Stuckists, scourge of BritArt, put on their own exhibition

They famously derided BritArt as "pants" and have demanded the resignation of Sir Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate Gallery.

Now the Stuckists, the group of figurative painters who oppose conceptual art, are to use their first-ever show in a commercial West End gallery to further ridicule the Tate director.

The centrepiece of the exhibition will be Charles Thomson's painting of Sir Nicholas examining a pair of red underpants hanging from a clothes line - a send-up of Tracey Emin's unmade bed which was nominated for the Turner Prize.

In the picture, called Sir Nicholas Serota Makes An Acquisitions Decision, the Tate director asks: "Is it a genuine Emin (£10,000) or a worthless fake?"

Mr Thomson, the group's co-founder, described the exhibition as "a major development" in the recognition of the Stuckist movement and said the continuing feud with Sir Nicholas was part of a "battle of ideas" about what is important in art. He likened the group's treatment to that of the Impressionists.

"I cannot believe how history repeats itself. There are many parallels between us and the Impressionists.

"They started out and everyone ridiculed them. We said that beds are not art, paintings are art, and everyone laughed at us. People thought we hadn't got a clue. But a lot has happened in seven years and we are finally getting recognition," he said.

The Stuckists, the Tate and Sir Nicholas have a long history. It was the Stuckists who first exposed the Tate's improper payment of £700,000 to Chris Ofili, one of the Tate's trustees, which led to the gallery being censured by the Charity Commission last month.

The embarrassment of Sir Nicholas and the Tate Modern was brought about by Mr Thomson, who obtained the minutes of Tate trustees meetings under the Freedom of Information Act.

This led to the Charity Commission's fierce condemnation of the Tate's purchase of Ofili's 13 paintings, collectively entitled The Upper Room.

This came after Sir Nicholas declined an offer by the Stuckists last year to donate 175 of their paintings to the Tate.

Since 2000, the Stuckists have demonstrated outside Tate Britain against the Turner Prize, and have been critical of Sir Nicholas's role. In 2000 they held an exhibition called The Resignation of Sir Nicholas Serota.

"He has come to embody the value of the Tate," Mr Thomson said. "Chairmen and trustees come and go but Serota stays on.

"Basically, the Tate is full of his personal choice of work. He has a mission to convert everyone to his way of thinking. The Tate is a public body and every year with the Turner Prize it says 'this is the best of modern art'. We strongly disagree."

The Stuckists' latest exhibition, entitled Go West, opens at the Spectrum Gallery in Mayfair in October. Also on show in Go West are portraits by the punk guitarist Paul Harvey, of Charlotte Church and Nigella Lawson, wife of art collector Charles Saatchi.

Who are they?

* The Stuckists were founded in 1999 by Charles Thomson and Billy Childish (who left in 2001) along with 11 other artists.

* Their name comes from a comment by Tracey Emin to Childish, her then boyfriend, that he was "stuck, stuck, stuck" in his artistic tastes.

* The group published a Stuckists manifesto, written by Childish and Thomson in 1999, that places great importance on painting as a medium, and condemns conceptual art and postmodernism.

* The most contentious statement in this manifesto was: "Artists who don't paint aren't artists."

* They say: "Whatever its context a painting remains a painting. Similarly, a dead shark remains just a lifeless fish whatever its context. And no matter how much the gullible may pay for it today, postmodernism is destined for the dustbin of history, whereas the making of pictures will always be central to humanity's knowledge and understanding of itself."

* Thomson stood as a Stuckist candidate for the 2001 general election, in Islington South, against Chris Smith, the then Secretary of State for Culture. He picked up 108 votes (0.4 per cent).

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference