Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lucky Kunst

I've been reading Gregor Muir's Lucky Kunst, an account of the YBAs in the 90s. The 'witty', irreverent title says it all really. It's not so much about the art as the fun they all had once the media had turned some young british artists into Young British Artists. Booze, Britpop and very bad behaviour. And of course dead animals in formaldehyde. 
It all seems a long time ago now. 15 years really, if one thinks of 1997's Sensation as the apogee of it all. I remember going to the exhibition at the venerable Royal Academy. It was akin to Throbbing Gristle playing at the Lyceum (which, funnily enough, they did, in 1981; I was there). One moment  it was the staid Summer Exhibition of portraits and landscapes, the next it was whacky, shocking conceptual stuff including heads made with frozen blood, a portrait of Myra Hindley made with children's handprints, and dissected sheep. "Baa-rmy!", as The Sun screamed (or "Blimey!" as the critic Matthew Collings titled his similar-ish book of the era).  

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