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Provinciality and the art world: the Midland Group 1961–1977

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This paper takes as its focus the Midland Group Gallery in order to, first, make a case for the consideration of the geographies of art galleries; second, highlight the importance of galleries in the context of cultural geographies of the 1960s and third, discuss the role of provinciality in the operation of art worlds. In doing so, it explicates one set of geographies surrounding the gallery—those of the local, regional and international networks that are connected to produce art works and art space. It reveals how the interactions between places and practices outside of metropolitan and regional hierarchies provide a more nuanced insight into how art worlds operated during the 1960s, a period of growing internationalism of art, and how contested definitions of the provincial played an integral role in this. The paper charts the operations of the Midland Group Gallery and the spaces that it occupied to demonstrate how it was representative of a post-war discourse of provincialism and a corresponding re-evaluation of regional cultural activity.

Keywords: (Grande) Bretagne; Britain; Inglaterra; Monde de l'art; art world; galeries; galerías; galleries; geografías de arte; geographies of art; géographies de l'art; mundo de arte; provincial

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Built and Natural Environment, University of Central Lancashire, Preston,PR1 2HE,

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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