Newspeak: British art now

Newspeak: British art now @ Saatchi Gallery – London

6 June 2010

What does the new British art look like? Is there anything beyond Hirst? Or is it everything reduced (again) to a list of ridiculous excesses of materials & experimental techniques?

For the next 8 months, and divided in two parts (Part I until October 17th and Part II until January 6th) you’ll be able to judge the new contemporary UK art scene curated by Charles Saatchi.

As one of the most influential art collectors in the world Mr Saatchi managed to catapult and promote the so-called “Young British Artist” movement which made stars of Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin and Jake and Dinos Chapman and controversial collections like 1997 “Sensations”. If he buys any works by an artist or movement the art world sits up, takes notice and does the same. Should we take notice of the works exhibited in his London gallery then…?

The Bon Viveur by Edward Kay - 2008
The Bon Viveur by Edward Kay – 2008
John Wynne's 300 speaker sculpture, one of the most impressive
John Wynne’s 300 speaker sculpture, one of the most impressive

There has been a lot of anticipation for this show with many hoping it will have the same effect on the current crop of contemporary UK artists including Pablo Bronstein, William Daniels, Matthew Darbyshire, Anne Hardy, Alastair Mackinven, Clunie Reid and Fergal Stapleton. However many commentators have also suggested that whilst Saatchi has spent the last few years focusing more on modern works from China, the Middle East, America and India, the British art scene has moved on with the most interesting and relevant work now comes from video installations and the digital art world, two mediums which Saatchi is famously reticent to collect.

For advertising his exhibition Saatchi has chosen the ‘Real special very painting’ by Barry Reigate, a very striking canvas filled with animated characters like Micky Mouse or Donald, which the artist started painting when he visited his father in prison.

Real Special Very Painting by Barry Reigate

The mixture of Saatchi’s new collection is profound. Very politically critic works like those of Alistair MacKiven which try to analyze the art in political posters, or how galleries influence the visitor with their meticulously calculated tours & the way the objects are displayed . Or “coming back” to the basic way of painting as Phoebe Unwin claims.

In any case the 35 artists included in this first part are surely happy to be chosen by the influential Saatchi. The second part is now open until mid-April.

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