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08 Jan 2012

“British modern art flings off its tweeds”

“For as long as I can remember, Modern British art – roughly, the kind made between 1920 and 1960 – has been out of fashion, consigned to distant galleries run by people in tweeds. Now it is back, and in spades.
As I write, Victor Pasmore is on at the New Art Centre in Wiltshire, while a Ben Nicholson show opens at the Courtauld next month. So, too, does Picasso and Modern British Art at Tate Britain, aimed, like the Courtauld’s show, at splicing its subject to a Continental mainstream. There is a Burra exhibition in Chichester, a Piper in Eastbourne. Most unexpected, though, is a show of Graham Sutherland’s work in Oxford, in part because posterity has hit Sutherland hardest of all, partly because the show is at the city’s
museum of modern art, but mostly because it is curated by George Shaw, a contestant in last year’s Turner Prize.
What’s it all about? Maybe the rediscovery of Modern British art echoes the reappearance on London menus of toad-in-the-hole: when times are dark, we crave home cooking … ” (Charles Darwent in The Independent on Sunday, 8 January 2012)