RCA Society

"Pre-Raphaelites - Victorian Avant-Garde" • Morris and Marx don't rap like Eminem

In the recently refurbished iconic St Pancras Station Hotel the Tate Britatin held a launch event for its forthcominge exhibition "Pre-Raphaelites - Victorian Avant-Garde". This was a fitting venue for the exhibition by emphasising the role of the railway in the Industrial revolution, the loss of camelot with the urban spread of product hungry suburbs, and the new mechanistic technologies which challenged traditional craft skills. 

The exhibition, one of series of 'major' exhibitions during the "Olympic Year", (Hockney, Freud, Hirst....) which promote quintessentialy British artists and art movements, aims to "... juxtapose paintings with works in other media including the applied arts....".  

Although the decorative and the utilitarian outpourings of the 'Brotherhood' were universally popular the Pre-Rraphaelite movement was anathema to mid Victorian academicians. In this day and age -  where art and design practice have subverted each other it will be interesting to see whether the art of this 'victorian avant garde' will be viewed as a (revolutionary) avant garde or as alien products from intergalactic luddites.... The timing of this exhibition coincides with the 175th anniversary of the Royal College of Art. 

Located in Albert's intellectual Camelot of South Kensington, the Royal College of Art now faces Kensington Gardens directly opposite the location of the Great Exhibition. The College, founded as 'The Government School of Design' was indicative of the convergence of the 'so called' decorative/industrial  arts and (respectively) fine art - a convergence which "rebelled against the art establishment of the day"... a notion of progressive nonconformism the College still adheres to. 

Exhibition: "Pre-Raphaelites - a Victorian Avant-Garde" 
Venue: Tate Britain - Mill Bank London SW1 4RG
Dates: 12 September 2012 - 13 January 2013
10am - 6pm Sat - Thurs, 10am - 10pm Fri.