Looking for something academic to keep you amused? Check out The Hidden Mod in Modern Art: London 1957 – 1969.
When I say academic, I also mean academic with one eye on the art world. And specifically, the 1960s art world. I’ll be honest, it sounds right up my street.
Published by Thomas Crow and published by Yale University Press, it seems to infer that Mod had an influence far beyond street culture, casting a shadow over popular life and into the art world of the era.
If you want a longer explanation, this is the official write-up of the book:
Bonding over matters of taste and style, the ‘Mods’ of late 1950s London recognised in one another shared affinities for Italian-style suits, short, tidy haircuts, and American jazz, among other pursuits.
In this groundbreaking book, leading art historian Thomas Crow argues that the figure of the Mod exerted an influence beyond its social scene in ways that question academic mastery over popular life.
Crow examines the works of key figures in the London art scene of the 1960s, including Robyn Denny, David Hockney, Pauline Boty, Bridget Riley, and Bruce McLean, who partook in a cognate ethos of sharp concision and alertness to the lived moment.
Positing the aesthetics of counterculture as an inescapable component of the advanced British fine art of the later 1960s, this thoughtful book provides an up-to-date reckoning with the legacies of Situationism, Social Art History, and Cultural Studies.
I told you it was quite academic. Your interest in this will pretty much rely on any interest you have in there 1960s art scene. Personally, I have a considerable interest in it and as such, will probably get a lot out of it. But if art isn’t your bag then it might well be a slog.
200 pages and published on 13th October 2020, the book is available to pre-order now for £25.
If you can’t wait that long it might be worth checking out London’s New Scene – Art and Culture in the 1960s, which is from the same publisher and covers a similar era, but perhaps without the obvious Mod angle. That’s out this week and is available from Amazon now.