TabloidArtHistory host talks on how the digital era has revolutionised the art world
- Mayanne Soret
- 6 November 2018
As TabloidArtHistory launch their first series of talks, Mayanne Soret tells us how their cult online art history mash-ups started
Some time in my second year at Edinburgh University, during one of my art history classes, a lecturer told the class about her struggle to put together a course dedicated to the history of women artists when she arrived at the university in the early 1990s. While she had already gathered a strong back catalogue of artists and collectives to discuss, she found herself stuck with no teaching material as the library had almost no presentation slides of works by women artists.
At that time, Linda Nochlin had already published Why have there been no great women artists? (1971), Griselda Pollock and Rozsika Parker had published Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology (1982), and the Guerrilla Girls had been formed (1985). Yet my professor still struggled. Specifically, her obstacle was material, and as she told us about researching and scanning images to turn them into slides, she highlighted the pivotal place visual resources, archives and library collections hold within the development of art history.
When I started university in 2013, my first lecture used a Powerpoint presentation. When I graduated in 2016, the last class presentation was on Google Slides. All images obtained could be sourced online, and while I widely used public libraries and 'analogue' resources to quench my thirst for art as a teenager, digital resources are now my first – and often only – stop.
This story may sound anecdotal to many, but it was the first time that I experienced firsthand the importance material resources have over the practice of art history, and art discourse at large. Specifically, it was the first time I truly questioned how new technology impacts both methodologies and research.
A little over a year later, I joined the social media platform TabloidArtHistory, created in November 2016 on Twitter by (then) Edinburgh University students Elise Bell and Chloe Esslemont, reading respectively Art History and English Literature. Over the course of the following year, we created a zine, TAH VOL.1, gave our first interviews and talks, extended our platform to Instagram, and built a community of over 70,000 followers. Yet, it wasn't until a few months ago, when we were asked in two different interviews about the impact of social media on contemporary art discourse, that the memory of my teacher struggling to piece together visual resources resurfaced.