Aspinall will take the position that the culture of Bomberg’s classes laid bare fundamental concerns; specifically, how belonging to a ‘school’ positions an artist within an art world that is increasingly aware of itself as a consumer economy and yet remains reliant on the romantic myth of an artist as a heroic individualist. Looking at the culture of Bomberg’s classroom and the community of makers that it crystalised, Aspinall will proffer that there was a school of Bomberg, set apart from conflations with the Borough Group or the pejorative label of ‘Bombergians’. Understanding the dynamics of this and the concurrent reactions against it sheds light on a deeper insecurity about the limits of art education within late modernism. This talk will address not only the content of Bomberg’s teachings, but also the relational politics it established and how these touched a nerve in the wider society.
Kate Aspinall is an independent historian, writer, and artist. Based in London, she recently completed her doctoral studies at the University of East Anglia, sponsored by the School of Art History Studentship, and currently consults for the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and serves as Chairwoman of the AAH Freelance and Independents. Her research looks to the role of drawing in early 20th century British visual culture with a particular emphasis on the intersections between institutional and personal discipline. Most recently, she wrote an article on the role of the drawn mark within Herbert Read’s critical agenda for a special issue ofVisual Resources (February 2016). She is currently working on a monograph, The Paradox of Medium Specificity: Drawing Practice and Twentieth Century Modernism in Britain.