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"essential reading"

What is the meaning and value of art today? Who makes it and why? What are the main themes that define it? What is its place in society? In history? These are the questions I address in my new book, Art Since 1989 — an engaging and accessible survey that provides a crisp and clear map through the maze of contemporary art. Featuring the work of over 200 international artists, the book sheds light on every genre of visual expression at play today — from painting to digital art, sculpture to installation, photography to performance.

"a major addition to the literature of art criticism and philosophy"
Library Journal

Just as Picasso’s Guernica and Van Gogh's Starry Night survive as powerful cultural documents of their time, there will be works from our own era that will endure for generations to come. But which ones? Which contemporary artworks best capture the spirit of the late 20th and early 21st centuries? Which artists and artworks from the past two decades will come to define our age through their power to question, provoke and inspire? Accessible and incisive texts offer a biography of each piece, tracing its inception and impact, and showing how it provides a unique keyhole not only into the imagination of the artist who created it but also into the age in which we live.



"a marvelous combination of aesthetic sensibility, poetic imagery, and charming wit … This title is a major addition to the literature of art criticism and philosophy”

—Paula Frosch, Library Journal, Metropolitan Museum of Art Library, New York


"an unimpeachably on-trend look at contemporary art"; "an intelligent selection that doesn't set out to be prescriptive (even if it must, by definition, be definitive)"; "Grovier's whiskers seem pretty accurately cocked to me”

—Keith Miller, TLS cover story


Best Books of the Year

The Independent newspaper


Best Books of the Year

The Daily Telegraph


30 Best Art Books of the Year

The Huffington Post


"Thumbing through this book is like looking at a who’s who of the art world. Every page is turned with a bang ..."; "this book succeeds in its endeavour.”

—Shirley Stevenson, Aesthetica Magazine


"In this impressive volume of 100 influential works produced since 1989 … Grovier provides an ambitious and convincing survey of contemporary art that hovers delightfully between criticism, history, and an art lover’s poetic tribute.”

Publishers Weekly


"[Grovier has] glimpsed the possibility for elegance, intelligence, and surprise … and followed through"; "as hostages to fortunes go, 100 WORKS feels pretty secure.”

—Martin Herbert, Art Quarterly


"the book that generated most debate this year”

The Daily Telegraph's "Best Art Books of the Year"


"boldly going where few other art books have gone before”

The Huffington Post


"a beautifully illustrated appraisal of art from 1989 to 2012 that invites reflection on some of the best-known contemporary artists as well as offering some less publicly celebrated works.”

The Wall Street Journal


"Grovier's commentaries are replete with illuminating and surprising references"; "an unusual, provocative and curiously satisfying guide through the labyrinth of contemporary art"; "magnificent, mind- and eye-opening”

—Marina Vaizey, The Tablet


"this is a great introduction for anyone keen to get to grips with the headline-grabbers of the past two decades.”

Time Out, "This Season's Best Art Books"

Book of the Week
BBC Radio 4

For over 800 years London's Newgate prison was the grimy axle around which British society slowly twisted. This is where such legendary outlaws as Robin Hood and Captain Kidd met their fates, where the rapier-wielding playwrights Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe sharpened their quills, and where flamboyant highwaymen like Claude Duval and James Maclaine made legions of women swoon. While London's theatres came and went, the gaol endured as London's unofficial stage. From the Peasants Revolt to the Great Fire, it was at Newgate that England's greatest dramas unfolded.



"Gripping … Grovier's treatment of the material organisation of the place is excellent … Newgate's role in the evolution of London, in the creation of crime in the public imagination, in the development of the concept of the prison, is unmatched, and Grovier relates it compellingly”

The Daily Telegraph


"Lively history … [Grovier] has a sharp eye for the vivid anecdote and skilfully situates his colourful, tragic and often grim and ghastly characters in the economic, political and social landscape from the Middles Ages to the end of Victoria's reign”

BBC History Magazine


"A thrilling history of a very English goal ... this book is so good, you'll want to keep your copy under lock and key.”

Birmingham Sunday Mercury


"The author has a keen eye for the grisly detail ... In many ways The Gaol is an upmarket extension of The Newgate Calender, the blood-and-guts, five-volume blockbuster full of all the gory details, that was on every 18th Century bookshelf”

The Mail on Sunday


"In a clear readable style that takes the reader at a pleasantly trotting pace through the centuries of oppression and inhumanity”

Evening Standard


"a more intimate story than historians have managed … vividly evoked”

Sunday Telegraph


"Grovier's study is a sparkling tribute to a grim cultural phenomenon”

Daily Express


"Kelly Grovier's brisk and well-organised book … gives a hauntingly clear picture of the place, its inmates, the staff and, of particular delight to the reviewer, the slang they used”

The Daily Telegraph: 'Pick of the Paperbacks'


"A terrific read”


Book no.1
Book no.2
Book no.3
Book no.4

"a poet of both truth and beauty"

I am the author of three collections of poetry with Carcanet Press: A lens in the palm (2008), The Sleepwalker at Sea (2011), and The Lantern Cage (2014). 




"a William Blake for the twenty-first century”

—Clare Hudson, Planet Magazine


"this is a poet of both truth and beauty …”

—Rory Waterman, The Times Literary Supplement


"the marriage of music and mind”

—Alison Brackenbury, Poetry Wales


"a poet of real humility, who listens to his words and guides them into place”

—John Greening, The Times Literary Supplement

"Grovier’s craft stills poem and reader inside a 'slip-knot of stars’"

—Claire Crowther, New Welsh Review

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