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The Saatchi sensation

Modern art in Britain used to be rather provincial. Not any more. Norman Rosenthal, who recalls visiting the Freeze exhibition a decade ago with Damien Hirst, says London is now a contender

By Norman Rosenthal   October 1997

It is autumn 1997, nearly the end of the 20th century, and Sensation, an exhibition of new British art, arrives at the Royal Academy. Not all new British art, but a good and handsome cross-section of it, courtesy of its greatest single patron, Charles Saatchi. It is now almost a decade (a long time in the history of any art movement) since Freeze, that remarkably resonant exhibition conceived and organised by the young Damien Hirst and his mates in a warehouse in London’s Docklands. That was in the summer of 1988: 17 artists were represented in Freeze; nine of them…

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