In the summer of 1977, British-Pakistani artist, Rasheed Araeen, engaged in a new project that brought together his former minimalist sculpture practice with the burgeoning medium of live art. His performance was staged against the backdrop of Britain’s decade-long civic turmoil, which included a national financial crisis, urban rioting, several regional workforce strikes, and armed resistance in Ireland that spilled into English cities. Each issue was aggravated by the country’s complicated accommodation of its immigrants, like Araeen. This lecture will situate Araeen’s performance as an outgrowth of his conception of and problems with modernism, together with one example of the engagement of art and radical politics in Britain after 1968.
Courtney J. Martin is Assistant Professor of the History of Art at Vanderbilt University.