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William Morris and the atomic

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A Provisional Memorial to Nuclear Disarmament was made in response to a visit to HMS Courageous, a decommissioned nuclear powered submarine furnished with William Morris ‘Rose’ fabrics. The Ministry of Defence commissioned the fabric for its nuclear submarines for over 30 years, from the 1960s through to the late 1990s, including the Vanguard Class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines that are armed with Trident nuclear-armed missiles. In the black and white photographs that follow, each of the fourteen works is represented twice, from the front and the back. The works consist of old projection screens in which the white screen fabric has been removed and replaced. The fronts of the screens are mostly painted black, with some Morris patterns. On the back of the screens William Morris patterned fabrics have been painted with anti-nuclear slogans and signs.
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Keywords: William Morris; memorial; nuclear disarmament; painting; politics; protest

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Goldsmiths, University of London

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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  • Journal of Contemporary Painting responds to the territory and practice of contemporary painting in its broadest sense, viewing painting as a context for discussion, exploring its sphere of history and influence, rather than as a medium specific debate. The JCP combines a thematic approach with an open call, each issue opening up and problematising pressing concerns in contemporary painting.

    As well as contributions to current debates on contemporary art, a particular feature of the Journal of Contemporary Painting is the publication of archival or newly translated texts alongside current responsive articles, based on the premise that contemporary painting cannot be understood without reflecting on its history. Dedication to understanding the nature and forms of painting research has also led to the inclusions of an original visual essay for every edition. Additionally we respond to current exhibitions, books and symposia, nationally and internationally, in our reviews section.

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