Contemporary Art and the Cult of Celebrity

Candice Breitz, Peter Davies, Alison Jackson, Yasumasa Morimura, Mario Testino, Gavin Turk, Francesco Vezzoli, Jessica Voorsanger

We live in a culture obsessed by celebrities. David Beckham’s latest hairstyle, the fluctuating weight of celebrities such as Lindsey Lohan or Victoria Beckham, the very public meltdown of Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse and her apparent need for “re-hab”; all these stories are all capable of selling newspapers and magazines as much as, if not more, than pressing current affairs.  

The rise of “reality TV” appears to have whetted our appetite still further.  When Andy Warhol famously remarked that everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes, could he really have realised the poignancy of these words?  Programmes such as Big Brother have unleashed the possibility of mere mortals buying into this circus of fame and celebrity and the aspirations of many young people are to become famous, not for their skill, craft or intellect, but just to be famous. 

The representation of “famous” people is nothing new in the world of art. Today however, with the development of photographic techniques, together with the explosion in global communications through TV, the media and the Internet, the power of the image is overwhelming. 

It is no surprise then that visual artists have become fascinated by the world of celebrity and its wider social implications.  Starstruck brings together eight artists whose work is diverse both in content and media, yet they all engage with the world of celebrity in different yet often connected ways. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated publication with essays by Paul Wombell and Deborah Robinson.


Alison Jackson
Madonna Ironing, 2008
Courtesy of the artist