High praise for The Chinese Art Book

The world's press seems to agree: The Chinese Art Book offers an unrivalled overview of one nation's art
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Sitting on the Wall: Haikou V (2001) by Weng Fen, from The Chinese Art Book
Sitting on the Wall: Haikou V (2001) by Weng Fen, from The Chinese Art Book

We think our Chinese Art Book is great. The title, which presents a definitive selection of 300 works, from the earliest dynasties to the new generation of contemporary artists enlivening the global art world today, is, we feel, the definitive statement on an important nation's artistic creations. But please, don't just take our word for it, take a read through the rest of the world's thoughts on the book.

In his Guardian write-up, the paper's critic Jonathan Jones describes the book as "a gorgeously laid out overview in which classics like Chen Rong's Nine Dragons, painted in 1244... ...are juxtaposed with contemporary artists from heroic Ai Weiwei to the fireworks of Cai Guo-Qiang."

 

Early Spring (1072) by Guo Xi
Early Spring (1072) by Guo Xi

"It's one thing for critics and curators to single out the next rising star from China, expecting hushed reverence from the general public," Jones writes, "but quite another for us to genuinely engage with the art of China past and present. That's why China's moment this autumn matters.  ...If China is indeed at the forefront of modern art in the 21st century, this is no surprise. It has form on being ahead."

Meanwhile, Sotheby's magazine says, "Phaidon's selection of 300 highlights from 5,000 years of Chinese art is notable for its stimulating juxtapositions ... The marvelous diversity of forms selected illustrates the ongoing dialogue between contemporary Chinese artists and the traditions that both nourish and challenge them. Informative captions and a chronological timeline contextualize the individual works."

The Sunday Times also praises the book for the way it "incorporates 300 objects and artworks spanning thousands of years of cultural history, from the Neolithic period to the present day."

 

Eating (2000) by Liu Xiadong, from The Chinese Art Book
Eating (2000) by Liu Xiadong, from The Chinese Art Book

Meanwhile, Siobhan Murphy writing in Metro says the book "skillfully juxtaposes works ancient and modern ... shows a wealth of current Chinese artists engaging with and subverting their classical tradition."

Among the all important trade press Publisher's Weekly believes it "reads like a coffee table book with academic heft... readers are able to flip through the enormity of Chinese art history without too firm of an editorial hand directing their experience. The necessary concision of the prose, the lavish beauty of the images, and the accompanying timelines of Chinese and world history all aid in creating a pleasurable, heuristic read regardless of the reader's familiarity with calligraphic techniques or dynastic histories."

Elsewhere in the trade press, The Bookseller notes the book's wide survey, taking in "three hundred Chinese artworks from early dynasties to global contemporary artists."

 

A spread from The Chinese Art Book
A spread from The Chinese Art Book

Pace Gallery, which helped us launch the book and which boasts an exremely strong array of Chinese talent, describes it as a "beautiful, authoritative overview of Chinese art"; The Asian Review of Books says readers will have the impression of being "able to wander through a super museum of Chinese art"; and The Kansas City Star praises the book for being "packed with information but free of academic stuffiness."

Lastly, Vanity Fair's new On Art supplement delights in the editors' efforts to "quicken the pulses of experts and amateurs" with such a wide-ranging, heterogeneous selection.

Would you like to see for yourself? Then click on. Editor, Diane Fonteberry introduces the book here; you can browse through a gallery of images here; or read about some highlights here, and when you've done that, why not buy the book from the people who made it, here.


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Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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