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The Story of the BritArt Revolution

Elizabeth Fullerton

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The definitive history of the Young British Artists movement

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The Young British Artists (YBAs) stormed onto the contemporary art scene in 1988 with their attention-grabbing, confrontational art, exploding art-world conventions with brazen disdain. Artrage! tells their raucous story, chronicling the group’s rise to prominence from the landmark show ‘Freeze’ curated by Damien Hirst, through the heyday of the 1990s and the notorious ‘Sensation’ exhibition, to the Momart fire of 2004 that seemed to symbolize the group’s fading from centre stage.

Drawing on some fifty exclusive interviews with key BritArt players, including Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Sarah Lucas, as well as extensive archival research, art writer and critic Elizabeth Fullerton relates the remarkable story of how a group of rebellious art students took on the art establishment and transformed it forever.


'Back in the early 1990s, the British art world changed forever thanks to a band of bright young things who weren’t afraid of controversy … 'Artrage!' details that blistering scene and looks at its place today'
It's Nice That

'Well-illustrated, studiously researched'
Daily Telegraph

'An excellent primer on the rise and fall, successes and failures of a moment in British art. It catches the brio of the people involved, charts the connections that they forged; the friendships, the fall-outs, the partner swapping ... and celebrates the art they created'
The Herald

'Mess-making is the subject of Elizabeth’s Fullerton’s riotous Artrage!: The Story of the BRITART Revolution, which documents the antics of the upstart provocateurs who aimed, as the Chapman brothers declared, to unsettle civilisation and mock the notion that art has a moral purpose'
Peter Conrad, Observer

'Her account of the rise and rise of the now not-so-young British artists is a well-written as well as a necessary book. Students, researchers and curators looking back in years to come will be grateful for a publication that goes beyond cheering and sneering to document that period of British art history, and document it well'
Farah Nayeri, Culture Writer for New York Times in London

'A sober account of an intoxicating time, but it is well researched and very readable …There is no escaping the fact that it has been the best 25 years in the history of British art'
Art Quarterly

'A vibrant account of how Hirst, Lucas, the Chapmans et al came to noisy prominence'
RA Magazine

'Fullerton writes about contemporary art in an engaging, exciting and insightful way. The Young British Artists could not have asked for a better biographer'
Ed Voves, Art Eyewitness

'Fullerton is a former Reuters foreign correspondent and hasn’t forgotten how to tell a story. Her book is blessedly jargon-free and it does offer a clear account of the sequence of events that made up the YBA phenomenon'

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Publication date: 8 July 2021

ISBN: 9780500296332

Contents List

1. The Birth of the YBAs: 1988
2. Formative Milestones and Alliances: 1990–1992
3. Rapid Ascent, A Strong Female Voice: 1993–1994
4. From ‘Brilliant!’ to ‘Sensation’: 1995–1997
5. Bedding In: 1998–1999
6. Spectacle versus Sobriety: 2000–2004
Postscript: The Legacy - Where Are They Now?

About the Author

Elizabeth Fullerton is an art historian with over twenty-five years' experience as a journalist writing on art, culture, news and politics in Europe, the Middle East and Central America. Her articles have appeared in many international publications, including the Financial Times, the Independent, the Washington Post, the Sydney Herald and ARTnews.