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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Drawing over the Colour Line

By Krisztina Lackoi, on 13 April 2012

guest blog by Gemma Romain

Sketch of Seated Male Figure looking directly at viewer

Seated Male Figure by Ann M. Tooth, UCL Art Museum

Drawing over the Colour Line is a new project which started in January 2012 and is run by The Equiano Centre in UCL’s Department of Geography. We have been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to carry out a project over the next two years looking at the experiences and identities of Black people in London during the inter-war period by exploring their relationship with the art world. We are specifically focusing on the histories of people of African and Asian heritage who worked as artists and as artists’ models, and contextualising these histories within an examination of interwar political and social movements including pan-Africanism and anti-colonial activism and also histories of empire, migration, and diaspora. The end result of the project will be a public database documenting artworks in various locations, including public and private collections, which relate to Black artists and artists’ models.

We are working with UCL Art Museum throughout the project, researching the collections and carrying out various or co-hosting public events. The project explores some of the artwork created by students based at the Slade School of Fine Art during the 1920s and 1930s, many of which are now located at UCL Art Museum. For example, we are researching the drawings of models of African heritage which won Slade student prizes. Additionally, we will be working with the museum to explore these collections in greater depth by running a summer school for young people, a pop-up exhibition and contributing towards a research guide on Black history and the collections of UCL Art Museum.

Visit our blog and twitter for more details:  http://drawingoverthecolourline.wordpress.com/ and http://twitter.com/DColourLine .

For more information on The Equiano Centre visit our website http://www.ucl.ac.uk/equianocentre/


Behind the Scenes of UCL Art Museum: An Intern’s Perspective

By Nina Pearlman, on 8 March 2012

Cupboard with solender boxes

Storage cupboard with solender boxes that house mounted prints and drawings

Written by Sandra DiRosa

Today marks my fifth day as an intern for UCL Art Museum and although it sounds a little farfetched, I have almost learned far more interesting things in four days than I have learned in three years of university schooling. Instead of learning about art, I am experiencing it up close…something most art history majors dream about! Growing up in New York, the center of the art world, museums were my favorite place to go and interested me far more than any movie, television show or book did. Although I just started working at UCL Art Museum, I have been in London since mid-January and in the time between then and about a week ago my time was occupied by classes. My “Contemporary British Art and Design” class that is offered through my program brought me to numerous museums and galleries around London. I have become fascinated by the curatorial aspect of art and have seen a wide array of styles and set ups: from the British Museum to the White Cube to the London Transport Museum. My interest in museum work has only become greater and now, I am getting a behind the scenes look into a fascinating museum: something I’ve dreamt about my entire life. Welcome to my experience here at UCL! (more…)

Early computer art at UCL Art Museum

By Krisztina Lackoi, on 27 January 2012

Over the past two weeks we’ve been helping a group of UCL Museum Studies students who are currently working on a research project as part of their Collections Curatorship module looking into early computer art at the Slade School of Fine Art in the 1970s, and in particular the work of Chris Crabtree. Very little is known by UCL Art Museum about this period in the Slade’s history, although the 1970s seem to have been something of a golden age for the Slade, with lots of pioneering work in what we would today call new media. Even less is known about Chris Crabtree, who started out at the Slade as a student in the Etching Department in 1972 and then went on to become first a technician and then a research assistant in printmaking.

What makes Chris Crabtree so fascinating (for me anyway) is that he combined a traditional training in printmaking techniques with an interest in computer programming at a time when computers were still massively clunky machines and difficult to access (mostly to be found in university scientific research labs). I like to speculate that Chris Crabtree may have been inspired by the highly influential exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity at the ICA in 1968 – this was one of the first exhibitions showcasing the work of digital artists such as Nam June Paik, Leslie Mezei, Georg Nees, A. Michael Noll, John Whitney and Charles Csuri. (more…)