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Are young British artists nincompoops and frauds?

Brian Sewell and Matthew Collins debate the merits of modern British art

By Brian Sewell   April 2002

22nd February 2002

Hello Brian,

May I start by saying what a valuable cultural figure I think you are?

We have been asked to consider a question which I think is probably the wrong one: “does contemporary British art have anything to say which is not just about itself.”

We have also been asked to address issues of conceptual art; the way people criticise or celebrate art forms without being familiar with their provenance; the forces of commerce, celebrity and patronage; and the difficulties of art criticism.

The fact is that modernism and post-modernism are self-referential. There is no point…

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