Friday, 6 March 2020

Seaside Modern: Art & Life on the Beach

Coming to Hastings this summer, my new exhibition explores an intriguing cultural phenomenon. In the first half of the 20th century, and particularly between the wars, the British seaside was both popular and fashionable. The young and sophisticated stripped off layers of Victorian prudery and cavorted on the sand in the latest daring swimwear. Artists hit the beach in search of new inspiration. And as governments introduced compulsory holidays for workers, people flocked to the seaside in ever-increasing numbers.

This exhibition doesn't only celebrate the best of Modern British, with top notch works by LS Lowry, Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious, Barbara Hepworth and a host of other stars. It also explores the evolving story of our relationship with the seaside. How were resorts advertised, and how did ads develop as social attitudes changed? What did people wear on the beach, and how did they behave? Look out for rarely seen archive photos as well as posters and other artefacts.

Having spent two weeks of every childhood summer at Sandbanks in Poole I have an enduring love of the seaside. Putting this show together has been an absolute treat.

'Seaside Modern: Art and Life on the Beach' opens at Hastings Contemporary on July 4. I've put together a lecture exploring the themes of the exhibition which I'll explain more about in due course. Roll on summer!

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