Hello - our exhibition The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World has now opened at Tate Britain. Tell us what you think of the show.

  •  Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's Singer and Wyndham Lewis's Workshop
    In the foreground: Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's Singer 1913 and behind Wyndham Lewis's Workshop c.1914–15
Jacob Epstein Rock Drill
Last chance to see: Jacob Epstein's Rock Drill 1913–15, recreated 1973–4


Hello – our exhibition The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World has now opened at Tate Britain. Tell us what you think of the show.

Chris Stephens is co-curator of The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World and Curator (Modern British Art) & Head of Displays at Tate Britain.




julian McSweeney

The Tate get ridiculously arsey about people taking photos and justify this on the basis that they don't own the works - though this doesn't stop other galleries from allowing non-flash photography. I snuck a quick shot of this work which I'll upload in a blog about this show soon.

christopher redman

A very expensive exhibition for what it was! Reading the very pretentious Blast magazine was perhaps the most interesting aspect of it. Never much liked Wyndham Lewis the writer. Epstein great of course, but seen rock driller before recently in London, and a better collection of Nevinson also.


To someone who knows little about art, this exhibition was extraordinary. Despite the slightly nauseating repetition of Vorticism Futurism Cubism Modernism ISM ISM ISM - i found some of the works here simply entrancing. I became scared by looking at some, and the pervasive theme of a seemingly intermingled humanity and mechanism struck me... it resonated with something about the condition of man today.

The boat emerging in the 2nd room, the mud bath, the crowd, and the black statue of some sort of geometric robotic thing with a human heart disturbed me in a revealing way. And the introduction to Ezra Pound adds to this exhibition as well.

thank you tate xo

Teresa Garbutt

I visited the Vorticist Exhibition on 25th June, and was completely blown away. This collection of sculptures and paintings really hit me between the eyes, so what effect would they have had on the general public 100 years ago?! The rock drill sculpture, and the reworked torso of the rock drill were the real high points of the exhibition. By cutting off the torso's left hand, and severing the right arm at the elbow, Jacob Epstein responded to and highlighted the horrors of WW1 in a very visual and powerful way.

Carole Danes

Breath taking experience and a wake call for us all Carole

Don Maclean

Looks like some later French 20 &30,s style


Paradise on earth for a few hours! Will be coming back soon for another fix. High points are: my first viewing of the Epstein rock drill reconstruction (which is now quite vintage in itself, going back to at least to 1976); my first views of the Wadsworth woodblock prints en masse (buzzing), and Bomberg's Mudbath. I've seen it before countless times but even amongst other Vorticist work, his masterpiece stands out like a proud battleship. It is truly monumental. And to think - Bomberg was technically never a Vorticist...but lets not be pedantic.

I believe this exhibition is hugely significant, and will help Vorticism finally earn belated respect as one of the most important building blocks of what would eventually become Modernism. In this sense, its revolutionary influence is still with us.


Simply stunning. I want to go back!

Ed Griffiths

Ken, you might try the Estorick gallery in London too, if you can make the trip up. They have had smaller Vorticist-themed exhibitions in the past and although specifically oriented towards Italian futurists like Russolo (they have the original painting MUSIC there and it's magnificent) the gallery, which is sponsored and maintained by the Italian government, is an excellent cool self contained sort of place. Check it out at:


Chas Perrett

I think the main man was Ezra Pound, a real shaker and mover if ever there was one ...and of the artists - Bomberg was a talented artist but not really of this group although I really rate 'In The Hold and 'The Mud bath' ..... 2 very impressive works, but Gaudier Brzeska, what a loss? such enormous ability rubbed out at 24 years of age .. what might he have achieved had he lived? His line drawings of Pound are simply wonderful!

Kenneth Clark

Are the contents of this exhibition the same as (or nearly the same as) the recent Venice Guggenheim Exhibition - The Vorticists

I'm a long way from London but the Youtube video of the Venice Exhibition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyDpPSKZ6Zs make it look unmissable.

The 1996 Exhibition: Blast: Vortzismus - Die erste Avantgarde in England 1914-18 in Germany in 1996 is the only other time I have seen Vorticist material on show a long fifteen years ago.


I shall be going to along to this - I have always found their work striking and am so glad that a body of their work has been put together. I shall also be taking my son - about to embark on GCSE Graphic Art as I feel that so much of their work is relevant to today in style. Well done for putting it together.


Hi Chris,

Can photos be taken (from my iphone) in the rock drill display? It would make such an incredible image!


Angela Veronica

Well it's certainly different!

Tom Holmes

I'm so glad you are doing this show. I wish I could be there, but I couldn't afford the trip.

I love the Vorticists. I even wrote a collection of poems about them. It's mainly about Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Ezra Pound. The is book titled "Henri, Sophie, & the Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex."

It's for sale here: http://www.amazon.com/Henri-Sophie-Hieratic-Head-Pound/dp/1935402560 or here: http://www.spdbooks.org/Producte/9781935402565/henri-sophie-amp-the-hieratic-h...

Some sample poems are on Verse Daily here: http://www.versedaily.org/2009/sophiescottage.shtml and here: http://www.versedaily.org/2009/acorpseofvortices.shtml

Dan Ray

I always thought of Vorticism as a rather twee English version of the work done by the Futurists.

Rock Hammer is particularly reminiscent of Umberto Boccioni's "Unique Forms of Continuity in Space - albeit with influences from the destruction and military mechanisation of the first world war.

I'd be interested to hear from the curator as to why I'm wrong and why the Vorticism stands up by itself, rather than just as an offshoot of more radical European movements?

Richard Schemmerer

well done

looks like they were ahead of their time

Anthony Richardson

I was wondering how Chris Stephens would react to some of the comments made by Jonathan Glancey from the Guardian? I can't help but feel similarly disheartened by the attempt to collate a series of works under the title of Vorticism with a group of artist's who entirely disputed their part and without any feature of the context of Modernism at the time?

See JG @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2011/jun/14/vorticist...

Corinna Lotz

Modernism has had a consistently bad press in Britain, for a whole range of reasons. Have a read of my thoughts about the show here: http://aworldtowin.net/reviews/Vorticists.html

Hopefully, it is a riposte to establishment critics who have poured their bit of scorn such as Glancy, Cummings and Sewell.

Phil Johnson-Laird

In comparison with analytical Cubism, the paintings of Wyndham-Lewis, Bomberg, et al. look provincial. Nevertheless, the exhibition is well-done and of considerable historical interest. Perhaps the main achievement of Blast was to publish Eliot, Ford Maddox Ford, and Pound.