John Hoyland RA was a London-based British artist. He was one of the country's leading abstract painters. John Hoyland was born on 12 October 1934, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, to a working-class family, educated at Sheffield School of Art and Crafts within the junior art department before progressing to Sheffield College of Art, the Royal Academy Schools, where Sir Charles Wheeler, the President of the Royal Academy famously ordered that Hoyland's paintings – all abstracts – be removed from the walls of the Diploma Galleries, it was only the intervention of Peter Greenham, Acting Keeper of the Schools, that saved the day when he reminded Sir Charles Wheeler that Hoyland had painted admired landscapes and figurative paintings– evidence that he could'paint properly'. In 1953 Hoyland went abroad for the first time. After the bleakness of Sheffield it was a revelation: `. There was still rationing here. Down there were all these brown girls and diving, all these grapes.' Hoyland visited again in 1957 with David Smith when he was at the Royal Academy and got what he referred to as'The Gauguin syndrome', a lifelong romance with travel and the south.
The 1960s were a crucial decade for Hoyland. It was the time when he made his first trip to America, to New York in 1964, travelling on a Peter Stuyvesant Foundation bursary. There he met Robert Motherwell, with whom he was to become great friends Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, visited their studios. Hoyland's first solo exhibition was held at the Marlborough New London Gallery in 1964 and his first solo museum show at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1967, curated by Bryan Robertson. In the 1960s, Hoyland's work was characterised by simple shapes, high-key colour and a flat picture surface. In the 1970s his paintings became more textured, he exhibited at the Waddington London throughout the 1970s and 1980s. During the 1960s and 1970s, he showed his paintings in New York City with the Robert Elkon Gallery and the André Emmerich Gallery, his paintings are aligned with Post-Painterly Abstraction, Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction. Hoyland disliked the'abstract' painter label, describing himself as'a painter'.
When asked why he disliked the term'abstraction', he answered:'It's just too abstract a word. It smacks always of geometry of rational thought. There's no geometry, there's no rectangles in no real straight lines. There's only the circle, the one powerful form in nature I keep getting drawn back to.'Retrospectives of his paintings have been held at the Serpentine Gallery, the Royal Academy and Tate St Ives. In 1982 he won the John Moores Painting Prize and in 1998 the Royal Academy's Wollaston Award, his works are held in many public and private collections including the Tate and Damien Hirst's Murderme Collection. In September 2010, Hoyland and five other British artists including Howard Hodgkin, John Walker, Ian Stephenson, Patrick Caulfield and R. B. Kitaj were included in an exhibition entitled The Independent Eye: Contemporary British Art from the Collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie, at the Yale Center for British Art. Hoyland was elected to the Royal Academy in 1991 and was appointed Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy Schools in 1999.
The National Portrait Gallery holds portraits of the artist in its collection. Hoyland died 31 July 2011 aged 76, of complications following heart surgery undertaken in 2008, he was survived by his wife Beverley Heath Hoyland and his son Jeremy, from his first marriage to Airi Karakainen. Hoyland, John. Hans Hofmann, late paintings. Tate Gallery. ISBN 978-0-946590-88-9. Gooding, Mel. John Hoyland. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-09330-X. Lambirth, Andrew. John Hoyland: Scatter the Devils. Unicorn Press. ISBN 1-906509-07-7. Moorhouse, Paul. John Hoyland: The Trajectory of a Fallen Angel. Tate Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85437-693-0. Www.johnhoyland.com 70 paintings by or after John Hoyland at the Art UK site Mel Gooding, "John Hoyland obituary", The Guardian, Monday 1 August 2011 Obituary in The Independent by Marcus Williamson Feature article in The Independent John Hoyland - Beaux Arts, essays, biography A Conversation between John Hoyland and Damien Hirst 2009 Six Days in September, BBC Arena Documentary 1980 John Hoyland Powers Stations Paintings 1964-1982
Mark Rothko, born Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz, was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. Although Rothko himself refused to adhere to any art movement, he is identified as an abstract expressionist. Mark Rothko was born in Vitebsk Governorate, in the Russian Empire, his father, Jacob Rothkowitz, was a pharmacist and an intellectual who provided his children with a secular and political, rather than religious, upbringing. According to Rothko, his pro-Marxist father was "violently anti-religious". In an environment where Jews were blamed for many of the evils that befell Russia, Rothko's early childhood was plagued by fear. Despite Jacob Rothkowitz's modest income, the family was educated, Rothko was able to speak Russian and Hebrew. Following his father's return to the Orthodox Judaism of his own youth, the youngest of four siblings, was sent to the cheder at the age of five, where he studied the Talmud, although his elder siblings had been educated in the public school system. Fearing that his elder sons were about to be drafted into the Imperial Russian Army, Jacob Rothkowitz emigrated from Russia to the United States.
Markus remained with his mother and elder sister Sonia. They arrived as immigrants, at Ellis Island, in late 1913. From that point, they crossed the country, to join Jacob and the elder brothers, in Portland, Oregon. Jacob's death, a few months from colon cancer, left the family without economic support. Sonia operated a cash register, while Markus worked in one of his uncle's warehouses, selling newspapers to employees, his father's death led Rothko to sever his ties with religion. After he had mourned his father's death for a year at a local synagogue, he vowed never to set foot in it again. Markus started school in the United States in 1913 accelerating from third to fifth grade. In June 1921, he completed the secondary level, with honors, at Lincoln High School in Portland, at the age of seventeen, he learned his fourth language and became an active member of the Jewish community center, where he proved adept at political discussions. Like his father, Rothko was passionate about issues such as workers' rights, women's right to contraception.
At the time, Portland was the epicentre of revolutionary activity in the U. S. and the region where revolutionary syndicalist union Industrial Workers of the World, was strongest. Markus, having grown up around radical workers' meetings, attended meetings of the IWW, including anarchists such as Bill Haywood and Emma Goldman, where he developed strong oratorical skills he would use in defense of Surrealism, he heard. With the onset of the Russian Revolution, Rothko organized debates about it. Despite the repressive political atmosphere, he wished to become a labor union organiser. Rothko received a scholarship to Yale. At the end of his freshman year in 1922, the scholarship was not renewed, he worked as a waiter and delivery boy to support his studies, he found the Yale community to be racist. Rothko and a friend, Aaron Director, started a satirical magazine, The Yale Saturday Evening Pest, which lampooned the school's stuffy, bourgeois tone. In any event, Rothko's nature was more that of a self-taught man than a diligent pupil: "One of his fellow students remembers that he hardly seemed to study, but that he was a voracious reader."
At the end of his sophomore year, Rothko dropped out, did not return until he was awarded an honorary degree, forty-six years later. In the autumn of 1923, Rothko found work in New York's garment district. While visiting a friend at the Art Students League of New York, he saw students sketching a model. According to Rothko, this was the beginning of his life as an artist, he enrolled in the Parsons The New School for Design, where one of his instructors was the artist and class monitor Arshile Gorky. This was his first encounter with a member of the American avant-garde. However, the two men never became due to Gorky's dominating nature. Rothko referred to Gorky's leadership in the class as "overcharged with supervision"; that same autumn, he took courses at the Art Students League taught by Cubist artist Max Weber, a fellow Russian Jew. Weber had been a part of the French avant-garde movement. To his students eager to know about Modernism, Weber was seen as "a living repository of modern art history".
Under Weber's tutelage, Rothko began to view art as a tool of religious expression. Rothko's paintings from this era reveal the influence of his instructor. Years when Weber attended a show of his former student's work and expressed his admiration, Rothko was immensely pleased. Rothko's move to New York established him in a fertile artistic atmosphere. Modernist painters were having more shows in New York galleries all the time, the city's museums were an invaluable resource to foster a budding artist's knowledge and skills. Among the important early influences on Rothko were the works of the German Expressionists, the surrealist art of Paul Klee, the paintings of Georges Rouault. In 1928, Rothko exhibited works, with a group of other young artists, at the appropriately named Opportunity Gallery, his paintings included dark, expressionist interiors, as well as urban scenes, were well accepted among critics and peers. Despite this modest success, Rothko still needed to supplement his income, in 1929 he began giving classes to schoolchildren, in drawing and clay sculpture, at the Center Academy of the
Whitechapel is a district in Central and East London and the future administrative centre of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, is a part of the East End, is 3.4 miles east of Charing Cross. Because the area is close to the London Docklands and east of the City of London, it has been a popular place for immigrants and the working class; the area was the centre of the London Jewish community in the 19th and early 20th century, the location of the infamous Whitechapel Murders of Jack the Ripper in the late 1880s. In the latter half of the 20th century, Whitechapel became a significant settlement for the British Bangladeshi community and today Brick Lane is an ethnic enclave known as Banglatown, as well as to the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Gallery, East London Mosque and the Royal Mint Court. Whitechapel's heart is Whitechapel High Street, extending further east as Whitechapel Road, named after a small chapel of ease dedicated to St Mary; the church's earliest known rector was Hugh de Fulbourne in 1329.
Around 1338, it became the parish church of Whitechapel, for unknown reasons, St Mary Matfelon. The church was damaged during the Blitz and demolished in 1952, its location and graveyard is now a public garden on the south side of the road. Whitechapel High Street and Whitechapel Road are now part of the A11 road, anciently the initial part of the Roman road between the City of London and Colchester, exiting the city at Aldgate. In times, travellers to and from London on this route were accommodated at the many coaching inns which lined Whitechapel High Street. By the late 16th century, the suburb of Whitechapel and the surrounding area had started becoming'the other half' of London. Located east of Aldgate, outside the City Walls and beyond official controls, it attracted the less fragrant activities of the city tanneries, breweries and slaughterhouses. In 1680, the Rector of Whitechapel, the Rev. Ralph Davenant, of the parish of St. Mary Matfellon, bequeathed a legacy for the education of forty boys and thirty girls of the parish – the Davenant Centre is still in existence although the Davenant Foundation School moved from Whitechapel to Loughton in 1966.
Population shifts from rural areas to London from the 17th century to the mid-19th century resulted in great numbers of more or less destitute people taking up residence amidst the industries and mercantile interests that had attracted them. In 1797, the body of the sailor Richard Parker, hanged for his leading role in the Nore mutiny, was given a Christian burial at Whitechapel after his wife exhumed it from the unconsecrated burial ground to which it was consigned. Crowds gathered to see the body. By the 1840s, along with the enclaves of Wapping, Bethnal Green, Mile End, Bow, Bromley-by-Bow, Poplar and Stepney, had evolved, or devolved, into classic "Dickensian" London, with problems of poverty and overcrowding. Whitechapel Road itself was not squalid through most of this period—it was the warrens of small dark streets branching from it that contained the greatest suffering and danger, such as Dorset Street, Thrawl Street, Berners Street, Wentworth Street, others. William Booth began his Christian Revival Society, preaching the gospel in a tent, erected in the Friends Burial Ground, Thomas Street, Whitechapel, in 1865.
Others joined his Christian Mission, on 7 August 1878 the Salvation Army was formed at a meeting held at 272 Whitechapel Road. A statue commemorates both his work in helping the poor. In the Victorian era the basal population of poor English country stock was swelled by immigrants from all over Irish and Jewish. Writing of the period 1883–1884, Yiddish theatre actor Jacob Adler wrote, "The further we penetrated into this Whitechapel, the more our hearts sank. Was this London? Never in Russia, never in the worst slums of New York, were we to see such poverty as in the London of the 1880s."This endemic poverty drove many women to prostitution. In October 1888 the Metropolitan Police estimated that there were 1,200 prostitutes "of low class" resident in Whitechapel and about 62 brothels. Reference is made to them in Charles Booth's Life and Labour of the People in London, specially to dwellings called Blackwall Buildings belonging to Blackwall Railway; such prostitutes were numbered amongst the 11 Whitechapel murders, some of which were committed by the legendary serial killer known as'Jack the Ripper'.
These attacks caused widespread terror in the district and throughout the country and drew the attention of social reformers to the squalor and vice of the area though these crimes remain unsolved today. The "Elephant Man" Joseph Merrick became well known in Whitechapel — he was exhibited in a shop on the Whitechapel Road before being helped by Dr Frederick Treves at the Royal London Hospital, opposite the actual shop. There is a museum in the hospital about his life. In 1902, American author Jack London, looking to write a counterpart to Jacob Riis's seminal book How the Other Half Lives, donned ragged clothes and boarded in Whitechapel, detailing his experiences in The People of the Abyss. Riis had documented the astoundingly bad conditions in large swaths of the leading city of the United States; the Siege of Sidney Street in January 1911 was a gunfight between police and military forces and Latvian revolutionaries. Home Secretary Winston Churchill took over
Sir Nicholas Andrew Serota, is an art historian and curator, who served as the Director of the Tate from 1988 to 2017. He is Chair of Arts Council England, a role which he has held since February 2017. Serota was Director of The Museum of Modern Art and Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, before becoming Director of the Tate in 1988, he was Chairman of the Turner Prize jury until 2007. Nicholas Serota, the son of Stanley Serota, a Fellow, Institution of Civil Engineers, Beatrice Serota, grew up in Hampstead, North London, his father was a civil engineer and his mother a civil servant a life peer and Labour Minister for Health in Harold Wilson's government and local government ombudsman. Serota was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's School and read Economics at Christ's College, before switching to History of Art, he completed a master's degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, under the supervision of Michael Kitson and Anita Brookner. In 1969, Serota became Chairman of the new Young Friends of the Tate organisation with a membership of 750.
They took over a building in Pear Place, south of Waterloo Bridge, arranging lectures and Saturday painting classes for local children. The Young Friends staged their own shows and applied for an Arts Council grant, but were asked to desist by the Tate Chairman and Trustees, who were concerned with the appearance of official backing for these ventures. Serota and his committee resigned, which caused the end of the Young Friends, whose accommodation was taken over for rehearsals by the National Theatre. In 1970, he joined the Arts Council of Great Britain's Visual Arts Department as a regional exhibitions officer. In 1973 he was made Director of the Museum of Modern Art, where he organised an early exhibition of work by Joseph Beuys and formed a working relationship with Alexander "Sandy" Nairne, who worked with Serota at various points in the following years. In 1976, Serota was appointed Director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London's East End; the Whitechapel had suffered from lack of resources.
Serota assembled at the Whitechapel a staff including Jenni Lomax, Mark Francis and Sheena Wagstaff, organised exhibitions of Carl Andre, Eva Hesse and Gerhard Richter as well as early exhibitions of emerging artists such as Antony Gormley. In 1976 he was a judge for an art competition run by the brewers Trumans. In 1980, assisted by Alexander "Sandy" Nairne, he organised a two-part exhibition of 20th century British sculpture. In 1981, he curated The New Spirit in Painting, with Norman Rosenthal and Christos Joachimides for the Royal Academy; the shows, where Serota was helped by his administrator Loveday Shewell received adverse reviews in the press, which reacted with an uncharacteristic dislike for contemporary avant-garde art. Thus Serota remained somewhat distanced from the English establishment, although developing a growing reputation internationally in the art world. In 1984–1985, Serota shut down the Whitechapel for over 12 months for extensive refurbishment. A strip of land had been acquired, which allowed a design by architects Colquhoun and Miller for a first-floor gallery, lecture theatre and other rooms.
Although receiving wide approbation, the scheme was in deficit by £250,000. In 1987, Serota raised £1.4m in an auction of work, which he had asked artists to donate, paying off the debt, creating an endowment fund to allow future exhibitions of more unconventional work, unlikely to attract a commercial sponsor. The short-listed candidates for the Tate Directorship, who included Norman Rosenthal and Julian Spalding, were asked to prepare a seven-year scheme for the Tate. Serota's submission, on two sides of A4 paper, was titled "Grasping the Nettle", it analysed the various areas of Tate work and proposed future stratagems to deal with the imminent crisis caused by restricted government financial support, changing public sector management expectations and increasing art market prices. He saw many areas of the Tate's operations in need of overhaul, concluded that the gallery was loved, but not respected enough. Tate Chairman, Richard Rogers considered this by far the best proposal submitted. News of Serota's appointment as Tate Director was received enthusiastially by Howard Hodgkin, who wrote in The Sunday Times, "Nick Serota has enormous energy and demonstrated at the Whitechapel a tremendous sense of diplomacy.
He is a passionate man, indeed is quite unusual in this country in his commitment to modern painting and sculpture."In contrast, Peter Fuller made a scathing attack in Modern Painters magazine, saying that Serota would be incapable, by temperament and ability, of maintaining the Tate's historic collection. Major expansion of the Tate Gallery had been seen as inevitable for two decades. In 1993, the creation of the National Lottery made it possible to anticipate the availability of major public funding for an enlarged Gallery. In 1995, Tate received £52 million towards the conversion of the former Bankside Power Station to create Tate Modern; the final cost was £135 million. Tate Modern opened in May 2000 and became a major tourist fixture of London; as well as housing acclaimed new works by Louise Bourgeois and Anish Kapoor, the Gallery has provided the base for successful exhibitions of Donald Judd, Picasso and Edward Hopper. On 21 November 2000, Serota gave the Dimbleby Lecture in Lo
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Iwona Maria Blazwick OBE is an art critic and lecturer, has been Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London since 2001. She discovered Damien Hirst and staged his first solo show at a public London art gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1992, she supports the careers of young artists. Blazwick is said to be one of the most important woman in British art and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to art in 2008, she is married to Canadian philosopher and fine art lecturer at Goldsmiths University of London, Richard Noble. Blazwick was brought up in South East London, she is the child of Polish architects who both inspired her passion for art and design. Her family name is Blaszczyk, but she changed the spelling as she found people could not pronounce it or misspelled it. Blazwick studied Fine Art at Exeter University, she wrote her university thesis on Henry Moore. After university, she was hired as a receptionist for a pop art books publisher, she became an assistant curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, under the tutelage of Sandy Nairne, a former director of the National Portrait Gallery.
Her first exhibition was and Sculpture, which included work by artists Bill Woodrow, Richard Deacon, Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley. From 1984 to 1986, Blazwick was Director of London. From 1986 to 1993, she was Director of Exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, where she curated exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. From 1993 to 1997, Blazwick was a commissioning editor for contemporary art at Phaidon, she worked as an independent curator for museums and major public arts projects in Europe and Japan, devising surveys of contemporary artists and commissioning new works of art. From 1997 to 2001 Blazwick was Curator and Head of Exhibitions at Tate Modern. There she co-conceived a new model for the display of the Collection and a blueprint for the Museum's future program, including the Turbine Hall commissions, she co-curated the inaugural display and the groundbreaking exhibition'Century City.' Blazwick was responsible for Tate Modern’s permanent collection becoming grouped thematically, rather than chronologically.
Since 2001, Blazwick has been the Director of the Whitechapel London. She is series editor of Whitechapel Gallery/ MIT Documents of Contemporary Art. Blazwick is Chair of the Cultural Strategy Group at London's City Hall, appointed by Mayor Boris Johnson. Blazwick was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to art in the 2008 New Year Honours, she is a Fellow of the Royal College of Art and has received Honorary Doctorates from Plymouth University, the London Metropolitan University, Goldsmiths College, the University of the Arts and Middlesex University. She has sat on the selection panel of the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship. Blazwick has written monographs and articles on many contemporary artists and published extensively on themes and movements in modern and contemporary art, exhibition histories and art institutions, her writings include monographs on Cornelia Parker. She was editor of the Tate Modern: Century City, she writes art criticism for numerous periodicals.
She contributes occasional reviews and commentaries for BBC and Channel Four television and BBC radio. She wrote the introduction for Talking Art: Interviews with Artists Since 1976, published by Ridinghouse and Art Monthly and featuring the best interviews from the latter's 30-year run. Blazwick is series editor of Documents of Contemporary Art. Blazwick has sat on several art prize juries, including the Turner Prize, the Jerwood Painting Prize, the 2002 Wexner Prize, the Clark Prize for Writing and the John Moores Painting Prize, she is chair of the MaxMara Art Prize for Women and a standing member of the jury for Film London's Jarman Award. Blazwick is a Trustee of Harewood House in Yorkshire, she was on the Advisory Board of Documenta 13, the 2015 Istanbul Biennale, the MAXXI Museum in Rome. Whitechapel Gallery website Art in public space: Iwona Blazwick at TedxAthens 2013 Interview with Iwona Blazwick and Diane Howse John Moores Painting Prize "Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting." Phaidon Press, 2017.
ISBN 978-0-7148-7145-5 Ocula Conversation: A conversation with Iwona Blazwick
The Swinging Sixties was a youth-driven cultural revolution that took place in the United Kingdom during the mid-to-late 1960s, emphasising modernity and fun-loving hedonism, with Swinging London as its centre. It saw a flourishing in art and fashion, was symbolised by the city's "pop and fashion exports". Among its key elements were the Beatles, as leaders of the British Invasion of musical acts. Music was a big part of the scene, with "the London sound" including the Who, the Kinks, the Small Faces and the Rolling Stones, bands that were the mainstay of pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Swinging Radio England. Swinging London reached British cinema, according to the British Film Institute, "saw a surge in formal experimentation, freedom of expression and comedy". During this period, "creative types of all kinds gravitated to the capital, from artists and writers to magazine publishers, advertisers, film-makers and product designers". During the 1960s, London underwent a "metamorphosis from a gloomy, grimy post-war capital into a bright, shining epicentre of style".
The phenomenon was caused by the large number of young people in the city and the postwar economic boom. Following the abolition of the national service for men in 1960, these young people enjoyed greater freedom and fewer responsibilities than their parents' generation, " changes to social and sexual politics". Despite shaping the popular consciousness of Britain in the 1960s, Swinging London was a West End-centred phenomenon that only happened among young, middle class people, was considered "simply a diversion" by some of them; the swinging scene served as a consumerist counterpart to the countercultural British underground of the same period. Simon Rycroft writes: "Whilst it is important to acknowledge the exclusivity and the dissenting voices, it does not lessen the importance of Swinging London as a powerful moment of image making with real material effect." The Swinging Sixties was a youth movement emphasising the modern. It was a period of optimism and hedonism, a cultural revolution.
One catalyst was the recovery of the British economy after post-Second World War austerity, which lasted through much of the 1950s. "The Swinging City" was defined by Time magazine on the cover of its issue of 15 April 1966. In a Piri Halasz article'Great Britain: You Can Walk Across It On the Grass', the magazine pronounced London the global hub of youthful creativity and excitement: “In a decade dominated by youth, London has burst into bloom, it swings. The term "swinging" in the sense of hip or fashionable had been used since the early 1960s, including by Norman Vaughan in his "swinging/dodgy" patter on Sunday Night at the London Palladium. In 1965, Diana Vreeland, editor of Vogue magazine, said that "London is the most swinging city in the world at the moment." That year, the American singer Roger Miller had a hit record with "England Swings", which steps around the progressive youth culture. The release in 1967 of Peter Whitehead's cult documentary film Tonite Lets All Make Love in London, which summed up both the culture of Swinging London through celebrity interviews, the music, with its accompanying soundtrack release featuring Pink Floyd.
Heralded by Colin MacInnes' 1959 novel Absolute Beginners, Swinging London was underway by the mid-1960s and included music by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, Small Faces, The Animals, Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw and other artists from what was known in the US as the "British Invasion". Psychedelic rock from artists such as Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Traffic grew in popularity; this sort of music was heard in the United Kingdom on TV shows such as Six-Five Special and Ready Steady Go!, on commercial radio stations such as Radio Luxembourg, Radio Caroline and Radio London, from 1967 on BBC Radio One. During the Swinging Sixties and photography were featured in Queen magazine, which drew attention to fashion designer Mary Quant. Mod-related fashions such as the miniskirt stimulated fashionable London shopping areas such as Carnaby Street and King's Road, Chelsea; the model Jean Shrimpton was another one of the world's first supermodels.
She was the world's most photographed model during this time. Shrimpton was called "The Face of the'60s", in which she has been considered by many as "the symbol of Swinging London" and the "embodiment of the 1960s". Like Pattie Boyd, the wife of Beatles guitarist George Harrison, Shrimpton gained international fame for her embodiment of the "British female'look' – mini-skirt, straight hair and wide-eyed loveliness", characteristics that defined Western fashion following the arrival of the Beatles and other British Invasion acts in 1964. Other popular models of the era included Peggy Moffitt and Penelope Tree; the model Twiggy has been called "the face of 1966" and "the Queen of Mod", a label she shared with, among others, Cathy McGowan, the host of the television rock show Ready Steady Go! from 1964 to 1966. The British flag, the Union Jack, became a symbol, assisted by events such as England's home victory in the 1966 World Cup; the Jaguar E-Type sports car was a British icon of the 1960s.
In late 1965, photo