Young British Artists ~ Art History ~ 168 Slides ~ Damien Hirst et al
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TEXT EXCERPTS (BULLET POINTS):
The YOUNG BRITISH ARTISTS (YBAs) met in London in the late 1980s and were in two top late twentieth century exhibitions: Freeze (1988) and Sensation (1997).
not linked by style. Thus, they are painters, sculptors, installation and video artists, and performers.
entrepreneurial artists who use shock tactics and are known for their wild partying.
some of them have become very wealthy and their media-savvy natures have helped them achieve this.
widely criticized in the media and elsewhere because of a perceived lack of artistic skill.
one of the reasons for this criticism is that they arrived in British art as conceptual art took hold. Conceptual art embraces the idea over excellence of a certain technique.
nevertheless, some of them are highly proficient, such as oil painter Jenny Saville.
their work can best be classified as postmodern.
The timing worked for this group as London in the 1980s lagged far behind New York and West Berlin in its art reputation.
These artists saw that neglected situation as an opportunity and indeed they made London into a major art city.
UK tabloid press coverage helped push YBA careers forward even though the coverage was derogatory of their work.
the key was what was disliked about the art. It was extremely violent. Its sexuality met the pornographic. It exceeded every UK prior limit of decency. (In short, if this couldn’t draw in the public, nothing could.)
Many of them studied together in the BFA program at Goldsmiths College.
structure of Goldsmiths also pushed them forward. It did not segregate artistic training. It used mixed studios so they didn’t concentrate on a single area, like painting (and also why they did not develop high talent in any one area).
postmodern experiments in Europe and America eliminated distinctions between the high and low of culture. The artist could appropriate materials rather than create them.
The artist could also outright reject using fine art materials.
focus on spectacle among the Postmodern artists was extreme.
Thus, the YBAs were tailor made for this era. Most of their technical skill lacks would have been too big a hurdle in almost all other movements. They were very much in the right place at the right time.
lack of coherence in their work was found to be a characteristic of postmodernism, which couldn’t have been a more fortunate occurrence for these artists.
advertising mogul Charles Saatchi was willing to collect (buy) the YBA art plus show their art in his gallery. His advertising contacts generated huge media attention for them too. He was critical to their success. Without him there may not have been a YBA movement.
EXCERPT 2: PROFILE OF JENNY SAVILLE (one of these for each artist in YBA)
JENNY SAVILLE, born 1970, is a British painter associated with the Young British Artists (YBAs), who works and lives in Oxford, England.
She is known for her large-scale paintings of women, usually nude and/or abused.
She is frequently heralded as the painting heir and successor to Lucian Freud.
Got her BFA at Glasgow School of Art and was then awarded a six-month scholarship to the University of Cincinnati in America.
It was in Cincinnati where she received the lifelong inspiration for her work: “I saw lots of big women. Big white flesh in shorts and T-shirts. It was good to see because they had the physicality that I was interested in.”
Her painting techniques include: distorted flesh, high-caliber brush strokes, strong pigmentation and patches of color.
Says she got her artistic sense of physicality from Pablo Picasso, who painted his subjects as if "they were solidly there....not fleeting.”
She is the only YBA to dedicate her career to traditional figurative oil painting.
Charles Saatchi gave her the start to her career by buying her senior show and then signing her to a contract with his gallery.
Saville now also includes persons of "floating or indeterminate gender," as painting subjects. She paints large scale art of transgender people.