In tribute to John Berger, who died on 2 January 2017, we excerpt ‘The Moment of Cubism’ from Landscapes, edited by Tom Overton. The 1967 essay of materialist art criticism, originally published in New Left Review, traces the lineages and legacies of Cubism. In it, Berger grapples with the sensation that “the most extreme Cubist works” – both “too optimistic and too revolutionary … to have been painted today” – are “caught, pinned down, in an enclave of time, waiting to be released and to continue a journey that began in 1907.”
An interlocking world system of imperialism; opposed to it, a socialist international; the founding of modern physics, physiology and sociology; the increasing use of electricity, the invention of radio and the cinema; the beginnings of mass production; the publishing of mass-circulation newspapers; the new structural possibilities offered by the availability of steel and aluminium; the rapid development of chemical industries and the production of synthetic materials; the appearance of the motor-car and the aeroplane: What did all this mean?
On John Berger's 89th birthday and to coincide with the National Gallery's Goya: The Portraits exhibition, we excerpt a chapter on the Spanish artist from his latest book Portraits: John Berger on Artists, edited by Tom Overton.
Portraits: John Berger on Artists is 50% off when you buy through our website, with free shipping worldwide, until Sunday 8th November*. You will also get the ebook, for free, when you buy the print edition! (*excluding North America).
Francisco Goya, Portrait of Doña Isabel de Parcel, 1805
As tensions escalate once again in occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in what is now being described by some as the Third Intifada, we share this extract from John Berger's Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance about the devastating, deadly effects of the Israeli occupation. Earlier this week, Berger sent a letter to the Palestinian resistance in support of the upsurge.