The Art of Brutalism: Rescuing Hope from Catastrophe in 1950s Britain


ISBN: 9780300222746
Author(s): Ben Highmore
Format: hardback
Year published: June 2017
Publisher: Yale
Total Pages: 304
Illustrations: 40 colour and 100 b/w

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While most famously associated with numerous mid-century architects, Brutalism was a style of visual art that was also adopted by painters, sculptors, printmakers, and photographers. Taking into account Brutalist work by eminent artists such as Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi, as well as lesser-known practitioners like Nigel Henderson  and Magda Cordell , this volume focuses on a ten-year period between 1952 and 1962 when artists refused a programmatic set of aesthetics and began experimenting with images that had no set focal point, using non-traditional materials like bombsite debris in their work, and producing objects that were characterized by wit and energy along with anxiety, trauma, and melancholia. This original study offers insights into how Brutalism enabled British artists of the mid-20th century to respond ethically and aesthetically to the challenges posed by the rise of consumer culture and unbridled technological progress.

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