Gauguin: The question of art and morality today

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Nevermore, 1897, @The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

Sacha Golob from Philosophy|Arts will be discussing whether we can still love the work of celebrated artists despite their immoral behaviour at the National Gallery as part of the forthcoming exhibition of Gauguin’s celebrated works.

These events ordinarily sell out, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Book tickets here (£5/£10)

Friday 11th October

6.30 – 8 pm in the Sainsbury Wing Theatre (The National Gallery)

Gauguin: The question of art and morality today

Book tickets here

The National Gallery in collaboration with The Centre for Philosophy and Visual Arts at King’s College London, discuss whether we can still love the work of celebrated artists despite their immoral behaviour

Friday, 11 October 2019

6.30 – 8 pm

Sainsbury Wing Theatre

About

Gauguin’s legacy as a painter is undeniable, but his lifestyle presents a challenge to our appreciation of his greatness. To some, he was a bohemian renegade, who broke free from Europe’s bourgeois shackles in his quest for creative liberation in the South Seas. To others, he abused the myth of the noble savage, abandoning his family to satisfy his exotic fantasies, while boosting the market for his art back home.

In the wake of recent scandals, and movements such as #MeToo and #StayWoke gaining significant attention, once-admired artists, writers, actors and filmmakers have been disgraced. Can we still love the work of artists whose behaviour we loathe? Is it ever really possible for objects of beauty not to be spoiled by the dirty hands that made them? Or could Gauguin’s artistic achievements even justify what he did?

This discussion poses questions about how we can (and if we should) make such moral judgements, inviting us to reflect on our relationship to art and consider what we take to be its purpose or responsibilities. 

Speakers include Shahidha Bari, Daniel Callcut, Sacha Golob and Janet Marstine.Image: Detail from Paul Gauguin, ‘Self-Portrait’, 1885 © Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas (AP 1997.03)

Book tickets here

Shahidha Bari

Shahidha Bari is a writer, academic and broadcaster. She is a Fellow of the Forum for Philosophy at the London School of Economics. Bari appears regularly on BBC Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme, ‘Free Thinking’, and is an occasional presenter of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Front Row’. Bari is currently Professor of Fashion Cultures and Histories at the London College of Fashion and is the author of ‘Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes’.

Daniel Callcut

Daniel Callcut is a freelance writer and philosopher with a wide interest in the arts. He writes for ‘Prospect’ magazine, ‘Aeon’, and ‘Arts Professional’. Cambridge University Press and Routledge have published Callcut’s academic work and he is the editor of ‘Reading Bernard Williams’, an extensive collection of essays on one of the great philosophers of his generation.

Sacha Golob

Sacha Golob is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at King’s College London. He is the Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Visual Arts and the Associate Editor of the British Journal for the History of Philosophy. Golob has published extensively on French and German Philosophy and the Philosophy of Art. His current research looks at contemporary conceptions of degeneration, transformation and virtue.

Janet Marstine

Janet Marstine is Honorary (Retired) Associate Professor, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester. She writes on diverse aspects of museum ethics from codes of practice to diversity initiatives and artists’ interventions as drivers for ethical change. She is author of ‘Critical Practice: Artists, museums, ethics’ (Routledge 2017), among other titles, and co-editor, with Svetlana Mintcheva, of the forthcoming volume ‘Curating Under Pressure: International perspectives on negotiating conflict and upholding integrity’.

Francis Bacon: Painting, Philosophy, Psychoanalysis

New and edited by Ben Ware, Director CPVA Philosophy|Arts.

We are delighted to announce that in October Thames & Hudson will publish Francis Bacon: Painting, Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, edited by Ben Ware. This text goes beyond established readings of Bacon with a groundbreaking collection of essays by some of today’s most prominent philosophers and psychoanalytic critics:

Ben Ware’s new book
  • Bacon’s Cynegetic Vision – Howard Caygill, Professor of Modern European Philosophy in the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University
  • Scratching the Surface: Distance and Intimacy in Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing – Gregg Horowitz, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York City
  • Revisiting the Mirror Phase – Darian Leader, Psychoanalyst and Member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research and of the College of Psychoanalysts
  • From Deconstruction to Plasticity: Morphing Francis Bacon – Catherine Malabou, Professor of Philosophy at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University
  • From Sense to Sensation: Bacon, Pasting Paint and the Futility of Lacanian Psychoanalysis – Dany Nobus, Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychology at Brunel University, and Former Chair of the Freud Museum
  • The Imposture of the Self Portrait – Renata Salecl, Professor of Psychology, Psychoanalysis and Law at Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Looking the Negative in the Face: Modernist Painting after Affect – Ben Ware, Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Visual Arts, King’s College, London
  • Bacon and the Art of Objective Humour – Alenka Zupancic, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Philosophy, Slovene Academy of Sciences

Bacon’s work is brought into dialogue with a range of figures, including Hegel, Kant, Freud, Lacan, Heidegger and Deleuze and is situated in the broader cultural contexts of modernism and modernity. 

Lies, Damned Lies and Post-Truth

Sun 22 September: 10:30am |Venue: Arena |Event [75] | Kenwood House,
Debates & Talks

Host: Joanna Kavenna.

Panel: Steve Fuller, Sacha Golob, Peter Pomerantsev, Asa Wikforss.

Tickets: How the Light Gets In


It seemed that we had all got used to the idea that rather than a single definitive truth there are a multiplicity of competing and alternative perspectives. Now with the rise of ‘fake news’ and publicising of blatant lies, we want to reassert the importance of accuracy and truth. Can we call out lies and deception while still allowing for radically different ways of seeing? Is there a difference between truth within a perspective and truth that extends to all perspectives? Or should we simply conclude that postmodernism and relativism were a dangerous mistake?

Author of Post Truth Steve Fuller, theoretical philosopher Åsa Wikforss, continental philosopher Sacha Golob and former Moscow journalist and author of This is Not Propaganda Peter Pomerantsev ask whether anybody has a monopoly on truth.

The Ethics of Capturing: 28 May 2019

A Collaboration between The Photographers’ Gallery and the Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts at King’s College London

Laura Pannack

© Laura Pannack

Photography plays a powerful and pervasive role in contemporary society and raises a series of complex ethical questions for photographers, their subjects, curators, and audiences. For example, who or what should be captured, and by whom? When, if ever, should we refuse to photograph or be photographed? Which images should be circulated? When should we look, or look away?

In the lead up to TPG’s 50th anniversary in 2021, The Ethics of Photography is a series of events bringing together practitioners, curators, academics, and other stakeholders, to discuss the enduring ethical issues at the heart of photography. Looking back through a selection of pathbreaking exhibitions from the Gallery’s archive, we explore in depth the moral issues connected with the images at hand.

This first event unpicks The Ethics of… Capturing, with reflection on TPG’s opening exhibition The Concerned Photographer. Questions addressed, both relevant to then and now, include: Does a photographer have a distinct set of artistic, ethical, and professional obligations, different from those of (other) visual artists? Or are there people/objects/scenes that should not be captured or circulated?

Speakers include Paul Lowe, photographer and Course Leader for MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication; Laura Pannack, British social documentary and portrait photographer; Dawn M Wilson, Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Hull; and chaired by Sarah Fine, Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts, King’s College London.

Book Tickets here £8/£5 members & concessions.