John Latham (artist)
|Born||John Aubrey Clarendon Latham
23 February 1921
Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia (now Maramba, Zambia)
|Died||1 January 2006
|Education||Chelsea College of Art and Design|
|Known for||Painting, Sculpture|
Life and work
Latham was educated at Winchester College. In the Second World War he commanded a motor torpedo boat in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. After the war he studied art, first at the Regent Street Polytechnic and then at the Chelsea College of Art and Design. He married fellow artist and collaborator Barbara Steveni in Westminster in 1951.
The spray can became Latham's primary medium, as can be seen in Man Caught Up with a Yellow Object (oil painting, 1954) in the Tate Gallery collection. In addition to spray paint, Latham tore, sawed, chewed and burnt books to create collage material for his work, such as Film Star (1960).
Latham's event-based art was influential in performance art. In 1966, Latham took part in the Destruction in Art Symposium in London led by Gustav Metzger along with Fluxus artists such as Yoko Ono, Wolf Vostell and Al Hansen.
His "skoob" ("books" written backwards) works using books or materials derived from them had the power to shock. He moved from collages to towers of books which he then burnt, awakening uncomfortable echoes of the Nazi regime's public burning of banned books.
In 2005 Tate Britain put on an exhibition of Latham's work.
Like Latham, early members of Pink Floyd attended Regent Street Polytechnic. In 2016, Pink Floyd released their collection of rare and unreleased recorded material in the box set "Pink Floyd The Early Years". On the second CD of the collection are nine versions of their previously unreleased song 'John Latham'.
- Allan, Kenneth R. "Business Interests, 1969-72: N.E. Thing Co. Ltd., Les Levine, Bernar Venet, and John Latham" in Parachute 106 (April–June, 2002): 106-122.
- Latham, J. (1984) Report of a Surveyor. London; Stuttgart: Edition Hansjörg Mayer.
- McNay, Michael (7 January 2006). "John Latham (Obituary) Radical and inspirational artist who courted controversy and pioneered conceptual art". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS), London, 1966.
- Flat Time House
- "Canvas Events". Ridinghouse. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Hamilton, R. (1986) John Latham. In: Lisson Gallery (1987) John Latham: Early Works. London: Lisson Gallery.
- John Latham's Flat Time House
- John Latham's Online Archive Project (Ligatus, University of the Arts London)
- Tate Britain's 'John Latham in Focus' exhibition website
- Interview with John Latham from the Tate Britain website
- The Guardian newspaper's obituary of John Latham
- Lisson Gallery
- John Latham's website and discussion of flat-time (not available 10/01/06) Archived 11 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
- The Least Event The Future of Flat Time HO - The Least Event, Camberwell Arts Week (24 and 25 June - 11am - 6pm)
- 'Portrait with Word' of John Latham by Mark-Steffen Goewecke