors” who crossed the bombsites of 1960s London.

  • Alex-Seago

    Response by

    Alex Seago, Dean of the School of Communication, Arts & Social Sciences at Richmond, The American International University in London

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As a veteran of both the University of Birmingham (where I was a somewhat awestruck undergraduate participant in the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies seminars led by Stuart Hall and others during the heyday of CCCS subcultural theory in the early/mid-1970s) and also of the Royal College of Art’s Department of Cultural History (where I undertook doctoral research into the cultural history of ARK), I feel suitably provoked by Thomas Crow’s statement that: “the eyes of Fine-Artz Associates, the advanced style cults were not (as Cultural Studies orthodoxy would have it) unwittingly acting out larger social phenomena beyond their ken.”

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In issue 36 of ARK, the Fine-Artz Associates survey the “teenage netherworld” and empirically document aspects of the identity-obsessed Mod subculture driving pop/mass culture. In this milieu, they perceived a new kind of folk art emerging. Similar to their peers in contemporary Californian hot rod or surfing culture, they saw a few hip London Mod teenagers making sophisticated aesthetic decisions in shape and form as they customized their clothing in East End tailors, re-sprayed their scooters at Eddy Grimstead’s custom shop, or perfected the latest dance moves to the new music they had heard at the La Disque club in South London. It is, however, important to note that by 1964, when ARK 36 was being published, the more commercial aspects of Mod aesthetics were being incorporated rapidly and very profitably into the British cultural mainstream. This is perhaps most starkly represented by the Queen awarding the Member of the British Empire distinction to the Beatles in 1965, but is also epitomized by the international fascination with the unisex boutiques of Carnaby Street and the “Swinging London” phenomenon of the mid- to late 1960s. By that time, the “fine art style of connoisseurship” of the teenage Mod “faces” celebrated in ARK 36 was rapidly losing its authentic “edge” as late 1950s/early 1960s Mod culture began to polarize between a more middle-class form of art school Mod (represented by the Fine-Artz Associates themselves), which would soon develop into arty-romantic hippy psychedelia and its nemesis, the more militantly proletarian “hard Mod” look which, by 1969, had morphed into the militantly lumpen Skinhead style. The photograph of early Skinheads menacing proto hippies in Piccadilly Circus captures this tension well (Fig. 4).

A group of Skinheads walk past a group of hippies sitting on the steps of Eros in Piccadilly Circus
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Figure 4.
Terence Spencer, A group of Skinheads walk past a group of hippies sitting on the steps of Eros in Piccadilly Circus, 1969.


Digital image courtesy of Terence Spencer / Camera Press.

 
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To imply that the CCCS perspective on subcultures regarded “the young Stylists” as being “in thrall to the ‘the commodity’” is a misreading and over-simplification of the CCCS approach, which while Marxist in intent, differed radically from more orthodox Marxist analyses in its appreciation of “agency” and the pleasures of consumption. While art school-based commentators such as Richard Smith, Toni del Renzio, and, several years later, Fine-Artz Associates were the first to appreciate the significance of youth subcultures’ creativity in the form of customizing and improvisation, rather than representing “a zombie hangover from the joyless laments of the Frankfurt School”, CCCS theorists such as Dick Hebdige, Angela McRobbie, John Clarke, and Paul Willis supplied a much deeper sociological analysis of the youth subcultural phenomena than anything produced in art schools. While the CCCS theorists appeared to be unaware of the writing of art school-based predecessors, they understood and appreciated the creativity of subcultures, and, in the case of several key CCCS theorists, had actively participated in various working-class subcultural scenes themselves as teenagers. They also contributed something completely lacking from the Fine-Artz perspective—a broader appreciation and socio-economic analysis of the changes in British working-class culture from which a plethora of post-war British subcultural styles developed and the deeper subcultural meanings of Teddy Boy, Rocker, Mod, and Skinhead style evolved.

  • Anne Massey

    Response by

    Anne Massey, Visiting tutor, Regents University London

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I agree with Tom Crow that it is through the framework of collective effort and a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of consumer culture that we can reach a fuller understanding of the art of the 1960s. The Independent Group last met in July 1955, but its legacy reverberated throughout the following decade. The Pop Art patrilineage of the Independent Group has been claimed, reinforced, and contested over the past sixty years.12 And the more this simplistic Pop Art legacy is critiqued, the more dominant the established claim becomes, though and as the Group remain the “Fathers of Pop”, the intellectual and professional lineage of the Independent Group is therefore less evident, and hence presents a rich case study for 1960s art history.13

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The cover of the second issue of Living Arts from 1963 is best known as Self Portrait by the designer Richard Hamilton (Fig. 5). However, the photographer was Independent Group acolyte, Robert Freeman. This eulogy to American consumer culture was conducted as a professional photo shoot, with Betsy Scherman as the “Stylist” and props borrowed from various sources, including Shepperton Studios. This process of image making reveals something of the Independent Group’s approach to the charismatic object. The Independent Group regarded themselves as working within what would today be termed the creative industries. Lawrence Alloway was the PR contact for This is Tomorrow, Magda Cordell and John McHale ran a nascent communication design office, Frank Cordell was a noted music producer and Toni del Renzio worked as an art director in mass circulation women’s magazines. For the Independent Group, the shiny new world of consumer culture was a welcome antidote to predominantly traumatic wartime experiences.

Self Portrait
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Figure 5.
Richard Hamilton (designer) and Robert Freeman (photographer), Self Portrait, front cover of Living Arts 2, 1963.


Digital image courtesy of DACS / Artimage 2017. Photo: Robert Freeman.

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This attitude inspired the young Robert Freeman, whilst still a student at Cambridge University. He edited the magazine Cambridge Opinion in 1959, which brought together significant writing by the Independent Group. He was interested in the relationship between popular culture, art, and architecture, so the ICA was the obvious place to be with its avant-garde programme of exhibitions and talks, plus he got to hang out with Lawrence Alloway. One result was Freeman’s work for the ICA publication Living Arts, which ran to three issues. He provided the covers for the first two, but also supplied a photo essay titled Comment, inspired by London street style, to the launch issue (Fig. 6).

Comment
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Figure 6.
Robert Freeman, Comment, from Living Arts 1, Institute of Contemporary Arts in association with Tillotsons (Bolton) Ltd, 1963.


Digital image courtesy of Robert Freeman.

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The assembled group waiting at the zebra crossing evokes London in transition. The eight white men in the work uniform of suits, ties, and shiny shoes act almost as a backdrop for the two women. As Carol Tulloch has demonstrated, for black women and men to wear black at this time was a symbol of modernism and resistance.14 The black woman at the left of the frame is elegantly attired, with calf-length dress and gloves, with a glittering brooch and a bangle. This, plus the stiletto heels and decorative belt denote evening wear; as it is still daylight, perhaps she is a performer, heading to a West End venue. The woman at the centre is dressed in French New Wave mode, complete with sunglasses. Her cool posture is accentuated by trousers— a radical feminine attire for the city at that time. Robert Freeman worked as a professional photographer throughout the 1960s, taking photographs for the cover of the Sunday Times Colour Magazine and album covers for the Beatles, including Rubber Soul in 1965. He inherited the Independent Group’s professional approach to consumer culture, working with and within it, rather than simplistically critiquing it. By contesting the accepted reading of the Independent Group, the professional practice and intellectual heritage of its endeavour is brought more clearly into view.

 

  • Kate Aspinall

    Response by

    Kate Aspinall, Independent Historian, Writer, and Artist

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The importance of style cults in providing a vernacular charge to fine art achievements in the Britain of the 1960s, as argued for by Tom Crow’s opening provocation, is compelling and raises further questions about how art markets and historians have handled and could handle collective activity, including re-evaluating collective identity. Such examination not only includes looking to style cults and those groups that exhibited under a single group identity (such as Fine-Artz Associates and Art & Language) but also looking to the important and enigmatic role of other forms of collective activity in keeping the faith for individual practitioners. Notions of originality and individuation demand reappraisal in this context, not only with respect to how we approach the distinctions between groups, communities, and networks but also to look at the historically specific pressures towards individuation during the 1960s.

Photograph of (left to right) Dennis Creffield
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Figure 7.
Cliff Holden, Photograph of (left to right) Dennis Creffield, Dorothy Mead, Cliff Holden in David Bomberg’s class at Borough Polytechnic (now London South Bank University), 1948. Collection of Cliff Holden.


Digital image courtesy of Cliff Holden.

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The concentric circles around David Bomberg present a multi-layered example of these issues. Bomberg taught a class at the Borough Polytechnic (1945–1953) from which a messianic adherence to his late-career core philosophy of channelling the “spirit in the mass” emerged. Within the widest circle, inclusion in what was known variously as the Bomberg Movement, or the School of Thick Paint, among other names, involved the use of long, weighty strokes, accidental mixing effects, bold demonstrations, and sacrificed accuracy. These were adopted, mixed, and modified according to individual taste in order to signify rebellion against an increasingly professionalized world of painting. Paradoxically, the Bomberg Movement signalled uncompromising individuality. Bomberg styled his persona as a rebel: in his youth, he had defined the urban variant of the avant-garde, bohemian outsider; and in middle age, he represented the lone master of his craft, standing steadfast against critical neglect. While not a style cult as set forth by Crow, the Bomberg Movement did involve visual codes of persona as well as practice. Furthermore, it resists community and network theory analysis, which privileges person-to-person causation and thus cannot sufficiently speak to its operation. The concept of style cults (or some form thereof) offer a more productive means of engaging with this kind a diffused, yet recognizably unified, movement.

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At the centre of Bomberg’s concentric circles were two structured, student movements: the Borough Group (1946–1950); and the Borough Bottega (1953–ca. 1955). The Borough Group was a student faction founded and initially helmed by the painter Cliff Holden. It was predicated upon Quaker principles of a community providing strength in pursuing individual integrity. Its members positioned it consciously in rebellion against repressive notions of originality. Bomberg’s conception of collective activity was more hierarchical. He took over leadership of the Borough Group in March 1948, and consolidated it as a more consciously hierarchical organization. When Bomberg later founded the Borough Bottega, he emulated a Renaissance-style workshop, where an original master oversaw the work of derivative followers. Both of these communities in practice, however, demonstrated that individuation and situation within a cultural field need not be antagonistic. It is notable, nonetheless, that history has favoured those students, such as Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, who adopted Bomberg’s performance of individualism while understating the role of a communal energy.

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It remains for us to contend not only with the historically specific tension between collective energy and individual achievements in the 1960s, but also to ask if style cults and their relations must be validated according to fine art achievements. Traditional concepts of originality, after all, have underwritten the art historical tendency towards a catalogue of names.

  • Jay Curley

    Response by

    John J. Curley, Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Art at Wake Forest University

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It sounds like a scene from a period spy novel by the British author John Le Carré: a young man is waiting on a platform of a train station at a London commuter hub, when he sees another man holding something that only he recognizes as significant. This object gives the first man permission to approach the other, serving as a surreptitious code that signifies that they are allies. This meeting—on a platform at Dartford Railway Station—did not involve Cold War spies but instead was an important reintroduction between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger in 1961. The objects in Mick’s hands were two LPs that he had purchased, via mail order, directly from Chess Records in Chicago: one by Chuck Berry and the other by Muddy Waters. As Keith recalled, “I had only heard about Muddy up to that point.”15 This chance encounter between two “Stylists”, to use the term of the Fine-Artz Associates, led to the formation of the Rolling Stones. A Stylist, then, was not that different from a Cold War spy: both figures are required to recognize meanings in signs that would otherwise go unnoticed.

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Crow is right to locate the origins of the Fine-Artz Associates in both the Independent Group (IG) and Aby Warburg, but there is a specific figure, who can link these influences: E.H. Gombrich. His famous essay “Meditations on the Hobby Horse”—about, as the title suggests, a lowly child’s toy—was first written as a commissioned response to IG member Richard Hamilton’s exhibition Growth and Form (1951). Gombrich led the Warburg Institute throughout the 1960s, teaching scholars who would come to embed art among broader social practices, such as Michael Baxandall. But it is Gombrich’s theory of the “beholder’s share”, first articulated in 1950 in The Story of Art and developed and expanded throughout the following decade, that perhaps is the most relevant here. Gombrich remarked that what a viewer brings to an image—including visual training, taste, and ideology—helps to dictate how that image is interpreted. To return to Dartford, Keith’s familiarity with American rock and blues allowed him to view Mick’s albums in a different way than anyone else there.

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At least one work of art from this period, which Crow discussed during his first Mellon Lecture, can bring art history, the beholder’s share, and the Stylists together: a Robyn Denny mural from 1959, which was commissioned to hang inside the clothing shop Austin Reed, located on the edge of Soho (Fig. 8). Austin Reed wanted to modernize its image, and the mural played its part; the Beatles posed in front of it for one of their first photo sessions in London, in 1962. However, the picture’s large scale and its dynamic field of painted and collaged words and colour planes also speak distinctive art historical languages that attest to Denny’s interest in Synthetic Cubism, as well as Jackson Pollock and other American painters recently shown in London. Like Mick’s LPs, The Austin Reed Mural signifies in distinct ways to different viewers. And it is only when those different messages—a Mod advertisement for clothing and a collection of art historical forebears—come together that the real importance of Denny’s mural begins to emerge.

The Austin Reed Mural
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Figure 8.
Robyn Denny, The Austin Reed Mural, 1959, oil, collage & mixed media on panel, 190 x 305 cm.


Digital image courtesy of The Estate of Robyn Denny. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017.

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Duck-rabbit illusion DOI Considering that his work on the “beholder’s share” was evolving at around the time when Denny was completing his mural, might we argue that Gombrich was an intellectual patron of the Stylists? While certainly not hip in his appearance or manner, he wrote some pieces that could, in retrospect, be identified as Mod art history, for instance, Art and Illusion from 1960 reproduced a range of images—press photographs, cartoons, advertisements, as well as historical art—to demonstrate the ways in which all image-makers, including artists, use visual schemata from the past in new ways, not unlike the Stylists’ appropriation of older fashions and trends. But to close, I want to propose Gombrich’s “beholder’s share” as a methodological challenge: art historians, especially those working on Pop of any national variety, must, like Crow, seriously grapple with the vast quarry of popular material from which these artists mined their styles and imagery, as well as the art historical referents. While art historians have grown to understand just what it is that makes Pop art so appealing, many like it for the wrong, or at least incomplete, reasons. A strictly semiotic, Cubist reading of Denny’s mural, or one that solely discusses it in terms of youth-centred design and consumption, for instance, might both seem entirely appropriate, but each, on its own, misses the point. To state this challenge via one of Art and Illusion’s strongest metaphors, scholars must interrogate the duck and rabbit (Fig. 9) as a single interconnected, entity—shifting back and forth between art and commerce, the avant-garde and kitsch.

  • Alexander Massouras

    Response by

    Alexander Massouras, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Ruskin School of Art

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I have chosen this car, the Mercedes SL W113 (known as the Pagoda) as an excuse to talk about (aspects of) chronology and authorship, particularly the kind of collective authorship Tom Crow discusses with regard to Fine-Artz Associates and all the influences, appropriations, and misappropriations which accompany distributed authorship. The historiographical prominence of the 1960s as a decade makes its relationship to the 1950s intriguing, especially when coupled with the associations of the latter with rebellion, a condition that demands something—prior and ideally stable—to rebel against. Thinking about vehicle design is one route into thinking about how the 1960s fit into the twentieth century. The Pagoda, so evocative of the 1960s in its shape and styling, is a third-generation iteration of the SL class, preceded by the W198 and W121 in the 1950s, and succeeded by another body style at the beginning of the 1970s, and by many more since. Like the multifarious eddies of the pop movement, its style was not a discrete phenomenon, but rather came from somewhere and turned into something. The Pagoda (also) embodied far older technologies: the combustion engine and the wheel, even. As such, it is a heterochronic object, despite its appearance, which, to our contemporary eyes, locks it into 1960s cool—like a prehistoric insect in amber.

Premiere for the Pagoda with Béla Barényi (right) and Paul Bracq, Geneva
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Figure 10.
Premiere for the Pagoda with Béla Barényi (right) and Paul Bracq, Geneva, 1963. Digital image courtesy of


Digital image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Classic.

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Much like the group efforts attempted by collectives like the Fine-Artz Associates, the Pagoda also shows how complicated authorship can be. It was designed by Paul Bracq and Béla Barényi, both shown beside the car here at the Geneva Motor show of 1963 (Fig. 10), but it also spoke to the preceding SL–to that extent, its authorship is more diffuse, even before taking into account its components and engineers. The influence of context is more obvious with cars than with works of art, too. In a structural sense, cars divulge a system of oil supply chains and roads—a car like this had more use value when larger roads started to appear, the M1 motorway having been opened in 1959; they speak to an ideological context. This was a West German car, which was enthusiastically imported into the USA: around 19,000 of almost 49,000 sold in this body type went to the USA during the Cold War. While these factors locate the Pagoda structurally and politically, they don’t explain why it looks magnificent.

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At first glance, an object as luxurious as the Pagoda seems out of place in a discussion of youth culture and its propensity for resourcefulness and reinvention—high-end consumption is often startlingly unoriginal and prescriptive. Fast cars have nevertheless always had a “young” brand, perhaps finding their apogee in the car crash as an emblem of youthful martyrdom. This was not lost on British painters of the period either. John Minton’s last vast painting, Composition: The Death of James Dean (1957) tacked Dean’s death onto the imagery of a painting originally about something else. Tony Messenger treated the same subject in his painting 30 September 1955 (the date of Dean’s death), which he exhibited in the Young Contemporaries exhibition of 1958, the year after Minton himself died. We see this glamour, too, in the Pagoda’s frequent appearance in cinema—it featured in three releases in 1965 alone: Darling (dir. John Schlesinger), Fanatic (dir. Silvio Narizzano), and Life at the Top (dir. Ted Kotcheff). Cars move physically, but the Pagoda also moved culturally, being cast in many films, photo shoots, and music videos in the half century since its creation. In many respects, cars were the great disruptors of the twentieth century, a role spotted in its first decade by Kenneth Graham in The Wind in the Willows (1908), when he made cars Mr Toad’s undoing. But the Pagoda’s stylistic endurance has now made it something of a constant—a moving object now fixed in the cultural landscape.

  • Becky Conekin

    Response by

    Becky Conekin, Senior Lecturer at the MacMillan Center, Yale University

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Elizabeth Wilson has argued that Cultural Studies spawned fashion studies, and that an exploration of this single fashion shoot from mid-1960s London can speak volumes about the creative energies and collaborations in that capital city.16 In May 1964, the fashion illustrator and designer, Barbara Hulanicki, and her advertising executive husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon, launched a pink gingham dress with a hole at the back of the neck and a coordinated triangular kerchief in The Daily Mirror for their Biba Postal Boutique. The Fashion Editor for the Mirror, Miss Felicity Green, had invited Hulanicki to design something inexpensive for her readers to be featured in an article on “four career girls”. 17 The morning after the dress appeared in the Mirror, Hulanicki and Fitz-Simon discovered over 4,000 orders waiting for them at the post office on Oxford Street. After employing Royal College of Art students as seamstresses, and resolving the issue of finding enough pink gingham in the UK, along with some other hiccups, Biba Postal Boutique eventually filled the 17,000 orders for the ensemble.18 The couple opened their first brick and mortar boutique a few months later on Abingdon Road in London’s Kensington. It was a great success, with customers such as Cathy McGowan from Ready Steady Go!, who wore their clothes on the popular television show on Friday nights. Other locations in Kensington followed, as well as their mail-order catalogue. Big Biba, as it was called, opened in 1973 in a seven-story building, combining Art Nouveau interiors with rock and roll music. Different floors catered to different clientele and there was a popular food hall, as well as a stunning Rainbow Restaurant on the fifth floor. For a time, Big Biba was not only a thriving business, but also a popular tourist attraction.

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As well as showcasing a new collaboration between a fashion designer, an advertising executive, a fashion editor, and young fashion students, this shoot represents a new fashion marketed to an equally new younger consumer market. And behind the photograph was another collaboration—this one between the model and the photographer. The model was Paulene Stone, known as “Redbird”, thanks to her flaming locks. Although David Bailey is most known for his work with the model Jean Shrimpton, the quintessential bad boy’s breakthrough photograph was actually of Stone feeding a squirrel in an autumnal London park for a 1960 Daily Express fashion spread.19 She had won the Woman’s Own model contest in 1958, and in 1964, she graced the cover of British Vogue twice. 

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Stone was also a favourite of the top London fashion photographer, John French.20 French worked closely with his models, but never clicked the shutter himself; he would calmly command one of his assistants to do so, when the shot was ready.21 Now known as a conservative gentleman, whose studio was “churchlike”, French was actually a pioneer in other respects. He is credited with taking “fashion photography to a mass audience with the elegant, graphic images he published, not only in fashion publications like Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair, and The Tatler, but also in newspapers.”22 In particular, French developed high contrast black and white photography, achieving the resolution necessary for the photos to look elegant on cheap newsprint by rejecting “popular direct tungsten lighting for softer daylight photography, bouncing light off reflector boards” in his London studio.23 From new consumer youth culture to technological innovation, this single fashion shoot can tell us many stories of London’s Swinging Sixties.

  • Chris Breward

    Response by

    Chris Breward, Director of Collections and Research, National Galleries Scotland

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“Sharp concision, alertness to the lived moment, and sheer style.” In three short phrases, Tom Crow captures not only the ethos of the Fine-Artz Associates, but also the flavour of a cultural moment whose elusive character I have consistently tried and, sadly, failed to demonstrate through the material legacy of 1960s fashion in London over three curatorial attempts.

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Mini dress DOI In 2004, the cream wool jersey dress, worn by Mary Quant to collect her OBE from Buckingham Palace in 1966 and a Union Jack printed cotton shirt of the same year from “I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet” boutique in the Portobello Road stood in for modernist cult values at the Museum of London’s “The London Look: Fashion From Street to Catwalk”. In 2006, a 1968 Mr Fish printed corduroy suit in orange, lime green, and maroon stripes, worn by the interior designer David Mlinaric, a graduate of the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and envious of his art school peers at the neighbouring Slade School of Fine Art for their “style freedom”, formed the poster image for “Swinging Sixties: Fashion in London and Beyond” at the Victoria & Albert Museum. And finally, in 2012—my favourite—a pop 1966 “Double D” white linen mini dress (Fig. 13) by Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin, who were fresh out the Royal College of Art, came closest to, but couldn’t quite stand in as a cipher for the fads of that “teenage netherworld” in “British Design from 1948: Innovation in the Modern Age” at the same museum. We tried our best to animate inert seams and fabric: a jazz and Mod soundtrack at the Museum of London, kooky film reportage in “Swinging Sixties”, and even an Issigonis Morris Mini Minor and a mocked up Abbey Road zebra crossing for “British Design”, but old clothes are cold clothes, revenants of lost environments.

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I have some sympathy then, for the Fine-Artz Associates’ attempts to decode and ignite the culture of the “advanced style cults” as a call to aesthetic and social revolution, though the standard curatorial tools wouldn’t allow me to fully reconstruct it. And I share some of Crow’s distrust of the “cultural studies orthodoxy”, which has reduced the vibrant ephemera of everyday life, and fashion in particular, to joyless evidence of commodity fetishism. Fifty years on, the selfsame stuff often resists resuscitation on the mannequin and in the vitrine. That much, I know from experience.

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But perhaps the most vivid record of the values suggested in the Associates’ manifesto lies not in the faded object itself, but in the innocent freshness of its original context and interpretation—understood so well as a cultish visual, aural, and sartorial code by the Associates. George Melly knew as much when he described the “deliberate impoverishment of vocabulary in spoken and written utterances” as a characteristic of Pop culture. Mick Farren (author of the later alternative tracts “Watch Out Kids” of 1972 and “Get on Down” of 1976) wrote about Pop’s “non-literal culture dependent on style, mannerisms and emotional response for its expression.” And Theodore Roszak in The Making of a Counter Culture (1969) claimed that much that is best in Pop culture “does not find its way into literal expression . . . . one is apt to find out more about youth’s ways by paying attention to posters, buttons, fashions of dress and dance, and especially to the pop music.”24

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In a special “Fine Artz” edition of the Royal College of Art student journal ARK from summer 1964, the editors concluded:

It is our opinion that the world of the teenager could well provide vital information for the new generation of professional culture propagators. What impressed us most about the kids was the way in which they seemed to understand modern styling, fashion and expendability so much better than the professionals. The admen and Wimpey Bar designers don’t do badly in supplying the sort of thing that is required . . . but why should they have what amounts to a virtual monopoly in the manipulation of our visual environments?25

In the following year, Foale and Tuffin rose to the challenge, establishing their boutique in Marlborough Court, off Carnaby Street. In their own words, its sharp interior, designed by the jeweller Tony Laws,

put scaffolding poles right across width-ways and then hung the hangers on those ... And all around above those were the light bulbs, blue and red light bulbs ... And minimal wooden floor and minimal white desk ... Oh and a model of Twiggy in the window.26

Like the “Double D” dress, there is a directness about their expression, as stark and uncompromising as one of Stephen Willats’ PVC dress sculptures of the same year. The dress itself may have failed to carry that weight of meaning in the later context of the design historical survey show, but there is something in its childlike literalness, and pure line that carries ‘the quotient of genius’ essential to Crow’s argument.

  • Elena Crippa

    Response by

    Elena Crippa, Curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art at Tate, London

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Portraits, at their best, as the art historian Linda Nochlin has noted, are not only social seismographs—psychological barometers and records of fashion and taste—but the result of an urgent need for contact, the meeting of two subjectivities.27 The way in which they embody and make visible such a meeting is often through the representation of gesture, though not the grand gestures of history painting, which are clearly encoded acts of communication. Rather than relying on stereotype or sentimentality, the most captivating portraits employ individuation. They often capture the encounter of two people through the recording of the elusive mood of an enduring gaze, or the posturing that bodies perform as knowing sites of mediality and exchange.

Drum Cover Girl Erlin Ibreck, London
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Figure 14.
James Barnor, Drum Cover Girl Erlin Ibreck, London, 1966, printed 2010 Tate. Collection Gift Eric and Louise Franck London 2016.


Digital image courtesy of James Barnor / Autograph ABP.

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This is probably what attracted me most the first time I saw James Barnor’s portrait of a nineteen-year-old Erlin Ibreck, taken in 1966. There is her young beauty: a striking mixture of sensuousness, grace, and self-assurance. Her colourful, self-made dress, customized jewellery, and lacquered fingernails show an awareness of the latest fashion combined with a desire to customize and make trends personal. There is the leaning against the shining, grey jaguar that, rather than objectify her, empowers her and seems to suggest that life will be equitable—her future, too, will be plentiful. And her gestures: one hand waiting patiently; the other moving, drawing that hypnotizing talisman, that “eye”, closer to her heart, to the centre of the image. Mostly, there is the shallow depth of the focus, the sight of the London street softened and the sound of the incoming car muffled, she and me cocooned, in a public but safe space, together but apart from the rest of the world.

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This photograph was produced as a fashion shot for Drum, Africa’s first black lifestyle magazine, based in Johannesburg, which had been an integral part of the resistance movement known as the Sophiatown Renaissance. The magazine combined campaigning journalism with light-hearted photo stories. It spread as a franchise across the African continent, including editions in Kenya and Nigeria, with the readership extending to communities in London. The photographer, James Barnor, moved to Britain from Jamestown, Ghana, in 1959. Over the following decade, his regular assignments were for Drum. As the art historian Kobena Mercer has commented, Barnor played a key role not simply in documenting the Black diaspora in Britain through the photographic image, but also in representing it in an affirmative manner: not as a dislocation defined by a loss of roots, but as part of the long history of movement and exchanges that gave diasporic experiences multiple cross-cultural “roots” and a truly cosmopolitan outlook. 28 At a time when Black communities in London, New York, and Johannesburg were increasingly connected through active struggle and solidarity, in the constant presence of racism’s deadening threat, Barnor’s portrait of Erlin Ibreck offers an intensely visual and tactile aesthetic experience, one that carries within it an ethical and political proposition on how we encounter one another, how we can be with one another, and how we might be able to live together.

  • Bryan Wolf

    Response by

    Bryan Wolf, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

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We see them from the back: eleven young men in hooded coats oblivious to our gaze. One figure—on the far left—turns our way and smiles, as if inviting us, in coy fashion, to listen to what the others must hear. This sly suggestion of sound in an otherwise wordless image comes from the logos painted on the back of the men’s jackets. They reference the Who, the British rock group formed in the mid-1960s by Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. A circle with the name “WHO” and the group’s arrow-like emblem—vaguely phallic in form—flashes from the back of one jacket, while the term “Generation” can be read on another. My Generation was the title of the group’s debut album from 1965. Other jackets display variations on the Union Jack.

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The black and white photograph is noteworthy for several reasons, each resonating with the arguments in Tom Crow’s Provocation, from the young men’s “cult”-like demeanour, to their collective concern with style, to their deliberate and provocative self-fashioning. The wink over the shoulder from the figure on the left, in turn, adds a note of self-consciousness and performativity to the image. These are individuals who, in Crow’s language, could be said to display “intention, intelligence, fine intuition, and self-critique” in a manner parallel to what we traditionally expect from free-standing objects of art. This photo was used to illustrate a point about the edge being taken off the stylistic acuity of Soho Modernism as it became more widely adopted as a conformist style under the catch-all term Mod. No Modernist in about 1959 or “Stylist” in about 1964 would advertise devotion to English as opposed to Black American or Jamaican music. Crow noted in Lecture 5 of his Mellon series: “As one young female informant told [Fine-Artz], ‘unlike the Stylists, the Mods dress alike’, the latter group having evolved into a much larger and younger formation, with the Stylists being a smaller, trend-creating leadership.”29 When young men band together to become a “cult”, they function simultaneously as a “network of distributed intelligence” and as a unique artefact with a unified sensibility.

London Mods
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Figure 15.
Unknown photographer, London Mods, mid-1960s.


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There is a lot at stake here, from Crow’s carefully argued effort to reimagine the power and historical significance of British art of the 1960s, to his equally compelling attempt to expand the parameters of art history—the range of its inquiries—by insisting that certain “cults” and “collectives” function in a cognate fashion to individual works of art. But here we need to hit the “pause” button, for the reciprocity between works of art and collections of people, between aesthetically conceived objects and cults like the SoHo Modernists (and later the Stylists), flows only in one direction in Crow’s account. Crow’s ambition in the Mellon Lectures was to remap the territory of art history by: (1) expanding its range (cults are works of art, too); and (2) returning art history, as a discipline, to its founding assumptions as laid out by writers like Aby Warburg. The latter staked his analysis of Renaissance painting on mummers’ parades and popular culture—a mingling of “high” and “low” that Crow wishes to reclaim today.

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But the catch is that low cultures (“cults”, in other words) qualify as aesthetic products in Crow’s account because—and only because—they come to resemble objects of “high culture.” They demonstrate the sensitivity, self-awareness, and self-critical facility that have historically distinguished works of art. What has not happened in this argument, then, is the reverse possibility: that high art should disavow its traditional aesthetic claims—that it might in fact de-define itself—and, in the process, reimagine itself outside of the languages of intention, self-critique, and aesthetic merit. This would lead not only to cults behaving as art works, but also to art itself being reconceived outside of its habitual aesthetic categories.

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A final note: the “enemy” for Crow is not mass or popular culture (at least not when well used), but instead consists of any systems (Marx, Freud, Cultural Studies) that relegate works of art to an illustrative level, to expressions of buried or invisible forces larger than any “surface” meaning. This accounts for the importance of “intention” in Crow’s definition of both the London Mods and the Stylists. Both groups self-consciously invented themselves, appropriating freely from African-American fashion and music, and European avant-garde culture. But this, I suspect, is dangerous territory. Crow is at risk of curtailing art’s most powerful animating histories: if not class and social structure, then those undercurrents that evade the conscious intentions of the maker. Let’s phrase it in the language of craft: the hand speaks languages that the mind does not always understand. And those languages, those forms of expression internal to a work of art but not deliberately “chosen” by its maker, are often the voices of a more troubling history, a less amenable culture. These sedimented languages are often spoken despite—not because of—our best intentions.

About the author

  • Tom Crow

    Thomas Crow’s teaching and research at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where he is Rosalie Solow Professor, reach from the later seventeenth century in Europe to the contemporary in both Europe and America. His first book, Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris, was quickly recognized as providing a fresh model for understanding the art and larger culture of its period. At the same moment, his much-reprinted essay, ‘Modernism and Mass Culture in the Visual Arts’, identified interdependency rather than antagonism between modern fine art and popular visual expression. All of these concerns—the broad social history of artistic form and reassessing cultural hierarchies alongside the individual formations of artists—came together in his recent, warmly received Long March of Pop: Art, Music, and Design 1930-1995.

    His doctoral degree is from UCLA, and he holds honorary doctorates from Pomona College and the Courtauld Institute. Before coming to the Institute of Fine Arts, his appointments included Chairs at the University of Sussex and at Yale University, as well as the Directorship of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He has also been for twenty years an active contributing editor at Artforum. In 2015, he delivered the Andrew Mellon Lectures, on art around the fall of Napoleon, at the National Gallery in Washington DC.

Footnotes

  1. Fine-Artz Associates (Terry Atkinson, John Bowstead, Roger Jeffs, Bernard Jennings), “Fine-Artz?: What or who are the ‘Fine-Artz’?”, Ark 35 (Summer 1964), 40.

    1
  2. Fine Artz, “Fine-Artz View of Teenage Cults”, Ark 36 (1964), 40.

    2
  3. Lawrence Alloway, “The Robot and the Arts”, Art News and Review (1 September 1956), 1.

    3
  4. Picture Post 4 June 1955, 67(10): 37–40, alongside text by David Mitchell, “What’s Wrong With Teddy Girls?” Russell met one group through his future wife, Shirley Kingdon, and found the other by walking into the Mayfair Club in Canning Town. Paul Sutton reproduces several in Becoming Ken Russell: The Authorised Biography of Ken Russell, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Bear Claw Publishing, 2012), 61–63, claiming them as “consciously Pop Art photographs”, even before the term existed (on 65).

    4
  5. Rose Hendon, quoted among those tracked down and interviewed by Eve Dawoud, http://www.teenagefilm.com/archives/archive-fever/who-were-the-teddy-girls/. They were sometimes younger than Russell thought (fourteen or fifteen rather than seventeen years old).

    5
  6. Absolute Beginners in The Colin MacInnes Omnibus (London: Alison & Busby, 1985), 31 and 32. MacInnes’s narrator was based in part on Terry Taylor, assistant (1956–1958) to the photographer Ida Kar (and her lover). She photographed him in 1961, in a “vertical striped happy shirt”, reading the Jazz Journal, or smoking a joint.

    6
  7. “A whole history remains to be written of spaces—which would at the same time be the history of powers . . . from the great strategies of geopolitics to the little tactics of the habitat”. Michel Foucault (1977), ‘The Eye of Power’, in Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writing 1972–1977, ed. and trans. Colin Gordon (Brighton: Harvester, 1980), 149.

    7
  8. See Richard Wollheim, “Babylon, Babylone”, Encounter 104 (May 1962): 25–36, an extended essay on the modern city inspired by Absolute Beginners.

    8
  9. Robert Hughes, “The Rise of Andy Warhol”, The New York Review of Books, 18 February 1982, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1982/02/18/the-rise-of-andy-warhol.

    9
  10. Francesco Clemente, “Remarks”, Henry Geldzahler Memorial, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 3 October 1994.

    10
  11. David Hockney, Remarks, Henry Geldzahler Memorial, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 3 October 1994.

    11
  12. See Anne Massey and Penny Sparke, “The Myth of the Independent Group”, Block 10 (April 1985): 48–56; and, more recently, Catherine Moriarty, “Popular Art, Pop Art and ‘the Boys who Turn Out Fine Arts’”, in Anne Massey and Alex Seago (eds), Pop Art and Design (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), 24–47.

    12
  13. For example, Hal Foster, The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter and Ruscha, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012).

    13
  14. Carol Tulloch, The Birth of Cool: Style Narratives of the African Diaspora (London: Bloomsbury, 2016). With thanks to Professor Alistair O’Neill for fashion history information.

    14
  15. Stanley Booth, Keith: Standing in the Shadows (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1995), 14.

    15
  16. Elizabeth Wilson explained in 2003, in her new Foreword to her seminal book, Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity (1985), how the 1980s had seen scholars developing “new ways of understanding culture and cultural artefacts,” which focused on “the hidden injuries of class, race and gender” (viii). In what she sees as a “parallel move”, Wilson describes how Cultural Studies began at the same time to emphasize “the audience and the use groups and individuals make of cultural artefacts, not passively receiving them but actively re-appropriating and even ‘subverting’ their intended purposes” (ix). “Pleasures previously despised as ‘feminine’—the reading of pulp romances, the watching of television soaps, the enjoyment of ‘women’s melodrama’ in film—were now differently evaluated. Female pleasure was prompted, in the cultural as in the erotic sphere” (ix), according to Wilson. Wilson contends that fashion played a “crucial role . . . since it stood on the cusp of the feminine and the erotic, the cultural and the social.” Thus, fashion studies “exploded”. Wilson, Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, Revised Ed., 2003.)

    16
  17. Barbara Hulanicki, From A to BIBA: The Autobiography of Barbara Hulanicki. (London: Victoria and Albert Museum Publications, 2007), 69.

    17
  18. Hulanicki, From A to BIBA, 68–72.

    18
  19. Lesley White, “David Bailey’s Irish Dream”, The Sunday Times, 3 August 2008.

    19
  20. Paulene Stone, Interview with the Author, Chelsea, London, 1 January 2009.

    20
  21. Valerie Mendes, John French: Fashion Photographer (London: Victoria and Albert Museum Press, 1984).

    21
  22. Penny Martin, Online encyclopedia entry: http://arts.jrank.org/pages/10574/John-French.html

    22
  23. Martin, Online encyclopedia.

    23
  24. Nigel Whiteley, Pop Design: Modernism to Mod (London: Design Council, 1987), 7–8.

    24
  25. ARK 36 (Summer 1964): 48.

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  26. Iain R. Webb, Foale and Tuffin: The Sixties. A Decade in Fashion (Woodbridge: ACC Editions, 2009), 137.

    26
  27. See Linda Nochlin, “The Realist Criminal and the Abstract Law I”, Art in America 61 (September–October 1973): 29.

    27
  28. Kobena Mercer, “People Get Ready: James Barnor’s Route Map of Afro-Modernity”, in Ever Young James Barnor, exhibition catalogue (London: Autograph ABP, 2010).

    28
  29. Thomas Crow, “The Great Lost Look c.1969: Beyond Cultural Studies”, Lecture 5, 6 February 2017, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels: Style, Music, and Art in London 1956–1969, Paul Mellon Lectures, National Gallery, London.

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Imprint

Author
Thomas Crow
Date
30 November 2017
Category
Conversation Piece
Review status
Peer Reviewed (Editorial Group)
Licence
CC BY-NC International 4.0
Downloads
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Article DOI
https://doi.org/10.17658/issn.2058-5462/issue-07/conversation
Cite as
Thomas Crow, "Art by the Many: London Style Cults of the 1960s", British Art Studies, Issue 7, https://doi.org/10.17658/issn.2058-5462/issue-07/conversation