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Book of the Month

What Is Gilbert & George?

by Michael Bracewell

Globally famous and relentlessly controversial, Gilbert & George first met in September, 1967 and have lived and worked together as a single artist ever since. During the half century to date of their partnership, Gilbert & George have had major museum shows all over the world and been the recipients of honours, awards and prizes in many countries.

Provocative, visionary, timelessly modern, their art explores the moods and feelings of the fast, volatile urban world. Confrontational, shocking, poetic, their art has always spoken to youth, internationally, while describing so intensely the passage of time.

In answering the question posed by its title, and drawing on his twenty year relationship with the artists, Michael Bracewell is the first writer to engage directly with Gilbert & George to understand why they have devoted their lives – exclusively and continuously – to the vision of art they conceived within months of first meeting. 

What emerges piece by piece is a portrait of Gilbert & George as two men who are infinitely more intense, strange, determined and alone than their longstanding public image suggests. Accompanied by illustrations selected by the artists, the book provides candid insights into their working practice, East London, sex, Victorian art, nationalism and maleness, among many other subjects.

Michael Bracewell is a novelist and cultural commentator based London. His recent publications have included catalogue essays on the art of Bridget Riley and Richard Hamilton, as well as the books When Surface Was Depth and Roxy Music.

What Is Gilbert and George?
Heni Publishing
Hardback, £9.95

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