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The Art Book Prize

11/2/14

ART IN OCEANIA WINS 2014 ART BOOK PRIZE
Art in Oceania: A New History, published by Thames & Hudson has won the 2014 Art Book Prize. Coauthored by a remarkable collaboration of anthropologists, art historians and curators of both European and Pacific Islands descent, including Peter Brunt, Nicholas Thomas, Sean Mallon, Lissant Bolton, Deidre Brown, Damian Skinner and Susanne Küchler, Art in Oceania is a revelation of Oceanic art, past and present, reimagined for the twenty-first century.
Sophy Thompson, newly appointed Publishing Director of Thames & Hudson said: “Thames & Hudson is delighted that Art in Oceania has won the distinguished Art Book Prize. Art in Oceania is an ambitious collaborative work that took several years to assemble, involving seven principal authors alongside a team of editors, designers and picture researchers, all coordinated by the book’s commissioning editor, Ian Jacobs.
As all good art books should, and in line with Thames & Hudson’s mission and passion, Art in Oceania creates ‘a museum without walls’, and makes accessible to a wide public the research and findings of top scholars and academics. In an environment where immediate commercial success is often valued more highly than long-term relevance and scholarship, it is extremely encouraging to receive recognition for the time and effort that this type of publication requires, and we thank the judging panel and the organizers for their support.”
Judged by a high-profile panel chaired by curator, museum historian, lecturer and novelist Giles Waterfield, and including Daniel Herrmann, Eisler Curator and Head of Curatorial Studies at the Whitechapel Gallery and the television presenter, gastronome, cultural historian and heritage campaigner Loyd Grossman, the winning title was chosen from one of the strongest selection of shortlisted titles that included:

  • Peter Brunt, Art in Oceania: A New History (Thames & Hudson)
  • Tanya Harrod, The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew: Modern Pots, Colonialism, and Counterculture (Paul Mellon Centre/Yale)
  • Todd LongstaffeGowan, The London Square: Gardens in the Midst of Town (Paul Mellon Centre/Yale)
  • Kathryn Morrison and John Minnis, Carscapes: The Motor Car, Architecture and Landscape in England (Paul Mellon Centre/Yale)
  • Alexander Nagel, Medieval Modern: Art out of Time (Thames & Hudson)
  • Sandra Rendgen, Information Graphics (Taschen)
  • Lucy Steeds et al., Making Art Global (Part 2): Magiciens de la Terre 1989 (Afterall)

Speaking at the award ceremony, Loyd Grossman commented “There has been a lot of talk about the death of the physical book, this year’s entries for the Art Book Prize prove, I think, that the art book is not only not dead, but very much flourishing. High production values, arresting subjects and fine scholarship made reading this year’s entries a pleasure as well as an education. Amongst extremely tough competition, we awarded this year’s prize to  Art in Oceania, a magisterial, nearly encyclopaedic volume on a so far relatively neglected field that is beginning to attract increasing scholarly and popular interest. This one should be on every art lover’s bookshelf.”

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15/12/13

2013 Art Book Prize shortlist

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2013 Art Book Prize.

  • Peter Brunt, Art in Oceania: A New History (Thames & Hudson)
  • Tanya Harrod, The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew: Modern Pots, Colonialism, and Counterculture (Paul Mellon Centre/Yale)
  • Todd Longstaffe-Gowan,  The London Square: Gardens in the Midst of Town (Paul Mellon Centre/Yale)
  • Kathryn Morrison and John Minnis, Carscapes: The Motor Car, Architecture and Landscape In England (Paul Mellon Centre/Yale)
  • Alexander Nagel, Medieval Modern: Art out of Time (Thames & Hudson)
  • Sandra Rendgen, Information Graphics (Taschen)
  • Lucy Steeds et al., Making Art Global (Part 2): Magiciens de la Terre 1989 (Afterall)

Administered by the Authors’ Club, the prize is awarded annually to the best book on art or architecture published in English in the past year.

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 television presenter, gastronome, cultural historian and heritage campaigner Loyd Grossman.

The £1000 award will be presented at a reception at the National Liberal Club in early February.

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25/2/13

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).

From left: Giles Waterfield, Iwona Blazwick, Giovanna Borasi, Stephen Bayley and Chris Schuler. Photography © Victoria Carew Hunt

From left: Giles Waterfield, Iwona Blazwick, Giovanna Borasi, Stephen Bayley and Chris Schuler. Photography © Victoria Carew Hunt

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.”
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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
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