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: Account Manager / Media Sales - OTE up to £30,000

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935