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Sarah Lucas is one of the contemporary art figures and feminine artist from the Young British Artists (YBA). Lucas rose as one of the most prominent artists of 1990s where art was characterized by tabloid culture, use of diverse materials, irony, and exploration of contemporary aspects. Artists under the YBA were adopting aspects of minimalism, conceptualism, and pop art as a way of being more youthful in their art, as well as making their artistic content more accessible. Sarah Lucas is among the women artists who are associated with an aesthetic from the radical working class that produces art in form of sculptures from ready-made by Marcel Duchamp.
Considering that Sarah Lucas and most artists from the YBA grew up in the 1980s, they experienced a growth in contemporary art practices revolving around feminist arts. Artists that were inspirational at this time were such as Cindy Sherman and Sherrie Levine. Works of art by Cindy Sherman seek to portray women beyond the abject ideologies existent at the time. Sherman portrayed the ‘woman’ as being strong and as an important member of society while still emphasizing their beauty. In the 1990s, inspiration on women art came from feminist philosopher Judith Butler and other feminist artists who were inclined to the notion of gender fluidity and its performativity. As such, the works of art by Lucas should be viewed from a feminist perspective, and most importantly, a contemporary feminist’s perspective. For Lucas and other contemporary feminists, the real issue in art is subverting the existing feminine and male stereotypes, but she challenges these stereotypes in a different approach from the precursors of feminist art.
As an individual who brought about a new sensibility in art in the 1990s, Lucas focused on cheaper approaches of making art and deriving imagery. The tabloid press became Lucas’ source of imagery and her works became referred to as tabloid feminism. Lucas’ work is seen as disrespectful to politics and Kultur due to its imperfections and decrepitude. Artistic work by Lucas may borrow some aspects from artists such as Cindy Sherman, but unlike Sherman, Lucas portrayed her work in less than flattering and unconventional displays. The inspiration for Lucas’ works comes from books on sexuality and pornography, and she has thus focused on dealing with male objectification, and how sexual liberation by women can counter their objectification. Her works are thus an appropriation of gender constructions and masculine tropes that she seeks to deconstruct. Casual misogyny characterizes Lucas’ works making her capable of creating visual puns that counter established ideologies and feminine stereotypes.
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