28 January - 23 April 2017
The rolling hills, pretty villages and seaside resorts of Sussex don’t immediately suggest a hotbed of artistic, political, sexual and domestic experimentation, but this intriguing exhibition curated by Dr Hope Wolf of the University of Sussex examines why in the first half of the 20th century so many radical artists and writers were drawn to the county.
A glance at the list of the artists and makers included makes you realise what an extraordinary concentration of creative talent spent time there. Inspired variously by the landscape, a desire for alternative living, or the simply the opportunity to get away, these artists and makers brought with them unconventional ideas and energies. From the art and craft of Eric Gill at Ditchling, the paintings and interiors of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant at Charleston, the surrealist collaborations of Edward James and Salvador Dali at West Dean and the photography of Eileen Agar, Paul Nash and Lee Miller, to the watercolours of Edward Burra in Rye and Serge Chermayeff’s striking modernist architecture of the De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill, this exhibition makes connections between these creative communities and the modernisms they represented. Drawn from 9 different museums and galleries, it’s an unmissable opportunity to see many of these artists’ top works all shown together in one exhibition.