by Simon Phipps
A visual journey through the public sculpture, art and architecture of Modernist Britain
From Simon Phipps, the curator behind the New Brutalism Instagram account and the author of Brutal London and Finding Brutalism
At the end of the Second World War, Britain’s cities and communities desperately needed rebuilding. As new houses and public spaces were planned, communal engagement was considered to be vital to social recovery. Public art was thought to provide the means to create this engagement.
This era of post-war progressive civic architecture and art gave rise to some of the UK’s most important pieces of public art. From Richard Serra’s Fulcrum in London’s Broadgate to Barbara Hepworth’s works across the country, to the less well-known Cumisky mural in Skelmersdale and the vivid Schottlander shapes in Warwick, these works of art have become familiar companions; backdrops to British lives.
There is an urgency to catalogue these works, as much of Britain’s Modernist public art is at risk – not to mention that which has already been removed, vandalised or left to crumble. In Concrete Poetry, Simon Phipps photographs, explores and celebrates Britain’s post-war public art, placing it in context and considering its future. Complete with incredible photography, an introduction by Phipps, an essay by Darren Umney and detailed captions, Concrete Poetry honours not only of the artworks themselves, but also the community spirit of the age from which they came.
Designed by creative agency Studio Small, Concrete Poetry is a uniquely beautiful book that is as inventive as its subject matter.