MSA Modernist Studies Association 6th Annual Conference

Mind the Gap: Modern versus Contemporary Art in The New Age, 1910-1914

Curated by Matt Huculak
and Sean Latham

Opening:


September 28, 5:00-7:00pm
Alexandre Hogue Gallery
at The University of Tulsa
Fifth Street & College Avenue

Lecture by Sean Latham
Associate Professor of English
"Magazine Modernism:
The Low Forms of High Culture
September 28, 4:00pm
Phillips Hall, 211


Exhibition Dates:

September 28 - October 20, 2006

Gallery Hours:

Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm

MSA 8 Members: Plan on visiting this special exhibition at
The University of Tulsa!


The public is cordially invited to attend all events.
For more information, please call 918.631.2739


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Introduction:

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This exhibition features drawings and paintings published in The New Age between 1910 and 1914. This weekly periodical fashioned itself under the keen editorship of A.R. Orage as a neutral platform for political, social and artistic concerns in London between 1907 and 1922, when Orage relinquished his editorship, where individuals from various sides of political and artistic divides could discuss, debate and converse with the wider London public. It is no accident that the word “intelligentsia” is first used in English in the pages of The New Age, which positioned itself as the place to discuss the nature of the “modern” in Britain at this time.

Though we now have a general idea of what “the modern” was, or continues to be, there was no such consensus as to what was happening in the British art world during this time. It is clear the public knew that something was happening (and something would indeed happen in 1914) in British culture, no one had the vocabulary to adequately describe the changes that were occurring both in culture and artistic principles. Roger Fry’s 1910 exhibition “Manet and the Post Impressionists” was the power-keg that exploded a public and contentious debate on the nature of British art. Thus, the debates we see raging in the pages of The New Age reflect a time where artists, critics and even the general public attempted to define and predict the future through the confining lenses of an uncertain present.

The title, “Mind the Gap,” calls attention the various “gaps” included in this exhibition, ideological gaps too numerous to count, but we shall attempt to name a few. First, one finds the influence of the Continental artists, especially from France, in Fry’s exhibition. There was a nationalist debate over what constituted “British” art and how it should and should not be influenced by other national movements. Second, and most pertinent to this show, is the discussion over who had naming rights over what was to be considered “modern.” Was it the neo-realist work of Walter Sickert, a London Bloomsbury artist, or was it to be found in the criticism of T.E. Hulme, who championed the work of geometrical artists, such as Picasso and Epstein. Next, we have the actual publication and print history of The New Age, a London periodical that focused on both national and international concerns, from the role of the Empire to the art gallery down the street. Also, there is concern over periodicals themselves, which have largely been ignored by critical discussions of modernism. Of course, everyone knows about the Little Magazines, those small—often financially insecure—publications that published obscure writers who would become famous in later years. But what about the larger periodicals that papered the daily lives of the common Londoner at this time? The New Age would not traditionally be placed under the rubric of “Little Magazine,” but we will see that in 1914, it completely stops publishing advertisements, which removes an important source of income from the magazine. How did these market considerations affect what we now would call “the modern, and can larger magazines, like The New Age, take their place in the great discussion of modernist scholarship?

This show aims to reveal—but not close—the various “gaps” in the traditional narrative of “modernism.” In this show, the various debates surrounding the “new” take place in the actual cultural artifact in which they first appeared. These images show us the great debates occurring in only one of the gaps of the early 20th century, as artists and critics struggled to identify and define the new.



For all inquiries, contact: msa8@utulsa.edu

Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the James Joyce Quarterly, the
Modernist Journals Project
, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, and the
Departments of English and Foreign Languages.

Organized by Sean Latham, Holly Laird, Joseph Kestner, and Bruce Dean Willis.

Image credit: The Chauffeur by Christopher Nevinson (courtesy of the Modernist Journals Project)


Webmaster: Matt Huculak,