Conquering Taboos in Art, the YBA’s Contribution

Pictured is an actual bed of a famous British artist Tracy Emin that is, along with the Damien Hirst’s shark preserved in formaldehyde in a glass box, the landmark creation of the Young British Artist movement. During the 1990s, the YBA’s ‘shock tactics’ shook up the art world.

Armed with conceptual art (art of ideas, not craftsmanship), the YBA went into the business of ‘conquering the taboo and disturbing hypocritical people’.

Indeed, Emin’s ‘Bed’ completed with vodka bottles and cigarette butts, stained sheets and worn underwear, condoms and pregnancy tests creates a traumatic experience.

While advocates of the YBA argue their work is “embedded with social commentary” and their critics dismiss it as “cultural pollution”, the YBA-type work is amongst an increasingly marketable art.

Validated by collector Charles Saatchi, the Turner Prize and the Tate Gallery, the ‘Bed’ was sold at an auction for $3.8 million in 2013.

“The thing that came out of the YBA was boldness, a belief that you can do anything.”

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