One Hoe Street Gallery, a new exhibition space launched by Waltham Forest Council, is pleased to announce its inaugural exhibition, DANAD Design: 1958-1962.
The exhibition presents a selection of the most important works from the recently rediscovered archives of DANAD Design, a collective of painters, designers and architects who blurred the traditional boundaries between fine art, craft and design in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
DANAD’s origins are in the dilapidated splendour of Marden Hill, a Georgian country house in Hertfordshire that in the late 1950s was home to a community of countercultural creatives; Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Jimi Hendrix, Ossie Clarke, Ken Russell and many more who passed through its doors. It was here in 1958 that textile designer Barry Daniels (DAN) and illustrator Tom Adams (AD) set up the collective, joined by artists Robin Denny and Bernard Cohen, graphic designer Edward Wright, architects Peter Adams and Colin Huntley and, most famously, Peter Blake.
Fusing their art school training – all the members were graduates of the Slade or Royal College of Art - with a fascination for popular culture and a keen commercial sense, DANAD’s paintings, prints, textiles and furniture challenged the distinction between fine and decorative art, between the gallery and the home.
Inspired by previous generations of artist communities - from William Morris and his circle to Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus – the DANAD artists formed a tight unit, exchanging ideas, inspiration and techniques.
At the forefront of the burgeoning Pop Art movement, DANAD created a powerful brand that was soon being sold at Liberty, Heals and Harrods and receiving breathless coverage in Vogue. DANAD’s artistic ambition was not matched by its business acumen, however, and the collective folded in 1952.
Despite its short lifespan, DANAD exerted a lasting influence on British design and led to successful careers for its former members, most notably Bernard Cohen, one of the leading British abstract artists of his time, and Peter Blake, Britain’s best-known pop artist.
The bulk of works in the exhibition were discovered five years ago in the basement of Marden Hill by Barry Daniels’s son, Mark. Presented together for the first time in more than 50 years, these works reveal the extraordinary breadth of DANAD’s vision – and its pioneering role in developing the Pop Art aesthetic.
Louise Fitton, Head of Museum, Gallery and Archive at Waltham Forest Council, said: “We’re thrilled to launch One Hoe Street Gallery with the revolutionary work of DANAD Design. DANAD’s seminal role in the story of British design has all too often been overlooked – we hope to change that by showcasing some of its most bold and brilliant work, much of which has only recently been rediscovered. As London’s first Borough of Culture, Waltham Forest saw an incredible amount of cultural growth in 2019. One Hoe Street Gallery is a way of harnessing that energy, ensuring Waltham Forest is home to compelling and ambitious exhibitions for years to come.”