When Charles Harrison died in 2009, the British art world lost a pivotal figure. From curating the groundbreaking 1969 exhibit, “When Attitudes Become Form” at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art; to co-writing the hyper-influential, three-volume work Art in Theory; to teaching art history to thousands in much-admired “plain English”: Harrison’s influence on the British art scene cannot be overestimated. This collection of autobiographical interviews – a fitting tribute to Harrison – opens a window into the thinking of the tireless critic and riveting professor who railed against second-rate art with his trademark motto, “Better fewer, but better.” Harrison re-caps decades of experience, retrospectively looking at trends, art historical events, institutions and artists, synthesizing it all with the brilliance he was known for. The volume also includes Harrison’s own visual documentation of the art world: a selection of his own images of exhibitions he visited, art works he championed and artists’ and critics’ studios and homes. Former students recall these impeccable photos as one of the delights of his lectures. “Harrison had the gift of making people see things they had not seen before, and even more, to think about what it was they were seeing, and to reflect on the consequences,” wrote The Times of London. Looking Back offers an unprecedented opportunity to experience one of the art world giants of our time. Interviews with Jo Melvin, Teresa Gleadow, Pablo Lafuente, Juliette Rizzi, Sophie Richard, Elena Crippa, Christopher Huer and Matthew Jesse Jackson.
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