Further Biographical Context for Big Ben
Big Ben was born in 1971 and was predominantly influenced creatively by the 1990s. Art in the 1990s was defined at the beginning of the decade by a group of artists in the United Kingdom that came to be known as the YBAs, or Young British Artists. They were a diverse collective of creatives, affiliated loosely by their age, nationality, and their association with Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art in London, as well as being favoured by super collector of the time Charles Saatchi. The most famous artist of the group is Damien Hirst, who was also an early organiser of group activities. Other artists included Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Gavin Turk, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Wood. Much of their art became famous for shock tactics and the sensationalism of both material and message. They also became known for their use of throwaway materials, wild-living, and an attitude that was simultaneously counter-culture rebellion but also entrepreneurial. They achieved considerable amount of media coverage and dominated British art during the decade. Their international shows in the mid-1990s included the now legendary ‘Sensation'. Conceptual photography led by German ideas and artists came to prominence. Artists such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, and Wolfgang Tillmans gained international recognition, and inspired other artists such as the Canadian Jeff Wall, who experimented with the kind of cinematic expansiveness associated with the German artists’ work. Painters like Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger exerted a notable influence on younger artists.