Slade School of Fine Art UCL
Gower Street London WC1E 6BT
I studied History of Art at UCL and have a PhD from the University of Leeds (Department of Fine Art). From an early stage in my career my approach to research and teaching has been informed by working with artists and in a Fine Art context. I have taught at the Slade since 1995.
My research embraces aspects of the histories of sculpture and landscape and these two areas of interest coalesce in my work on the new forms of landscape art that emerged in the 1960s, often referred to as 'Land Art'. Land Art, and most particularly the work and contribution of artist in Britain, is the area of research with which my work is most consistently associated and I've published numerous articles, chapters in books and essays for exhibition catalogues related to this area.
I am frequently invited to give public lectures, talks and conference papers at institutions such as Tate, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Nottingham University (Djanogly Gallery), The Gallery at Norwich University College of the Arts, The Collection Lincoln, The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds and The Getty, Los Angeles.
Earth Re-Alignments: some European aspects of land art is my ongoing personal research project. It was funded by the AHRC (research leave) during 2008, with the final report graded as 'outstanding'. Its outputs include an article on Land Art and the Moon Landing in the Journal of Visual Culture and a chapter on Transatlantic dialogues in the emergence of Land Art for a Getty publication. My connection with the Getty continues with my current involvement in a research workshop on critic & curator Lawrence Alloway.
I'm involved in collaborative projects where my research is realised through co-written papers, conferences and exhibitions. Some of these are directly related to my work on Land Art: including a major exhibition on the New Art of Landscape in Britain, co-curated with Nicholas Alfrey (Nottingham University) and Ben Tufnell (Haunch of Venison), with the Arts Council Collection and Hayward Touring. Other collaborative projects take my research into differently charted territories: into Landscape and Eschatology for example (with artist John Timberlake), or into (possibly) more optimistic visions of the future in research, with art historian David Hulks, on the artistic and design milieu of Stanley Kubrick's 2001.
A commitment to the study of sculpture's histories, theories and practices is an important facet of my research. In 1996-7 I was Henry Moore Fellow in the History of Sculpture in UCL Department of History of Art. My work on individual sculptors includes book on The Sculpture of William Tucker (Lund Humphries, 2007) and the South African sculptor, Roelof Louw (Ridinghouse, forthcoming 2013).
Since 2000 I have been a member of the editorial board of the Sculpture Journal http://www.liverpool-unipress.co.uk/html/publication.asp?idProduct=3598 the leading academic journal for research in sculpture. Current and former editorial board members include my Slade colleagues, sculptors Phyllida Barlow and Edward Allington, and I have been an advocate for the inclusion of practicing sculptors on the board and for the importance of their contribution to the Journal. The Slade provides a venue for meetings of the Sculpture Journal editorial board.
My current teaching includes leading and co-teaching (with studio staff) an introductory course for all first year undergraduate students (BA and BFA) and two second-year BA courses on Aspects of Art in the 1980s and Land Art and the Persistence of Landscape, the latter relating most directly to my current research. For MA I teach a course considering the interrelation of art and writing, which takes both theoretical and more practical workshop approaches to writing.
I supervise undergraduate Independent Studies and MA research essays and reports.
Uncommon Ground: Land art in Britain 1966-792013
Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton, UK; National Gallery of Wales, Cardiff, UK; Mead Gallery, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK; Longside gallery, Wakefield, UK
Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich, London, UK
Victorian Greenwich resident Richard Jefferies’ prescient 1885 novel, After London imagines the site of London as a contaminated forbidden zone, a flooded swamp, which, now poisoned, swallows up unfortunates and the unwitting in search of treasure. As such, it finds a late 20th Century echo in the Zones of the Strugatsky Brothers' Roadside Picnic, Tarkovsky's Stalker, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, and continued relevance in the context of climate change today. Using the novel as a starting point, visual artist John Timberlake and writer and art historian Joy Sleeman have developed a dialogue around their shared interests of landscape art, science fiction, and the changing perceptions of London’s doom. Fascinatingly, whether in fears of poisonous swamps, a nuclear bomb smuggled in a ship, or rising oceans, the Thames has remained a central element in these spectral fates. Both Joy Sleeman’s critical writing and John Timberlake’s montage images reflect their shared interest in the changing nature of visualising landscape, from the ground based views of dioramas to the surveyed zones of aerial and satellite imaging, whilst also exploring the transformative role of imagination in forming our perspectives on the world.
"First published on the occasion of the exhibition ... Royal Academy of Arts, London, 22 January - 7 April 2011"-- T. p. verso.
Book description: Anglo–American Exchange in Postwar Sculpture, 1945–1975 redresses an important art historical oversight. Histories of American and British sculpture are usually told separately, with artists and their work divided by nationality; yet such boundaries obscure a vibrant exchange of ideas, individuals, and aesthetic influences. In reality, the postwar art world saw dynamic interactions between British and American sculptors, critics, curators, teachers, and institutions. Using works of art as points of departure, this book explores the international movement of people, objects, and ideas, demonstrating the importance of Anglo–American exchange to the history of postwar sculpture.
Joy Sleeman will reflect on changes in the meaning of environment since the early 1970s, a heroic phase of land art and earthworks and a time when the human environment seemed to be ever expanding, far beyond the confines of planet earth, mutating into gallery installation on the one hand and forms of art in natural environment on the other. She will suggest some points of reconnection with some of these earlier histories, to retrace tracks, get lost occasionally - or perhaps even to run out of gas.
Catalogue published in conjunction with the exhibition Earth-Moon-Earth at the Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham, 20 June - 9 August 2009. Curated by Joy Sleeman (UCL) and Nicholas Alfrey of the Department of Art History at the University of Nottingham, and linked to the activities of an AHRC-funded Research Network on Land Art and the Culture of Landscape, 1967-77. The exhibition was organised by Neil Walker, Visual Arts Officer, Djanogly Art Gallery. It was timed to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing and conceived as a dialogue between a key work of 1969 by David Lamelas, his film, A Study of the Relationships Between Inner and Outer Space, and a very recent work by Katie Paterson Earth-Moon-Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon)2007. The catalogue has an introduction by the two curators and two essays: Alfrey, 'Transmission, Reflection and Loss: Katie Paterson's Earth-Moon-Earth (Moonlight Sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon), pp. 7-15; and Sleeman, 'Anticipation, Information, Mediation: David Lamelas's A Study of the Relationships Between Inner and Outer Space in 1969', pp. 19-33.
Land art and NASA’s Apollo project share an historical moment. In the period of Apollo missions 1 to 17, between January 1967 and December 1972, most of the key works and exhibitions that have come to be identified as the founding instances of earth, earthworks or land art happened. Despite vast differences of scale and audience, 40 years ago both the moon and land art became new objects broadcast on television. This article offers an oblique view of land art from a Eurocentric and British perspective, exploring contingent relationships rather than obvious ones and prioritizing works that usually feature on the peripheries of standard accounts, often with a more ‘domestic’ or quotidian scale and reference than the oft-repeated monumental and iconic works.The author considers a range of issues — including colour, materiality, temporality, place, space, geography — and contexts in which the moon, moon landing and land art were caught back in 1969 and through which they might be recaptured meaningfully in the present.
25 and 26 April 2008