“Intelligence: New British Art 2000” and The British Art Show 5

Tate Modern

“PEAS ARE THE NEW BEANS,” declares a 1999 painting by Bob and Roberta Smith (aka Patrick Brill) in “Intelligence,” the first of Tate Britain's triennial New British Art exhibitions. Trendspotters please also note: BritCrit may be the new BritPop. Curatorial glosses on “Intelligence” and the fifth quinquennial British Art Show (hereafter BAS5) agree that commercialism, ephemerality, and spectacle are Out, and engagement with audiences and social issues is In. With twenty-two artists, “Intelligence” is the largest show of contemporary art in the history of the Tate; BAS5 comprises fifty-five artists and will tour nationally into 2001. The spin attaching to these major surveys merits a little scrutiny—not least because they won't coincide again until 2015.

No one can miss the dig at “Sensation” flagged in the title of “Intelligence,” but its organizers, Tate Britain senior curator Virginia

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