APG Artist Placement Group
Introduction Overview Chronology Bibliography A-Z of People
'Shadow Piece' performed by Yoko Ono and Barbara Steveni at DIAS (Destruction in Art Symposium) in 1965 at Notting Hill Gate

Shadow Piece performed by Yoko Ono and Barbara Steveni at DIAS (Destruction in Art Symposium) in 1965 at Notting Hill Gate, London. © APG/Tate Archive.


1966-70 | 1971-79 | 1981-89 | 1990-2005


The Destruction In Art Symposium (DIAS) is held at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden, London, bringing together a diverse group of artists including Barbara Steveni, John Latham and Stuart Brisley.

The APG is formed in London by Barbara Steveni in collaboration with John Latham; they are joined by Jeffrey Shaw, Barry Flanagan, Stuart Brisley, David Hall, Anna Ridley and Maurice Agis, as well as Ian McDonald Munro.

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The first APG initiated event, the Industrial Negative Symposium, is held at the Mermaid Theatre, London.

Barbara Steveni approaches the chairman of the Arts Council, Lord Goodman, and the secretary general, Sir Hugh Willatt, to request use of the Hayward Gallery for an exhibition. They agree.

The APG meets with the EAT (Experiments in Art & Technology), a different artist group whose mandate centres around collaborating with corporations to improve industrial and artistic fabrication.

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The artist Garth Evans undertakes the first industrial placement with British Steel Corporation. He goes into Port Talbot, a large steel producing complex in the UK, and interviews apprentices on-site, culminating in a paper for the Iron and Steel Federation as well as reports for the corporation.

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The artist David Hall is given an industrial placement with British European Airways; he films unique cloud formations over the Rock of Gibraltar and elsewhere throughout Europe. Hall also initiates a placement with Scottish Television.

David Hall on his placement filming cloud formations over the Rock 
              of Gibraltar.

David Hall on his B.E.A. placement filming cloud formations over the Swiss Alps.
© APG/Tate Archive/The artist.

Other placements successfully negotiated by the APG include: Stuart Brisley working for Hillie Co Ltd, Leonard Hessing working with ICI Fibres Ltd, Lois Price working with Milton Keynes Development Corporation, Ian Monro and Marie Yates joining Brunei University. In addition, John Latham takes up placements with the National Coal Board as well as in the Intensive Care Unit of Clare Hall Hospital.

Between 6 is held at the Kunsthalle in Dusseldorf, where the APG discusses one of their central contentions that ‘context is half the work’. They are invited by Jürgen Harten, Director of the Kunsthalle, to explain their initiatives to representatives from German industry.

The artist Ian Breakwell takes an industrial placement with British Rail and produces a film called The Journey. The artist David Parsons also undertakes a placement with British Rail and John Latham takes a placement with Proteus Byging Co.

Film still from 'The Journey', made by 
              Ian Breakwell on an APG placement with British Rail.

Film still from The Journey, made by Ian Breakwell on an APG placement with British Rail. © APG/Tate Archive.

The artist Andrew Dipper undertakes a placement with Esso Petroleum Co Ltd. He produces a series of photographs and super-eight films documenting life at sea.

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Catalogue cover for Hayward gallery exhibition Art and Economics held in 1971.

Catalogue cover for Hayward Gallery exhibition Art and Economics held in 1971. © APG/Tate Archive

Art & Economics exhibition opens at the Hayward Gallery and is unofficially curated by the APG who literally move into the gallery. A selection of documentation from the APG’s industrial placements are displayed as works of art. In one gallery, interviews are set up between industrialists and artists to question the new role of the artist in society.

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The Arts Council discontinues funding on the basis that the ‘APG is more concerned with Social Engineering than with pure art’.

Barbara Steveni negotiates the Whitehall Memorandum with the UK government, documenting the support of artist placements within government institutions. It is agreed that there is a bilateral interest between artist activity and government activity which later leads to a number of APG placements.

The APG sets up an office on Ealham Street in Covent Garden, London.

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A placement is arranged between the Greek artist George Levantis and the shipping company, Ocean Fleets. Levantis travels on an ocean liner, a tanker and a cargo ship. As a result of this experience he produces an art installation which is thrown overboard, as well as a poetic book.

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The artist Roger Coward is given the first government placement with the Department of the Environment in Birmingham. He moves to Small Heath with a team of actors and uses film to enable residents to respond directly to the Department of Environment’s proposals.

The New Profession is held at the Garage Gallery, London. Each artist exhibits the work produced on placements, and their roles are discussed with representatives from organisations currently holding placements with artists.

The artist Jeffrey Shaw is given a placement with National Bus Co. John Latham works with the Scottish Office and Lois Price works with Milton Keynes Development Corporation. Stuart Brisley also takes a placement with the Peterlee Development Corporation.

The artist, John Latham and a detail of shale deposit from his work 'Five Sisters'. It was produced by Latham during his Scottish Office placement in 1975.

The artist, John Latham, and a detail of shale deposit from his work Five Sisters. It was produced by Latham during his Scottish Office placement in 1975. © APG/Tate Archive

Artist Ian Breakwell undertakes a placement with the Department of Health and Social Security. He produces a series of controversial films on Broadmoor Special Hospital for the criminally insane.

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Art critic John A Walker publishes an important article about the APG in Studio International, explaining the group’s long-term objectives and desire to change the role of the artist.

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The APG holds a series of seminars and presentations across London at the Royal College of Art, Riverside Studios and the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

Joseph Beuys invites John Latham to discuss artist-with-government placements at Documenta 6 in Kassel. This is when the APG is first brought to the attention of the German government.

Joseph Beuys and John Latham at the Kunsteverin in Bonn, Germany.

Joseph Beuys and John Latham at the Kunsteverin in Bonn, Germany. © APG/Tate Archive

APG holds a series of podium exchanges with the German government and secretaries of state in Bonn which leads to the first international artist-with-government placement. Further discussions and a presentation are later held at the Rat Haus and the Stadhaus.

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The APG meet with Austrian artists and government at the Palais Lichtenstein.

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The APG gives a presentation in France at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, arranged by the British Council.

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The APG is invited by Sir Reginald Hibbart from the British Embassy in Paris, to introduce the idea in France.

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The APG holds a discussion with Dutch artists and members from regional government at the Apollohuis in Eindhoven, Holland.

The first European APG placement is organized for John Latham and Klaus vom Bruch. It is a traffic safety project with Nordrhein Westfalen in Düsseldorf, where they take a comparative look at the way that accidents happen.

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Barbara Steveni and Nicholas Tresilian establish a pilot European placement programme funded by the EEC Cultural Sector.

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Barbara Steveni establishes the O + I (Organisation and Imagination) as an independent international artist consultancy and research body.

Artists John Latham, Barbara Steveni, Rita Keegan, Carlyle Reedy and David Carr are invited to the Southwark Education Research Project by the Inner London Education Authority and the London Borough of Southwark. Together they look at the role of contemporary art in relation to learning and educational restructuring.

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Barbara Steveni establishes a european network to reposition the artist in the decision-making process of government, commerce and academia at the inaugural meeting of ELIA in Amsterdam.

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Barbara Steveni establishes an Erasmus programme Art in Context at the London Institute in collaboration with colleagues in Norway, Spain and Holland

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Barbara Steveni outside of the Department of Culture, 2001.

Barbara Steveni outside of the Department of Culture, 2001. © APG/Tate Archive


Tate Archive Collection becomes the home for the Artist Placement Group’s Archive

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The APG, which now exists as O+I, holds a day-long event at Tate Britain.