Installation image of MOMA's "Information" exhibition, 1970 (photo copyright: The Museum of Modern Art Archives - - New York. Reproduced here in Fair Use)


Five x Five: Five Exhibitions Across Five Decades of Contemporary Art

  • Begins: Tuesday 23 January 2018
    Until: Tuesday 20 February 2018
    (5 sessions on Tuesday mornings, 11am - 1pm)
  • Lecturer: Anna Moszynska

What makes ‘contemporary art’ contemporary? To answer this question, this course will explore art over the last fifty years concentrating on five themes which run across the period: the massive expansion in techniques and mediums; the growth of a more global vision of art; the transforming expansion of the female viewpoint; the desire to reflect wider popular culture; and an increasing shift towards the use of art as a direct form of social document. Engaging with the period since 1968 five ground-breaking exhibitions are used as the starting point for the individual lectures. Each session will focus on the work of a particular decade; together they will provide not merely a loose history of the period, but also a dynamic exploration of the shifting idea of what constitutes contemporary art, placing this in the context of the wider issues that make the subject so fascinating and rewarding.

  1. The 1970s: Information, 1970
    This highly influential exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York demonstrates the breakaway from conventional painting and sculpture in favour of the new technologies (including at the time, photography, film and video). These continue to have major implications for the art of today.
  2. The 1980s: Les Magiciens de la Terre, 1989
    This Paris-based exhibition challenged the colonial ethnocentricity of contemporary art by drastically expanding representation of non-Western artworks, setting the scene for the more global art which we now see in museums, other exhibitions and art institutions.
  3. The 1990s: Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, 1997
    The move towards embracing popular culture runs as a leitmotif across the whole period, but it is particularly prominent in the 1990s as will be seen in discussion of this scandalous Royal Academy exhibition, based on the art collection of the advertising tycoon, Charles Saatchi.
  4. The 2000s: WACK!: Art and the Feminist Revolution, 2007
    This major show of groundbreaking women’s art from the 1970s in Los Angeles offers the opportunity to discuss the continued and expanding role played by women artists over the course of recent decades, demonstrating just how much work was previously overlooked due to gender bias.
  5. The 2010s: Documenta 14, 2017
    The 14th edition of this major quinquennial overview offers an opportunity to review current concerns and the explosion of documentary art as a means of exploring and understanding the global political context in which that art is made.

A number of members have expressed interest in this short course but because of other commitments are unable to attend all the sessions so have not booked.  As a one off we are offering the option of attending only one or two of the lectures at a price of £20 per lecture. This is an exceptional arrangement for this course only. Please select the lectures you want to attend and complete your booking on WebCollect. If you are booking by post please indicate clearly which lectures you wish to attend.

It is still possible to book for the whole series of this interesting subject.


Anna Moszynska is a lecturer and writer, specialising in contemporary art. She developed the first British MA Degree in the subject at Sotheby’s Institute and has also taught at institutions including the Royal Academy and Tate, as well as lecturing to diverse audiences in cities ranging from Dubai to New York. She has reviewed for BBC Radio and various art periodicals. Anna currently teaches at academic institutions in London and Paris and runs her own courses under the auspices of Contemporary Art Talks. Her books include Abstract Art, Sculpture Now (Thames & Hudson) and Antony Gormley Drawings (British Museum).

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