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This is Tomorrow: Twentieth-century Britain and its Artists
11jan7:00 pm8:00 pmThis is Tomorrow: Twentieth-century Britain and its ArtistsDiscover the compelling and lively history of British artists from the late-19th century to today with art historian and author, Michael Bird
The twentieth century was a time of seismic change in Britain. No one reflected and responded to those changes more vividly than artists. In this talk, based on
The twentieth century was a time of seismic change in Britain. No one reflected and responded to those changes more vividly than artists. In this talk, based on his new book This is Tomorrow, Michael Bird illuminates a series of transformative moments through the lens of artists’ lives.
We’ll meet James McNeill Whistler, embroiled in the culture wars of the late Victorian age. At opposite end of the century, the stories of Gwen John, Pauline Boty and Mary Kelly bring to life the progress of the women’s movement. The formative effects of wartime dislocation and global migration on the making of modern Britain are explored through the experiences of artists including David Bomberg, Frank Auerbach, Magda Cordell and Frank Bowling.
This is Tomorrow is the first book to tell the story of art in Britain from the late nineteenth century to the year 2000 in a single narrative arc. Its title comes from the ground-breaking exhibition at Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1956, in which young artists, architects and designers summoned up a vision of Britain’s future, poised between post-war Austerity and the boom years of the 1960s. Showing how artists have often anticipated the direction of social and cultural change, Michael Bird sets individual artists’ careers in the context of wider historical moments.
This is Tomorrow: Twentieth-century Britain and its Artists has been acclaimed as ‘a brilliant book’ (Spectator), ‘evocative and immersive’ (Country Life), a ‘page-turner you will keep for future reference’ (British Art Fair) and ‘a heck of a journey’ (Artbookreview).
- Cornelia Parker, ‘Cold Dark Matter’, Caroliney76, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
- Dora Carrington, The Mill at Tidmarsh, Berkshire, 1918, oil on canvas, 71.1 x 101.6 cm, private collection
Virtual Event Details
(Wednesday) 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm GMT
Speakers for this event
Michael is an art historian, curator and author of more than a dozen books. These include Artists’ Letters: Leonardo da Vinci to David Hockney, Studio Voices: Art and Life in 20th-Century Britain, The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time, and 100 Ideas that Changed Art. As Goodison Fellow at National Life Stories, he researched the Artists’ Lives archive and curated the exhibition In Their Own Words at The Lightbox, Woking. In 2018–21, he was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Exeter University, and in 2022 he co-curated Living the Landscape: Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and the Artists of St Ives at Museum Belvédère, Heerenveen. He lives in Cornwall.