The Art Book Prize
Jean-Louis Cohen wins the Authors’ Club 2012 Art Book Prize for his book Architecture in Uniform: Design and Building for the Second World War (Editions HAZAN, distrib. by YALE).
This winning title offers a new perspective on the architectural history of the Second World War, which in previous accounts has most often been viewed as a hiatus between peaceful periods of production. Jean-Louis Cohen contends instead that during the years between the bombings of Guernica in 1937 and of Hiroshima in 1945, specific advances were fundamental to the process of modernization and led to the definitive supremacy of modernism in architecture.
The chairman of the judges, curator, museum historian, lecturer and novelist Giles Waterfield commented, “This was an exceptionally strong field, which illustrates the vigour of publishing in this sector. Among many possible winners covering a huge variety of subjects, Jean-Louis Cohen’s Architecture in Uniform impressed all the judges by the originality of its discussion of the impact of the Second World War on a great range of architecture and design issues. Cohen’s argument is shockingly vivid and illuminating in such notable chapters as his analysis of the impact of potential bombing on Le Corbusier’s conception of urban design.”
The £1,000 Art Book Prize was presented at packed reception at Victoria Miro Gallery. After an introductory speech by the Chairman of the Authors’ Club Chris Schuler, Giles Waterfield and the Director of the Whitechapel Gallery Iwona Blazwick discussed the shortlisted titles, before the prize itself was presented by fellow judge and cultural commentator Stephen Bayley. The winner Jean-Louis Cohen was unable to be in the country so the prize was accepted by Giovanna Borasi, Curator of Contemporary Architecture at CCA.
Administered by the Authors’ Club, the prize itself, originally known as the Banister Fletcher Prize, awarded annually to the best book on art or architecture published in English in the past year, has been re-launched this year as the Art Book Prize. The Authors’ Club Chairman, Chris Schuler, said:
“The reinvention and relaunch of this historic prize for the best book on art or architecture is immensely exciting, and sees it poised to become the leading award of its kind. The Authors’ Club is very honoured to have three such distinguished judges in Giles Waterfield, Iwona Blazwick and Stephen Bayley, who all bring their great knowledge of the field and their own highly distinctive perspectives to the judging process. We are also thrilled to be working in partnership with such innovative and visionary champions of the arts as the Whitechapel Gallery and Victoria Miro, and are immensely grateful for their generous assistance.”
The winner of the Authors’ Club Art Book Prize (formerly the Banister Fletcher Prize) for the best book on art or architecture published in English in 2012 will be announced at a reception at the Victoria Miro gallery on 25 February 2013. The judging panel, chaired by curator, museum historian, lecturer and novelist Giles Waterfield, also includes the director of the Whitechapel Gallery Iwona Blazwick and the cultural commentator and art historian Stephen Bayley.
2012 Art Book Prize shortlist
- Jean-Louis Cohen, Architecture in Uniform: Design and Building for the Second World War (Editions Hazan, dist. Yale)
- David Coke and Alan Borg, Vauxhall Gardens: A History (Yale)
- Mark Godfrey, Alighiero e Boetti (Yale)
- John Goodall, The English Castle (Yale)
- Vaughan Hart, Inigo Jones: The Architect of Kings (Yale)
- Nicholas de Monchaux, Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (MIT)
- Paul Shaw, Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story (MIT)
- Rachel Weiss, Making Art Global: Third Havana Biennial 1989 (Afterall)
A Prestigious New Award
The Authors’ Club are proud to announce that the Banister Fletcher Prize is being rebranded and will now be known as the Art Book Prize. Administered by the Authors’ Club, it is awarded annually to the best book on art or architecture published in English, anywhere in the world in the past year.
The re-launch is ambitious. The Art Book Prize aims to do for the visual arts what the MAN Booker has done for the novel, and the Authors’ Club are proud to be working in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery, one of the world’s top venues for modern art.
Past Banister Fletcher prizewinners
- 2010: David King, Red Star Over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union
- 2009: Bruce Altschuler, Salon to Bienniale
- 2008: Andrew Saint, Architect and Engineer: A Study in Sibling Rivalry
- 2007: Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen and Donald Albrecht, Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future
- 2006: Julian Spalding, The Art of Wonder