Friday 5 May, 2017

Inaugural Goldsmiths’ Company Lecture with David Starkey


On 4 May, the Company’s new series of high profile annual public lectures was launched to great acclaim. Over 200 people attended the Hall to listen to David Starkey’s views on art. Immediate past Prime Warden, Timothy Schroder, welcomed guests and introduced the renowned historian.

The lecture, When I Hear the Word ‘Art’, I Reach for my Gun, focused on art: the word and the idea. Starkey is convinced that the misappropriation of the word 'art' by the conceptual art clique in the last half-century or so has poisoned the term beyond redemption. It has made it useless historically and hopelessly discriminatory when applied to the so-called 'decorative arts' in contemporary culture.  

He claimed: “Art must go. We need to start afresh!” In presenting his case, Starkey drew on two particular areas of his own work: his attack on the bad faith and dishonesty of the intellectual foundations of conceptual art, which expands upon his essay ’The Treason of the Scholars’ in 2015, and his familiarity with an unusually wide range of material culture which he acquired as the founder-general editor of the Henry VIII Inventory Project.

A Q&A session followed the lecture and Thomas Fattorini, Director of the manufacturing firm Thomas Fattorini Ltd, presented Starkey with a specially commissioned medal to commemorate the lecture.

Watch the lecture in full below. Alternatively, a podcast is available here.

"When I Hear the Word ‘Art’, I Reach for my Gun": David Starkey
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