Wot! No Art? - ACE081.2

1978. Wot! No Art? - ACE081.2.

TitleWot! No Art? - ACE081.2

Newsreel footage of VE-Day celebrations; commentary says that in "the new Britain" everyone was to have "the opportunity to develop a richer and fuller life". The Arts Council of Great Britain was formed to build on the work of the wartime Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA) (Graham Sutherland’s Devastation, 1941: An East End Street (1941) and Paul Nash’s Dead Sea (1940-1941); its chairman, Maynard Keynes, believed that once poverty had been eliminated from society, and there would be "freedom for the mass of people to enjoy fine art". Newsreel footage of elections; women in factories; furnaces; Winston Churchill; radio announcement of Labour’s election victory; Clement Attlee; harvesting potatoes; children playing; Piccadilly Circus. Commentary quotes "by the provision of concert halls, modern libraries, theatres and civic centres, we desire to assure our people full access to the great cultural heritage of this nation". Benjamin Britten at the piano; photographs from his opera, Peter Grimes. Music from opera over panning shot of Sadlers Wells Theatre where it played to a "privileged" audience. Footage of people in poor housing condition where "a painting on the wall was low down on the list of requirements". Commentary refers to article in Picture Post, in which young artists were quoted and some of their works reproduced (Leonard Rosoman: "All good painting is non-realistic to some degree. Imitation is not the aim." Patrick Heron: "The greatest painters of our age have been preoccupied with the problem of form rather than content." Robert MacBryde: "It is the painter’s function to explore and demonstrate the interdependence of forms. I paint the permanent reality behind the passing instant." Robert Colquhoun over Man and Horse: "Each painting is a kind of discovery of new forms, colour relations, or balance in composition.") and says that readers were "incensed" and quotes from their letters to the magazine. Colquhoun’s Woman in a Blue Hat (1947); photograph of Prunella Clough. Commentary suggests that "artist and public were talking about two different experiences", the artists "describing the organisation of paint on canvas" while the public were trying to "see through the canvas" to "the truth" of the picture. Newsreel shots of crowds on beach (August Bank Holiday, 1945), and film of exploding atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (c.1944).

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