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Lucky Kunst: The Rise and Fall of Young British Art
Synopses & Reviews
The first inside account of the rise of Britain’s most notorious modern art movement is a hilarious, picaresque chronicle of dissoluteness, drunkenness, and epically bad behavior
Today artists such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and the Chapman brothers are not only big business but also, quite simply, celebrities. But they rose from obscurity back in the 1980s and 1990s in a then-semi-derelict part of east London by visiting upon the art world a set of artworks as outlandish and attention-seeking—not to mention scatological—as their general behavior. This is the first account of how the YBAs (Young British Artists) came about, by the group’s only "embedded journalist"—an outrageously comic tale of White Cube gallery openings, fights in pubs, vomiting into fountains and, eventually, the breakthrough 1997 exhibition Sensation which later toured to New York and was criticized by Guiliani. Throughout, Gregor Muir was there.
These days artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin are major celebrities. But Gregor Muir knew them at the start; his unique memoir chronicles the birth of Young British Art. Muir, YBAs ‘embedded journalist, happened to be in Shoreditch and Hoxton before Jay Jopling arrived with his White Cube Gallery, when this was still a semi-derelict landscape of grotty pubs and squats. There he witnessed, amid a whirl of drunkenness, scrapes and riotous hedonism, the coming-together of a remarkable array of young artists - Hirst, the Chapman brothers, Rachel Whiteread, Sam Taylor-Wood, Angus Fairhurst - who went on to produce a fresh, irreverent, often notorious form of art - Hirsts shark, Sarah Lucass two fried eggs and a kebab. By the time of the seminal Sensation show at the Royal Academy YBA had changed the art world for ever.
About the Author
Gregor Muir is the former curator of contemporary art at the Tate Modern and director of Hauser & Wirth in London, one of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries.
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