David Annesley's Untitled (Circle), 1966.

LONDON - Opening today, the exhibition The New Situation: Art in the Sixties is a collaboration between Sotheby’s and the legendary gallerist Kasmin – the man who gave David Hockney, among others, his first break. 

British Art from the sixties was a hot topic of the summer-art scene this year in Europe, with Patrick Caulfield at Tate Modern, London, which also opened new rooms featuring works by Gillian Ayres, Richard Smith and Joe Tilson, and the conceptual artist Keith Arnatt. The summer show at Chichester’s Pallent House featured a major Eduardo Paolozzi retrospective, and Anthony Caro had his first Italian retrospective in Venice at the Correr Museum. I found the National Museum’s Pop and The Every Day in Cardiff to be an interesting forerunner to The New Situation. Both exhibitions recapture the energy, vibrant colours and innovative spirit of the London art scene in the sixties. While Cardiff’s exhibition highlighted a Welsh connection, showcasing artists who were born or worked in Wales alongside major international names, it had a similar purpose to The New Situation: to reveal the historical importance of lesser known artists. 

Tim Scott's Peach Wheels, 1962–5.

The New Situation
reunites work by big names such as David HockneyBridget Riley and Anthony Caro with their lesser-known contemporaries such as Robyn DennyJohn Hoyland and Clive Barker, many of whom have been unfairly overlooked.  Visitors will be able to rediscover this first generation of “Young British Artists,” who were truly a “Sensation”, 30 years before Norman Rosenthal and Charles Saatchi applied the name to a later generation of young artists.

This long-awaited reassessment of a period when artists, photographers, film stars, musicians and fashion designers transformed the capital into “Swinging London” includes a selection of works offered for sale alongside a number loaned from distinguished private collections, including several directly sourced from the artists, many of which are on view in public for the first time. 


The New Situation: Art in London in the Sixties
Sotheby’s New Bond Street, London
4–11 September 2013

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