Jon Thompson

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For other people with similar names, see Jonathan Thompson (disambiguation).

Jon Thompson (1936 – February 2016) was an artist, curator and academic known for his involvement in the development of the YBA artist generation.[citation needed]

As the Head of Goldsmiths Department of Art in the 1980s, Thompson opened up specialisms and allowed students to move freely between the different modes of practice, such as painting, sculpture, photography and printing, etc.[citation needed]. Jon was a consummate tutor and teacher - he was able to find the best in the many young artists he taught - offering insight and kind words when needed based on his broad understanding of the sector. He cared about all of his students and was able to encourage new ways of thinking, directing students to follow emerging themes and content. In the past his own art had moved from painting to a conceptual photography and sculpture, but since his retirement from teaching Thompson concentrated on a kind of abstract painting.[1] This separated Goldsmiths from the dominance of art schools like St Martins. His discovery of the derelict Surrey Docks in the north of Southwark, enabled to him live in the empty Dock Offices alongside the large empty docks and open spaces. Students such as Eileen Cooper and Tony Bevan completed their BA in these studios, their work thriving on the large open space and Jon's support. In 1988 Jon was involved in the curation of the now legendary Freeze warehouse exhibition along with various art students and Damien Hirst whom Thompson had accepted on to the course and tutored since that time.[2][3][4] After a break from Goldsmiths, Jon Thompson became Head of the MA Fine Art course at Middlesex University's School of Art (previously Hornsey College of Art) and lectured on artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Piero Manzoni. He also curated shows at the Hayward Gallery in London including Gravity and Grace and Falls the Shadow with Barry Barker.

2011 saw the publication of The Collected Writings of Jon Thompson by Ridinghouse, which brought together the collected writings of the British artist, writer and professor.[5] These writings are just brilliant.


  1. ^ Sam, Shepherd (Dec–Jan 2009-2010). "Letter from LONDON: JON THOMPSON, Paintings from The Toronto Cycle". The Brooklyn Rail.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Knell, Simon J. (2007), Museums in the material world, Routledge, p. 205, ISBN 978-0-415-41699-3 
  3. ^ Fairhurst, Angus; Hirst, Damien; Muir, Gregor; Lucas, Sarah; Wallis, Clarrie (2004), In-a-gadda-da-vida: Angus Fairhurst, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Tate, p. 90, ISBN 978-1-85437-496-7 
  4. ^ The Sunday Times. "Profile: Mark Wallanger: Winning again by a brass neck - Times Online". Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Collected Writings of Jon Thompson". Ridinghouse. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 

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