Shock and Awe

In the early 1990s, artists such as Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin, followed closely by  Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, Fiona Rae, Helen Chadwick and others came to the attention of the art world and soon  saw their lives change forever as they became internationally-acclaimed figures particularly following Charles Saatchi’s  ‘Sensation’  exhibition in 1997.

The title of that first show was certainly accurate if the work of Sarah Lucas – one of the YBAs – is anything to go by.  A retrospective of her work has just closed at the Whitechapel Gallery and I managed to get there on the last day.  Even though one knows what to expect, her somewhat graphic and sexually-charged works can still shock.

Although the main London exhibition season has closed, there is no shortage of new openings.  An impressive first show by Paula Lent’s Artmasters saw the works of Syrian artist, Sara Shamma given its first major UK airing.  Held in the impressive Royal College of Art in South Kensington, the show attracted a number of major collectors and dealers.

The ‘cut-outs’ of possibly my favourite artist –Henri Matisse [1880 – 1960] – will be shown at Tate Modern from April 2014. I can’t wait! But there was a chance to grab a look at some of his less familiar works, particularly etchings and early lithographs, recently at Marlborough Fine Art’s ‘Essence of Line’.

My December art activities included the usual quarterly presentation at Debut Contemporary for young aspiring artists – a masterclass on basic finances, accounting and tax.

And not to forget my stint as a judge back in November at the first Be Smart About Art Dealers awards.

Still on the agenda is a visit to Tate Britain to see Westbury artist, Lucy McKenzie amongst others and it was good to catch up with her at a book-signing at Maggs just before Christmas.

A pretty hectic 2013 and an exciting 2014 to look forward to.

Keith Graham – Managing Partner

Westbury Accountants & Business Advisors, Accountants specialising in ‘The Arts’.  For more news, views and opinion, visit