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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

British Rhythms at the MFA

When thinking of fine art, prints are usually one some of the last things that come to mind. Made relatively cheaply and en -mass, modern prints are usually thought of more as a commercial product and notthan a high high-art form. The exhibit “Rhythms of Modern Life” at the Museum of Fine Arts rectifies this thinking by displaying pieces from the museum’s collection to illustrate the history of modern printmaking from World War I and the inter-war period.

Upon entering the exhibit the first thing that came to mind was the Japanese printmaking tradition, not the first culture to make prints, but possibly the first to make color prints, and, indeed, many of the prints were made on Japanese paper. The exhibit is divided by style and subject matter, from the abstract style or vorticism to the realistic depictions of urban dynamics. The focus of the exhibit is British artists and works from the outbreak of World War I up to the beginning of World War II, and. Ffeaturinges 14 artists, many of whom were contemporaries, associates, and friends of each other. One placard states how one of the artists made her first print after a lengthy instructional phone call from one of the other artists on display. The collection includes some of the first linocuts and has a display case holding a book on printing by one of the artists. Also included are and several of the linoleum plates used to make one of the prints and some of the tools used to make the designs on the plates. The one hundred100 or so prints on display range all over the color and subject spectrum, from somewhat somber and realistic black and white images of city life to brightly colored and slightly abstract high energy images of racecars inspired by Italian Futurism with a nod to the Art Deco movement. Everyone should be able to find at least one image in this exhibition that they like. Really, the only problem with the exhibit is that it’s possibly too broad. The museum could have easily made an entire exhibition out of just one style, or just one or two of the artists. There is are so many different styles and subjects and different artists that it’s difficult to focus on just one part for any length of time. When you go see this exhibit make sure you have some time to devote to it.