Cream by Calivn Reid

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 66 Winter 1999
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What’s hot magenta pink, shaped like a shoe box, and shrink-wrapped? It also weighs about as much as your cat, according to waggish art critic Jerry Saltz, who spouted that line at a panel held at the Cooper Union to launch the item in question. It’s a very stylish and thoughtful exhibition-in-a-book (there’s no standing show). Just published by Phaidon Press,Cream: Contemporary Art in Culture is a compilation of what its curators consider to be 100 of the most significant “emerging” artists of the moment. London-based Phaidon editor Gilda Williams commissioned ten internationally-oriented curators to pick ten artists each that they hold in high esteem. Much like the Modern Library’s rather arbitrary, dead-white-guy-dominated listing of the 100 best 20th-century English language novels, Cream is bound to call forth a thousand indignant alternative lists. And so much the better. But unlike the Modern Library’s list, Cream is multicultural, transglobal, and indeed transdisciplinary to a fault—besides being a drop-dead beautiful book. It’s meant to appeal to both the art world insider and the querulous, headscratching newcomer. Each artist gets a lucid and thankfully short essay, a quick bibliography and four pages of terrific reproductions. The ten curators include the New Museum’s Dan Cameron and others, such as Okwui Enwezor, who spends a bit of time here in Gotham and elsewhere. The artists include Ana Laura Alaez, Sarah Sze, Lisa Yuskavage; the list goes on. As Williams put it at that same Cooper Union panel, “Cream in my coffee, cream of the crop, Cream the rock magazine; Cream is all of the above and none of the above.” Try a little fresh Cream today.

—Calvin Reid

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Originally published in

BOMB 66, Winter 1999

Featuring interviews with Janine Antoni, Yayoi Kusama, Jenny Diski, Michael Cunningham, Simon Ortiz, Petuuche Gilbert, Simon Winchester, Gary Sinise, Thomas Vinterberg, and Marc Ribot.

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