Why Are Next Generation Artists So Conservative?

Posted filed underEngland, Shows.

Next Generation Artists
The latest wave of up-and-coming British artists display fine technical ability, a feeling for colour and an unexpected conservatism in this year’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition, says Adrian Hamilton at The Independent:

“One has grown so used to the idea of young artists being revolutionary that it comes as something of a surprise to find that most of them are quite conventional in their concerns with craft and their ambitions to become professional. And why not?

The 2012 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition at the ICA of work by the latest crop of graduates from art college is not an explosion of raw emotion. It’s rather conservative, in fact. The annual parade of young talent has been going since 1949. It has produced so many young artists who have gone on to make a success of their careers – Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Mark Wallinger and RB Kitaj to name but a few – that it is tempting to view it as a sporting event in which you can pick out the winners for the future.

Maybe some can, although there is a case that artists, like writers, should be paid not to publish or display their first works. Talent certainly shows in the arts at a young age. But there is really no reason why you should find your voice in your early twenties. It’s a 20th-century assumption that creativity comes before the craft rather than the other way round. Nobody in previous centuries would have signed up to that.

Read on at The Independent.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the ICA, London SW1 (020 7930 3647) until 13 January.

Image: Still from the Nicole Morris video “I am here!” (ICA)