Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion, examined why radical artists and writers were drawn to the rolling hills, seaside resorts, and quaint villages of Sussex in the first half of the 20th century and how, in the communities they created, artistic innovation ran hand in-hand with political, sexual and domestic experimentation.
Sussex provided the inspiration but all these artists and writers were outsiders in their new surroundings. Never settling, some brought unconventional ideas, others found nightmares in the most picturesque of scenes, but ultimately they challenged the idea of Sussex as an idyllic escape.
Sussex Modernism was created by the Bulldog Trust in partnership with 9 Sussex museums and galleries. Within the county are the homes of major artists and collectors namely Charleston, Farleys House and Gallery, and West Dean College as well as the iconic modernist building De La Warr Pavilion, now a contemporary art gallery and performance venue. The exhibition drew on these collections as well as the Sussex museums and galleries with significant holdings of modernist art Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft, Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, Pallant House Gallery in Chichester and Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne.
The exhibition was curated by Dr Hope Wolf, Lecturer in British Modernist Literature and co-Director of the Centre for Modernist Studies at the University of Sussex.