On 20 June 1914, the Vorticists set out to shock the British cultural establishment with their journal Blast; its bold type marching diagonally across its bright pink cover. Within, readers found a powerful manifesto, trumpeted in heavy font, specifying individuals, institutions, and items to be blasted or blessed. Amidst those to be blasted, sandwiched between Edward Elgar, cod liver oil and Clan Strachey, was the Chenil Gallery. The Vorticists' indictment, at first glance, seems to support the myth of the avant-garde with its habitual disavowal of the commercial art world. Yet, the Chenil, the only gallery cited by the magazine, had gained its reputation and visibility since it was founded in 1905 by supporting artists who positioned themselves as outsiders, first by calling upon the paradigm of bohemia, as in the case of Augustus John, later by adopting the strategies of the urban avant-garde as, for example, with David Bomberg. Why then did the Chenil incur such wrath in 1914?
|Journal||Oxford Art Journal|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2010|