The 1980s were an era of change; new politics, big hair, boxy shoulder pads and the best bit …… a new wave of popular culture. A revolutionary and distinctive phase in the British art world was born in a way that shocked the art world and in some circumstances disgusted its traditionalist viewers. This era in the late 1980’s belonged to a group of then art students, many of whom studied at Goldsmiths; the YBA’s (Young British Artists). They were thrust into the contemporary art scene with the 1988 exhibition Freeze, organised by the now notorious Damien Hirst and were popularised by the attention of collectors such as Charles Saachi.

In the years since the emergence of this ground-breaking group of artists, we have seen incredible appreciation of the work, more than ever seen before with living artists. Although there are broad trends in YBA art, there is no one style or approach. 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. Under the tutelage of most notably of Michael Craig Martin, the artists were encouraged to use their experience of life and bring this into their work, the resulting works were to change the British art world forever.

From animals preserved in formaldehyde (Damien Hirst), to the presentation of her own unmade bed (Tracy Emin), or using Elephant dung (Chris Ofili) to defacing original Goya etchings (Chapman brothers) and creating a self-portrait sculpture from his own frozen blood (Marc Quinn), the YBAs never cease to create challenging and poignant works. We are proud to be hosting this exhibition and celebrating the inimitable artists that have steered the course of Art History in a wholly new and exciting direction.


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