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Stuart Morgan

Stuart Morgan wrote a brief catalogue introduction for Brilliant!: New Art From London, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, 22 October 1995  - 7 January 1996 and 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.

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Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1995