Canvas rating: *****
Following the tremendous success of Writings on Art 1980-2005, HENI presents Writings on Art 2006-2021, which concludes the remarkable two-volume collection of writings by the notable art critic, curator and artist Robert Storr. In addition to his writing being featured in numerous books and exhibition catalogs, he is perhaps best known for not holding back when expressing his opinions. The book comprises 51 texts on the work of 45 artists from varied backgrounds and ages, along with 175 images that accompany and enhance the essays.
Across the carefully selected pieces, the reader is presented with an in-depth exploration of contemporary art and a new understanding of some of the most prominent artists of our time, including Damien Hirst, El Anatsui, Gego, Gerhard Richter, Jenny Holzer and Salvador Dali, among others, all in an amusing and critical way. The book offers an insight into not only Storr’s background but also into some of his most significant works, ranging from reviews and criticism to essays and articles. Highlights include his take on art that rubbed him up the wrong way; powerful works that he couldn’t overlook; similarities between different artists and their lives; discussion around less well-known aspects of their work; socio-political aspects in art, including issues of race and identity, as well as previously unseen texts and others that were only published in different languages, all spanning the last decade and a half. One of the most telling observations is in Storr’s introductory essay, which he includes with: “No critic, by dint of their efforts or insights, ever ‘owns’ an artist, nor ever gets the last word — and neither should s/he ever want to.
Storr’s engaging style and approach mean that even if there were no imagery, the reader is easily able to imagine the works under discussion and appreciate the very particular insights and qualities that the author is aiming to share. Writings on Art 2006-2021 is an excellent source for anyone intrigued by or wishing to gain a better understanding of notable art figures and art history in a way that is both accessible and enjoyable.