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Film screening

To Hell with Culture


Leeds Central Library

Black and white still from film showing Herbert Read holding onto his hat in Yorkshire field. Text at bottom of screen reads Herbert Read strides over the fields surrounding his Yorkshire home.

To Hell With Culture is an immersive study of the life and work of Sir Herbert Read. The title of the film originates from an essay by Read which was originally published in 1941.

Read was an influential art critic, who wrote extensively on art history, the theory of art and its importance to society. Born in the North Ridings of Yorkshire, as a young man Herbert Read had been a member of the influential Leeds Art Club in 1912. He later served as a soldier in the First World War. His experiences in this conflict, including the death of his brother, turned him into an anarchist and lifelong pacifist.

A curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum between 1922 and 1931, Read went on to co-found the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London in 1946. His later writing focused on expressive cultural forms, from cave paintings to surrealism. He has been traced as an influential figure in the careers of Yorkshire artists Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Following the screening there will be a discussion with the film maker Huw Wahl and Alice Miller (Hyde Park Picture House).

About the film

To Hell with Culture was made in 2014 by Manchester-based film maker Huw Wahl and supported by the Arts Council. It includes interviews with artists, curators, historians and Read’s own children, together with unseen archival TV footage.

The film also presents some of Read’s poetry and scenes of the Yorkshire landscape where he was born, and reflects on how his ideas can be applied to contemporary society today.

The film features: Herbert Read, Allan Antliff, Lee Beard, Lucy Beckett, Danielle Child, Naom Gabo, David Goodway, Gavin Grindon, Luis Jacobs, Leena Kore-Schroder, Graham Moss, Tim Newman, Catherine Nutting, Michael Paraskos, Brian Patten, Antony Penrose, Ben Read, Piers Paul Read, Ann Saddlemyer, Robin Skelton, Ken Turner, George Woodcock, Jerry Zaslove.


Tickets for this screening are Pay What You Can, which means you’re free to pay as much or as little as you can.

Suggested prices:

£0 – I struggle to meet my basic needs.
£2 – I just about cover my basic needs.
£4 – I can cover my basic needs.
£8 – I can comfortably meet my basic needs and have expendable income.

Tickets are only bookable in advance via The Hyde Park Picture House, or available on the day from the venue from 10:00.


Book your ticket

This event is part of our current season of research looking at renowned novelist, publisher, editor and art critic Herbert Read.

Getting here

This event will take place at the Local and Family History library, located on the second floor of Leeds Central Library.

Leeds Central Library

Central Library
Municipal Buildings
Calverley Street

United Kingdom

T:  0113 378 5005