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Brilliant! New Art From London

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1995
Published by: Walker Art Center
Year published: 1995
Number of pages: 94
ISBN: 0-935640-50-9

image of Brilliant! New Art From London

Substantial catalogue for Brilliant!: New Art From London, which was shown at Walker Arts Center, 22 October 1995  - 7 January 1996. (The exhibition went on to Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 17 February - 14 April 1996.)

The exhibition was one of a number that featured practitioners identified with the so-called yBa grouping. The term yBa refers to certain types of practitioners who collectively, and in some instances, rather loosely, came to be known as Young British Artists, or yBas for short. The term originated in the early 1990s, centred on the work of Damien Hirst and a number of other artists. In an essay The Tate, The Turner Prize and the Art World, Louisa Buck offered a useful summary of the term’s origins. “[Charles] Saatchi had attended [Damien] Hirst’s famous Freeze exhibition in 1988, and soon began to bulk-buy this new batch of home-grown talent. He also set about applying his marketing skills to the promotion of these artists and their work, initially in a series of widely publicised exhibitions at Boundary Road [the original home of the Saatchi Gallery, in St John’s Wood, London] during 1992-5 under the collective title of Young British Artists. The acronym stuck, and soon any artist of that generation, whether or not they had been to Goldsmiths [College], was branded YBA.” Louisa Buck, The Tate, the Turner Prize and the Art World, in The Turner Prize and British Art, Tate, 2007, pp. 12 – 25 (p.19). Chris Ofili was the only Black artist included in Brilliant!: New Art From London. This was at a time when Ofili’s distinctive use of elephant dung within his work was very much in its ascendancy and his Turner Prize nomination was still several years off. Within the catalogue, Ofili recounted something of his early use of elephant dung. “I laid down a cloth with seven to 10 pieces of dung on it, and put out a sign that said ELEPHANT SHIT.” Chris Ofili, Excerpted from an interview conducted by Marcelo Spinelli, in London, March 23, 1995, (p. 67).

Brilliant!: New Art From London reflected the hegemony of Goldsmiths College in the yBa grouping. Out of the twenty two artists in the exhibition, fifteen were graduates of Goldsmiths College.

The catalogue ran to some 94 pages and was presented with something of a low budget fanzine feel. This aesthetic was accentuated by the loose leaf, unstapled format of the catalogue. Copiously illustrated, the catalogue featured several essays, plus interviews with all but one of the exhibition’s artists, conducted by Douglas Fogle and Marcelo Spinelli.

Contents as follows:

Richard Flood - Acknowledgments

Stuart Morgan - briller a tawdry flikwort - Brief Introduction

Neville Wakefield - pretty vacant - essay

Artists’ pages, from Henry Bond to Gary Hume

Richard Flood - the levellers - essay

Artists’ pages, from Michael Landy to Rachel Whiteread

Douglas Fogle - bad science - essay



Related people + view all 25

»  Steven Pippin

Born, 1960 in Redhill, Surrey UK

»  Alessandro Raho

Born, 1971

»  Georgina Starr

Born, 1968 in Leeds, England

»  Sam Taylor-Wood

Born, 1967 in London, England

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston

Houston, Texas, United States of America

»  Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, United States of America