Gilbert and George: A Portrait

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9780006388852: Gilbert and George: A Portrait

The candid, revealing inside story of one of the great and most original art acts of our time: the enigmatic ‘living sculptures’ based in Spitalfields in London’s East End.

Gilbert and George are unquestionably among the most important and original artists of our time. Critics have come to recognise the artists’ vision and to regard some of their works as among the major pictures of the century.

Gilbert (from the Italian Dolomites) and George (from Totnes) met at St Martin’s School of Art in the late 1960s and formed an immediate friendship. This is an engagingly informal portrait in which they reminisce about their family upbringing, their friendship, life in Spitalfields, and their relish of the mixed cultures of the East End. With their distinctive trademark single-breasted, three-button suits and their famously studied but courteous composure, Gilbert and George set out as artists without a gallery. From living, and singing, sculptures, they developed a line in controversial subject matter that extends from the Dirty Words Pictures to The Naked Shit and The Fundamental pictures. As exponents of photo-based art, they are, as writer David Sylvester has remarked, perhaps second only to Andy Warhol.

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Review:

This affectionate, almost loving, portrait of two of Britain's most distinguished and most controversial artists is made all the more poignant by that fact that the biographer, art journalist and author Daniel Farson, died while writing it. Being Gilbert & George, the salacious material is fairly unorthodox--the most shocking revelation is that George married as a young man and has two children--and for the most part Farson is almost apologetic about any intrusion into Proesch and Passmore's (their surnames) private lives. The first half of the book takes us from childhoods in the Dolomites and Tiverton via their meeting at St Martin's School of Art in the late 1960s to their current status as art icons. The second half sees Dan following them around--Moscow, Shanghai, Barnstable--as they exhibit around the world. Farson wisely highlights his admiration for them at the outset and the reader is clear that this is no hatchet job. That said he covers both the art and the lives with a straightforward professionalism that is never less than absorbing. This book is a fine tribute to Gilbert & George. Equally their closing words are fine tribute to Farson. "On 27 November our dear Daniel died, not knowing how much we loved him (though we told him often enough)". -- Nick Wroe

From the Back Cover:

Gilbert & George are unquestionably among the most important and original artists of our time, and in Daniel Farson they found both a doughty (if critical) champion and a stimulating companion. As exponents of photo-based art, they are, as writer David Sylvester has remarked, perhaps second only to Andy Warhol. In this delightfully candid and engagingly informal portrait, Gilbert & George reminisce about their family upbringing in the country (George in Totnes, Gilbert in the Italian Dolomites), their life in Spitalfields in London's East End and the development of their art from living, singing sculptures to a line in controversial subject matter that extends from the Dirty Words pictures to The Naked Shit Pictures and The Fundamental Pictures.

"Touching and illuminating."
EDMUND WHITE, 'London Review of Books'

"Good lively stuff."
GEORGE MELLY, 'Sunday Telegraph'

Entertaining, affectionate, respectful, mercilessly free of jargon."
ALAN ROSS, 'London Magazine'

"A charming affectionate memoir … vividly conveys the fun of touring the world with G & G and being part of their inner circle."
LYNN BARBER, 'Daily Telegraph'

"An engaging joie de vivre which sweeps you along. The book is a good and easy read … One of its merits is that it makes clear what charming, convivial, generous and delightful company C & G are."
MARTIN GAYFORD 'Spectator'

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