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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Yentob: Move over Brit art
Tracey Emin's 1999 Turner Prize entry
Tracey Emin's 1999 Turner Prize entry: Time for a change?
BBC chief Alan Yentob has said he will speak his mind in his role as chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts - and thinks the UK art scene is due for change.

Mr Yentob is taking over from Ivan Massow, who left the job after provoking a row by saying conceptual art was "pretentious, self-indulgent, craftless tat".

He told BBC Radio 4's PM programme that he disagreed with Mr Massow's assessment of all modern art as rubbish.


It is time for some renewal and in that sense we all want to see what the new road is

Alan Yentob
"Some of it may well be [tat], but there is also good conceptual art.

"This rather broad definition of conceptual art seems to be a dustbin in which Ivan has put everything. I would be more discriminating about what I liked and didn't like."

He said Brit art had been one of the most successful movements of the past 10 years, but added: "It is time for some renewal and in that sense we all want to see what the new road is.

"You have got to have an appetite for the new."

Alan Yentob
Alan Yentob: "I'll speak my mind"
He said there had been a time, in the 70s, when Britain was quite timid about the arts, citing the controversy over putting bricks near the Tate in the 70s, but said that time had passed.

'Bullied'

But he insisted he would not be bound by the art establishment and would say what he thought about art, whether controversial or not.

"Of course I will speak my mind but I am there to speak my mind within the ICA as well as outside it."

Ivan Massow, a millionaire businessman, commented: "Alan has got to be careful not to be bullied into believing his job is just there to raise money and he's not allowed an opinion about contemporary art.

"I gave an opinion about the way I felt contemporary art had monopolised the contemporary market and it was leading us into a artistic vacuum.

Ivan Massow
Massow: "Don't let them bully you"
"I think he's got a real job on his hands to keep the ICA cutting edge. He has to be prepared to go against the art establishment because that what the ICA is there for.

"If its not prepared to ask questions it shouldn't get funding."

He said he hoped the ICA had learnt from its mistake and he should not have had to leave because he expressed an opinion "They just shot the messenger".

Mr Yentob will continue in his role as director of drama, entertainment and children's programmes at the BBC.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nigel Wrench
talks to Alan Yentob and Ivan Massow
See also:

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