The Legacy of Interaction: Artists at the Imperial War Museum 1981–2007, Moriarty, Catherine and Weight, Angela (2008) Tate Papers (9). ISSN 1753-9854
This paper derives from a conversation between Catherine Moriarty and Angela Weight that formed part of the programme of the 2007 conference ‘The Archival Impulse’, Tate Britain, November 2007, an event organised by the Art Libraries Society Visual Archives Committee in association with Tate.
Focusing on Angela Weight’s career as Keeper of Art at the Imperial War Museum, the discussion took as its starting point the view that as artists continue to discover the archive and explore ideas of the archival, often in collaboration with collecting institutions, there seemed to be a need for a reminder of earlier projects that sought to bring artists and archival collections together – initiatives that aimed to stimulate interactions as part of the creative process.
The idea that artists might reinvigorate and activate collections in new ways no longer seems a radical concept, but this understanding of the possibilities of collaborations between artists and archives was not always so prevalent. As is often the case, it took pioneering individuals to change sets of ideas about what artists do, what museums and archives do, and the role of the arts beyond, and behind, the gallery.
Based on research in the Imperial War Museum and from conversations with artists, the discussion considered the work of Gilbert & George, Denis Masi, Bill Woodrow, Mark Fairnington, Mark Dean, William Furlong, and Steve McQueen, whose Queen and Country presented a fitting contemporary exemplar of the changing parameters of artist/museum/public inter-action.