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London EC4M 7RD
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TransGlobe Publishing, Ltd.
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Price: £48.00

Sanctuary:
Britain's Artists and their Studios

Editor/interviews: Hossein Amirsadeghi
Executive Editor: Maryam Homayoun Eisler
Essays: Iwona Blazwick, Richard Cork, Tom Morton

Hardback, 32 x 25 cm, 600pp.
With over 600 photographs

While the history of Western art can also be said to be the history of the studio, surprisingly little has been written about the subject, especially in connection with modern or contemporary practice. From Botticelli to Bacon, Da Vinci to Damien Hirst, artists have invested their personalities in the environments in which they have worked. Although today numerous artists have abandoned the studio model in favour of new modes of working enabled by new technologies, the studio space, often containing the visible remains of artistic ingenuity, toil and torment, continues to present a window on the creative soul and a summary of widely varying methods and approaches. The immense interest in the opening of Francis Bacon’s London studio to the general public in 2001 and its subsequent transplanting to Ireland signalled the dawning significance of the studio in critical thinking about new art and culture.

In today’s world, the studio has become an observation platform for surrounding life, a creative centre for experimentation often extending beyond the bounds of a single room or grand space. It has also, for some, become a hiding place. Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios is the first publication in half a century to look behind the scenes at both artists’ working lives and their workplaces, encouraging them to speak, delving into their minds and exploring their methodologies and personalities. Surveying 120 renowned artists living and working in Britain today, from the most noteworthy to new, upcoming talent, Sanctuary offers a visual feast of specially commissioned photographic imagery while following each artist through their working routines. Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley, Jenny Saville, Anish Kapoor, Mark Wallinger, Phyllida Barlow, Jane and Louise Wilson, Thomas Houseago, Tracey Emin, the Chapman Brothers … the list goes on. It is an elevating experience to be in the presence of a famous artist, even more so to glimpse the talent of new or emerging artists in their inner sanctums. Sanctuary opens doors normally closed to the public, inviting delight, intrigue, even a bit of controversy. In addition to highly individualised interviews with all of the artists featured in the book, the stage is set by three highly engaging essays exploring the meanings, configurations and personalities of a huge range of studio settings and environments in the context of the contemporary British art scene.

Hossein Amirsadeghi has been creating books for thirty-five years. Writer, editor and creative entrepreneur with a focus on the greater Middle East, he has written, edited and published a wide number of books on differing subjects and has made several television documentaries. Recent books include Art & Patronage: The Middle East, New Vision: Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Century and Frozen Dreams: Contemporary Art from Russia, all of which are published by Thames & Hudson. He is currently working on contemporary art books on Brazil and Korea.

Iwona Blazwick has, since 2001, been Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London, where she has overseen a major expansion programme. She was formerly Head of Exhibitions and Displays at Tate Modern, having been at the ICA, London, and having worked as an independent curator for museums and public art projects internationally. As well as having commissioned the contemporary art list for Phaidon Press, she is Series Editor of Documents of Contemporary Art, published by Whitechapel Gallery/ MIT Press, and is also Chair of the Cultural Strategy Group at London’s City Hall.

Richard Cork is an award-winning art critic, historian, broadcaster, writer and curator. Formerly Art Critic of the Evening Standard and Chief Art Critic of The Times, he now writes for the Financial Times and broadcasts regularly on BBC radio and TV. He has acted as a judge for the Turner Prize and curated major exhibitions at the Tate, the Royal Academy, the Hayward Gallery and many other venues.
His books include the landmark studies Vorticism, Art Beyond the Gallery, David Bomberg and A Bitter Truth: Avant-Garde Art and the Great War.

Maryam Homayoun Eisler holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MBA from Columbia University. She has held executive editorial roles for Unleashed: Contemporary Art from Turkey and for Art and Patronage: The Middle East. Eisler is a member of the Tate International Council and co-chair of the Tate’s MENAAC acquisition committee.

Robin Friend graduated with an MFA in photography from the Royal College of Art in 2009. As an artist he has exhibited internationally and was nominated for the prestigious Prix Pictet Award in 2010. Wallpaper magazine picked him out as one of the ‘next wave of creatives’ as part of its Graduate Directory in 2010.

Tom Morton, based in London, is a writer, curator and Contributing Editor of Frieze. He co-curated British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet and has worked as a curator at the Hayward Gallery, London. He is also the author of numerous exhibition catalogues with essays on artists including Roger Hiorns and Glenn Brown. He co-curated the 2008 Busan Biennale in South Korea and the exhibition How to Endure for the 2007 Athens Biennale.

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