Modern Art in Ireland
During World War II Irish artists who had been living and working on the Continent and in Britain came home to neutral Ireland and began to react against the Royal Hibernian Academy and Nationalist Realism. This survey begins here and goes on to trace a half-century of political and cultural development – from the Irish Exhibition of Living Art through the creation of the Arts Council, the Rosc exhibitions and the advent of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, while looking at the artists themselves.
The author focuses on the visual arts in Ireland, but she does not neglect the emigres: refusing to establish criteria for "Irishness", she chooses to talk about the art itself, identifying a distinct Celtic element in Sean Scully's abstract paintings and suggesting possible origins of Francis Bacon's artistic sensibility in his childhood on the Curragh of Kildare. She also gives an account of the works and influence in Ireland of artists who are not Irish, such as Joseph Beuys, who came to Ireland after being sacked from his teaching post in Germany, and the array of modernists and postmodernists whose works appeared in the early Rosc exhibition.
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