Keith Arnatt

The Photographers' Gallery

“I’m a Real Photographer” trumpets the title of this first survey exhibition by Keith Arnatt. Presumably we are meant to see this as a proud assertion of identity by a man who started the ’60s as a painter and entered the next decade as one of Britain’s best-known Conceptual artists (participating in such shows as “Information” at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1970 and “The New Art” at London’s Hayward Gallery in 1972) yet in 1973 decided to bid farewell to all that. “Would you help me to become a photographer?” the already forty-three-year-old artist asked David Hurn, then a teaching colleague at Newport College of Art in Wales and now the curator of this exhibition.

Despite his change of medium more than three decades ago, Arnatt’s best-known work remains his 1972 Trouser—Word Piece, the one remnant of his Conceptual career allowed past the threshold of the Photographers’ Gallery.

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