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YBAs (Young British Artists)

Sarah Lucas
Supersensible , 1994-1995
Acrylic and newspaper collage on cardboard
162.6 x 223.5 cm (64 x 88 in.)
ⓒ Sarah Lucas, courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

The Young British Artists (YBAs) were a group of artists primarily active during the 1990s. The label comes from a series of exhibitions at London's Saatchi Gallery in the mid-1990s and is still applied to some of its major members, such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Sarah Lucas. Most of the YBAs were educated at Goldsmiths College, which is now known as Goldsmiths, University of London, and were introduced in the 1988 Damien Hirst-curated exhibition, Freeze, which took place in a disused London Port Authority building. The Freeze exhibition, which included 16 artists and featured works that drew from Minimalism and Conceptualism, was a hit and led to the formation of the YBAs, many of whom went on to achieve significant fame and success.

Charles Saatchi, the owner of the Saatchi Gallery, played a crucial role in promoting the YBAs and helping to establish their careers. His patronage of artists like Hirst and Emin helped to generate media attention and establish the YBAs as a significant force in the contemporary art world. Saatchi's relationship with the YBAs has been a controversial one, with some critics arguing that he has exploited the artists for his own gain.

The YBAs were skilled at self-promotion and branding, creating works that were provocative and eye-catching, generating media attention and helping to establish their individual brands. This approach was not only important for the artists themselves but also played a significant role in establishing the YBAs as an important art movement that continues to influence the art world today in the UK and beyond.

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Conceptual Art

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British Art

Contemporary British Art

Art of the 1990s

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