The Art of Brutalism

Rescuing Hope from Catastrophe in 1950s Britain

Ben Highmore

View Inside Price: $45.00


July 25, 2017
304 pages, 7 1/2 x 10
40 color + 110 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300222746
HC - Paper over Board

Published in association with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

While most famously associated with numerous mid-century architects, Brutalism was a style of visual art that was also adopted by painters, sculptors, printmakers, and photographers. Taking into account Brutalist work by eminent artists such as Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi, as well as lesser-known practitioners like Nigel Henderson  and Magda Cordell , this volume focuses on a ten-year period between 1952 and 1962 when artists refused a programmatic set of aesthetics and began experimenting with images that had no set focal point, using non-traditional materials like bombsite debris in their work, and producing objects that were characterized by wit and energy along with anxiety, trauma, and melancholia. This original study offers insights into how Brutalism enabled British artists of the mid-20th century to respond ethically and aesthetically to the challenges posed by the rise of consumer culture and unbridled technological progress.  

Ben Highmore is professor of cultural studies and a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow at the University of Sussex.