mon 19/04/2021

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World, Tate Britain | reviews, news & interviews

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World, Tate Britain

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World, Tate Britain

A tantalising survey exploring Britain's first 20th-century avant-garde movement

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's phallic head of American poet Ezra Pound
Who were the Vorticists? Were they significant? Were they any good? And does this little-known British avant-garde movement – if it can be called anything as cohesive - really deserve a major survey at Tate Britain? Many of the group’s paintings never survived the First World War, and nor did one of its most talented supporters, the precocious French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska; two of the most talented artists who did – David Bomberg and Jacob Epstein – were never signatories to its manifesto, and Epstein, for one, distanced himself; and, in its short life, there was only one exhibition on home turf, while its journal, Blast!, survived only two issues.

Who were the Vorticists? Were they significant? Were they any good? And does this little-known British avant-garde movement – if it can be called anything as cohesive - really deserve a major survey at Tate Britain? Many of the group’s paintings never survived the First World War, and nor did one of its most talented supporters, the precocious French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska; two of the most talented artists who did – David Bomberg and Jacob Epstein – were never signatories to its manifesto, and Epstein, for one, distanced himself; and, in its short life, there was only one exhibition on home turf, while its journal, Blast!, survived only two issues.

How different from the rather more genteel lyricism of the paintings and designs of the Bloomsbury Group

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