‘Circles and Squares’ by Caroline Maclean

Rowan Moore at The Guardian:

Artists, wrote the critic Myfanwy Evans in 1937, were in the middle of a thousand battles: “Hampstead, Bloomsbury, surrealist, abstract, social realist, Spain, Germany, heaven, hell, paradise, chaos, light, dark, round, square.” It’s a line that sums up the argumentative world that is the subject of Circles and Squares, one that was ambitious, international and parochial all at once.

Hampstead and Bloomsbury, it will be noted, are put in the same class of opposition as heaven and hell: different stops along London Transport’s number 24 bus route are compared with the opposing polls of divine cosmic order. Bloomsbury was a slightly older centre of the English avant garde. Hampstead, in the 1930s, attracted a loose group of makers and thinkers who did their best to plant a version of the modernism that had sprung up in continental Europe a decade earlier.

more here.