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‘Old-fashioned modern’: Claude Flight's Lino-Cuts and Public Taste in the Interwar Period

‘Old-fashioned modern’: Claude Flight's Lino-Cuts and Public Taste in the Interwar Period <jats:p> In 1927, Claude Flight proposed that the linocut, a comparatively new art form, could create a new relationship between the modern public and modern art. It was, he theorised, ideally suited for the mass market as it was relatively small, it was relatively cheap, and its directness accorded with the spirit of the modern age. Many works by Flight and other artists of the Grosvenor School, at which Flight taught from 1926 to 1930, democratically aligned artist, subject, and viewer and focused on scenes of contemporary public life, from manual labour to recreational sports, mass spectator events to commuter experience. This article investigates the ambiguous middlebrow position of the Grosvenor School linocuts, which never achieved the widespread popularity that Flight anticipated or cultivated the broad, aspirational audience he envisioned for these works. It poses that Flight's utopian vision for mass modernism was frustrated by his limited comprehension of the ‘average man’ his linocuts sought to address, and the absence of suitable critical and commercial apparatus to enable the public to meet him on the terms he desired. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

‘Old-fashioned modern’: Claude Flight's Lino-Cuts and Public Taste in the Interwar Period

Modernist Cultures , Volume 11 (3): 389 – Nov 1, 2016

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2016
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2016.0147
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> In 1927, Claude Flight proposed that the linocut, a comparatively new art form, could create a new relationship between the modern public and modern art. It was, he theorised, ideally suited for the mass market as it was relatively small, it was relatively cheap, and its directness accorded with the spirit of the modern age. Many works by Flight and other artists of the Grosvenor School, at which Flight taught from 1926 to 1930, democratically aligned artist, subject, and viewer and focused on scenes of contemporary public life, from manual labour to recreational sports, mass spectator events to commuter experience. This article investigates the ambiguous middlebrow position of the Grosvenor School linocuts, which never achieved the widespread popularity that Flight anticipated or cultivated the broad, aspirational audience he envisioned for these works. It poses that Flight's utopian vision for mass modernism was frustrated by his limited comprehension of the ‘average man’ his linocuts sought to address, and the absence of suitable critical and commercial apparatus to enable the public to meet him on the terms he desired. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2016

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