Postmodernism in Art:<br /> An Introduction<br />Artist as celebrity: <br />Brit art and self branding<br />
New Labour put the ‘Creative Industries’ at the heart of its vision for the future of Britain.<br />
“Jonnie ShandKyddd, a relative of Princess Diana, has produced a book of photographs of artists idling on the scene, drink...
‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’, Damien Hirst (1991)<br />
Stallabrass states that there is certainly no common programme to this art: there are no manifestos, no group statements, ...
 The artists have a new and distinctive relation to the mass media and frequently use materials drawn from mass culture
They present conceptual work in a visually accessible and spectacular form</li></li></ul><li>“...a great piece of art can ...
Tracy Emin, ‘My Bed’ (1998)<br />
Damien Hirst’s steel and glass vitrines had the rational structure and polished finish of minimal art but inside was dead ...
“Art’s about life and the art world’s about money, and money and celebrity are just tiny aspects of life. So if you keep y...
Damien Hirst<br />In and Out of Love (1991)<br />This work was symptomatic of various recent developments on the British a...
Stallabrass has argued that Hirst’s work now functions like a logo for the artist’s personality and that he is able to mar...
Gavin Turk<br />Relic (Cave)<br />The original blue plaque from 'Cave' installation encased in a Beuysianvitrine. In the s...
A waxwork portrait of Gavin Turk as Sid Vicious singing Sinatra’s My Way in The Rock n’Roll Swindle, in the pose of Elvis ...
Turk highlights the Duchampian idea that questions the connections between artists and the work:<br />“In the beginning I ...
‘Sensation’ exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Art in 1997 was a public airing of the private collector Charles Saatc...
Marcus Harvey, ‘Myra’ (1995)<br />Marc Quinn, ‘Self’ (1991)<br />Populist, careerist? Does this mean that there was a comp...
Hirst’s says of celebrity status:<br /> <br />“You’ve got to become a celebrity before you can undermine it, take it apart...
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Postmodernism an introduction: Artists as celebrity:Brit art and self branding

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  • yBas were packaged alongside the Britpop wave in music.
  • “Jonnie ShandKyddd, a relative of Princess Diana, has produced a book of photographs of artists idling on the scene, drinking and falling about…The very fact that this book of banal and poorly taken photographs was published, and by a major publisher at that, is a register of the extent to which the artists themselves have become a focus for curiosity as personalities, as stars.”
  • Damien Hirst was one of the art stars to emerge from the fine art course at Goldsmiths College in South London, which he attended between 1986 and 1989. Conceptual art was a pervasive influence and so it was the artist’s ideas that counted most: any medium could be used and the task of making the art works was a secondary matter that could be delegated to assistants once finances permitted. It was due to tutors such as Richard Wentworth, Jon Thompson and Michael Craig-Martin that students came to regard themselves as professional artists and to focus on cracking the commercial gallery system. To promote himself and his friends, Hirst organised a now legendary student show called Freeze (1988)In 1988, at a time when public funding for art was not readily available (and had been reduced by the Thatcher government), a group of 16 artists, were invited by Hirst to take part in the exhibition. Most of the commercial galleries in London showed a lack of interest in Hirst&apos;s project at the time, which led to the show being held in a Docklands warehouse. The event resonated with the &apos;Acid House&apos; warehouse rave scene prevalent at the time, and drew significant publicity by the connection. It also gave rise to a huge interest on the part of many artists in being curators. Suddenly it seemed Hirst had single handedly created a new career-path and possibility for unknown artists to put a cool-sounding new job-title on their resumés and CVs. Artist-run exhibition spaces and galleries sprang up in the mid 1990&apos;s in London based on this idea.
  • The label yBa turned out to be a powerful brand and marketing tool, but of course it concealed huge diversity. The art writerJulian Stallabrass prefers the more sarcastic and disparaging label “High Art Lite” to the acronymyBAIn his book Stallabrass critiques the lack of complexity in the work of the young British artists.Stallabrass states that there is certainly no common programme to this art: there are no manifestos, no group statements, and no shared style. Yet there are distinguishing characteristics that he identifies as: An overtly contemporary flavour to the art, despite it’s ‘Britishness’ is not provincial and thus appeals to an international market The artists have a new and distinctive relation to the mass media and frequently use materials drawn from mass cultureThey present conceptual work in a visually accessible and spectacular form
  • To Take Stallabrass’s point that” An overtly contemporary flavour to the art, despite it’s ‘Britishness’ is not provincial and thus appeals to an international market Validated by Jay Jopling:“...a great piece of art can transcend various ephemeral, cultural situations. To give you a clearer idea... I’m not at all interested in issue-based art ... I’m interested in art which has a certain degree of universality and is able to transcend certain cultural and generational differences.”
  • Stallabrass“To court a wider audience, high art lite took on an accessible veneer, building in references and forms that people without specialist knowledge would understand – and even sometimes , in its use if mass culture, incorporating material that those with specialist knowledge would generally not understand…” (p9)The opening of The Tate Modern,London in May 2000, further fueled the spread of enthusiasm for the work of the yBa artists.One particular artists involved in both the &apos;Freeze&apos; and &apos;Sensation&apos; exhibitions was Tracey Emin. Her later work entitled &apos;My Bed&apos; caused a great deal of shock, when shortlisted for the 1999 Turner prize. Charles Saatchi later bought this piece for £150,000.In 1999 Emin was shortlisted for the prestigious Turner Prize, causing a raging controversy in the art world over her piece entitled, &quot;My Bed.&quot; Critics were scathing in their censure of the piece, but it did have its supporter as well. &quot;My Bed&quot; (Figure 4) was a double bed, ostensibly Emin&apos;s actual bed in which she had lain for four days while contemplating suicide. The bed had no frame and was instead a mattress laid atop a box made of wood. The soiled sheets are ripped halfway off, exposing the striped ticking of the mattress beneath. A small bedside table rests on a blue, soiled rug next to the bed. On the table is an ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts as well as photographs, over- the- counter medications and condoms. The rug is also strewn with other artifacts from Emin&apos;s life, including her dirty, bloodied underwear, Polaroid photographs, stuffed animals, a tube of KY Jelly, empty cigarette cartons, crumpled papers, used condoms and empty vodka bottles. The final touch is a rope noose hanging above the bed, a silent testament to Emin&apos;s pain and narcissistic exhibitionism. It is not only Emin&apos;s artwork that evokes pop culture and the world of celebrity. For Tracey Emin has not been content to remain within the sphere of the art world, but has become a demi-celebrity herself.
  • What really made Damien Hirst famous far beyond the art world were shock-horror sculptural installations using dead animals— cows, lambs, fish and sharks—presented whole or sliced into parts, preserved in formaldehyde in large vitrines. (The animals were &quot;presented&quot;, not &quot;re-presented&quot;; hence, no modelling skills were required. Hirst’s aim was to introduce reality into art directly, not to depict it.) As Hirst pointed out, humans have often killed animals in order to look at them (but was this any reason to continue the practice?). These works resembled exhibits found in natural history museums and were easy to understand and so became popular but they also attracted vandals, cartoonists, and parodic advertisements and angry protests by animal rights activists. Damien Hirst’s steel and glass vitrines had the rational structure and polished finish of minimal art but inside was dead flesh. The vitrines that protected viewers from the smells of corpses and chemicals were paradoxical because they enabled viewers to see inside but not to enter, smell or touch. Gordon Burn discerned a connection with celebrity:  “Celebrity is about control and distance; it is about adding space to the space that inevitably exists between human beings and remaining apart from the flock. It is about degrees of separation and personal insulation and choosing, as Jeff Koons apparently did, to place the flesh cell of your person inside a second, more unbreachable container tank.”
  • Saatchi was Hirst’s main patron and ensured that his favourite received plenty of press coverage. Hirst also had a flair for self-promotion and marketing. Like his patron, he was an entrepreneur who curated mixed exhibitions with absurd titles and undertook a variety of business ventures.
  • When giving interviews Damien Hirst tends to make contradictory statements and admits his opinions may be different the next day so any quotes must be read with caution. About art, fame and celebrity, Hirst has remarked:“Art’s about life and the art world’s about money, and money and celebrity are just tiny aspects of life. So if you keep your perspective on that, it’s fine. I think art should be able to deal with celebrity. I don’t think you should ever let celebrity become more important than art but I think it’s a part of it. I think a desire to be famous is a desire to live forever which is very fundamental to art.”
  • In and Out of Love (1991) In this work canvases were hung with chrysalises in a closed room; the butterflies, hatched, fed off sugared water, flew, bred and died – some inadvertedly by art lovers. In a separate room, their bodies were painted into the bright colours of other canvases.  The work was symptomatic of various recent developments on the British art scene. Non-art objects, or beings, brought into contact with traditional fine-art materials and modes of display, such as the gallery and private views.
  • like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst was willing to endorse products, such as Absolut Vodka, and to make advertisements for billboards and television, to direct pop music videos (Country House for Blur) and to design record cover albumsStallabrass has argued that Hirst’s work now functions like a logo for the artist’s personality and that he is able to market his work successfully because of his celebrity status.Hirst: work and identity are not strictly seperable, he is the pioneer of this approach and its most prominent exponent.(This is different from the celebrity artists enjoyed by British artists in the past, there have of course been previous isolated examples in Britain and the USA) Hirst: unusually for a contemporary artist receives a great deal of mass media attention and not for the usual reason that contemporary art gathered column inches in the past, that public money has been wasted on it. He is as much known for his lifestyle as for his art and he takes care to ensure they are thoroughly entangled.
  • In the summer of 1991 for his graduation show from the Royal College of Art, the artist exhibited a blue Heritage plaque in an otherwise empty studio which commemorated his own presence as a sculptor. The title Cave refers to an allegorical picture of Plato, which describes a model of perception. A group of prisoners have been chained in a cave since childhood with no experience of reality other than the flickering shadows cast by the people and things moving along a path in front of a fire situated behind them. In the plaque, the artist was represented by a retrospective view of his life.
  • A waxwork portrait of Gavin Turk as Sid Vicious singing Sinatra’s My Way in The Rock n’Roll Swindle, in the pose of Elvis playing the part of a cowboy in a movie as a silk screen by Andy Warhol…
  • Turk highlights the Duchampian idea that questions the connections between artists and the work:“In the beginning I tried to create an artists who had the same name as me. I was interested in the cliché of art, the myth of the artist, stereotyping, all art as types of signature. And at first there was a quite clear and comfortable degree of separation. The artist Gavin Turk had a studio and made art under a certain kind of licence. Now it has become much more problematic to sustain a separation between myself and the artist Gavin Turk.”
  • ‘Sensation’ exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Art in 1997 was a public airing of the private collector Charles Saatchi, the only major collector of contemporary art in Britain during this period whose dealings affected the entire art market.
  • Populist, careerist? Does this mean that there was a complicit and wilful avoidance of difficult, theoretical or ideological work?Self promotionThe yBas are credited with the revival of the knowing ‘shock’ tactic.MARCUS HARVEY and his painting of Myra Hindley, a serial killer whose victims were young children. “Myra” is made from the hand prints of a child whose age matched those of Hindley&apos;s victims. The juxtaposition of opposites- of life and death, innocence and corruption- creates unbearable poignancy. This work provoked such outrage when it was shown in “ Sensation” in 1997 that it was splattered with eggs and ink. Harvey is not glorifying the monster but asking how a set of features becomes an icon of evil.MARC QUINNGained instant notoriety with a self-portrait: “Self” (1991) . It consists of nine pints of blood (that is the amount contained in a human body) taken from his veins over a period of five months, poured into a cast of his features and frozen solid. Instead of conferring immortality like a portrait n stone or marble would, “Self” is fundamentally unstable. “Dependent on a life-support system it emphasizes the fragility and transience of life. Unplug the refrigerator unit and the sculpture would disappear.yBa, a media confection, elaborately crafted? Did it lack coherence other than the drive to ride the wave of attention? It seems to have its roots in art education and in responses to the recession, which from the 1990s put the art market into prolonged hibernation.A product of 90s recession; commercial galleries scaled down, relocated or closed; career and financial expectations of artists changed; empty premises, warehouses.
  • Hirst’s says of celebrity status: “You’ve got to become a celebrity before you can undermine it, take it apart, show people that there’s no difference between celebrities and real life. Celebrity is a fucking lie. It’s like; I’ll do a magic trick, and I want it to be amazing. But if anyone asks me how to do it, I’ll show them exactly how to do it. I want you to be amazed twice. Once you’re amazed because it seems impossible, and then, you’re amazed because it’s fucking easy. That’s what it’s like.”Damien Hirst quoted by Gordon Burn. (6 Sept 1997) The height of morbid manner. Guardian (Weekend), pp14-21
  • Blimey! flaunts a breezy, irreverent style that can be, by turns, just like the art: absorbing, accessible, and outrageous--or utterly, embarrassingly banal. Collings invented the perfect voice to complement YBA: He makes an impact without (crucially) ever appearing to try too hard
  • Postmodernism an introduction: Artists as celebrity:Brit art and self branding

    1. 1. Postmodernism in Art:<br /> An Introduction<br />Artist as celebrity: <br />Brit art and self branding<br />
    2. 2. New Labour put the ‘Creative Industries’ at the heart of its vision for the future of Britain.<br />
    3. 3. “Jonnie ShandKyddd, a relative of Princess Diana, has produced a book of photographs of artists idling on the scene, drinking and falling about…The very fact that this book of banal and poorly taken photographs was published, and by a major publisher at that, is a register of the extent to which the artists themselves have become a focus for curiosity as personalities, as stars.”<br />Julian Stallabrass, High Art Lite<br />
    4. 4. ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’, Damien Hirst (1991)<br />
    5. 5. Stallabrass states that there is certainly no common programme to this art: there are no manifestos, no group statements, and no shared style. Yet there are distinguishing characteristics that he identifies as:<br /> <br /><ul><li> An overtly contemporary flavour to the art, despite it’s ‘Britishness’ is not provincial and thus appeals to an international market
    6. 6. The artists have a new and distinctive relation to the mass media and frequently use materials drawn from mass culture
    7. 7. They present conceptual work in a visually accessible and spectacular form</li></li></ul><li>“...a great piece of art can transcend various ephemeral, cultural situations. To give you a clearer idea... I’m not at all interested in issue-based art ... I’m interested in art which has a certain degree of universality and is able to transcend certain cultural and generational differences.”<br />Jay Jopling<br />
    8. 8. Tracy Emin, ‘My Bed’ (1998)<br />
    9. 9. Damien Hirst’s steel and glass vitrines had the rational structure and polished finish of minimal art but inside was dead flesh. The vitrines that protected viewers from the smells of corpses and chemicals were paradoxical because they enabled viewers to see inside but not to enter, smell or touch. Gordon Burn discerned a connection with celebrity:<br />“Celebrity is about control and distance; it is about adding space to the space that inevitably exists between human beings and remaining apart from the flock. It is about degrees of separation and personal insulation and choosing, as Jeff Koons apparently did, to place the flesh cell of your person inside a second, more unbreachable container tank.” <br />Gordon Burn. (31 August 1996). Hirst world. Guardian (Weekend), pp. 10-14<br />
    10. 10.
    11. 11. “Art’s about life and the art world’s about money, and money and celebrity are just tiny aspects of life. So if you keep your perspective on that, it’s fine. I think art should be able to deal with celebrity. I don’t think you should ever let celebrity become more important than art but I think it’s a part of it. I think a desire to be famous is a desire to live forever which is very fundamental to art.” <br />Steve Beard. (1-7 September 1977). Nobody’s fool [interview with Damien Hirst]. Big Issue, pp. 12-4. <br />
    12. 12. Damien Hirst<br />In and Out of Love (1991)<br />This work was symptomatic of various recent developments on the British art scene. Non-art objects, or beings, brought into contact with traditional fine-art materials and modes of display.<br />
    13. 13. Stallabrass has argued that Hirst’s work now functions like a logo for the artist’s personality and that he is able to market his work successfully because of his celebrity status.<br />
    14. 14. Gavin Turk<br />Relic (Cave)<br />The original blue plaque from 'Cave' installation encased in a Beuysianvitrine. In the summer of 1991 for his graduation show from the Royal College of Art, the artist exhibited a blue Heritage plaque in an otherwise empty studio which commemorated his own presence as a sculptor. <br />The title Cave refers to an allegorical picture of Plato, which describes a model of perception. A group of prisoners have been chained in a cave since childhood with no experience of reality other than the flickering shadows cast by the people and things moving along a path in front of a fire situated behind them. In the plaque, the artist was represented by a retrospective view of his life.<br />
    15. 15. A waxwork portrait of Gavin Turk as Sid Vicious singing Sinatra’s My Way in The Rock n’Roll Swindle, in the pose of Elvis playing the part of a cowboy in a movie as a silk screen by Andy Warhol…<br />Gavin Turk<br />Pop (1993)<br />
    16. 16. Turk highlights the Duchampian idea that questions the connections between artists and the work:<br />“In the beginning I tried to create an artists who had the same name as me. I was interested in the cliché of art, the myth of the artist, stereotyping, all art as types of signature. And at first there was a quite clear and comfortable degree of separation. The artist Gavin Turk had a studio and made art under a certain kind of licence. Now it has become much more problematic to sustain a separation between myself and the artist Gavin Turk.”<br />
    17. 17. ‘Sensation’ exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Art in 1997 was a public airing of the private collector Charles Saatchi, the only major collector of contemporary art in Britain during this period whose dealings affected the entire art market.<br />
    18. 18. Marcus Harvey, ‘Myra’ (1995)<br />Marc Quinn, ‘Self’ (1991)<br />Populist, careerist? Does this mean that there was a complicit and wilful avoidance of difficult, theoretical or ideological work?<br />
    19. 19. Hirst’s says of celebrity status:<br /> <br />“You’ve got to become a celebrity before you can undermine it, take it apart, show people that there’s no difference between celebrities and real life. Celebrity is a fucking lie. It’s like; I’ll do a magic trick, and I want it to be amazing. But if anyone asks me how to do it, I’ll show them exactly how to do it. I want you to be amazed twice. Once you’re amazed because it seems impossible, and then, you’re amazed because it’s fucking easy. That’s what it’s like.”<br />Damien Hirst quoted by Gordon Burn. (6 Sept 1997) The height of morbid manner. Guardian (Weekend), pp14-21<br />
    20. 20. Blimey! flaunts a breezy, irreverent style that can be, by turns, just like the art: absorbing, accessible, and outrageous--or utterly, embarrassingly banal. <br />Collings invented the perfect voice to complement yBa: He makes an impact without (crucially) ever appearing to try too hard. <br />Blimey! From Bohemia to Britpop (1997), Matthew Collings.<br />

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