Out of the ivory tower

The Independent Group and popular culture

By Anne Massey

Out of the ivory tower

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8806-3
  • Pages: 208
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £75.00
  • Published Date: November 2013
  • BIC Category: Art History, Industrial / commercial art & design, History of art, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999, DESIGN / History & Criticism, The arts / History of art & design styles: from c 1900 -
  • Series: Studies in Design and Material Culture


The Independent Group is now the subject of global scholarly interest, and this book, a sequel to The Independent Group: Modernism and mass culture in Britain, 1945-59, explores the Anglo-American phenomenon from a new perspective. The Group included fine artists Magda Cordell, Richard Hamilton, Nigel Henderson, Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull; architects Alison and Peter Smithson, James Stirling and Colin St John Wilson; graphic designer Edward Wright; music producer Frank Cordell; and writers Lawrence Alloway, Reyner Banham, John McHale and Toni del Renzio. This radical collective met at the ICA in London during the early 1950s, and worked with and within the new world of both the avant-garde and popular culture. This sequel includes an in-depth discussion of the recent historiography of the Independent Group, and examines its history from an alternative perspective - that of popular culture. The themes of domestic space, Hollywood film, fashion, mass-circulation magazines, science-fiction and popular music are explored, broadening our general understanding.


Anne Massey is Professor of Design at Middlesex University


1. The Independent Group and popular culture: a different view
2. At home with the Independent Group
3. Gold Pan Alley
4. The movies as mass media
5. After a fashion
6. Vehicles of desire
7. The future of the future
Appendix 1: ICA lecture programme on Jazz, 1954

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