for children’s wear, John Barran & Sons used woollens from Netherfield Mill to make stylish women’s wear. Courtesy of West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds: WYL434, Records of John Barran & Sons Ltd, ‘A Parade of Spring Fashions’ at the firm’s Ladies’ Showroom, Leeds, 26 January 1954.
Running the mill
The postwar culture of austerity stemmed from shortages of energy, raw materials and manpower. Wartime exigencies extended into peacetime as the government controlled the use of raw materials during the transition to a civilian economy. Two
Verlag, 1994); and Jennifer A. González, Subject to Display: Reframing Race
in Contemporary Installation Art (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008).
3 Financialisation is the growth of financial markets over that of industry and production that characterises the period from, roughly, 1980 and which is still on-going.
David Harvey summarises neoliberalism as a trend towards economic deregulation
that, combined with austerity measures, shapes a world–order geared to benefit
wealth. See A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
2005), a contested term
Objects of neodecorativism
‘Art into Life’ was not only the name of an important 1961 exhibition in
Moscow, it was also a key phrase of Khrushchev-era art theory that contributed to the emergence of technical aesthetics. It informed the creative
choices of those who defined themselves as ‘decorative-applied artists’:
those who worked with such traditional materials as ceramics, glass, textiles, metal and wood, shaping them into modern socialist objects. Warning
against turning technical forms into commodity fetishes and imitating the
austerity of Western
sexualised content, including active appropriations of hardcore pornography, particularly in the light of the group’s receipt of public funds at a time of economic
austerity and heightened political and social conservatism. As with the Mail Action,
ontological problems concerning the forms, techniques, contents and categories of
production proper to art and performance were taken publicly to task via the fallout
of Prostitution. These contestations were enacted not in the courts but in the press and
Parliament. So, too, the range of experiences art might invoke
Soviet montage and the American cinematic avant-garde
productions, noted by Mike Gold in the Daily Worker: ‘our Film and Photo
League has been in existence for some years, but outside of a few good newsreels, hasn’t done much to bring this great cultural weapon to the working class.
As yet they haven’t produced a single reel of comedy, agitation, satire or working class drama.’132 The masses had inevitably ignored the League’s fitful and
futile class war against Hollywood.
In 1934, Steiner, Hurwitz, and Lerner seceded from the League to form
Nykino, tired of the austerity of the newsreels policy. The newsreel lobby
religions were responsible for the diffraction of this white light into various
colours of the spectrum, and pure truth had become adulterated over time.
In paintings like North Shore Lake Superior the abstraction and illumination
of natural forms highlights the ‘austerity and beauty of formal relationships,’
and connects mankind to a greater plane of spiritual and intellectual enlightenment; a revelation of the ‘indwelling spirit’ at the centre of all natural things.
The experience of beauty – described by Harris as the ‘continuity of ecstasy
in the higher