‘A hysterical hullo-bulloo about motor cars’
The Vorticist critique of Futurism, 1914–1919
in Back to the Futurists
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Wyndham Lewis, self-proclaimed leader of the Vorticist 'gang', attacked Futurism in 1914 for its inconsistency and superficiality and the patent absurdity of claiming that Italy was at all in the same league as Imperial Britain. Lewis stressed that Britain, or more specifically England, was the birthplace of the modern industrial world. Lewis and his fellow Vorticists were thus very much building on an existing critique of Futurism within England (specifically) which damned it on racial, imperial and nationalistic grounds. Lewis's vocabulary also anticipates the line of criticism directed at Futurism which permeates the first issue of Blast, tellingly subtitled Review of the Great English Vortex and published at the beginning of July 1914. Awareness of Futurism is evident in work exhibited in October 1913 at the 'Post-Impressionists and Futurists' exhibition organised by Frank Rutter and held at the Dore Galleries on New Bond Street, London.

Back to the Futurists

The avant-garde and its Legacy

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