young british artists

My Bed is a work by the British artist Tracey Emin. It was exhibited at the Tate Gallery in 1999 as one of the shortlisted works for the Turner Prize. It consisted of her bed with bedroom objects in an abject state, and gained much media attention. Although it did not win the prize, its notoriety has persisted.

The artwork generated considerable media furore, particularly over the fact that the bedsheets were stained with body secretions and the floor had items from the artist's room (such as condoms, a pair of knickers with menstrual period stains, other detritus, and functional, everyday objects, including a pair of slippers). The bed was presented as it had been when Emin had not got up from it for several days due to suicidal depression brought on by relationship difficulties.

Two performance artists, Yuan Chai and Jian Jun Xi, jumped on the bed with bare torsos in order to "improve" the work, which they thought had not gone far enough. They called their performance Two Naked Men Jump Into Tracey's Bed. The men also had a pillow fight on the bed for around fifteen minutes, to applause from the crowd, before being removed by security guards. The artists were detained but no further action was taken. Prior to its Tate Gallery showing, the work had appeared elsewhere, including Japan, where there were variant surroundings, including at one stage a "hangman's noose" hanging over the bed. This was not present when it was displayed at the Tate.

My Bed was bought by Charles Saatchi for £150,000 and displayed as part of the first exhibition when the Saatchi Gallery opened its new premises at County Hall, London (which it has now vacated). Saatchi also installed the bed in a dedicated room in his own home.

Craig Brown wrote a satirical piece about My Bed for Private Eye entitled My Turd. Emin's former boyfriend, former Stuckist artist Billy Childish, stated that he also had an old bed of hers in the shed which he would make available for £20,000. (Wikipedia)  

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living is an artwork created in 1992 by Damien Hirst, an English artist and a leading member of the "Young British Artists" (or YBA). It consists of a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde in a vitrine. It was originally commissioned in 1991 by Charles Saatchi, who sold it in 2004, to Steven A. Cohen for an undisclosed amount, widely reported to have been $8 million dollars, however the title of Don Thompson's book, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art, suggests a higher figure.

Due to deterioration of the original 14-foot (4.3 m) tiger shark, it was replaced with a new specimen in 2006. It is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City until 2010.

It is considered the iconic work of British art in the 1990s,and has become a symbol of Britart worldwide. (Wikipedia)

Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995 (1995), also known as "The Tent", was an artwork created by Tracey Emin RA (born 3 July 1963), an English artist of Turkish Cypriot origin and a leading member of the group known as Britartists or YBAs (Young British Artists). The work was a tent with the appliquéd names of, literally, everyone she had ever slept with, but not necessarily in the sexual sense. It achieved iconic status,was owned by Charles Saatchi, and was destroyed in the 2004 Momart London warehouse fire. She has refused to recreate it. (Wikipedia)

In Britain, the rise to prominence of the Young British Artists (YBAs) after the 1988 Freeze show, curated by Damien Hirst, and subsequent promotion of the group by the Saatchi Gallery during the 1990s, generated a media backlash, where the phrase "conceptual art" came to be a term of derision applied to much contemporary art. This was amplified by the Turner Prize whose more extreme nominees (most notably Hirst and Emin) caused a controversy annually.

The Stuckist group of artists, founded in 1999, proclaimed themselves "pro-contemporary figurative painting with ideas and anti-conceptual art, mainly because of its lack of concepts." They also called it pretentious, "unremarkable and boring" and on July 25, 2002 deposited a coffin outside the White Cube gallery, marked "The Death of Conceptual Art". They staged yearly demonstrations outside the Turner Prize.

In 2002, Ivan Massow, the Chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts branded conceptual art "pretentious, self-indulgent, craftless tat" and in "danger of disappearing up its own arse ... led by cultural tsars such as the Tate's Sir Nicholas Serota." Massow was consequently forced to resign. At the end of the year, the Culture Minister, Kim Howells (an art school graduate) denounced the Turner Prize as "cold, mechanical, conceptual bullshit".

In October 2004 the Saatchi Gallery told the media that "painting continues to be the most relevant and vital way that artists choose to communicate. (Wikipedia)

The Last Thing I Said to You was Don't Leave Me Here II 

2000, Tracey Emin

Ink-jet print on paper
image: 805 x 1095 mm
Presented anonymously 2002

This photograph is one of two naked self-portraits taken in a beach hut near Margate that Emin bought in 1992. She used the hut as a weekend retreat and enjoyed owning property for the first time: ‘I was completely broke and it was brilliant, having your own property by the sea’.

The photograph is reminiscent of the work of the Austrian painter Egon Schiele, whom Emin much admires; her pose recalls the vulnerable, dejected figure of a punished child.
(From the display caption October 2004, Tate)

Young British Artists or YBAs (also referred to as Brit artists and Britart) is the name given to a loose group of visual artists who first began to exhibit together in London in 1988. Many of the artists graduated from the BA Fine Art course at Goldsmiths in the late 1980s (Wikipedia).

see also Young British Artists - Tate Glossary

At stake is art becoming an apparatus. It is art becoming a 'thing': the thing-ification of representation. With the fracture of the symbolic, artworks function as communication. Art no longer works as hegemony. We are instead in a post-hegemonic age. Art in an age when it is things themselves that do the mediating, has more than ever to do with power. But this power no longer has anything at all to do with hegemony. The power lies in communication itself.

Posthegemony turns from the Gramscian dichotomy between coercion and consent, to look instead at the subterranean influences of affect, habit, and the multitude that underlie all so-called hegemonic projects.

Jon Beasley-Murray,"posthegemony"

some conceptual background

Baxandall, Painting and experience in fifteenth century Italy

cultural hegemony

Intellectuals and Hegemony, Gramsci

Gramsci, Hegemony, and the Law

Antonio Gramsci by the Catholic News Agency


"Power after Hegemony: Cultural Studies in Mutation?"  Scott Lash

"Post-Hegemony? - I Don't Think So," Richard Johnson

Heidegger, "The Origin of the Work of Art"

Clement Greenberg

Clement Greenberg's art criticism

Michael Fried

Rosalind Krause 

"Sculpture in the Expanded Field," Rosalind Krauss

" Informe without Conclusion," Rosalind Krause

from“Cindy Sherman: Untitled," Rosalind Krause

Institutional Critique


Conceptual art

Performance art


The Stuckists Manifesto

Roberta Smith, How Art Is Framed: Exhibition Floor Plans as a Conceptual Medium

James Rondeau, Thinking Space

            Bullet Hole, Matt Collisah 1988

see also 

Young British Artists Google Images search

Julia Kristva, from “Approaching Abjection”

Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" 

Damien Hirst’s Medicine Cabinets

Damien Hirst and YBAs Flickr group pool

Freeze, YBA exhibition

East Country Yard Show - YBA

Sensation, YBA exhibition

Letter from London: Sensation, contemporaneous review of the exhibition

A critique of the "Britpack" by Liz Ellis

Flashing Emin,Critical Analysis of “Spectacular” Contemporary Arts by Kubilay Akman

The British Avant-Garde: A Philosophical Analysis, Deborah Fitzgerald

Goldsmith's Department of Art

Satchi Online

White Cube Gallery

New sensation: The next generation of Young British Artists

Whitney Biennial Interactive Web Site

Whitney Biennial Theories

Let them eat manga: How Takashi Murakami introduced  Japanese kitsch to the Palace of Versailles

Social Media & the Power of Images

The Auction

Curating Curation

Skin Fruit, curated by Jeff Koons

New Museum's exhibition "Free"

“Dispersion,” Seth Price 

Scion Space

Chris Burden's 'Metropolis II' is the Most Epic Hot Wheels Toy Car Track Ever

Great Art: Top 50 posters

The most wanted paintings on the web