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To Hell with Culture

UK/Canada, 2014, 56mins, Cert.TBC
Showtimes and location

Film description

‘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. Ahead of the film visit the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery for an after-hours viewing of the exhibition Art in an Electric Atmosphere: the Library and Archive of Herbert Read.

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.

He was a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum between 1922 and 1931. He also co-founded 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.

The film 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 features readings of his poetry and scenes of the Yorkshire landscape where he was born. The film reflects on how Read's ideas can be applied to contemporary society today.

Following the screening there will be a discussion with the film maker Huw Wahl.


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.


Exhibition details

Herbert Read’s library and archive are now held at Leeds University Library Special Collections. These eclectic collections form the basis of the current exhibition in the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery. “Art in an Electric Atmosphere: the Library and Archive of Herbert Read” is guest-curated by artist Stephen Sutcliffe and arts organisation Pavilion. It comprises over 165 items from Read’s archive and library. It has been put together with a collagist’s sensibility to reflect the contradictory life of the man himself. Central to the exhibition is a new projected video work by Glasgow-based and Yorkshire-born collage artist Stephen Sutcliffe

The Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery in the Parkinson Building, University of Leeds, will be open from 5 – 6.15pm on the evening of the screening.

Usual opening times are Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm.

Timings on the evening:

·    Treasures Gallery open 5 – 6.15pm

·    Screening 6.30 – 7.30pm

·    Q&A 7.30 – 8pm latest


New Indies & Special Events

at Leeds University Union

Throughout 2020 – from a brand new screening room located within Leeds University Union – we’re continuing to bring you some of the very best new independent films from around the world.   Read more

Showing at

Leeds University Union

Venue details


2 Lifton Place, Leeds LS2 9JZ, UK
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Access info

The Union building has step-free access via a ramped entrance at the front of the building. A lift is available from the main foyer to the Pyramid Theatre Screening room, where there are two dedicated wheelchair spaces. These can be booked in advance online, or by calling the box office on 0113 275 2045.

Refreshment info

Leeds University Union has a number of bars, including one immediately next to the Pyramid Theatre. Available from this bar will be a range of hot, cold & alcoholic drinks, as well as snacks including ice creams, popcorn, cakes & pick-n-mix.

Parking info

Customer parking within the University of Leeds campus is possible between 17:00-07:00 on Mondays – Fridays, and all day on weekends & bank holidays. Parking options include the University of Leeds multi-story car-park and a number of disabled spaces close to the Union. Access is possible via the north-eastern entrance next to the Parkinson Building & the south-eastern entrance next to Leeds General Infirmary. For more details visit the University of Leeds website.


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Mon 15th June