Absence of clutter: Minimal Writing as Art and Literature

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Lecture Theatre A, Rose Bowl

City Campus

Leeds Beckett University

United Kingdom

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Inside Out - Paul Stephens

“Art and literature,” Marcel Broodthaers mused in 1975, “which of the moon’s two faces is to remain hidden?”

This slide-lecture will explore works of text art and visual poetry whose semantic content is generally shorter than a sentence. Such works blur the distinction between visual art and literature. By and large, the emergence of minimal writing in the 1960s is coeval with pop art and conceptual art, and this talk will pay particular attention to works that are self-reflexive with regard to their presentation on the page as well as in the form(s) of paintings, billboards, sculptures, films, and other media. As such, these works should be of particular interest to literary scholars, art historians, and scholars of new media—as well as to practicing poets and visual artists. Writers and artists to be discussed (briefly!) include Erica Baum, Pavel Büchler, Natalie Czech, Hollis Frampton, Robert Grenier, Joseph Kosuth, Glenn Ligon, Adrian Piper, Ed Ruscha, Aram Saroyan, Gertrude Stein.

Paul Stephens is the author of The Poetics of Information Overload: From Gertrude Stein to Conceptual Writing (Minnesota 2015) and Absence of Clutter: Minimal Writing as Art and Literature (forthcoming, MIT 2020). He edits the journal Convolution, and has taught at Bard, Columbia, and NYU.

About The INSIDE/OUT Lecture Series

The INSIDE/OUT series offers historical, theoretical and critical discussions about subjects and themes from numerous creative fields, including art, architecture, design, fashion, film, music and performing arts. Organised by Professors Simon Morris and Rob Shail from the Leeds School of Arts, the series offers a platform for internationally recognised practitioners to come and talk about their ideas and work. Events are open to all.

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Lecture Theatre A, Rose Bowl

City Campus

Leeds Beckett University

United Kingdom

View Map

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