Group show “New Order: Art, Product, Image 1976 – 1995” at Sprüth Magers, London


Spruth Magers, London, is exhibiting “New Order: Art, Product, Image 1976 – 1995” through September 14, 2019.

The group exhibition, selected by Michael Bracewell, surveys identity and image in British art, culture and society between 1976 and 1995. The exhibition originates from a discussion about the cultural status and art historical positioning of one of Peter Saville’s best-known works for “Factory Records” made in the early 1980s and blurring the boundaries between art, design, pop and product. On display are works by Angus Fairhurst, Richard Hamilton, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Karen Knorr, Sarah Lucas, Olivier Richon, Peter Saville, Sam Taylor-Johnson and Gillian Wearing.

The group show explores Richard Hamilton’s pioneering interpretation of image, technology and process and commodity to Saville’s design for New Order’s seminal record, “Blue Monday,” via portraits of British society by Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, and finally early videos by what came to be termed the Young British Artists, the exhibition considers a period that covers the twilight of the pre-digital, modernist city and the dawn of the postmodern computer age.

The gallery says, “The exhibition begins at the end of the time period in question with a stark row of monitors facing the street from the front ground floor gallery. Videos by Angus Fairhurst, Gary Hume, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Damien Hirst and Angus Fairhurst collaboratively are watched over by a teenage Sarah Lucas reading the ‘New Musical Express.’ In ‘A Cheap and Ill-Fitting Gorilla Suit,’ Fairhurst lurches around in exactly that, the costume slowly falling apart to reveal him naked underneath, walking out of shot and away from the hairy skin he has shed in the drab, shabby room.” 

In this series, the viewers and influence of pop and rock music were evidently still vast, fervent and political with the punk movement and its followers offering a creativity that was both sub-cultural and largely independent of and in opposition to the institutions of the art world. 

“The common denominator of these subjects is a radical declaration of identity, image, creativity, autonomy and newness, at a time when Britain was undergoing fundamental technological, political, social and economic changes, the consequences of which are still being played out,” adds the gallery.

The exhibition is on view through September 14, 2019, at Spruth Magers, 7A Grafton St, Mayfair, London W1S 4EL, UK.

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Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.

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