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This is Tomorrow: Twentieth-century Britain and its Artists

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This is Tomorrow is the work of an undercover agent – one who has bravely realigned the familiar legacies of British twentieth-century art. From the American James McNeill Whistler's defence of his new kind of modern art against the British art establishment in the latter half of the 19th century to the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson's melting icebergs in London, he traverses the lives of the artists that have recorded, questioned and defined our times. This is Tomorrow is the work of an undercover agent - one who has bravely realigned the familiar legacies of British twentieth-century art. Getting up close and personal with the actors and actresses that have brought the iconic films to life, this book’s behind-the-scenes stories span the entire career of a man whose catalog has grown into a timeless cornerstone of American pop culture.

In a brilliant narrative that vividly evokes the personalities who populate and drive this story―including Aubrey Beardsley, Damien Hirst, and Barbara Hepworth―author Michael Bird reevaluates how we look at the history of modern Britain. Mr Bird gives voice to artists previously sidelined in such historical overviews: Sir Frank Bowling, Lubaina Himid, Mary Kelly, John Latham, Phyllida Barlow. A compelling and lively history that examines the lives of British artists from the late nineteenth century to today.In war and peace, Churchill came to enjoy painting as his primary means of relaxation from the strain of public affairs. Volume Two covers the early years of his editorship of The Criterion (the periodical that Eliot launched with Lady Rothermere’s backing in 1922), publication of The Hollow Menand the course of Eliot’s thinking about poetry and poetics after The Waste Land. Hilariously funny, sometimes rather sad, but invariably interesting, this is a superbly diverting book.

His powers of persuasion clearly exceeded those of Colonel Baker, who seemed the personification of Victorian solidity until that embarrassing incident in the sealed railway compartment, where he failed to entice Miss Dickinson to join in his bit of fun, and afterwards had to try and explain his conduct to the High Court, with the whole nation hanging on his every word.This is a story that unrolls the narrative of a whole century, and Michael conjures up in words all the pictures you’ll need. Meet Monsieur Benoit, who appeared suddenly in Paris with a scheme for telegraphing messages across the world (or, at least, across the room) by means of electricity and the telepathic power of snails, and actually raised the money to build this extraordinary machine. His subjects included his family homes at Blenheim and Chartwell, evocative coastal scenes on the French Riviera, and many sun-drenched depictions of Marrakesh in Morocco, as well as still life pictures and an extraordinarily revealing self-portrait, painted during a particularly troubled time in his life. His films – he has over 45 writing and directing credits to his name – range from slapstick to tragedy, farce to fantasy.

A timely update of the story of British art, packed with contextual material and photographs … Mr Bird gives voice to artists previously sidelined in such historical overviews: Sir Frank Bowling, Lubaina Himid, Mary Kelly, John Latham, Phyllida Barlow…. An enjoyable book, one which will entertain and inform even those who consider themselves well versed in this country’s art history. In This is Tomorrow Michael Bird takes a fresh look at the 'long twentieth century', from the closing years of Queen Victoria's reign to the turn of the millennium, through the lens of the artists who lived and worked in this ever-changing Britain.

The new letters fill crucial gaps in the record, notably enlarging our understanding of the genesis and publication of The Waste Land. The second part of the book provides previously uncollected critical accounts of his work by some of Churchill’s contemporaries: Augustus John’s hitherto unpublished introduction to the Royal Academy exhibition of Churchill’s paintings in 1959, and essays and reviews by Churchill’s acquaintances Sir John Rothenstein, Professor Thomas Bodkin and the art critic Eric Newton. As one of history’s most prolific moviemakers, his style and comic sensibility have been imitated, but never replicated, by countless other filmmakers over the years.

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