Controversial artists reviewed

9 05 2011

Radical Bloomsbury
Brighton Journalist Works Fast Track students went to review a wonderful art exhibition last week – here’s Emily’s review:
Scandalous, creative and experimental artists from The Bloomsbury Group are being celebrated in the Radical Bloomsbury exhibition at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.

The Bloomsbury movement were a group of artists, intellectuals and writers known for breaking the creative mould at the turn of the twentieth century, ultimately influencing modern culture and attitudes.

This exhibition focuses specifically on the development of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and the ways in which they reacted to other movements. Notably, as a backdrop to their controversial work they also had a controversial relationship, having an illegitimate child together despite Bell being married and Grant having numerous homosexual lovers.

The selection of work spanning decades and artistic styles is displayed in an eye-catching and eclectic way, with a variety of mediums, from textile designs to photographs to paintings.

Brenda Goldsmith, a gallery worker said: “The exhibition is very popular with the people. They come from other towns and cities just to have a look.”

Particular points of interest include a photograph of the famous “Dreadnought Hoax”, a practical joke carried out by members of the Bloomsbury group, including Grant, which became a major security scandal in 1914 and Grant’s Picasso-inspired Abstract Kinetic Collage Painting, brought to life through film. Also, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music has lent some of his own personal collection to the exhibition, including Grant’s Tents and Bell’s Summer Camp.

The exhibition will please those looking for an in depth look at the unique range of works created by the pair, but those wishing to know more about their notoriously scandalous personal lives may be disappointed.

However those wishing to bring children will be pleasantly surprised as the museum provides an exhibition trail in the form of a beautifully illustrated free booklet, giving younger people activities to do whilst looking around the gallery.

Radical Bloomsbury runs until 9 October.

Emily Friend

Emily Friend