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Young British Art
by Dick Price
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0810963892, Hardcover)A new era of British art began in 1988 when a group of anxious and ambitious Goldsmiths College students organized an independent exhibition of their work in an abandoned factory building in London. The show caught the attention of advertising magnate Charles Saatchi, who purchased a piece by its organizer, the now-renowned artist Damien Hirst. After that, Saatchi scoured artist-run alternative spaces and student degree exhibitions at British art schools, buying contemporary art in huge amounts and then curating it into hotly debated shows at his London gallery. When he exhibited his collection under the title "Sensation" at the Royal Academy, a record-breaking quarter of a million people attended. The show contained all the makings of an art-world melodrama, including Academy resignations, hostile critics, picketing protesters, a vandal, and security guards. Young British Art: The Saatchi Decade explains what all the fuss was about by presenting a comprehensive and visually arresting survey of this internationally notorious collection, which includes paintings, sculpture, photography, video, and installation art. It is the biggest individual collection of art in Britain today and perhaps the most coherent record of artistic activity in London during the 1990s.
Young British Art includes quotes from interviews with Hirst, Rachel Whiteread, Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, and others who offer firsthand accounts, both positive and negative, of their experiences with Saatchi and the media, as well as fascinating testimonials about their newfound art-world celebrity and how it affects their work. It is lavishly illustrated with 600 full-color reproductions, including many of Hirst's animals in formaldehyde-filled vitrines, Whiteread's casts of empty spaces, Lucas's offbeat arrangements of everyday objects, and Humes's painted abstractions. Designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, this bright, bold hardcover is as frenetic as a long, crazed e-mail, with headings, borders, patterns, and picture graphics made from elaborate configurations of ASCII text or simple keyboard letters and punctuation marks. The images are arranged around a timeline that traces the social and political events of the '90s, and are accompanied by brief artist biographies as well as examples of press clippings from the media frenzy that descended upon the legendary "Britpack." Also included are essays by Richard Cork, senior art critic for the London Times; Sarah Kent, visual arts editor for London's Time Out magazine; and Dick Price, who writes, "The art of the past ten years included in this collection has made an indelible stamp on a generation of artists who will be making art into the next millennium." --A.C. Smith
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:48 -0400)
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