Press release: Adventures in Art, Selected writings from 1990 – 2010, Sue Hubbard, Published by Other Criteria
Adventures in Art draws together 70 of Sue Hubbard’s essays on contemporary and modern art and spans the last 20 years of her career. An award-winning poet, short story writer, freelance critic and novelist, Hubbard’s collected essays are part biographical, part lyrical reviews of today’s programme of modern art in Britain and provide an honest account of the diversities, originalities and difficulties found there. Adventures in Art is published by Other Criteria and will be available from 13th May 2010.
Thick with anecdotes and quotes from historians, artists and commentators, Hubbard’s writing guides us through specific exhibitions, as well as the creative lives of her subjects, and places the reader within a context replete with description and art historical value. Her knowledge is incisive and reflective and, in many retrospective cases, the essays read like modern obituaries. Hubbard’s writing explores the lives and contributions of artistic figures from Lucien Freud and Sam Taylor Wood, to Marc Quinn and Cy Twombly.
The populist question ‘but is it art?’ proffered by many when confronted with what Harold Rosenberg termed an ‘anxious object’ - such as Tracy Emin’s My Bed, Helen Chadwick’s Piss Flowers or the Chapman brothers’ scatological mannequins - gets us nowhere. Judgements about contemporary art are never fixed, but evolving and fluid. The only worthwhile question is whether a work of art is challenging; whether it reveals something that has not previously been understood, and authentically extends perceptual, sensual, intellectual and emotional understanding of what it means to be human.
Adventures in Art brings together a group of disparate artists, from Anselm Kiefer to Gillian Ayres, from Sean Scully to Wolfgang Tillmans, whose output ranges through figurative and abstract painting, to sculpture, video and photography, to create a discourse around these questions posed by modern art.
As Sue Hubbard has said, the aim of her book “is not to present a fixed thesis but to create an arena for debate and to raise questions about what art is for, and what it can do at the beginning of this new millennium. The intention is to challenge received shibboleths, taking neither a fashionable stance nor a reactionary one, but breaking open accepted positions in order to review them afresh.”