AB 2020: Beardsley Re-Viewed
Alessandra Wilson Fund
St. Bride Foundation, London, UK
May 29, 2020
The Beardsley ‘craze’, indeed – if ‘craze’ there be – is really just beginning
C. Marillier (1899)
AB 2020: Beardsley Re-Viewed is taking place on 29 May 2020 at St Bride Foundation. The conference aims to reclaim Aubrey Beardsley for the twenty-first century and revive the subversive and transformative potential of the Beardsleyesque. Combining academic panels with poetry readings, and film screenings with a roundtable on Tate Britain’s show, we will explore responses to Beardsley’s work from a variety of disciplines, cultural locales, and across the arts.
We are curious about the metamorphoses of Beardsley’s imagery and styles in China, Lithuania, and Russia, and their resonance in the twentieth-century cinema and the twenty-first-century classrooms. We are most excited to present a series of creative responses to Beardsley, bringing to life the artist’s queer aesthetics, camp sensibility, and transgressive humour.
The event is free but advance registration is required. To book your place, please follow this link.
- If you are a member of the audience, please make sure you pick the General admission ticket (registration opens on 6 March).
- If you are presenting a paper, chairing a panel, or participating in the poetry reading, please choose the Speaker or presenter ticket.
- If you would like to attend a workshop on line block, please also book the add-on Workshop ticket (registration opens on 6 March). This workshop was specially designed for AB 2020: Beardsley Re-Viewed by the experts of St Bride Foundation. It will be delivered during the lunch break. Places are limited and will be allocated on first come, first served basis.
Keynote: Beardsley at the Cinema
by Kate Hext (University of Exeter)
Aubrey Beardsley was reanimated by American cinema. Across the history of moving pictures he and his works have had an afterlife onscreen, variously, as artistic inspirations, symbols of sexual transgression and horror.
This paper is a brief history of Beardsley in Hollywood. It puts his posthumous Hollywood career in the context of America’s Beardsleymania in the late 1910s and ‘20s, including the artists who considered Beardsley to be a key influence. It discusses the significance of Beardsley’s style in Nazimova’s Salome (1923), The Black Cat (1934) and Ziegfeld Follies (1944), with clips from films and close analysis of how they draw on Beardsley and effects of doing so in the new context of commercial cinema.
Looking back at Beardsley through the eyes of filmmakers offers a new perspective, bringing into focus aspects of his work that have slipped from critical view. And so, this paper will use its focus on cinema to re-engage with Beardsley’s art to pose questions on mobility (or immobility) and the peculiar dimension of horror in his pictures.
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