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28 November 2011

November Book Review: '100 New Artists' by Francesca Gavin

Behold! The long awaited return of the 'Art book of the Month' review. Quite frankly there was just so much happening in the last few months so a book review wasn't exactly on top of the priority list of things to write about. Now, with the sudden change of pace there is time to reflect and enjoy delving into books like this one!
Don't be fooled by the white, minimal looking front cover because inside this book is 225 pages of glorious colour images featuring the work of the 100 chosen few, contemporary artists working today. I'm always a bit skeptical as to how exactly the editors of these types of books ('Cream' being another example) choose and select a mere 100 artists out of the wealth that is contemporary art today. The author of the book, Francesca Gavin is both a writer and curator based in London and has a CV that includes writing for The Guardian online, Time Out, The Sunday Times Style plus to name a few. She writes,
'The selection of artists in this book emerged as that 'selfish capitalism' spread across the globe. The artworks featured here were made in the self-promoting era of the blog and the Facebook page.'
So we know that the artists featured in this book are 'new' but throughout the whole introduction we never really get to know 'how' the artists are selected. Should it matter? I don't know, but I find it interesting to speculate how certain artists might have been chosen over others. What makes an artist more successful, contemporary, important, new etc. than any other?Anyway, the book is at least true to its statement on the cover, 'Despite moments of clarity there is no 'ism' in this book'. Nice! So that's a no, to surrealism, impressionism, minimalism and post-modernism and others. I couldn't find any 'ism's in the book, but I suppose you could argue that the influences of all those past art movements in some cases are present in the work. What this book does show is new approaches and forward thinking in art practice today or as Gavin writes,
'This is a vital new wave of art -post conceptualism, post-minimalism, post-pop. Not only is it a snapshot of art if the moment, 100 New Artists, is the place to discover the people who will define our aesthetic future.'
What of the artists?! You ask. It has to be said that there is a healthy mix of painting, video, installation, new technologies, print-making, sculpture, photography and performance art in this selection featuring artists from across the globe. A few favourites of mine being; Steve Bishop, Guillermo Caivano, Jompet Kuswidananto, Littlewhitehead, Richard Mosse, Anita Moure, Pim Palsgraaf, Joao Pedro Vale and Aleix Plademunt There are 91 more that you may also find interesting. Its always good to have a parooz through books like this proving that there is still lots of new and contemporary art out there! Enjoy!

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