Upcoming Events

The great lost look c. 1969: Beyond cultural studies

Paul Mellon Lectures – Thomas Crow

  • 6 February 2017
  • 6:30 – 7:30 pm
  • £7, £6 concessions/£5 National Gallery Members
    A drinks reception will follow this lecture
  • National Gallery, London

The arc of original London Modernism appeared to end with the Mod media spectacle of the mid-1960s, then to be buried by the hippy wave. But the true Modernist cult persisted with its original exclusivity, secrecy, and exquisite discrimination restored.

These lectures look at the late-1950s emergence of the Modernist style among youthful connoisseurs of advanced American jazz and how it fostered a favourable climate for signature British artists of the 1960s—Robyn Denny, David Hockney, Pauline Boty, Bridget Riley, Bruce McLean, and Terry Atkinson, among them.

The Paul Mellon lectures, which are named in honour of the philanthropist and collector of British art, Paul Mellon (1907-1999), were inaugurated in 1994 when Professor Francis Haskell delivered the first series at the Gallery in London. The model for the series was the Andrew W. Mellon lectures, established in 1949 in honour of Paul Mellon’s father, the founder of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The lectures are biennial, given by a distinguished historian of British art.

In 2017 the lectures will be delivered by Tom Crow, Rosalie Solow Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. His teaching and research reaches from the later seventeenth century in Europe to the contemporary in both Europe and America.


Image credits

Event listing: Pauline Boty, With Love to Jean-Paul Belmondo (detail), 1962, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm. Private Collection / © The estate of Pauline Boty
Series image: Filming on the set of Ready Steady Go, February 1964. Image © Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo

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About the speaker

  • 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.