Gavin Butt

Fellow Researcher: Still Undead

Gavin Butt is a writer, scholar, filmmaker, and curator. His published outputs span art history and visual culture, performance studies, popular music, and queer studies. He is Attenborough Chair in Drama, Theatre and Performance at University of Sussex. He was formerly Professor of Visual Cultures and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London.

His first book, Between You and Me: Queer Disclosures in the New York Art World 1948-1963 (Duke University Press, Durham 2005), explored the importance of gossip for understanding queer lives, and its consequences for queer art history. Gavin has published widely on queer art and on performance, including his much-cited volume, After Criticism: New Responses to Art and Performance (Blackwell, New Jersey 2004), and book Seriousness (Sternberg, Berlin 2013) with Irit Rogoff.

From 2009 to 2014 Gavin was co-director of the creative research project Performance Matters with Adrian Heathfield and Lois Keidan. The project involved creative and scholarly research including Butt’s directorial debut with journalist Ben Walters, This Is Not a Dream (LADA DVD 2013). This is a feature length documentary, based on original to-camera interviews, exploring artist’s DIY use of moving image technology from the SONY portapak of the 1970s to the digital camera phones of today.

Gavin is currently writing a book exploring the creation of alternative culture in art school bands in the 1970s and 1980s, focusing upon the overlooked post-punk scene in the city of Leeds. In the autumn of 2014 he was co-organizer of a series of public lectures and in-conversations involving punk and post-punk legends Lydia Lunch, Green Gartside, Tom Vague, Gee Vaucher and others. An edited volume of the proceedings was published as Post-Punk Then and Now (Repeater, 2016), edited by Butt, Kodwo Eshun and Mark Fisher.