Rocked?

‘We were the AYBs – the angry young Blacks’: the art movement that rocked Thatcher’s Britain

I mean I was there and I’ve never heard of ’em. True, never have paid much attention to art but then that’s rather the point, nor does nearly everyone else.

Slight shudder in NW1 maybe…..

20 thoughts on “Rocked?”

  1. *reads article*

    Well, we’ve achieved racial equality again, I see – equally pretentious so-called artists ripping off gullible art lovers with any old tat they can throw together and these ones aren’t white!

  2. Got halfway through and became bored at the list of unknown names. There was a lot of this sort of stuff going on. The GLC under Red Ken and various councils like Lambeth used to organise exhibitions. Even the super stuffy Arts Council handed out grants to promote ethnic art. My old school would often appear in the local paper with some new godawful project to promote eco or racial awareness. No one was rocked, because only the usual suspects ie patroniding white liberals and their client class ever went.

  3. Much the same with the YBAs later. Arts graduates journos love to bang on about whichever group of artists is making the most noise, but for those of us in the real world it’s irrelevant nonsense.

  4. I see that a former member is now a professor at University of Texas, Austin. How establishment can you get?

  5. Looks like an attempt to create a “movement” after the event. They’ve got some old shitty pictures they want to sell, and that seems a pretty good way of making it more desirable to modern collectors who weren’t there at the time.

  6. The best arts graduates go to work in advertising. More of the public know Hugh Hudson’s ads for the Fiat Strada or Courage Best than the modern art stuff.

  7. tl;dr:

    Black people live in someone else’s country and complain that they aren’t the permanent centre of everyone’s attention and are expected to obey the law…

  8. NW1? Camden Town? No. Not even there.
    That’d be the time of the ‘Black Arts Centre’ at the Roundhouse. They stripped all the wood floor & staging out of it & left it derelict. Maybe that was some sort of “performative art” thing? Looked more like thieving though.

  9. “never have paid much attention to art”: then let me recommend Rembrandt and Turner. El Greco could daub a bit too.

  10. Tim

    Far be it from me to disagree and of course we haven’t heard of many of the people referenced in the article, but it would be remiss not to point out that their ideological successors control almost every single public and academic institution in the UK, and that they have made a large number of opinions almost unsayable across vast swathes of the employment landscape lest the person saying it wants to get dismissed. It’s also looking increasingly probable that many firms will follow the example of Asset Manager State Street whereby HR will prohibit the employment of White Males.

    So while these ‘AYBs’ may be a historical footnote, their embracing of victimhood and pushing a narrative that the UK is uniquely racist is pretty much the only acceptable interpretation of British race relations across the entire public sector. I’d say that’s pretty important.

  11. A bunch of student non-entities. The Oxford Art Online encyclopaedia has entries for only one of the artists mentioned (Donald Rodney).

    The Guardian can’t even get their facts right about “a widely publicised image of parents carrying their dead child” – they link in the article to another of their own which explains the circumstances of the photo – it was not the child’s parents carrying him.

  12. Van_Patten,

    “Far be it from me to disagree and of course we haven’t heard of many of the people referenced in the article, but it would be remiss not to point out that their ideological successors control almost every single public and academic institution in the UK, and that they have made a large number of opinions almost unsayable across vast swathes of the employment landscape lest the person saying it wants to get dismissed. It’s also looking increasingly probable that many firms will follow the example of Asset Manager State Street whereby HR will prohibit the employment of White Males.”

    Do something productive and avoid those firms and you avoid it. There’s a big difference between the culture in the biomed departments in universities and the history departments in universities. The people out marching about some lecturer using the wrong pronouns aren’t from the physics department or the computer science department.

    As the companies that go in for all of this stuff, how many are going to be alive in a decade? I’d be glad that a company was specifically being anti-white male because it tells me that they’re assholes. I wouldn’t buy shares in them or start my career with them. There’s probably an asset manager company operating out of a Regus building near the airport who are going to eat their lunch in a decade (and at this point is overwhelmingly stuffed with men).

    Woke is mostly an internal power struggle. Too many people with women’s studies degrees for the number of jobs in it (teaching women’s studies). So, they’re all just using whatever means to destroy the competition. Kathleen Stock got pushed out by the woke police? Well, what good was she doing before then? She wasn’t fixing roads, she was doing a load of feminist naval-gazing. Wasting tens of thousands of pounds and years of people’s lives on things they really don’t need. Replacing her with some wokist with gender pronouns and whatever is just a different set of expensive bullshit.

  13. Well, being black and NOT being angry means you are an “uncle Tom house n***er” doesn’t it?

    Ditto being black and being: hard working, conscientious, academically gifted, ………insert admirable quality of choice.

    See an awful lot of house n***ers in advertising and on TV though. Wish I could meet them in real life!

  14. Bloke on M4

    I wish I shared your optimism and I hope to god you are right but this s%^t seems deeply embedded in the younger generation. I absolutely concur that the various social science disciplines seem to produce absolutely nothing of value but they do seem to hold inordinate sway even under a nominally ‘Conservative’ administration. Let’s hope those companies that indulge in such blatant racism are consigned to the history books, I agree!

  15. “We spray painted dicks on a portrait of Maggie Thatcher, so we did a thing innit.”

    That’s the gist of most political “art.” It’s like taking a black-and-white snapshot of a rusty fire hydrant on the sidewalk and calling it “photography.”

  16. Guardian endorses obscure artists. Shows world exactly why they are forgotten. Editor accused of Zombiefilia.

  17. VanPatten,

    “I wish I shared your optimism and I hope to god you are right but this s%^t seems deeply embedded in the younger generation. I absolutely concur that the various social science disciplines seem to produce absolutely nothing of value but they do seem to hold inordinate sway even under a nominally ‘Conservative’ administration. Let’s hope those companies that indulge in such blatant racism are consigned to the history books, I agree!”

    It’s not really embedded in the younger generation. It’s just the media/government/academia cabal that pushes certain people forward. It’s like when you see some kids from a school near Glasgow talking about COP26. The teachers are going to select the well-behaved pro-institution kids, not the rebels who can see through what bullshit it is and say that.

    It’s like when you get men saying they won’t open doors for women because of feminist backlash. I’ve never experienced it. I’ve got a nice smile out of it. Most women aren’t man-hating Guardian weirdos. But the man-hating weirdos have overrun the MSM.

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