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on 14 October 2012
There is a real shortage of published material that authoritatively and comprehensively covers the complex and extensive challenges of commissioning new artwork: conceptual, cultural, ethical, managerial, financial, and legal. This new book, Commissioning Contemporary Art: a handbook for curators collectors and artists, tackles these with evident relish, continually triangulating respective perspectives of the artist, commissioner, and involved third parties such as sponsors or agents or dealers.

This is not a law book. It is a commission planning and management good practice guide, plainly narrated, and packed full of examples of commissions that went right and wrong. Illustrative quotations from authoritative art world figures (most having been specifically given to the authors for this publication)are peppered throughout.This handbook makes a unique and valuable contribution to knowledge and understanding of contemporary art commissioning practices.

The authors' non-legalistic approach(not focusing on legal frameworks operating in specific countries, as law books must do)enables good guidance to be offered to artists, curators and collectors worldwide. Beautifully designed, printed and bound in China with strikingly orange hardback covers and a bookmark ribbon, and offering an excellent table of contents and full index to aid searching, the handbook lends itself to full linear or selected topic reading.

The work reflects and benefits greatly from its authors' knowledge and sympathy with contemporary art practice. Their overall message is that commissioning is not a legal process; but that the law provides essential facilitation tools, which can and should be used creatively.
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