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The Vorticists: Rebel Artists in London and New York, 1914-18

ORIGINAL TRAVELING EXHIBITION

September 30, 2010 – January 02, 2011
Duke students react to work within The Vorticists. Photo by J Caldwell.
Visitors stroll the galleries in The Vorticists. Photo by J Caldwell.

The Vorticists: Rebel Artists in London and New York, 1914-18, was partnership among the Nasher Museum and two international museums and featured rare works from a short-lived but pivotal modernist art movement during World War I. The exhibition reintroduced to the public the avant-garde movement Vorticism, a term coined by American expatriate poet Ezra Pound to describe an abstracted figurative style. It emerged in London among English and American artists as a response to French Cubism, Italian Futurism and the staid English art scene. The Vorticists  was the first exhibition devoted to this Anglo-American movement to be presented in the United States since World War I. It included approximately 90 paintings, works on paper, photographs and sculpture. Artists included Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Wyndham Lewis, William Roberts, Helen Saunders, Dorothy Shakespear, Edward Wadsworth and others. The exhibition traveled to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and Tate Britain in London.

Music, Theater & More

Guest Curator and Duke Professor Mark Antliff poses in the gallery with The Rock Drill Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound and The Mud Bath. Photo by Duke Photography.
Guest Curator and Duke Professor Mark Antliff poses in the gallery with The Rock Drill Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound and The Mud Bath. Photo by Duke Photography.

This seminal exhibition was co-curated by Mark Antliff, professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke, and Vivien Greene, curator of 19th- and early 20th-century art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

The Vorticists was complicated by a theatrical Performance, “Western Men,” directed by Jay O’Berski and supported by a grant from the Council for the Arts, Office of the Provost, Duke University. An academic symposium, “Vorticism: New Perpectives,” was organized by Mark Antliff and Scott W. Klein and presented by Duke and Wake Forest universities, with keynote addresses by Fredric Jameson (Duke University) and Paul Edwards (Bath Spa University). Other programs included a musical Performance, “The Vorticists: Musical Allies,” with Berners, John Foulds and their European colleagues Debussy and Stravinsky; the Annual Semans Lecture by Philip Rylands, director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; a free Family Day event; a free film series with Ken Russell’s Savage Messiah and Ezra Pound: American Odyssey by Lawrence Pitkethly.

Peruse the mini website for this exhibition while it was on view at the museum.

 

Support

At the Nasher Museum, support for The Vorticists was provided by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Marilyn M. Arthur, Trent and Susan Carmichael, the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Duke University, Pepper and Donald Fluke, James and Laura Ladd, Olympia Stone and Sims Preston, and Nancy Palmer Wardropper, with assistance from the British Council.

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