Destination St Ives: How Modern Art Went West

Michael Bird
Event date
Event time
17:45 - 18:45
Saïd Business School
Park End Street
Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

St Ives is unique in modern art. No other small seaside town has been host to such a roll-call of major artists, from Russian Constructivism Naum Gabo and pioneering sculptor Barbara Hepworth to younger artists at the leading edge of post-war abstract art. Michael Bird opens new perspectives on the St Ives story, showing how artists in the far west of Britain were closely connected to wider cultural movements between the 1940s and 1970s.

What made the St Ives phenomenon so unusual was the way in which very different artistic trajectories converged in this one remote place, from London, Moscow and Paris, America and Japan, not to mention Edinburgh and Oxford. Michael Bird explores the interplay between modernism's international ambitions and the St Ives artists' deep engagement with the specifics of place and time.
Michael Bird is a writer, independent art historian and curator. He was born in London and educated at Merton College, Oxford. His books include The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time, monographs on modern British artists Sandra Blow, Bryan Wynter, Lynn Chadwick and George Fullard, and the bestselling 100 Ideas that Changed Art. Michael was 2016 Goodison Fellow at the British Library, and is currently writing a book based on his research into the Artists’ Lives oral history archive. He recently curated In Their Own Words: Artists’ Voices from the Ingram Collection at The Lightbox.

Michael is a regular contributor to BBC Radio; his arts features include Frost–Heron, The Wreck of the Alba and Lanyon’s Last Flight. His first full-length children’s book, Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art, was published in 2016 and has already been translated into twelve languages.