Matthew Withey's essay looks at the politically motivated Artists International Association. Established in 1933 (though only adding 'Association' in 1935), the group's agenda was at times more functional than artistic, through initiatives such as giving assistance to artists made refugees by war, and giving commissions to impoverished artists who had lost work when World War two started.
Focusing particularly on Herbert Read, as well as artists and art historians such as Henry Moore, Betty Rea and Kenneth Clark, Withey examines three distinct eras in which the group operated: 'Before the War: realism versus abstraction'; 'The War: socialism subsumed?'; and 'After the War: utopianism made official'.
This essay was written to accompany the exhibition A Fine Tomorrow: Sculpture and Socialism in mid-century Britain (29 May - 29 August 2003, the Upper Sculpture Study Gallery, Leeds Art Gallery).
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