Rating: 4 out of 5

We picked up a copy of this at the Turner Contemporary in Margate after we’d been to the Turner Prize 2019 exhibition. I partially picked it up to learn more, and partially because I wanted the children we were with to see me buying a book exploring the subject so that they felt at ease with not necessarily understanding the works we’d just seen.

The book covers some artists I know and have seen exhibitions of before (Andy Warhol, Olafur Eilasson, and Rachel Whiteread) as well as many I haven’t encountered before.

Artists who I’d like to see more of in the future include Janine Antoni, Donald Judd, Anna Maria Maiolino, Francis Alys, Dieter Roth, Piero Manzoni, Richard Long, and Dan Flavin. So at the very least I have some names to look out for.

Am I any closer to being able to answer the question “What is contemporary art?” Possibly not, but I’m less apprehensive about answering that what matters the most to me is whether I have an emotional reaction to something, or have my curiosity stimulated rather than it being a head nodding, chin stroking, standing back and intellectually appreciation exercise.

This would make a good companion to the Tate’s “Art in a box” set which gives questions and prompts about specific artworks along with guidance on how to make something like it at home. More at https://shop.tate.org.uk/art-in-a-box/9376.html?cgid=gifts-kids

Originally posted to my Goodreads account