They were formed in 1988, during the Thatcher-era, at a time when arts grants were not especially forthcoming. A group of 16 artists, most of whom were graduates of London's Goldsmiths College, were assembled by Damien Hirst to take part in an exhibition he was curating called Freeze. A lack of interest in modern art on the part of the major galleries led to the show being held in a Docklands warehouse.
One of the visitors to the exhibition was rich art-collector and advertising-mogul Charles Saatchi, who has since bought much of the group's work. In addition to Saatchi's patronage, the collective have benefited from the intense media-coverage and controversy that tends to surround the Turner Prize, and also from a fleet of new contemporary galleries such as Jay Joplin's White Cube, and more recently Tate Modern.
Original Young British Artists (from Freeze) :