An original, incisive, and provocative survey of what’s happening at the heart of contemporary visual culture in Britain.
After a decade of British art that revolved around sensation and celebrity, New Art from London identifies the emergence of a more mature and motivated group of artists. But this isn’t a coherent generation of artists with a manifesto, nor is this a book about promoting the latest fad or predicting future Turner Prize winners. New Art from London suggests \that there’s a new sense of seriousness about art in Britainas well as irony, wit, and intelligence.
The artists featured are concerned about their practices, about returning to aesthetic issues and discovering new perspectives on the older debates of modernism. This isn’t a fashionable neo-conservatism, however. These artists, mostly still in their thirties and at the start of international careers, are responding to the pressing political and social matters of our age. London is as much a world city as it is part of Britain, and at the heart of this study is a concern with the way in which the art now made there is less representative of a national culture and more plugged into a global network of art-making and selling. Strikingly, many of the most interesting artists living and working in London today are not “British” in any narrow concept of nationality. Those best placed to see the faultlines in identity are often those who look on society as newcomers or from the margins. As a result, these artists ask awkward and interesting questions about national identity and the boundaries of where we live. 150 color illustrations.
Chris Townsend is Lecturer in the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is co-author with Mandy Merck of The Art of Tracey Emin, also published by Thames & Hudson.