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Henry Moore Institute Newsletter

128  |  February-March 2017

Issue 128 coincides with the final week of our exhibition City Sculpture Projects 1972, which is dedicated to the sculpture experiment City Sculpture Project that invited artists to propose sculptures to be sited in busy urban centres in England and Wales. Whether realised or unrealised, all made a contribution to sculpture studies. Since November we have been looking at this model of making sculpture public in order to learn for the future. Our programme of Research Events has brought artists and curators together to reflect on this project; all were recorded and can be listened to in our Research Library.
City Sculpture Project took place five years before the better-known Skulptur Projekte Münster, an exhibition that recurs every ten years that, since its first edition in 1977, is led by curator, Kasper König. In 2012 König delivered our Annual Academic Open Day Lecture and when asked what advice he would give to anyone thinking of developing a city-wide sculpture project he answered, very simply, ‘make nothing permanent’. In September we will work with the curators of the 2017 edition to ask this question in a conference, asking if city sculpture projects, such as the one in 1972, can be more powerful if they are exhibitions rather than permanent additions to the urban sphere.
1977 was also the year that the Henry Moore Foundation was founded by Henry Moore himself. The Institute is a vital part of the Foundation. Our role, as Moore wished it, is to ask questions in order to expand the possibilities of sculpture. This autumn we will turn our attention to Moore's own beginnings in Leeds, where he began his training as a sculptor, in Becoming Henry Moore, an exhibition that launches at our sister venue Henry Moore Studios & Gardens at Moore's former home in Hertfordshire.

Rather than being presentations, we understand our exhibitions and research events as platforms for discussion, learning and testing ideas. City Sculpture Projects 1972 is no exception – over the last three months many who directly experienced the projects have shared their reflections with us. As a centre for the study of sculpture we welcome discussion and strong argument about our topic. It is our mission to bring people together to think about why sculpture matters, and this can only be done by contesting and testing ideas.

Lisa Le Feuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies


New Exhibition: Roy Ascott: Form has Behaviour

Until 23 April 2017, Gallery 4

Gallery 4, our smallest exhibition space, is dedicated to focused exhibitions that present sculptures of historical importance that are yet to be a part of the narrative of art history. Currently we are featuring the work of pioneering British artist and teacher Roy Ascott (b. 1934), and later this year we turn our attention to Ghisha Koenig (May to August) and Mary Gillick (September to December).
Throughout his career, Roy Ascott has worked with cybernetics, telematics and communication theories, and he joins us on Wednesday 8 March to share ideas with Dr Kate Sloan, who is currently a 2015–17 Henry Moore Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow based at the University of Edinburgh, with whom we have worked closely on this exhibition.
Roy Ascott: Form has Behaviour sets out to establish Ascott’s innovative work in the narrative of British sculpture. The exhibition brings together four interactive sculptures he made in the 1960s alongside his ‘Manifesto for Cybernetic Art’ (1963) – a diagram forging interconnections between living and engineered systems with the visual arts.
Before his art training Ascott spent two immersive years in a military bunker, completing his National Service as a Fighter Control Officer. Here, constantly streamed information from radars identifying flights over the North Sea was represented using markers and boards. This analogue process of representing data came to influence his approach to sculpture. ‘Plastic Transactions’ (1969), seen above, is a game of analogue interaction. Reminiscent of the fighter control map, this tabletop playground of domestic elements, such as funnels and biscuit cutters placed on a plastic grid, is an invitation to explore how, as Ascott argues, form has behaviour.

Forthcoming Exhibition: Aleksandra Domanović: Votives

23 March11 June 2017, Galleries 1, 2 & 3

An important part of the Henry Moore Institute’s exhibition programme is our continuing series of commissions for artists researching new thinking in the field of sculpture studies. In recent years we have invited artists Michael Dean, Steven Claydon, Ian Kiaer, Carol Bove and Katrina Palmer to make new sculptures for our galleries.

For our 2017 commission we invite Aleksandra Domanović (b. 1981) to create sculptures that directly respond to our building and address relationships between technology and archaic sculpture. Based in Berlin, Domanović’s research-led practice explores how technological advances impact on communication and culture. The artist is fascinated by the ways in which technology is rooted in the society that creates it, often making reference to her country of birth, the former Yugoslavia.
Aleksandra Domanović: Votives presents new work across three of our galleries.  In our high-ceilinged central gallery the monumental sculpture ‘Calf Bearer’ (2017) will stand over four metres tall. This work draws on both Domanović’s research into molecular biology and the ancient Greek sculpture ‘Moscophoros’ and is produced using a 3D printer. It is joined by six human-sized figures made in the tradition of the Korai, permanent sculptural dedications of female figures that hold offerings of animals or plants. The hands directly reference the ’Belgrade Hand’, one of the first artificial hands created with a sense of touch. Invented in 1963 by the Serbian scientist Rajko Tomović at the University of Belgrade, this prosthetic was intended to aid veterans who had lost limbs in the Second World War. Last summer we directly addressed this topic in The Body Extended: Sculpture and Prosthetics.
Votives also features ‘Turbo Sculpture’ (2010–13), a moving image work underscoring the artist’s concern with the public life of sculpture – a subject we are currently investigating in City Sculpture Projects 1972, on show until 19 February. It interrogates the phenomenon of public sculpture in the former Yugoslavia dedicated to non-national celebrities, such as Bruce Lee, Bob Marley, Samantha Fox and Tupac Shakur. Unlike conventional public monuments, these sculptures do not memorialise significant events, or collective histories. Instead, they provide new points of identification in the world of popular culture.

Exhibition Legacies

Our programmes develop ideas over time, and are built around long-term partnerships and research. Last summer, our exhibition The Body Extended: Sculpture and Prosthetics was accompanied by an education project developed with our Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle partners – Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  Led by artist Paul Digby, we worked with local community groups to explore the legacies of the First World War. The project was inspired by the sculpture 'Man and the dark' by Rebecca Warren, which was co-commissioned with 14–18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions.
This programme involved working with identified groups in Leeds and Wakefield, with participation for community groups at the heart of the activity. In a series of short courses and workshops, participants took part in sessions featuring introductions to materials and processes that referenced Rebecca Warren’s work. The techniques included clay modelling, plaster casting and life drawing. These sessions were accompanied by a printed publication and exhibitions in Leeds and Wakefield.
Over the next few months we continue working with 14–18 NOW on a series of schools projects, led by Clare Price, that will culminate in a newspaper, published next month.

Exhibitions: Guided Tours

We offer free, professionally-led guided tours of all our exhibitions that are tailored to specific interests and levels. Led by members of our Information Team, the tours encourage active discussion on sculpture. Lasting up to an hour, your tour can be scheduled any day of the week. To find out more, contact our Reception on 0113 246 7467 or see our website.

Alongside these booked tours, every Sunday at 2pm we host informal conversations about our exhibitions. No booking is required – just drop by and meet at Reception.
We welcome everyone to join our tours – to date we have organised tours for schools, colleges, universities, community groups, professional associations, disabled people and language classes. Whatever your specific needs we will give you a warm welcome.
Dr Barnaby Dicker, Cardiff School of Art and Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University visited in December 2016 to see our City Sculpture Projects 1972 exhibition, and he reflected:

‘A group of students from Cardiff School of Art and Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University journeyed to Leeds to see the City Sculpture Projects 1972 exhibition, and in particular the work relating to the Cardiff pieces. The students were attuned to the media and materials, concepts and discourses utilised in the development and execution of City Sculpture Project. From Nicholas Monro’s ‘King Kong’ (1972) standing tall outside the gallery and bearing down on the city’s Christmas funfair, through to contemporary press clippings, the installation of the work elegantly invited reflection, presenting a sense of the scale, diversity and ambition of the project. Curator Jon Wood kindly gave the students a tour of the show and offered many further insights about both the history of the project and the curatorial approach taken for the retrospective. I set the students a task: to create a response – visual or verbal – to the exhibition using a simple ’zine format.'



Until March sculpture conservator Laura Davies is working with the Leeds Sculpture Collection in preparation for the reopening of Leeds Art Gallery in October 2017. She is conserving works by Barbara Hepworth and preparing three sculptures by Ghisha Koenig for display in our Gallery 4 exhibition Ghisha Koenig: Machines Restrict their Movement (25 May–13 August 2017).
Laura is also working on the city’s important collection of Henry Moore’s work towards our forthcoming exhibition Becoming Henry Moore which will open at our sister venue Henry Moore Studios & Gardens in late spring (14 April–22 October 2017) and here at the Institute in autumn (30 November 2017–18 February 2018). The exhibition presents major early sculptures by Moore, including ‘Dancing Figure (Nude Man)’ (1919–20), ‘Seated Nude Man’ (1919–20) and ‘Reclining Figure’ (1929), alongside formative experiments in earthenware and enamel dating from the early 1920s.


On Display

Off the Shelf: Artists' Books in the Henry Moore Institute Research Library

3 March–30 April

A small selection of artists’ books’ from the collection are on display in the Library to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the International Contemporary Artists’ Book Fair held this year at the Tetley in Leeds. The exhibition, The Space of the Page, a key exhibition of artists’ books held at the Institute in 1997 had a major influence on direction and planning of the fair so we are delighted to be involved in the twentieth anniversary programme.

All of the books on display deal with language and explore artists’ interest in words in connection with sculptural practice. Works by Liliane Lijn, Gilbert and George, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hamish Fulton, Cerith Wyn Evans and James Lee Byars, David Bellingham, Susan Hiller, Eduardo Paolozzi and Lawrence Weiner are included in the display. They represent just a fraction of the artists’ books we hold, many more are to be found on the shelves in the reading rooms and we invite anyone with an interest in sculpture and artists books to visit, read, handle and enjoy the collection.


Henry Moore Institute 2017 Internships

Each year we offer internships for Masters level students who have an interest in sculpture. These provide practical experience of working in a museum environment, and directly contribute to our programmes. Our internships and projects for 2017 have been awarded to students based in Leeds, Manchester and York:
Archive of Jacob Epstein – Review and Repackaging                                                       
Our Archive includes a collection of papers relating to the work of Jacob Epstein (1880–1959), including over 1,000 photographs of the artist’s work and drawings, correspondence and press cuttings. Intern Rebecca Higgins (MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies, University of Manchester) will be working with our Archivist Claire Mayoh to organise this material and improve access to it.

Highlighting Special Collections
This project involves compiling information to highlight our Library’s holdings of rare books, catalogues and journals on nineteenth- and twentieth-century British art. Anna Ratcliffe (MA History of Art, University of Leeds) will be working with Librarian Ann Sproat to select items from the Special Collections, producing short texts to be featured on our website.

Jirō Takamatsu
In 2017 we will present Jirō Takamatsu: The Temperature of Sculpture, the first institutional exhibition outside the artist’s home country of Japan. Jirō Takamatsu (1936–98) is central to the development of sculpture in Japan, and our exhibition will introduce his work to European audiences. Lawrence Miller (MA East Asian Studies, University of Leeds) will work with our Head of Sculpture Studies Lisa Le Feuvre, to research installation images of Takamatsu’s work from international exhibitions, which will provide contextual information for the exhibition.

Joseph Beuys and British Sculpture
This project looks at the impact of Joseph Beuys’ (1921–86) work on sculpture and sculptors in Britain, starting with his 1972 exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. Isabella Riedel (MA History of Art, University of York) will work with our Research Curator Jon Wood, to examine material in our Library, Archive and the Leeds Sculpture Collections to develop research events around the Joseph Beuys Artist Rooms exhibition which will reopen Leeds Art Gallery in October 2017.

Conference Report

The Voice of the Artist

In December 2016, National Life Stories presented a one-day conference titled The Voice of the Artist at the Courtauld Institute of Art. This provided an opportunity for interviewers, interviewees and oral history scholars, to explore issues around the Artists’ Lives series and to reassess the changing role of oral history. The keynote speech was delivered by William Boyd (novelist and screen writer), who captivated the audience through his wonderful recounting of the creation of a fake biography, Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928–1960. Lisa Le Feuvre (Head of Sculpture Studies) and Jon Wood (Research Curator) contributed to the conference.
Dr Rob Perks (Lead Curator of Oral History at the British Library) opened the day by placing oral history within its own historical context. He noted the importance of the interview as a first-hand account, which allows listeners the opportunity to better understand the past. Perks emphasised the need to accept that the recordings were subjective, noting that we humans may not always tell the exact truth. Cathy Courtney (Project Director, Artists’ Lives) then offered an insight into the interviewer’s process, stressing the importance of listening in oral history recordings.
The morning session finished with papers from the National Life Stories Goodison Fellows, which included time to listen to extracts from Artists’ Lives recordings. Fellows Hester Westley, Isabel Sutton and Michael Bird demonstrated the power of the interview as a means to understand a particular moment in time, using extracts from across interviews to reconstruct the past. The power of the audio recording over a written transcript was also highlighted through the speaker’s tone of voice, and the relevance of pauses in dialogue.

Lisa Tickner (Honorary Professor, The Courtauld Institute of Art) opened the afternoon session by focusing on the Kasmin interviews as a means of understanding social circles at the time. A panel discussion followed, with Elena Crippa, Lisa Le Feuvre and Sam McGuire discussing the merits of oral history within the gallery and museum environment. They emphasised how we are seduced by the lives of others, and how the power to understand people through language could be a useful tool to allow visitors a more intimate experience with works of art.

The conference then turned to artists, firstly filmmaker Bruno Wollheim who showed extracts from the film about the life of John Golding. Jon Wood chaired the closing panel, with a lively discussion with Richard Wentworth and Paul Huxley. Both artists found their interview to be a positive experience, with each commenting on the importance of good interviewers, who were able to extract the fine details from the minds of the artist.
The conference demonstrated the importance of Artists’ Lives as a record of the lives of British artists. The interviews are rich in art historical facts and social-political commentary, capturing the artists in reflective spirit. Recordings from the National Life Stories Artists’ Lives collection can be found online, with a number of sculptors’ recordings available in the Henry Moore Institute Research Library.


As a centre for the study of sculpture, publishing and making the new research that we make public is an important part of our activities. Every year we publish books relating to our exhibitions where we invite thinkers and artists to develop new writing on sculpture. Recent monographs have focused on the sculpture of Gego, John Latham and Sarah Lucas. We also work with partners to publish edited volumes, such as our invaluable Modern Sculpture Reader. Annually we present over 100 lectures in our building. Many of these are available to listen to in our Research Library or to download from our free Online Papers resource.

Our journal, Essays on Sculpture, is where we test out ideas and where we invite researchers from inside and outside sculpture studies to share their thinking. Topics of Essays of Sculpture are eclectic, moving from opera to books, via archives, science, artists' lives and fiction. Our journal shows how sculpture is an extraordinary part of everyday life. Published three times a year, our most recent issue is dedicated to City Sculpture Project, the topic of our current exhibition in Galleries 1, 2 & 3. Sculptors who were at the forefront of new thinking in sculpture made incredible proposals – some were realised, others remained at model stage. From William Turnbull’s multi-partite ‘Angle’ in Liverpool, to Luise Kimme’s red and blue fibreglass sculpture in Newcastle, Liliane Lijn’s revolving cone in Plymouth to William Pye’s stainless steel ‘Mirage’ in Cardiff, City Sculpture Project set out to rethink sculpture’s relation to the urban environment and its viewers. Essays on Sculpture 76 explores this rich sculptural experiment. Written by Jon Wood, our Research Curator, it features images of the project, of the sculptors and of the cities learning to live with them, and throughout the text quotes from the artists recall their experience of this groundbreaking project.
Forthcoming issues of Essays on Sculpture feature a reprint of art historian Ben Read's landmark text from Sculpture in Britain Between the Wars (Fine Art Society, 1986) alongside commentaries on his contribution to sculpture studies by Dr Rebecca Wade and Dr Martin Westgarth, and this summer we publish a new piece of writing by artist Katrina Palmer, who exhibited with us in 2015, on the Leeds circus proprietor and performer Pablo Fanque.

All our books are available in our Bookshop at the Institute and on our website, and subscriptions are available for Essays on Sculpture (


Forthcoming Events

Unless otherwise noted, events are free and take place at the Henry Moore Institute
Bookings via

Wednesday 8 March, 6pm
Roy Ascott and Kate Sloan in conversation: Cybernetics and Sculpture

Wednesday 29 March, 6pm
Lecture: Isamu Noguchi: Landscape as Sculpture
Prof. Marc Treib (University of California, Berkeley and Henry Moore Institute Visiting Senior Research Fellow 2016–17)

Wednesday 19 April, 6pm
Lecture: Robots and Human History
Jasia Reichardt (independent curator)
Followed by discussion with Dr Tim Stott (Henry Moore Institute Visiting Research Fellow 2016–17)

Events Elsewhere

Until 16 February
Exhibition: The King and I
Leeds gallery & Model present artists' responses to Nicholas Monro’s ‘King Kong’, currently on show outside the Henry Moore Institute as part of City Sculpture Projects 1972.

Tuesday 14 March, 6-8pm
Opening Reception: Kenneth Armitage: Sculpture and Drawing of the 1950s
Join the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery to celebrate the opening of this special exhibition.
Image: Roy Ascott, ‘Plastic Transactions’ (detail, 1971)
Courtesy of the artist


Ben Read Memorial Appeal

Sir George Frampton’s ‘Memorial to Queen Victoria’ 

Ben Read (1945–2016) was a well-known scholar with a wide circle of colleagues, friends and admirers in London, Leeds and further afield. He had a long and productive association with the Leeds Art Fund where he was Chair between 2003 and 2012, remaining a Trustee until his unexpected death in October 2016. The current Trustees have therefore decided to launch an appeal in his memory.
Victorian public sculpture was Ben’s passion and he was the leading scholar in this field; his book on the subject, Victorian Sculpture (1982), remains a key text. As a tribute to Ben the Leeds Art Fund invited contributions toward the restoration of the ‘Memorial to Queen Victoria’ (1903), something that we know was close to Ben’s heart.
The Memorial by Sir George Frampton RA (1860–1928) was completed in 1903 and unveiled on 27 November 1905. It was relocated from its original site outside Leeds Town Hall to its present location on Woodhouse Moor in 1937. The monument was funded by voluntary public subscription in the year of Queen Victoria’s death, 1901. 
As a first step Leeds Art Fund hopes to raise enough to conserve and re-install the missing figure of ‘Industry’ which was damaged when it was dislodged from the monument some years ago. 

If funds permit we hope to continue with the conservation of the rest of the monument to secure its long term future as one of the most important public sculptures in Leeds.
If you would like to contribute toward this Ben Read Memorial Appeal, please send a cheque payable to the Leeds Art Fund to:
Mark Westgarth, Chair, Leeds Art Fund
School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies
University of Leeds
Leeds  LS2 9JT 
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