Every now and then, an exhibition comes along that – like a classic sporting contest – will be remembered for generations. There are obvious examples: the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris; the Armory Show of 1913, which introduced modern art to New York. In Britain, people might think of Roger Fry’s Post-Impressionist show of 1910, which attracted 25,000 mostly incredulous visitors, and was later described as an “art-quake”.
This Is Tomorrow, which took place at the Whitechapel Gallery in London’s East End in 1956, is another contender for the title of “most important 20th-century British exhibition”. Consisting of 12 different displays, each put together by a “co-operative group” of...
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