Rough Guides £14.99 (276pp) £13.49 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Best Art You've Never Seen, By Julian Spalding
Friday 10 December 2010
Beautifully presented, full of remarkable artworks partnered by crisp essays, this book still needs a large pinch of sceptical salt.
A fine critic, and doughty polemicist, Spalding paints with too broad and confusing a brush. He selects 101 works supposedly "hidden" from our view by convention, fashion, location, censorship and so on.
But the categories slip and slide; the definitions blur. Some choices are famous taboo objects, but very well-known. A section on works "hidden by conceptual art" amounts to a group of modern favourites allegedly obscured by Turner Prize-style trends.
So forget this baffling schema. Treat the book as a tour through the eclectic tastes and frisky hobby-horses of a gifted connoisseur.
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