Books & Sculpture: Sculpture and the Novel

  • Henry Moore Institute
  • Wednesday, 20 March 2019
  • Library Discussion with Dr Luke Skrebowski and Nick Thurston, 6-8pm

There is a fascinating relationship between books and sculpture, as material objects and vehicles of communication. Turned in the hand and appreciated in slow time, books can often share the same phenomenological properties as sculpture and invite similarly personal engagement.

In a digital age where our attention might be directed more to the screen than the shelf, this new series of conversations, staged in our Research Library, openly invites artists and writers to share their fascination with objects and words, whether highlighting a book's design or formal qualities, discussing the impact and inspiration of its arguments or reconsidering the ways artists have used books in their work. Attention will be given as much to artists' books, limited editions and our special collections, as to the growing secondary literature on sculpture, past and present.

Departing from John Latham’s Skoob book-based sculptures of the 1960s, Nick Thurston and Luke Skrebowski will discuss the relationship between sculpture and the novel after the opening of the expanded field and in light of conceptual art’s embrace of the book form but it’s rejection of literature. Artist’s novels by Martha Rosler, Rodney Graham and Mike Kelly, amongst others, will be discussed in relation to the artists' wider practices.

About the speakers

Luke Skrebowski is Lecturer in Contemporary Art at the Univeristy of Manchester. His research and teaching focus on the history and theory of late 20th and 21st century art in the UK, Europe, the USA and Brazil, specialising in postconceptual contemporary art and its historical genealogy. 

He is author (with John Jacob) of Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen (Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2018), co-editor of Aesthetics and Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, 2011) and is completing a book entitled Contesting Conceptual Art: The Politics of Anti-Aesthetics. His articles have appeared in journals including Amodern, Art History, Art Margins, Grey Room, Manifesta Journal, Tate Papers and Third Text and he sits on the editorial board of the MIT journal Art Margins.

Nick Thurston is a writer and editor who makes artworks. Recent exhibitions include the solo show Hate Library at Foksal Gallery (Warsaw, 2017) and Transmediale (Berlin, 2018), group shows at Q21 (Vienna, 2018) and MuHKA (Antwerp, 2018), and his co-devised exhibition about art and libraries, The House That Heals The Soul at CCA (Glasgow, 2017) and The Tetley (Leeds, 2018).

As well as writing regularly for the literary and art press, he is the author or co-author of several books, pamphlets, essays and stranger things. His latest book, Post-Digital Cultures of the Far Right, co-edited with Maik Fielitz, was published this winter by Transcript Verlag (Bielefeld). He is Associate Professor of Fine Art at the University of Leeds where he co-founded the Artists' Writings & Publications Research Centre and is affiliated with the Poetry Centre.


This event is now fully booked. For more information please contact Kirstie Gregory, our Research Coordinator.

Venue details

Venue address

Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow
United Kingdom
T: 0113 246 7467

Opening times

Open 7 days a week, except Bank Holidays, from 11am to 5:30pm and until 8pm on Wednesdays.
Galleries are closed on Mondays.

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