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Strokes of white, grey, black paint with Becoming Gustav Metzger in red font in centre

Becoming Gustav Metzger

Uncovering the Early Years: 1945-59

Edited by Nicola Baird


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  • Accompanies an exhibition produced in association with the Gustav Metzger Foundation due to open at Ben Uri Gallery in June 2021
  • First publication to focus on artist and activist Gustav Metzger’s early work
  • Provides a rare opportunity to study never-before-seen artwork and archival material relating to the early part of Metzger’s unique and uncompromising career, for which he became known as the ‘conscience of the art world’, charting his remarkable formative years prior to the development of his later, both radical and revelatory auto-destructive practice
  • Includes original texts by distinguished experts in the field
Full Description

Becoming Gustav Metzger, produced in association with The Gustav Metzger Foundation, is the first publication to examine the little-known formative years of refugee artist and activist Gustav Metzger (Nuremberg, Germany, 1926-London, England, 2017). Generously supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Association for Art History, Becoming Gustav Metzger includes original texts by Stephen Bann CBE (Emeritus Professor, University of Bristol), Andrew Wilson (Senior Curator Modern & Contemporary British Art, and Archives at Tate Britain), Dr. Elizabeth Fisher (Leverhulme Research Fellow, Northumbria University), Mathieu Copeland (independent curator and author of Gustav Metzger: Writings 1953-2016), and the curators. Fully illustrated, it also includes colour reproductions of rarely seen drawings and paintings from this crucial early period, as well as early abstract works on board and cardboard, and a kodak box. Together they chart Metzger’s artistic journey from figuration to abstraction prior to the development of his later radical auto-destructive practice.

About the Author

Nicola Baird is a researcher and curator at the Ben Uri Research Unit. Other recent projects have included a retrospective of German emigre artist, Fred Uhlman at Burgh House in 2018 which toured to Hatton Gallery, Newcastle.

Ben Uri Gallery and Museum
16th Aug 2021
210 mm x 170 mm
132 Pages
65 color
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