||Vision: Fifty Years of British Creativity (Cutting Edge)
This lavish book features half a century of the best of British art, architecture and design. Christopher Frayling, in his suitably upbeat forward, notes that "some analysts reckon that Britain's future, in the post-industrial world, may depend on our creativity and visual flair". This book shows where it comes from. The essays from David Sylvester, David Hockney, Melvyn Bragg and Nick Serota ensure that the artistic and cultural background is thoroughly covered, but it is the splendidly reproduced pictures that really make this book sing. Paintings from Francis Bacon through to Chris Ofilli, architecture from London County Council flats through to the Millennium Dome, design from David Mellor cutlery through to the Dyson vacuum cleaner. All this as well as video, photography, advertisements, fashion and technology (the Apple iMac computer was designed by a Brit). The importance of television gets appropriate weighting--Bragg rightly pointing out that the marriage between art and the small screen "is happier than anyone could have dreamed of"--and the role of art education, particularly at art schools, is properly praised. All in all a terrific project and a thrilling book that gives national pride a good name. The second half of the 20th century has seen British artists, architects and designers assuming a central role on the world stage. In the years after the war, the young began to challenge accepted artistic values, looking at popular culture for their inspiration. The iconoclasm of the pop movement has continued to be one of the vital ingredients of the British art scene. In the year-by-year record provided in this volume, are connections and contradictions across the entire visual scene - from architecture, interior design, furniture and the decorative arts to painting, sculpture and graphic art. Text by Michael Raeburn and colour illustrations explore the many factors that have contributed to the special character of British art. The response of artists to influences such as fashion and pop music, the system of artists teaching in British art schools, political and social developments, has opened avenues for future development. The book is organized by decade, and the achievements of each are highlighted by statements from a distinguished group of artists, designers, collectors and critics who have contributed to the decade. The work of more than 250 artists is featured, including Henry Moore, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, James Stirling, Richard Rogers, Neville Brody and Damien Hirst.