Friday, 16 July 2021

Seaside Modern Lecture

Eric Ravilious, Mackerel Sky, 1938, watercolour



Whether you've been to Seaside Modern at Hastings Contemporary, are planning to go or wish you could go but can't, you might enjoy my online lecture on 22 July. It includes many of the artworks in the show along with works that were either unavailable or couldn't be squeezed in, and there are more archive photos and that kind of thing.

When I was putting the exhibition together I realised that there were two stories to be told, neither of which I'd considered before; two interwoven stories. The first is about people in Britain and their relationship with the beach, which changed from being predominantly a working environment in the early 19th century to being a place to relax. The numbers of people who were able to enjoy a day or more at the beach every year went up and up and up until the 1970s, when we started jetting to the Med instead. Women were liberated from the bathing machine...

Artists too joined the rush to the coast, not only the more conventional painters of views but some of the most adventurous modern artists of the day. Paul Nash enjoyed two periods of intense creativity by the sea. Ravilious made his name with some stunning work on the coast. Moore and Hepworth were inspired by the erosion of stones. 

Henry and Irina Moore, Ben Nicholson, Mary Jenkins,
Happisburgh 1931

I put together this lecture in part because it allows me to explore these themes in different ways, and to show works and archive material that were unavailable or just didn't fit. I hope you'll join me!

 Seaside Modern: Art and Life on the Beach - online lecture, 7.30pm, 22 July (recording available for ticket holders), tickets:

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