T&H study wins 2014 Art Book Prize

T&H study wins 2014 Art Book Prize

Art in Oceania: A New History, published by Thames & Hudson, has won the £1,000 2014 Art Book Prize.
The book was co­-authored by anthropologists, art historians and curators of both European and Pacific Islands descent, including Peter Brunt, Nicholas Thomas, Sean Mallon, Lissant Bolton, Deidre Brown, Damian Skinner and Susanne Küchler. It covers Oceanic art, past and present, reimagined for the 21st century.

Sophy Thompson, newly appointed publishing director of Thames & Hudson described the book as "an ambitious collaborative work that took several years to assemble, involving seven principal authors alongside a team of editors, designers and picture researchers, all coordinated by the book’s commissioning editor, Ian Jacobs...[It] creates ‘a museum without walls’, and makes accessible to a wide public the research and findings of top scholars and academics".

She added: "In an environment where immediate commercial success is often valued more highly than long­term relevance and scholarship, it is extremely encouraging to receive recognition for the time and effort that this type of publication requires, and we thank the judging panel and the organisers for their support.”

Administered by the Authors’ Club and supported by The Art Newspaper, the Art Book Prize is awarded annually to the best book on art or architecture published in English, anywhere in the world in the past year.

The judging panel was chaired by curator, museum historian, lecturer and novelist Giles Waterfield, and including Daniel F Herrmann, Eisler Curator and Head of Curatorial Studies at the Whitechapel Gallery and the television presenter, gastronome, cultural historian and heritage campaigner Loyd Grossman.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Grossman said: “There has been a lot of talk about the death of the physical book, this year's entries for the Art Book Prize prove, I think, that the art book is not only not dead, but very much flourishing. High production values, arresting subjects and fine scholarship made reading this year's entries a pleasure as well as an education."

He called the winning title "a magisterial, nearly encyclopaedic volume on a so far relatively neglected field that is beginning to attract increasing scholarly and popular interest", saying "this one should be on every art lover's bookshelf".

Last year's prize was won by Jean-Louis Cohen
, for his book Architecture in Uniform: Design and Building for the Second World War (Editions Hazan, distributed by Yale).