Detail of Guildford School of Art (Calvin Lucas, Philip Gregory, Kenneth Ansell), Rotating Land/Water Toy, 1969, and Guildford School of Art (Raymond Duns, Janine Cairns, Tom Saddington), Eccentric‐Movement Activity Toy, 1969 (plate ).‘The most democratic exhibition ever held in this country.’ This was how Jasia Reichardt, then Assistant Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, introduced Play Orbit (plate ), an exhibition of ‘toys, games, and playables [produced] by people who are not professionally involved with the design of playthings, but who work in the field of the visual arts’. Play Orbit was curated by Reichardt in collaboration with Peter Jones of the Welsh Arts Council and first shown at the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales in Flint from 4 to 9 August 1969 and then at Nash House, London, home of the ICA, from 28 November 1969 to 15 February 1970. Its democratic credentials derived, Reichardt believed, from its open invitation for submissions, without jury selection (the submissions were limited only by a maximum size of six feet in any direction) which encouraged students and early‐career or marginal artists. Furthermore, many of its playthings required visitors to the exhibition to engage with them directly, to build, shake,
Art History – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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