Rebecca Binns
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Beyond the art world
Political agitation and public intervention in the new millennium
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In the twenty-first century, Vaucher’s work rekindled its overtly political content in the aftermath of the Iraq War. A preoccupation with Palestine emerged, again mirroring her contemporary Peter Kennard. She formed a friendship with Banksy and contributed works to his Santa’s Ghetto project among others. Her work is situated in the context of the street art scene, anti-globalisation campaigns, the Occupy movement and collaborative art. Her work received renewed attention from younger generations with a quest for authenticity – both from people trying once again to carve out a genuine outsider space, and from ‘hipsters’, whose interest could be seen to tip over into cultural appropriation. While she returned to themes of pacifism and anti-militarism that were a key component of her work with Crass, her later output reveals a more subtle and varied aesthetic. This output is examined in the context of a period of political polarisation and social discontent, following years of austerity in the United Kingdom, and war, disasters and a refugee crisis worldwide, highlighting its relevance to a young, post-postmodern generation. Over this period, the process of her recognition also gathered pace, and 2016 saw both her first major retrospective exhibition and her work adopted as the abiding visual response to the election of Donald Trump. The impact of social media on both dissemination and meaning is discussed, while Vaucher’s unique approach to controlling the art market is revealed to be the overriding source of her autonomy.

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