Sensation was the name given to an art exhibition at the Royal Academy in the autumn of 1997.
It had been in all the tabloids because of a painting called Myra by Marcus Harvey. No doubt the headlines screamed ‘Ban This Sick Filth’, but it did nothing but draw even more attention to the exhibition. And judging by the queue to get in at the time it had no adverse effect. I think that the painting in question had even been vandalised by a visitor. I was more interested in exactly how the painting was constructed.
Before this exhibition I didn’t have much time for art. In museums and stately homes paintings always looked drab and dull and generally the frames were much more interesting to look at. Since then I’ve actively tried to seek out a collection of work like Sensation, but have yet to find anything similar.
Upon leaving the Royal Academy I flicked through this book and tried to decide whether to buy it. I didn’t. The price seemed like a small fortune for a ‘picture’ book. That, and the fact that it’s quite heavy, didn’t persuade me. But of course I regretted my decision and so purchased it from Amazon.co.uk years later.
Yes, I can honestly say that I’ve read it. The majority of its content covers the pieces in the exhibition itself but there are essays written by art critics and also a short biography of each artist at the back. The biographies were interesting as they also covered the artists other work, which managed to jog a few memories of visits to other exhibitions and galleries since.