Anna McNay

Review of Jean Cooke: Ungardening at Garden Museum, London


Jean Cooke: Ungardening

Garden Museum, London

21 June – 10 September 2023

Hands up if you have heard of John Bratby (1928-92). Now keep them up if you have heard of Jean Cooke (1927-2008). Ashamedly, a few months ago, mine would have been going back down. It is the same old story: male artist and female artist get married; male artist continues with his career, while making his wife stay indoors, keep house and bear and raise children. Only, in this case, there is also the horrific covering up of domestic abuse – or, rather, not so much the covering up, since Cooke spoke openly about it throughout, exhibited self-portraits (yes, plural) with a black eye, and ran away multiple times, but her friends and the wider public, in a way that seems impossible (or, at least, I sincerely hope so) today, ignored her (quite literal) cries for help.



Read the full review here