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Title: Studio International magazine : tales from Peter Townsend's editorial papers 1965-75
Author: Melvin, J. C.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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When Peter Townsend was appointed editor of Studio International in November 1965 it was the longest running British art magazine, founded 1893 as The Studio by Charles Holme with editor Gleeson White. Townsend’s predecessor, GS Whittet adopted the additional International in 1964, devised to stimulate advertising. The change facilitated Townsend’s reinvention of the radical policies of its founder as a magazine for artists with an international outlook. His decision to appoint an International Advisory Committee as well as a London based Advisory Board show this commitment. Townsend’s editorial in January 1966 declares the magazine’s aim, ‘not to ape’ its ancestor, but ‘rediscover its liveliness.’ He emphasised magazine’s geographical position, poised between Europe and the US, susceptible to the influences of both and wholly committed to neither, it would be alert to what the artists themselves wanted. Townsend’s policy pioneered the magazine’s presentation of new experimental practices and art-for-the-page as well as the magazine as an alternative exhibition site and specially designed artist’s covers. The thesis gives centre stage to a British perspective on international and transatlantic dialogues from 1965- 1975, presenting case studies to show the importance of the magazine’s influence achieved through Townsend’s policy of devolving responsibility to artists and key assistant editors, Charles Harrison, John McEwen, and contributing editor Barbara Reise. Reise’s work with the Minimalists cemented their reputations in the UK. Seth Siegelaub, the innovative New York art dealer guest edited the exhibition in the July/August 1970 issue. Harrison’s support of Conceptual art led to SI May 1971, an exhibition venture with the New York Culture Center. McEwen was responsible for the Fish issue, May 1974. Peter Townsend’s papers are the only known surviving papers in the magazine’s history. They are independent of the publication and provide off- scene accounts into the commissions. Leads found in Townsend’s archive trace connections to other archives which led to interviews. In interviews and archives often it is the anecdotal story that raises circumstantial evidence giving fuel to reconsider familiar accounts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available