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Back to fast and loose (my dead gallery)


"I had just left Cambridge University, where I had been studying Baroque art under the great Michael Jaffe. I was introduced to Barry Miles in 1965 at the seminal poetry reading at the Albert Hall. We shared an interest in the beat poets Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs and had the same taste, so we decided to set up a gallery. We found a place in Mason’s Yard (now James Hyman Gallery). We felt that we needed to do something that went against the stuffiness of the existing galleries, but we didn’t really know what we were doing. I was very young and quite innocent about what was going on.
We showed artists such as Soto, de Marco, Julio Le Parc, Takis and Liliane Lijn. There were no painting shows, just what you might call conceptual works. From the beginning the place became a stopping-off point – everyone came through Indica. One of those who did was Yoko Ono, who had just been over for the Destruction in Art Symposium. She asked me if she could have a show and I said, yes...

We had a casual way of running the gallery. I never took it seriously as a business in the way that they do now. We funded the space on a day-to-day basis, and we enjoyed it. Even though it was a critical success, at that time the galleries had to be there for ten years or so before the public institutions thought about buying anything.
The gallery became very popular, and there were always press turning up to do interviews with us. We were being paid a lot of attention. The gallerist Robert Fraser liked what we were doing and subsequently gave John Lennon his first one-person show there. It wasn’t competitive, though. We were friends. We were the first post-war generation, and the biggest changes happened then. It was a very different time. Everything was on the move – it made you want to do new things, whether it was in art, film, music."

John Dunbar quoted in Tate Magazine (Summer 2004)



L-R: Peter Asher, Miles, John Dunbar outside Indica Gallery, 6 Mason's Yard, 1966


L-R: Peter Asher, Miles, John Dunbar outside Indica Gallery, 6 Mason's Yard, 1966