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Young British Artists and the world - Essay Example

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Most art forms seem to go through phases and cycles of inspiration. Sometimes, it seems that the well of inspiration is particularly dry; during other times, like the wave of rising popularity for young British artists, particularly during the early and mid 1990's…
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Young British Artists and the world
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Download file to see previous pages Most art forms seem to go through phases and cycles of inspiration. Sometimes, it seems that the well of inspiration is particularly dry; during other times, like the wave of rising popularity for young British artists, particularly during the early and mid 1990's Not only has contemporary British art become more popular here at home, but also abroad. This has implications not only for the artists themselves, but also for the scope of mainstream contemporary art as a whole. Additionally, the whole of British culture is affected by this latest wave of young inspiration, as well as the world's view of Great Britain and British culture.In the late 1980's, British art entered a new exciting chapter-a new wave of inspiration was borne of apathy and confusion, and the hearts and minds of a new generation and breed of artists-those who would soon become known as the YBA's, or Young British Artists.The generation known as Young British Artists (YBAs) were born between the mid-1960s and 1970s, and emerged from the art schools in the late 1980s. In these educational establishments major changes were taking place. They registered a reaction to the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who claimed that there was 'no such thing as society'. It was in this context that both teachers and students came together to consider contemporary life and culture head-on, (Nelson 2000)
The beginning of this movement is most often attributed to a 1988 exhibit in London, entitled Freeze, and organized by Damien Hirst, while he was still an art student at Goldsmiths College. He would go on to become the most widely celebrated of the YBA's, but was accompanied by such artists as Tracey Emin, Cornelia Parker, Christine Borland, and Sarah Lucas, to name a few, (Tate Online Glossary)
The notion of the young celebrity artist seems to be a fairly new one, with an uncanny cult-like following. The work of artists such as Tracey Emin, Damian Hirst, the Chapman brothers, and Grayson Perry had all but taken on a life of it's own in the 1990's. It can be argued that the art was essentially representative of the culture at the time, emerging simultaneously with the 'grunge' movement in music and lifestyle.
Certainly it is no coincidence that the YBA movement seemed to begin at the same time that the grunge rock band Nirvana appeared on the global scene, emerging from Seattle in the United States, and making a trend of stoner nonchalance, torn jeans and flannel shirts, the epitome of 'cool'. It is not that the global grunge movement was a direct result of the artistic YBA movement in London, nor vice versa. Rather, the world seem filled at the time with a feeling of apathy for life; there were no major wars to be fought, and nothing to be won, just an ubiquitous haze of melancholy that seemed to infiltrate everything in its path. These angry youth burst onto the cultural landscape all over, forming a sort of cultural revolution, and then "screaming how fucked-up it and everything around it was," (Bracewell 2002). To be certain, "the label YBA turned out to be a powerful brand and marketing tool, but of course it concealed huge diversity. Nevertheless certain broad trends both formal and thematic can be discerned. Formally, the era is marked by a complete openness towards the materials and processes with which art can be made and the form that it can take," (Tate Online Glossary). In theory and in practice, the YBA was essentially raging aganst life in general. The YBA movement, like the grunge rock movement in the United States, began as a socialist, anti-corporate, anti-establishment movement, rallying against invisible oppression, and finding common ground in the assertion and expression of the artist's idea of self. For them, depression, alcoholism, and poverty were a reality to be shared with the world at large. Tracey Emin, who is described as "one of the most prominent members of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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