Kenneth Coutts-Smith

1929, Copenhagen, Denmark – 1981, Toronto, Canada


Spectrum, 1963

Oil on canvas, 180 x 210 cm

Acquisition: Gift

Reference: 00420



Kenneth Coutts-Smith was a British artist, critic, and historian of art and culture. As well as painting during these years, Coutts-Smith also wrote and published poetry, short stories, and a novel Fuglefrith, and began a career as a journalist of art and society, publishing numerous reviews, articles, interviews, and catalogue introductions.
He also was active as a gallery administrator in London from 1962 to 1969, as secretary of the Drian Gallery, London, managing the New Vision Centre gallery, and as organising secretary of the Commonwealth Biennale of Abstract Art. Complementing his activity as an art critic dating from around 1963, Coutts-Smith began to lecture widely in England and accepted teaching appointments at Liverpool College of Art in 1967 and Harrow College of Art, London, in 1968. Critical study of art and society led to two books published in his lifetime, The Dream of Icarus and Dada, which appeared in 1970, and a third The Demise of the Avant-Garde which collected together essays from the decade 1970—1980. In 1970 Coutts-Smith emigrated to Canada, teaching as a professor at the University of Calgary, University of Manitoba, York University in Toronto, and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, continuing to be active as a curator, from 1974 at Gallery 111, Winnipeg, lecturing in Europe, North America and Australia, and producing film and video works as well as mail art and paintings, notably the series Artexts shown in Halifax in 1980. He took considerable interest in contemporary art of Eastern Europe, collecting works by Yugoslav artists, and traveled also to study Canadian Inuit artists in 1975 and Australian aboriginal communities in 1980.
Kenneth Coutts-Smith had an important role in the foundation of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje and its collection.


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