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Naomi Paxton

17 1 Exhi bi ti on In the Victorian and Edwardian period, public fairs and exhibitions were enormously popular, showcasing ideas and ideals, political movements, different cultures and the advances being made in technology and science. In every major city, there were grand spaces and exhibition halls, and in London large venues such as the Albert Hall, Earl’s Court and the Royal Horticultural Hall and smaller spaces such as the Egyptian Hall, St James Hall and Caxton Hall ‘hosted an eclectic mix of events’, all competing for the attention of the public and each

in Stage Rights!
Open Access (free)
Harriet Atkinson

Angered by reports of a new exhibition of German art currently being held in London, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler seethed: ‘There is no room for any Neanderthal culture in the twentieth century, no room at least in National Socialist Germany!’ 1 Hitler’s words about the London exhibition and its ‘Neanderthal culture’ – as he described paintings by many of the most well-regarded German Modernist painters of their day – was exactly the angry response to the exhibitionary provocation that those

in Showing resistance
Harriet Atkinson

‘Those were still the days of “isms”, when it was possible for little groups to form for an exhibition and issue a manifesto’, wrote painter Julian Trevelyan, recalling how the artists’ groups he was associated with in the 1930s used exhibitions as platforms from which to enunciate views and ideals. 1 It is this confluence of exhibitions and manifestos or, indeed, exhibitions as manifestos that is the focus of this chapter, which explores how exhibitions operated as forms for Modernist artists

in Showing resistance
John M. Mackenzie

The great exhibitions which from the 1880s came to be dominated by the imperial theme offer the most striking examples of both conscious and unconscious approaches to imperial propaganda. The secret of their success was that they combined entertainment, education, and trade fair on a spectacular scale. By the end of the century they were enormous funfairs, coupled with, in effect

in Propaganda and Empire
Harriet Atkinson

, they believed, was allowing Hitler to expand German territory unchecked. 1 The London Surrealist Group’s Blake banner typified the playful, politically engaged and below-the-radar nature of contemporary artistic interventions. This chapter explores such interventions, showing how the definition of ‘exhibitions’ was stretched during the 1930s, so that they morphed to operate as strategic forms of public ‘demonstration’, intersecting with wider protest cultures in Britain, at a time when permissible public

in Showing resistance
Open Access (free)
Harriet Atkinson

After the Second World War, designer Beverley Pick noted with satisfaction that exhibitions had become ‘a powerful new propaganda medium capable of reaching a very broad section of the population’, with greater impact than many more established forms of advertising. If exhibitions had succeeded in fighting the war, Pick was excited by their potential for heralding peace. 1 Contemporaries echoed Pick’s sentiments, seeing exhibitions’ power as a newly potent form of propaganda. 2 Civil servants and

in Showing resistance
Harriet Atkinson

‘Artists’, wrote critic Myfanwy Evans in 1937, ‘were in the middle of a thousand battles: Hampstead, Bloomsbury, surrealist, abstract, social realist, Spain, Germany, heaven, hell, paradise, chaos, light, dark, round, square’. 1 Evans described artists’ lives being shaped by a series of intersecting formal, stylistic and political clashes. Some of these imaginative ‘battles’ they fought collectively, through exhibitions. Increasingly these exhibitions were being taken out of spaces of art

in Showing resistance
Harriet Atkinson

Stressing the distinction between techniques used to create ‘democratic’ propaganda by ‘factual information’ and the ‘hysteria-stimulating’ of totalitarian regimes, exhibition designer Misha Black noted that ‘in the field of the purely documentary or descriptive exhibition’, ‘a remarkable technique’ had been developed in Britain during the Second World War. 1 This, he said, was the use of the ‘informative and story-telling type of exhibition’, differentiated from ‘the simple display of

in Showing resistance
Claire I R O’Mahony

In his famous analysis of the 1896 Berlin Trade Exhibition, Georg Simmel (1858–1918) identified a contrast between the desensitization of the producer and the sensorial overstimulation of the consumer amidst the spectacle of the world’s fair. 1 The nomenclature of the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris signposted a purposeful attempt to reconcile these tensions between the seductive pleasures of interior decoration and the dehumanizing toil of

in The senses in interior design