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Speaking of Art

Four Decades of Art in Conversation

William Furlong, Mel Gooding (Introduction by)


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Begun in 1973, Audio Arts is a one-of-a-kind venture: an audio magazine of new interviews with the world's most important contemporary artists. Distributed in cassette format until 2002 and on CD from 2003-07, the interviews in Audio Arts have never before been published. Speaking of Art collects the 50 best interviews from the Audio Arts archive. These range from towering figures in art history (Joseph Beuys, Frank Stella, John Cage) to the current stars of the contemporary scene (Wolfgang Tillmans, Thomas Demand, Mike Nelson). At a future date all 350 interview transcripts from the Audio Arts archive will be unveiled on the Phaidon web site, creating an unparalleled online resource that will be a trove for artists, students, researchers and art fans everywhere.

Praise For Speaking of Art: Four Decades of Art in Conversation

"In London in the early 1970s, a conceptual artist named William Furlong began harnessing the cassette for his unlikely purposes in the visual arts. The motivation wasn't dauntingly conceptual: he and his friends talked a lot and listened to the conversations of other artists and realized something. It became apparent to us," Mr. Furlong said "that none of that talk and none of our interests were being met by any traditional arts publications."

Phaidon Press has now published Speaking of Art, a small sampling of the immense undertaking that resulted from that dissatisfaction. Beginning in 1973, with the help of a few collaborators, Mr. Furlong created Audio Arts, a no-budget ?magazine? composed solely of cassette recordings of interviews with artists Mr. Furlong found interesting. He mailed them to friends and subscribers, at first hundreds and then thousands.[...] Speaking of Art is made to resemble a cassette, with an "A" side and a flip-over "B" side and shiny dark-brown endpapers to evoke magnetic tape. It presents edited transcripts of 43 artists from the archive [...] The excerpts from their conversations skew more toward the academic (Mr. Furlong has been an art professor most of his life) than toward the breezy tone of Paris Review interviews. But they never veer far from Mr. Furlong's guiding principle that he is talking with artists, not interviewing them."—Randy Kennedy (New York Times)

Phaidon Press, 9780714845067, 272pp.

Publication Date: March 31, 2010

About the Author

William Furlong is the founder of Audio Arts, a unique audio 'magazine' that is distributed and heard internationally. For over thirty years he has recorded interviews with leading international artists at the most significant exhibitions and events in Britain, Europe and the USA. He is an internationally respected figure in the art world and extremely knowledgeable as an interviewer and editor. He moved from teaching at Wimbledon School of Art in 2003 to the role of Visiting Professor and devotes his time to continuing to produce and archive Audio Arts as well as practicing as an artist.