Artist/Artshow: Inside Contemporary Artshow Culture. (AllRightsReserved Publishing, 2009)

Cover of “Artist/Artshow” (click to enlarge)

Artist/Artshow is an image-heavy book produced this year by AllRightsReserved, a self-described creative studio based in Hong Kong that seeks to publish high-quality texts that explore issues related to the visual arts. Unfortunately, despite all of the book’s good intentions to provide a coherent critique of contemporary exhibition practice, what results is little more than a collection of exhibition documentation and short artist interviews.

In the book’s preface a number of interesting and compelling questions are laid out including:

  • “What happens when ‘commercial artwork’ is repackaged into an ‘art exhibition’?” and
  • “This book hopes to question the notion of ‘art’ by contemplating the concept of ‘exhibition.’ What does the exhibition, this dedicated space where curator meets artist meets artwork meets public, mean to you?”

Perhaps the preface seems ambitious, but that’s generally a good sign for what’s to follow, right? In this case, however, these lofty musings only set up the text for failure.

A view inside. (click to enlarge)

Profiling several contemporary artists, the majority of them living and working in Japan such as Tomoko Sawada, Yayoi Kusama and Naoki Honjo, the book includes several pages dedicated to installation images of each artists’ work, plus a short interview that asks general questions about the origins/inspiration for the art, the artist’s understanding of the term “exhibition” and what part of the curatorial process is most interesting to them. While this information might be of some interest in and of itself, it hardly stands to tackle the aforementioned questions relating to the exhibition industry. No analysis of the artist’s answers is offered to shed light on the issues at hand. What this book provides in pretty pictures and creative design, it sorely lacks in intelligent critique.

You can buy a copy of Artist/Artshow here.

Artists featured include Barry McGee, Dave White, Hajime Sorayama, AllRightsReserved, Carrie Chau, Jose Paria, DEVILROBOTS, many more.

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