Larne Abse Gogarty is Lecturer in History and Theory of Art at the Slade School of Fine Art. Larne’s primary research interests lie in modern and contemporary art, as well as theories relating to Marxism, race and gender. Previously, she was the Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte at the Humboldt University, Berlin (20016-2018). She has also taught in the History of Art Department, UCL, Chelsea College of Fine Art and Goldsmiths College. Larne completed her PhD in the History of Art department at University College London in 2015, which was a comparative history of social practice art during the 1990s, and cultural work produced within the proletarian avant-garde during the 1930s in the United States. This material is now being revised into a book manuscript, under the provisional title of The Art of Living: Social Practice and State Formation in American Art. She completed an MA at UCL in 2010, and a BA at SOAS in 2008. Between 2008-2015, Larne worked freelance as a Production Assistant for Artangel, on projects by artists including Oreet Ashery, Sarah Cole and Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler, and she also worked for no.w.here between 2010-2012. She frequently works collaboratively, and is in the organising group for the Marxism in Culture seminar held at the Institute of Historical Research at Senate House, London. In 2018, Larne organised the conference “Eccentric, realist, populist, procedural: The Politics of Figuration in American Art”, which took place in May at the Humboldt Universität. In 2016 she co-organised ‘Reality Check: a symposium on art, psycho-politics and the limits of community’ (University College London) and in 2011, co-organised the conference ‘Performance and Labour’ (UCL and Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston) She is in the editorial collective for Cesura//Acceso, a journal for music, politics and poetics.
My research broadly concerns the relationship between art and politics. I am in the final stages of completing a book manuscript entitled The Art of Living: Social Practice and State Formation in American Art which addresses the mythic and material afterlives of the New Deal in order to write a new history of social practice in the United States. I analyse projects by Suzanne Lacy, Rick Lowe and Martha Rosler in relation to experimental theatre, modern dance, and photography produced within the leftist Cultural Front of the 1930s. The book’s comparative methodology allows for a multi-temporal approach to contemporary art history that avoids nostalgia, or an excessive valorization of the present. This also relates to my other major interest in theories of history, and how these inform art history and theory.
I recently published an article entitled “Usefulness in Contemporary Art and Politics” in Third Text that presents a critical take on the drive towards usefulness in recent social practice, and the political theory associated with accelerationism. I have a forthcoming article in the Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte on Mark Bradford’s work in the American Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, which addresses his practice in relation to histories of modernism and race, and the contemporary stakes of expressionism. Other artists I’ve written on recently include Sharon Hayes, Sam Gilliam, Faith Ringgold and Allan Sekula.
I am also in the early stages of two separate but interrelated book projects. The first is entitled Group Work and addresses the persistence of figuration among a succession of artists’ groups that emerged in Chicago between 1945-1975 including Monster Roster, the Hairy Who, the False Image, AfriCOBRA and the Chicago Surrealists. Group Work aims to newly illuminate central categories within the history of modernism, including the rational and irrational, abstraction and figuration as well as the significance of the artists’ group. In focusing on Chicago, I strive to provide a more precise analysis of appeals to the “primitive” within these groups and how this cohered with, or contested the dominant, fiercely racialised Cold War era discourse on human nature in the US.
The second project grows out of an article I published in March 2017 on post-internet art and the “alt right” for Art Monthly. This project addresses how elements within post-internet art, music, and fashion are capable of melding with aspects of a burgeoning fascist culture in Europe and the United States. I focus on key tropes and motifs which often pose a de-socialised, de-temporalised realm, and I am trying to understand how this relates to the aesthetics of fascism in the early 20th c, particularly with regards to the shifting political stakes of the ‘rational’ and ‘irrational’. As the next step in publishing this research, I will participate in a roundtable questionnaire on art history and anti-fascism for the May 2019 issue of Third Text, and also have an essay forthcoming in a edited volume on neo-fascisms, published by Sternberg Press.
- American Art and the Stakes of Criticism,
Blackness in American Art and Visual Culture
Utopia and Dystopia in Californian Art and Culture
- Performance and Social Transformation
- Modernism and the Avant-Gardes
This article examines Sharon Hayes’s video work Ricerche: three 2013 and the way it represents and mediates the often-painful psychic processes of group formation, in this case propelled by internal and external social pressures. Drawing upon the work of British psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion and the philosopher Iris Marion Young, the essay analyses the artwork’s exploration of ‘womanhood’ as the locus of collective subjectivity and political agency.
This thesis aims to historicise and theorise art works that are community based, collectively produced and politically critical. I seek to challenge the de-historicised character of the recent discourse on what has been variously labelled socially engaged art, dialogical art, or participatory art through a comparative methodology that analyses such practices dating to the 1930s and the 1990s in the U.S.A. The rationale for considering the 1930s and 1990s together arises from continuities in the artworks I discuss and as a path towards an alternative history. However, I also engage these two periods as a way of testing the relationship between the flourishing of such practices, processes of state formation in the USA, and social change. Marxism, feminism, and theories of racialisation inform my approach. Through this, I seek to explore how the ‘subject-participant’ at the forefront of socialised art practice has shifted between these two periods, what this can tell us about the relationship between capital and labour, and how the works under discussion mediate processes of domination and exploitation. By analysing a range of practices that include experimental theatre, performance, dance and photography, my intention is to connect the conditions that underpinned and propelled these works with the relationships they are able to engender through their production and circulation. This is necessarily approached as an interdisciplinary problem, and underpins my emphasis on making connections over a longer period, in order to provide a more complex history of the present.