John Latham’s “Art and Culture”
My colleague Diane Westerfield found a library shenanigan in a scholarly article!
“The Library in Art’s Crosshairs” by Henry Pisciotta. Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, v. 35 no. 1, Spring 2016.
“British artist John Latham, while teaching at St. Martin’s School of Art in 1966, checked out a copy of Greenberg’s respected book [Art and Culture] from his school’s library and took it to an evening gathering of friends and students, where the book’s pages were removed and chewed, by a number of participants, and spat into a jar. Later Latham, keenly interested in science, performed a series of chemical transformations on the remains, slowly reducing them to a goo, which he sealed into a glass vial. Overdue notices were received from the library, so Latham eventually attempted to return the book to the librarian in its modified state. This offer was refused. Latham’s teaching contract was not renewed. A few years later, Latham fashioned a carrying case for the vial, some of the lab apparatus, and the library notices, and today the assemblage is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.”
The resulting artwork, titled, like the original book, “Art and Culture,” is not currently on view at MoMA, but you can see more information about it here.