Contemporary Art in British Pop Culture

In the 1990's British pop culture underwent a renaissance with new up and coming bands breaking through into the mainstream to create a new amalgamation of sounds known simply as "Britpop." With the rise of this new musical movement came fresh interest in contemporary art with many new artists creating their own scene by contributing to the album covers of these new musical stars and even starring in some of their music videos.

Britpop became the term to represent all facets of the contemporary arts and was commonly used to describe music, fashion labels, art and film. Throughout this period, new contemporary artists became celebrities in their own right, often holding much publicized exhibitions and gracing the covers of many pop culture magazines. Many of these artists had a great influence on the music from that era and a number of bands are associated with these artists as much as they are their own albums.

Art was the new rock 'n' roll and many of the annual gallery prizes became newsworthy items and points of conversation amongst the social groups of the time, often making the headlines of the country's newspapers as the debate about what made a work of art became a national topic.

During this time, several controversial pieces were displayed in the nation's leading art galleries and served to the fuel the fire of the debate even more, as opinions became divided on the meaning of the term, contemporary art. Whilst some appreciated the daring aesthetic of some of the pieces others were equally outraged and disgusted stating that the works were merely vacuous flights of fancy without meaning.

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Despite this division of opinion, or perhaps because of it, contemporary art in Britain continued to gain popularity, outlasting the Britpop movement that instigated its resurgence and becoming a topic of its own standing once again. Many of the groundbreaking artists of that period are still creating unique pieces of artwork now, and although these pieces can still stir up a great deal of controversy from time to time, most of these alternative thinking artists are now part of the very establishment they were seen to be rebelling against.

Although the British pop culture of the 1990's has long since passed, its influence on today's arts is still very strong. From music to fashion to independent film makers, the effect of the previous decades movement still resonates through these art forms as people continue to push the boundaries and look beyond what has already been done.

Copyright Graham Poole 2008