The British Invasion: A Broad Range of "Gentler" Contemporary British Art Is Finding an Audience on U.S. Shores. (Britart)

By Meyers, Laura | Art Business News, March 2003 | Go to article overview

The British Invasion: A Broad Range of "Gentler" Contemporary British Art Is Finding an Audience on U.S. Shores. (Britart)


Meyers, Laura, Art Business News


A small band of British artists, notably David Hockney and Lucien Freud, have always enjoyed international reputations. Then came the attention-getting shock art of the U.K's "yBa" generation during the 1990s, which has yielded a surprising dividend: collectors on both sides of the Atlantic are looking at a much broader range of contemporary British art--in both originals and limited editions.

London was the darling of the international art cognoscenti in the 1990s when the New York market declined and a loosely-aligned group of artists, including Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, the Chapman Brothers, Rachel Whiteread and Tracey Emin, known collectively as yBa--Young British Artists--stole the crown of media attention away from the Big Apple.

They and their patrons reinvented the art of promotion and hype in part by attacking good taste and the stuffy elitism of the art world. First exhibiting together in the late 1980s in the "Freeze" show and much more infamously in "Sensation," with its sometimes vulgar imagery and unusual mediums like elephant dung and maggots, the yBa artists soon became famous for being famous.

The annual Turner Prize for contemporary art was remade in their image into a national television event. Pop queen Madonna presided over the 2001 awards ceremony where an artist whose work involved turning on and off a light switch won the coveted prize. In other headline-grabbing moments, Hirst exhibited pickled sheep, and Lucas made a wax cast of her middle finger "flipping the bird." London advertising tycoon Charles Saatchi bought Emin's unmade bed for 150,000 [pounds sterling] ($246,000), as well as hundreds of other yBa pieces. In the U.S., collector Kent Logan loaded up on the stuff, as did Mexico's billionaire art lover Eugenio Lopez and Belfast collector Dr. Ian Rowan.

But turn the clock forward to 2003. A London Guardian newspaper headline heralds "the Gentle Art of Painting." Another publication noted, "YBA is officially history."

"British art has matured. It's no longer so angry," observed Gerard Goodrow, director of Post-War Contemporary Art at Christie's London. "The '90s were a real British time in the art world--probably for the first time ever. There had never before been a scene like there was with the yBa's. The `Cool Britannia' thing extended beyond art to fashion, music and film. Now, it's more about the art than the provocation. The hype is gone."

Better still, he said, "There is a great deal of interest [in contemporary British art] in America now. A young scene can help enliven an older scene, and in the past couple of years the interest has proven to be really international."

Contemporary Britart Heats Up

A spate of highly-anticipated museum exhibitions and gallery shows are focusing attention to other currents in contemporary Britart, as it's called. At the same time, a number of London-based art businesses--galleries and publishers--are dramatically increasing their U.S. marketing efforts by exhibiting at fairs, joining associations and opening U.S. outlets.

A major retrospective of celebrated "School of London" figurative painter Lucien Freud opened in February at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. London's Flowers Gallery celebrated the 5th anniversary of its Los Angeles gallery, Flowers West, in February with a comprehensive show of its British artists, including figurative painters John Kirby and Tai-Shan Schierenberg, abstractionist Carol Robertson and 3-D artist Patrick Hughes. In New York, Gagosian Gallery recently showcased Michael Craig-Martin, a key figure in the first (1960s) generation of British conceptual artists whose own career has surged in the rising tide of his yBa students, whom he taught at Londons Goldsmith College. And in June, Tate Britain mounts an encyclopedic retrospective of Op Artist Bridget Riley, a veteran Britain abstractionist who first came to renown in the 1960s. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The British Invasion: A Broad Range of "Gentler" Contemporary British Art Is Finding an Audience on U.S. Shores. (Britart)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.