Life is More Important Than Art

Life is More Important Than Art アート ART Hidemi Shimura

Life is More Important Than Art
Edited by Gilane Tawadros with an
introduction by Paul Hobson

‘Art is the most important thing in my life because it’s the only way I have of understanding life. I don’t have any other means of doing it other than through recording and then reconstructing it.’
Terry Smith, artist.

‘The question ‘What is art?’ still interests me although it’s not a question I ask myself when I’m working ? I know it is art, I have no doubt about it because what I am doing I’m doing with the intention of it being art.’
Jo?o Penalva, artist.

‘Without art we wouldn’t have a means of reflecting on life. Art reveals what we don’t know that
we know.’
Susan Hiller, artist.

`Life is more important than art’ wrote James Baldwin, `that’s why art is important’. A novelist, playwright and essayist, Baldwin was concerned with the dynamic and contingent relationship between art and everyday life. What is the relationship between art and the everyday world? What does it mean to be an artist at the beginning of the C21st?

Based on a series of interviews with artists spanning at least three generations, this book investigates the current conditions for making and presenting contemporary art. Both candid and thought-provoking, artists discuss a range of topics rarely discussed in print, including their views on cultural institutions, on audiences and on being an artist today. They reflect on the contemporary art world, private and public institutions, censorship and their agenda for change.

Edited by Gilane Tawadros with an introduction by Paul Hobson, the book includes contributions from Faisal Abdu’Allah, Simon Callery, Stuart Croft, Yara El-Sherbini, Raimi Ghadamosi, Susan Hiller, Gabriel Kuri, David Medalla, Stephen Nelson, Uriel Orlow, Jo?o Penalva, Zineb Sedira, John Seth, Yinka Shonibare, Terry Smith, Alia Syed, Anne Tallentire and Simon Tegala.

Gilane Tawadros is an independent curator and writer. She was formerly the founding Director of inIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts), a contemporary visual arts organisation based in London and joint Chief Executive of Rivington Place. She has curated numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Fault Lines: Contemporary African Art and Shifting Landscapes (50th Venice Biennale, 2003); The Real Me (ICA, 2005), Brighton Photo Biennial (2006) and Alien Nation (ICA, 2006). She has written and edited a number of books on contemporary art, including Changing States: Contemporary Art and Ideas in an Era of Globalisation (inIVA, 2004).

Paul Hobson is Director of the Contemporary Art Society. He was formerly Interim Director of The Showroom in London and Director of the Moose Foundation for the Arts, a foundation which supports new work across all art forms, prior to which he was the Head of Strategy & Development for the Serpentine Gallery and Head of the Royal Academy Trust. He is currently a Governor of The Place and the London Contemporary Dance Trust and a member of the Development Board of the South London Gallery. He also sits on the Ambassadorial Council for the Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA) capital campaign.

Life is More Important Than Art is published by Ostrich, a not-for-profit arts agency concerned with challenging and revealing the prevailing attitudes, consensus and modes of cultural production, with a specific focus on contemporary visual art. The book is designed by Dean Pavitt at LOUP.

For further information or to order a copy, please contact Ostrich by emailing