Richard Cork

(b. 1947)

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(1947– )

British art critic and art historian. During the 1970s, he created something of a stir as art critic for the mass circulation London newspaper the Evening Standard by his support for Conceptual art. He also became strongly in favour of a highly politicized practice of art, believing that this would bring art closer to a wide public. This idea was manifested in the Serpentine Gallery (see Arts Council) exhibition he organized in 1977, entitled polemically ‘Art for whom?’, which promoted murals and agitprop as the future for British art. This earned him predictable attacks from the political right on the grounds that he was reducing art to propaganda, and the spectre of Socialist Realism was invoked by his opponents. More surprisingly, he also had many critics on the political left, such as the Art & Language group and Peter Fuller, who regarded his ideas as naive. Cork is also an authority on the history of 20th– century British art: his publications include A Bitter Truth (1994), an account of the impact of the First World War on art.

Subjects: Art.

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