Art & Aesthetics Take An Away Win

New Work by William Henry

(Football) Art Movements (2012) is one of Henry’s most conceptually ambitious and distinctive works to date. One arguable point of departure is its playful reference to Simon Patterson’s The Great Bear (1992), in which locations on London’s sub-way map were replaced by the names of well known people. But (Football) Art Movements is more expansive than its YBA precursor, providing instead an art historical panoply of artists and movements in the form of football score cards and newspaper fixture results. Beyond the witty comparisons of names, teams and rankings, Henry’s work also looks back to the modernist pretensions of Alfred H.Barr’s famous 1936 “Barr chart” which mapped out the avant-gardes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

But beyond these cultural precedents, (Football) Art Movements (2012) offers an intelligent and incisive subversion of avant-garde pretension. Its form provides a timely reminder of the origins of all aesthetic practice in the aspirations of both singular and mass experience. Like the weekly fixtures of football matches and league tables, Henry reminds us that ‘culture’ is fundamentally what people do and it is the activity through which we recognise friendship, belonging – and difference.

William Henry has had work exhibited at London’s Canary Wharf (April and May of 2010). He is currently showing in Post-Conceptual Art Practice: New Directions – Part Two at The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London. In addition his work has been exhibited at the Hua Shan Creative in Taipei, Taiwan, and most recently at the Birmingham RSBA Summer of Sport 2012 exhibition.

Grant Pooke is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts, University of Kent, UK – August 2012