The exhibition features around 150 works by a wide range of artists, including Keith Arnatt, Helen Chadwick, Peter Doig, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, Mark Titchner, Sarah Lucas and Mark Wallinger, reflecting the breadth and diversity of British art throughout the 30 year period 1980-2010.
This is a rare opportunity for art lovers to experience at first hand the creative journey of some of the most prolific contemporary British artists of the past thirty years.
During the period since 1980 which the exhibition covers, enormous shifts have taken place in the role that art plays in British society. From Gilbert & George's Intellectual Depression (1980) to Gary Hume's Sister Troop (2009), this exhibition tells the story of how art has mapped and reflected these changes – and indeed been at the very forefront of social change itself.
Contemporary art in the UK has undeniably taken on a more socially engaged position in British society over the past three decades. Some of this shift can be attributed to the arrival of a new, entrepreneurial and ambitious generation of artists in the early 1990s, collectively known as the YBAs (Young British Artists) and including artists such as Michael Landy, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.
Other factors, such as the introduction of the Turner Prize in 1984 (the first prize to be awarded to young contemporary artists in the UK); the opening of Tate Modern in 2000 (the first dedicated public gallery for modern and contemporary art in the UK); the elision of art, advertising and the creative industries, particularly following the launch of the Saatchi Gallery in 1985; and the abolition of admission charges to UK public galleries and museums in 2001, have all played their part in bringing contemporary art to far larger audiences than ever before – often audiences with no prior experience or knowledge of the visual arts.