Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel at the New Museum

Degree Critical - Art Review - October 12, 2018

Brash. Edgy. Rude. Badass. These are just a few of the words frequently used to describe the work of the British artist Sarah Lucas. As an original member of the loosely affiliated tribe of Young British Artists (or YBAs, including Damian Hirst, Tracy Emin, and Liam Gillick, among others), that rose to prominence in the London scene at the end of 1980s, Lucas made art from wax, resin and found objects that mostly seemed as if they were hauled from a dumpster, embodying many of the punk tenets that brought the group so much attention—and controversy. Her work was broadly sexual, cheerfully sleazy, and subversively humorous. These descriptors persist even though Lucas has now been working for more than thirty years across a wide range of media that includes sculpture, installation, and photography, and seem have become shorthand for discussing her art in a way that now seems pejorative and trivializing. A newly opened retrospective at the New Museum, titled “Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel,” upholds the artist’s image but at the same time probes her work for meaning beneath the superficial audacity.


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