Sarah Lucas

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Sarah Lucas
Lucas eating a ban.jpg
Sarah Lucas's photo
"The Artist Eating a Banana" (1990)
Born 1962 (age 52–53)
Holloway, London
Known for sculpture
Movement Young British Artists

Sarah Lucas (born 1962) is an English artist. She is part of the generation of Young British Artists who emerged during the 1990s. Her works frequently employ visual puns and bawdy humour, and include photography, collage and found objects.

Life and work[edit]


Lucas left school at 16; she studied art at The Working Men's College (1982–83), London College of Printing (1983–84), and Goldsmith's College (1984–87), graduating with a degree in Fine Art in 1987.[1]


Lucas was included in the 1988 group exhibition Freeze along with contemporaries including Angus Fairhurst, Damien Hirst, and Gary Hume.[2] In 1990, Lucas co-organized the East Country Yard Show with Henry Bond, in which she also exhibited. Her first two solo exhibitions in 1992 were titled The Whole Joke and Penis Nailed to a Board. It was in the early 1990s when Lucas began using furniture as a substitute for the human body, usually with crude genital punning.[1] Created for a show organised by fellow artist Georg Herold at Portikus, Au Naturel (1994) is an assemblage of objects—a mattress, a bucket, a pair of melons, oranges and a cucumber—that suggest male and female body parts.[3] For six months in 1993, Lucas and fellow artist Tracey Emin rented a retail space in east London, The Shop, where they made artworks, ranging from printed mugs to T-shirts with slogans, and put them on sale. In works such as Bitch (table, T-shirt, melons, and vacuum-packed smoked fish, 1995), she merges tabloid culture with the economy of the ready-made. In earlier work, she had displayed enlarged pages from the Sunday Sport newspaper. Through her career, Lucas has continued to appropriate everyday materials (including, for example, freshly made fried eggs) to make works that use humour, visual puns and sexual metaphors of sex, death, Englishness and gender.

Sarah Lucas. Self-Portraits 1990 – 1998 (1999)

Sarah Lucas is also known for her self-portraits, such as Human Toilet Revisited, 1998, a colour photograph in which she sits on a toilet smoking a cigarette. In her solo exhibition The Fag Show at Sadie Coles in 2000, she used cigarettes as a material, as in Self-portrait with Cigarettes (2000).

Writing in The Guardian, in 2011, Aida Edemariam said that "Lucas was the wildest of the Young British Artists, partying hard and making art that was provocative and at times genuinely shocking."[4] In 1996, she was the subject of a BBC documentary, Two Melons and a Stinking Fish.


Lucas had her first solo exhibition in 1992 at City Racing, an artists' run gallery in south London, and her first solo show in New York at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery in 1995.[5] One-person museum exhibitions at Museum Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdam, at Portikus in Frankfurt, at Museum Ludwig in Cologne and at Kunsthalle Zurich, Kunstverein am Hamburg and Tate Liverpool have accompanied exhibitions in less conventional spaces—an empty office building for The Law in 1997, a disused postal depot in Berlin for the exhibition Beautiness in 1999, and an installation at the Freud Museum called Beyond the Pleasure Principle in 2000.

Lucas's work has been included in major surveys of new British art in the last decade including Brilliant!—New Art From London at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in 1995, Sensation (Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection at the Royal Academy in 1997), and Intelligence—New British Art, 2000, at Tate Britain. In 2003, Sarah Lucas participated in the 50th International Biennale of Art in Venice, Outlook: Contemporary Art in Athens, and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, a three-person exhibition for Tate Britain with Angus Fairhurst and Damien Hirst in 2004. From October 2005 to January 2006, Tate Liverpool presented the first survey exhibition of Lucas's work.

In 2013 the Whitechapel Gallery in East London hosted a retrospective of Lucas' work[6]

Personal life[edit]

In the mid-2000s, Lucas was in a relationship with fellow YBA Angus Fairhurst.[4] Lucas now lives with her partner Julian Simmons, in the former residence of Benjamin Britten near Aldeburgh; a home which is "tucked away down a long country lane, behind a Baptist church in Suffolk."[4] In August 2014, Lucas was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[7]

Art market[edit]

Lucas is represented by Sadie Coles HQ, London, Barbara Gladstone, New York, and Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (CFA).


  1. ^ a b Sarah Lucas Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  2. ^ "Τέχνη | British Council Ελλάδα" (in Greek). Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  3. ^ Amna Malik (2009): Sarah Lucas - Au Naturel MIT Press.
  4. ^ a b c Aida Edemariam,"The Saturday interview: Sarah Lucas," The Guardian, 28 May 2011.
  5. ^ Sarah Lucas British Council.
  6. ^ "Sarah Lucas, Whitechapel Gallery". 2013-12-15. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  7. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Rodolfo Cervantes, Elisa Miller, Julian Simmons, Tittipussidad (London: Sadie Coles HQ), 2015
  • Quinn Latimer, Sarah Lucas: Describe the Distance (Milan: Mousse Publishing), 2013
  • Angus Cook, Angus Fairhurst, Sarah Lucas: After 2005, Before 2012 (Cologne: Walther König), 2013
  • Amna Malik, Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel (London: Afterall), 2009
  • Michele Robecchi, Sarah Lucas (Milan: Electa Mondadori), 2007
  • Yilmaz Dziewior and Beatrix Ruf (eds.), Sarah Lucas: Exhibitions and Catalogue Raisonné 1989–2000 (Osfildern-Ruit/London: Hatje Cantz Verlag/Tate Publishing), 2005
  • Sarah Lucas and Olivier Garbay, God is Dad (London: Sadie Coles HQ and Koenig Books), 2005
  • Matthew Collings, Sarah Lucas (London: Tate Publishing), 2002
  • Jan van Adrichem, Angus Fairhurst, Sarah Lucas (Rotterdam: Mus. Boymans—van Beuningen) 1996
  • Jerry Saltz, Jan van Adrichem, Collier Schorr and Carl Freedman, "Sarah Lucas", Parkett, no. 45, 1995, pp. 76–115

External links[edit]