Tuesday, August 7, 2012

YBA...not so Y

The late 1980's saw the birth of the Young British Artists movement which fired up the art scene in Britain and spread globally. A quarter of a century later, it is time to reread the book from Julian Stallabrass written in 1999: "High art lite. The rise and fall of young British art".

In ten chapters, approximately 300 pages, the author describes the cultural, economic, political landscape that allowed the thriving of artists described as preoccupied by money and a cult of personality. The book presents a negative critic of their works, intellectually flawed but accessible to the masses. The world of the collectors is represented by Saatchi whose name is closely associated to the rise of  the YBAs, manipulating prices, making and undoing artists .... In the process, the author goes in great depth to describe the history of the movement also called: "The New Neurotic Realists". The list of artists is long, some are now very famous, others forgotten. 
Whatever happened, a generation of artists put Britain on the world map and names like Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin keep making the headlines.

A must read book, sometimes lengthy, controversial because of its negativity. 

photographs Flickr
"My Bed" Tracey Emin
"Fluoroidobenzene" Damien Hirst

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