Britart and the Young British Artists’ Movement

Blair’s Britain Class 2 

In this class, we discussed one aspect of the cultural renaissance that took place in Britain during the 1990s: Britart, or the Young British Artists’ Movement.

We discussed the origins of the movement in London in the late 1980s, and the importance of Damien Hirst’s 1988 Freeze Exhibition.

We also discussed the importance of the controversial Turner Prize, and of the collector and advertising moghul, Charles Saatchi.

The YBAs reached their peak in the 1997 exhibition, Sensation, which was greeted by many commentators, particularly by the tabloid press, with disgust and derision.

The characteristics of YBA art are that it rejects tradition and convention, it aims to be accessible to all, and it aims to have an emotional impact by shocking the audience.

We ended the class by asking a question that Britain was asking throughout the 1990s: is it even art at all?

I’m afraid that the presentation for this class is too large to upload to the blog. You can find more information on the YBAs from the sites below.

See if you can understand these cartoons, which are critical of Britart. You will need to understand some idiomatic phrases. Post a comment if you have any questions.

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