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Cover for The Hidden Mod in Modern Art

The Hidden Mod in Modern Art

London, 1957-1969

Thomas Crow


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An investigation of the outsized influence of the Mod subculture on key figures of the 1960s London art scene

Bonding over matters of taste and style, the ‘Mods’ of late 1950s London recognised in one another shared affinities for Italian-style suits, tidy haircuts, espresso bars, Vespa scooters and the latest American jazz. In this groundbreaking book, leading art historian Thomas Crow argues that the figure of the Mod exerted an influence beyond its assumed social boundaries by exemplifying the postwar metropolis in all of its excitement and complexity. Crow examines the works of key figures in the London art scene of the 1960s, including Robyn Denny, David Hockney, Pauline Boty, Bridget Riley and Bruce McLean, who shared and heightened aspects of this new and youthful urbanity. The triumphant arrival of the international counterculture forced both young Mods and established artists to reassess and regroup in novel, revealing formations. Understanding the London Mod brings with it a needed, up-to-date reckoning with the legacies of Situationism, Social Art History and Cultural Studies.

Praise For The Hidden Mod in Modern Art: London, 1957-1969

“Crow writes in a way that mimics his subjects; his prose is scrupulous, just so, and the many glossy full-color illustrations exalt his wide array of objects—from a spectacular poster for the Royal College of Art Jazz Society, designed by a young Billy Apple . . . to Ida Kar’s moody black-and-white photographs of Terry Taylor smoking a joint.”—Alex Kitnick, Artforum

Paul Mellon Centre, 9781913107130, 200pp.

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

About the Author

Thomas Crow is Rosalie Solow Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.