British Art. A Walk round the Rusty Pier

ISBN: 1904915051
Artist(s): Various artists
Author(s): Julian Freeman
Format: paperback
Edition: First
Year published: 2006
Publisher: Southbank Publishing
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 366
Illustrations: Illustrated throughout with colour and b&w plates


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Julian Freeman’s 16 essays on British art turn the subject on its head, its side and – without pretending to formally reassess it – give it a good shaking. Skating across the better part of 500 years, occasionally going the full distance, but usually remaining within the bounds of folk-memory, the book’s partial choices of subject are unapologetic, and the ideas move in directions, and to places, where they don’t usually go, or aren’t often found. Moving at full-pelt or more sedately, the text always stays within reach of the popular reader… and of students also, who too often know far too little, and need to know much more. Like his sell-out first book Art : a crash course (1998), and the co-written Design (from the same series), British Art is deliberately provocative and affectionate in turn. Freeman’s text moves from discursive commentaries on the art of the home countries of the British Isles (including Ireland) to consider some of the ways that Brits of all colours and persuasions have handled the need to draw, the heave-ho of migration, maritime art, the weather, portraiture, warfare, industry, sculpture, spirituality, printmaking and the testy (and testing) business of exhibiting, in some very different, often demanding, conditions. Undoubtedly partial, and often partisan, British Art simply can’t be exhaustive, but when it takes aim, it’s unerring.


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