The Grey Organisation’s influential films of the 1980s are finally to be released on YouTube

The provocative London art group’s Super 8 films and videos are a reminder of a different approach to the moving image.

27 February 2020
Reading Time
2 minute read

The Grey Organisation, whose seminal work was said to have strongly influenced the Young British Artists, has released its video archive.

A collective of like-minded individuals in London, its work centred around rebelling against the art establishment. Its members dressed in a conservative ‘grey’ manner (hence the name) whilst producing juxtaposingly provocative art that elicited the exact opposite emotions to their attire.

With the aim of opening up its work to a wider audience, The Grey Organisation's Super 8 films are now available on the Cultural Traffic YouTube account, part of The Cultural Traffic Arts Project run by Toby Mott, a former member of the Grey Organisation.

Cultural Traffic consider the release to be an important way to document these items that personified a different approach to the moving image than we experience today: “These films and videos give a unique insight into a pre-digital age where recording and documenting were not an automatic social media construct but a thoughtful method to convey ideas.”

The published videos span the lifetime of the group, from its anarchic beginnings in London that were borne out of the shadow of punk, to its commercial heyday in late 80s New York.

One of its most notorious shows of resistance against the art establishment was the dousing of Cork Street galleries in grey paint, an action that eventually earned them a banning order from central London.

Despite its anti-establishment notoriety, its work was not just created to shock. It designed pieces for the Labour Party in the hope of attracting young voters, and following its move across the pond created album covers for De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.

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About the Author

Charlie Filmer-Court

Charlie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in December 2019. He has previously worked at Monocle 24, and The Times following an MA in International Journalism at City University. If you have any ideas for stories and work to be featured then get in touch.

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