- 3 September 2019
Much has been written since the 1940s about the idea of William Blake as a rebel of cultural thought, a dreamer of alternative realities, a preparer of the way, an oracle of unfettered literary creativity and a source of cult-like devotion; but relatively little attention has been given to considering how Blake’s art captured the attention of successive generations of modern artists, art critics and cultural commentators. The purpose of The Artist of the Future Age: William Blake, Neo-Romanticism, Counter-Culture and Now conference, taking place on Friday 11 October at the John Rylands Library, is to investigate how Blake has been imagined as a friend of the future, a revolutionary, whose art – or ideas about art – outran his own period and ‘predicted’ later developments in visual culture.
This free event, contains presentations by leading Blake scholars and culminates with an extended conversation between the legendary poet Michael Horovitz and the distinguished curator Bryan Biggs, both of whom have deep attachments to Blake, his art and thought. The presentations take the form of specific case studies arranged in broadly chronological fashion, all of which are designed to indicate some of the distinctive characteristics of the versions of Blake that recur in a period of almost eighty years. Some of these presentations are micro-engagements with Blakean moments; others are focused on the ways in which Blakean culture is embedded in a wider range of artistic and political debates. Tickets to the conference can be booked online here.
The Artist of the Future Age: William Blake, Neo-Romanticism, Counter-Culture and Now has been supported by a Paul Mellon Centre Event Support Grant.