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Creamier

Phaidon's newest exhibition-in-a-book curates the cream of modern art

by Roman Espejo in Culture on 25 June 2010

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"Creamier," the latest volume in Phaidon's acclaimed "Cream" series, takes the pulse and forecasts the future of contemporary art. The book's 100 featured artists are the culmination of a carefully selected panel's survey of the most important contributors to the art world over the last five years.

This year's jury includes Debra Singer, director and chief curator of The Kitchen; Catherine Wood, curator of contemporary art and performance at Tate Modern; Yukie Kamiya, chief curator of the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art; Tirdad Zolghadr, who oversaw the United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale; Adam Szymczyk, director of Kunsthalle Basel; and Kitty Scott, director of visual arts at the Banff Centre.

"Everyone knows that our curatorial choices are always about more than the artwork," explains Zolghadr in the book. "But I did want to offer a gesture, or impose an artificial limit of some sort. At the very least, my criteria pushed me to think beyond my usual suspects."

"Creamier" showcases an enterprising cross-section of breakthrough artists. Photographer Shannon Ebner's monochromatic prints occupy "a space where photography, sculpture and language intersect," Scott writes, such as "Raw War," which plays on the famous work of Bruce Nauman. ShannonEbner_RawWar1.jpg

Filmmaker Ryan Trecartin probes identity in the digital generation. His film "I-Be Area" finds Trecartin and his ensemble grappling with existence, visualizing "new ways of 'being' in the real and virtual worlds," Singer writes.

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Claire Fontaine, the creative pseudonym of Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill, appropriates conceptual art and political radicalism. "Change" turns American currency into weapons with hidden boxcutter blades.

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A gallerist and performer, Reena Spaulings crosses the boundaries between artist and dealer with her wide-ranging body of work. Festooned with ham-fisted slogans of protest, "Wallpaper (After Merlin Carpenter)" was an installation featured in Tate Modern's "Pop Life" exhibition.

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Yuken Teruya transforms disposable paper fast-food and luxury-brand shopping bags into exquisite, bonzai-like diaramas of nature in his "Notice-Forest" project, returning "a delicate piece of the natural world," Kamiya writes.

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Shedding the weight of a coffee-table tome and packaged in a box, the newspaper-style format of "Creamier" makes for a lighter, pleasurably tactile reading experience. With its release slated for 14 July 2010, you can pre-order your copy online for $40.

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