The dialectical possibilities presented by BLAHY [i.e. Young British Art] and its others are highly fugitive. British sculpture in the grand manner confers necessity on the Chapman brothers, just as the post-structuralist academy compels the existence of Practical Uses for Theoretical Essays. The necessity disappears as soon as it is identified. The artistic matter of BLAHY is marked with the philistine and the everyday all over. It is simultaneously inflected with the rebarbative aesthetics of adolescence and public relations. The useful stuff is swallowed by its empty self-description and by the barbarities of its distribution. BANK is almost alone in recognising the practical significance of the contradictions involved.
– Art & Language, “BLAHY”.
It is universally recognised that the Chapmans are quite serious. So is the average teenage poet. They are the twin Adrian Moles of art.
When I was working at the ICA they were putting up Chapmanworld. Out of politeness I declined to talk to an American camera crew. I didn’t say “It’s trying to pretend that it’s not trying to shock, and it’s failing. It’s tired, academic, adolescent bollocks of the lowest order. It will go far.”