As editor of Studio International magazine from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, Peter Townsend oversaw its transformation from a mainstream Britain-centric publication into a vanguard journal chronicling some of the most radical artistic endeavours in the UK and internationally.
The selection of five issues from Townsend’s editorship – April 1966, May 1968, September 1969, July/August 1970 and July/August 1972 – focuses on the role of sculpture, which over this period was a vector for profound change in art: from post-constructivism and kineticism, through the abstract formalism at St Martins School of Art, to post-minimalism and conceptualism.
As a socialist, Townsend saw in sculpture a privileged medium to effect social change. The exhibition will revisit the role of sculpture in the definition of public space in a period when it became the flashpoint for political and social contestation. In this context, the pages of Studio International themselves played a role in shaping the debates about the limits and visibility of contemporary art.
Included in Five Issues of Studio International are works by Keith Arnatt, Charles Biederman, Daniel Buren, Robyn Denny, Jan Dibbets, John Ernest, Garth Evans, Barry Flanagan, Naum Gabo, Anthony Hill, John Latham, Richard Long, Kenneth Martin, Mary Martin, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Emilio Prini, Gerry Schum, William Tucker, William Turnbull, Nicolas Schöffer, Bernard Schöttlander, Lawrence Weiner and Gillian Wise.
The exhibition is curated by Jo Melvin, a London-based writer, educator and curator.