Staring at art from the Tate's collection and thinking about it

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

N - Newsletter - Joe Tilson

Joe Tilson, N - Newsletter, 1969-70, screenprint on paper, 737 x 500 mm, Tate.

Another work acquired due to the Tate's seeming policy to purchase every print made in Britain in between 1968 and 1976.  Part of the A-Z Box, in which pop artist Tilson explores various types of visual communication.  Here the language of newsletter is subjected to Dada cut-up, so that it is rendered nonsensical.  While Tilson's contemporaries the Situationists would use this device to undermine the Capitalist Spectacle and thereby bring about a new world order built around messing about in a giant playpen for adults, Tilson opts for the usual pop ambiguity of balancing on the wall separating criticism and celebration.  Newsletters ought to be examined, the work says, but they're probably not evil.

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