Where art thou? Glass reviews Art Studio America: Contemporary Art Spaces

Where art thou? Glass reviews Art Studio America: Contemporary Art Spaces – a stunning new book offers unique insights into the creative world of America’s most celebrated artists

The artist’s studio is the ultimate sanctum – it is the place of creation, shelter, inspiration and in many cases, redemption. The processes of the creative mind are contained within its walls. The fascination we have for the professional habitat of the artist is what drives this impressive, large format tome of 115 leading artist in America today – luminaries such as John Baldessari, Alex Katz, Marina Abramovic, Jeff Koons and so on.  Such is the draw that the previous book by these authors showcasing British artist’s studios was considered “the first truly necessary compilation book of contemporary artists” by Florence Waters, art critic from The Telegraph, when it was released last year.

Jeffo Koons' studioJeffo Koons’ studio
Mariko-MoriMariko Mori in her studio
This latest project is equally compelling, if not more so. Its scope is breathtaking, as even the authors admit that “ … to be termed an American artist is more a cultural aspiration than a meaningful social construct.” As such, American-based artists like the inspiring Shirin Neshat (whom Glass interviewed last year) share their stories next to the likes of Julian Schnabel, Chuck Close and newer artists like Hernan Bas.
Robert-Longo's-StudioRobert Longo’s Studio
Julie MehretuJulie Mehretu in her studio
Art Studio America Front CoverThe cover of Art Studio America
Essays from some of the most influential American figures in the art world like Robert Storr (who offers a particularly incisive view of the American Scene ) are thought provoking and bound to stimulate debate. Just as interesting are the artists interviews; from Abramovic’s private self-consciousness to how Schnabel’s tarp paintings materialised. Each artist’s workspace is shot in stunning detail with many surprises (such as Ilya & Emilia Kabakov’s post-Hurricane Sandy meal).
Chuck Close paintingChuck Close painting
Alex IsraelAlex Israel in his studio
More than just a companion to their last book, Amirsadeghi and his team have managed to refine the concept of the ‘rare glimpse into the artist at work’, providing a context to where art in America currently resides and is heading. In his essay in the book, Benjamin Genocchio, another renowned art critic (formerly of the New York Times), offers a taxonomy of the studios we encounter in the book, which includes a factory-like space with tons of assistants (Koons, Tom Sachs), an empty loft  (John Currin), those with a few desks and books (Baldessari), those like autobody shops (Robert Lazzarini) and so on.
John CurrinJohn Currin’s studio
Malcolm-MorleyMalcolm Morley’s studio
Such diverse “crucibles of the creative process” capture the feeling of endless possibilities in one of the world’s biggest artistic communities.
by Ethan Long
Art Studio America: Contemporary Art Spaces.  Editor: Hossein Amirsadeghi. Executive Editor: Maryam Eisler. Photographs: Robin Friend
700 original colour illustrations/320 x 250mm Thames & Hudson (600 pages) £65