National Network Partnerships

Annual Conference: On Collecting Performance Art

13 February, 2015, 10.30 - 16.30 ICA, London

Keynote Speaker: Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Galleries, Catherine Wood, Curator of Contemporary Art and Performance, Tate Modern,Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Artist, Henry Lydiate, Creative Arts Business Consultancy and Chris Hammond, Director, MOT International.

Free to National Network Members
£75 for Non-Members
£50 for Contemporary Art Society Members


Now in its sixth year, the Contemporary Art Society’s Annual Conference brings together a range of high profile speakers including artists, curators, gallerists and legal professionals, to address the subject of collecting performance art. The conference will focus on questions in relation to display and conservation, as well as ethical and legal matters, and all of this against the backdrop of the scarcity of performance art in public collections in this country.

Traditionally performance art has not enjoyed the same commercial success as other mediums, such as painting, sculpture or works on paper. As a result fewer works of this medium exist in public and private collections. However, this is now gradually beginning to change as we start to see significant performance artworks from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as works by contemporary artists, being acquired more frequently.

What once prohibited many performance works from entering the market was the works lack of autonomy or ability to exist independently from the artist. In many cases this has now been reframed in such a way that works entering collections have often been created to no longer be dependent on the artist as performer. However, what is particular to this medium is the artists’ ongoing relationship with their works, which as a result, demands new and pioneering methods of research and collaboration to ensure public collections can continue to acquire works in perpetuity. How can we develop a culture of confident problem solving in relation to the conservation of unfamiliar and sometimes unstable media? How can we ensure conservation knowledge is evenly spread and accessible across the sector? How do curatorial, exhibition and conservation team’s work together to find the solutions that will enable us to acquire works by artists of our time and to ensure that they can be experienced in the future?


10.30 – 11.00
Arrive at 12 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AH for registration

10.30 – 11.00
Tea & coffee served in the Nash and Brandon Rooms

11.00 – 11.10
Introduction by Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society

11.10 – 11.40
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Galleries
Hans Ulrich Obrist will discuss the importance of performance in 21st century practice, as well as the multiple strategies for exhibiting performance artworks in the context of the Serpentine Marathons.

11.40 – 11.50

11.50 – 12.20
Catherine Wood, Curator of Contemporary Art and Performance, Tate Modern
Catherine Wood will talk about programming and collecting performance in the context of the museum and how the two strands of activity influence each other. Wood will discuss Tate’s new research project looking at the archive and collection from a performance-inflected point of view and how the incorporation of performance history, and contemporary practice, is changing our fundamental experience of the museum.

12.20 – 12.30

12.30 – 13.00
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Artist
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd will speak about the recent acquisition of ‘Brain Bug’ for New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, focusing in particular on the process of working with a public collection to acquire performance work, touching upon topics such as score, documentation, restaging and archive.

13.00 – 13.10

13.10 – 14.10

14.10 – 14.40
Chris Hammond
, Director, MOT International
Chris Hammond will discuss approaches to collecting contemporary performance, in addition to the current markets for performance documentation, particularly in relation to practices from the 1970′s. Hammond will discuss key examples that emphasise his gallery’s particular strength in performance-based practice, including artists Cally Spooner, Katrina Palmer, Dennis Oppenheim, Ulay, and Laure Provost.

14.40 – 15.10
Henry Lydiate
, Creative Arts Business Consultancy
The recent revival of interest in Performance Art from 1960/70s has led to a resurgence of performance-related artistic practices over past decade. Difficult challenges arise on an increasingly international scale for artists seeking legal and business frameworks to support creation, performance, dissemination, communication and recognition of their performance-related works; for collectors of such works; for curators and producers of performances; and for art lawyers advising and assisting. Lydiate will explore the two main areas of law that offer some recognition and possible solutions for artists, collectors, curators and other producers, along with related ethical issues.

15.10 – 15.30


SPEAKERS BIOGRAPHIES’ (in order of presentation)
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Hans Ulrich Obrist (b. 1968, Zurich, Switzerland) is Co-director of the Serpentine Galleries, London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris. Since his first show “World Soup” (The Kitchen Show) in 1991 he has curated more than 250 shows. In 2009 Obrist was made Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and in 2011 received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence. Obrist has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions, and is contributing editor to several magazines and journals. Obrist’s recent publications include A Brief History of Curating, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Curating But Were Afraid to Ask, Do It: The Compendium, Think Like Clouds, Ai Weiwei Speaks, Ways of Curating and new volumes of his Conversation Series.

Catherine Wood
Catherine Wood is Curator of Contemporary Art and Performance at Tate Modern since 2002.  Recent exhibitions include Yvonne Rainer: Dance Works at Raven Row, London (2014) and A Bigger Splash: Painting after Performance at Tate Modern (2012). She initiated the online series ‘Performance Room’ in 2011 (Tate/YouTube) and co-directed the opening programme for the Tanks at Tate Modern in 2012, which included the work of Sung Hwan Kim, Ei Arakawa, Tania Bruguera, Boris Charmatz and others. She is author of Yvonne Rainer: the Mind is a Muscle (Afterall One Work series, 2007) and was one of the contributors to Creamier (Phaidon, 2010). Wood is currently working with Tate Research and Exeter University on a new project titled ‘Performance at Tate’ and writing a book titled Performance in Contemporary Art for Tate Publishing (due 2015).

Marvin Gaye Chetwynd
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (b. 1973, London) is a British artist whose practice intertwines performance, sculpture, painting, installation and video. Her performances and videos harness elements of folk plays, street spectacles, literature and multiple other genres. They generally employ troupes of performers – friends and relatives of the artist – and feature handmade costumes and props. Through improvisatory, irreverent and carnivalesque dramas, Chetwynd has ranged across a panoramic range of subjects. For over a decade, she has also worked on an extensive series of paintings collectively titled Bat Opera. Throughout this series, the theatrical tropes of Chetwynd’s performance work are closely echoed: the paintings reflect a concurrent affinity for Brechtian drama, street theatre, puppet shows and ceremonial pageantry. Marvin Gaye Chetwynd studied Social Anthropology at University College London before studying art at the Slade and the RCA. She has performed and exhibited internationally, and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2012 for ‘Odd Man Out’ at Sadie Coles HQ (restaged at Tate Britain, London, from October 2012 to January 2013).

Henry Lydiate
Henry Lydiate has specialised in business and legal issues relating to international art business for over 30 years, since being called to the English Bar in 1974. He has written a regular column for Art Monthly since its first issue in 1976, and his collected articles are published as the Artlaw Archive by Artquest for which he also provides online advice to artists ( He is the founding partner of The Henry Lydiate Partnership LLP (, the creative art business consultancy whose clients include artists, dealers, collectors, auction houses, artists’ estates, foundations, museum and gallery collections, and public art institutions. His portfolio includes designing and delivering postgraduate business and legal modules for Sotheby’s Institute of Art London and, Southwestern University Law School Los Angeles, and the University of the Arts London where he is Visiting Professor in Artlaw.

Chris Hammond
Chris Hammond founded commercial gallery MOT International in 2006, opening a second space in Brussels in 2011. In 2015 the gallery will open a third space, also in Brussels, on the Avenue Louise, expanding the scale and ambition of the exhibition programme. At MOT International, Hammond established the early careers of artists such as 2012 Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price, and 2013 Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost. The gallery has concentrated on developing a programme that foregrounds a high proportion of conceptual, video and performance based practice, particularly with historically-significant artists who have been under-represented in European and US markets. In the last three years, Hammond has expanded the roster to work with artists such as Ulay, Dennis Oppenheim, Braco Dimitrijevic, Seung-Taek Lee and Nil Yalter. As an independent curator, Hammond has worked with artists such as Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Paul McCarthy, Derek Jarman, Stephen Willats and Omer Fast.

Adeane, Maddy, Art Fund
Avery, Victoria, Contemporary Art Society
Bannister, Corrine, White Cube
Bardsley, Sophia, Contemporary Art Society
Baxendale, Jo, Arts Council England
Bevan, Sara, Imperial War Museum
Bodor, Judit, National Museum Wales
Browning, Rachael, Art Fund
Bryne, Michael
Carlton, Judith, Matt’s Gallery
Carver, Julia, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Chetwynd, Marvin Gaye, Artist
Cooke, Rachel, Observer Magazine
Cooper, Harriet, British Council
Crofton, Marcus, Contemporary Art Society
D’Alancaisez, Pierre, Waterside Contemporary
Delaney, Julie-Ann, Scottish National Galleries
Dingle, Robert, Contemporary Art Society
Dorney, Kate, Victoria and Albert Musuem
Douglas, Caroline, Contemporary Art Society
Eastman, Jamie, Live at LICA
Elson, Sarah
Ferreira, Christian, Goldsmiths University
Fletcher, Steph, Salford University
Gonzales, Giovanni, Goldsmiths University
Graves, Alun, Victoria and Albert
Grimes, Teresa, Tin Type
Gritz, Anna, South London Gallery
Hammond, Chris, MOT International
Kaplinsky, Helen, freelance curator
Karia,  Amisha, Paintings in Hospitals
Kleinknecht, Gregor, Klein Solicitors
Klemmer, Martina
Lake, Simon, New Walk Museum and Art Gallery
Lent, Paula
Loffler, Harriet, Norwich Museum and Art Gallery
Lord, Laura, Sadie Coles
Luebbert, Christian, Goldsmiths University
Lydiate, Henry, Creative Arts Business Consultancy
Malissard, Coralie, Courtauld Institute of Art
Metliss, Miriam, Contemporary Art Society
Munro, Melissa, National Museums Wales
Nisbet, Helen, Contemporary Art Society
Obrist, Hans Ulrich, Serpentine Gallery
Olczak, Alexandra, Courtauld Institute of Art
Parada, Isabel, Arcade Fine Arts
Parris, Simon, South London Gallery
Philp, Sarah, Art Fund
Remes, Outi, New Ashgate Gallery
Rockwell, Alethea, Courtauld Institute of Art
Siemens, Emma, Goldsmiths University
Smith, Richard, Live at LICA
Swetina, Isabella
Takengny, Christine, Contemporary Art Society
Tan, Jack, Goldsmiths University
Tedone, Gaia, freelance curator
Thompson, Rose, Courtauld Institute of Art
Twomey, Clare, Artist
Unamun, Sabine, Arts Council England
Wallace, Juliette, Courtauld Institute of Art
Wallrock, Audrey
Watson, Kay, Contemporary Art Society
Wood, Catherine, Tate
Worthy, Hugo, New Walk Museum and Art Gallery
Janecek, Ms Helen
Wills, Cathy




Image: Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Home Made Tasers, Studio 231, New Museum, New York, 26 October 2011 – 01 January 2012. Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

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