There’s a lengthy, very early preview in Saturday’s Guardian for the forthcoming exhibition at Liverpool Tate called ‘Making History: Art and Documentary in Britain from 1929 to Now’
Looks interesting though maybe less fun than recent exhibitions.
Spender himself believed that “a photo can never arrive at the same level of creative intelligence as a great painting”. But this seems unduly modest. And in these unelitist times, most of us would now question the old distinction between art on the one hand and photography (and documentary film) on the other. Certainly Making History, a forthcoming exhibition at the Tate in Liverpool, wants to question it, by showing how promiscuously the two traditions have mingled from the 1930s to the present day. Many photographers and documentary film-makers are included in the show, among them Spender, Humphrey Jennings, Bill Brandt, John Grierson and Basil Wright. But so are painters, including Lucian Freud, Stanley Spencer, Victor Pasmore, Michael Andrews, John Bratby, William Coldstream, Lawrence Gowing and Gilbert and George (though not, surprisingly, LS Lowry). Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home is here, along with Seven-Up, the 1970s classic The Family (which featured the Wilkins family from Reading) and Karel Reisz’s We Are the Lambeth Boys. But so are more recent, seemingly postmodernist projects such as Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave and Gillian Wearing’s Signs That Say What You Want to Say and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say