Following in the footsteps of Cream (1998), Fresh Cream (2000) and Cream 3 (2003), Ice Cream: Contemporary Art in Culture is a global survey of some of the most significant emerging artists working today. With a new selection of 100 artists exclusively chosen by a team of ten internationally renowned curators, this exhibition-in-a-book acts as an expert guide to the trends of tomorrow.
The ten key curators were chosen by Phaidon for their knowledge, acute vision and critical regard. First, each curator nominated ten artists that they felt best represented the ‘cream’ of current contemporary art. They then worked with the artists to select the very best and most representative pieces for inclusion in the book. This volume brings a new twist to the series with the inclusion of The Wrong Gallery as one of our curators. Unlike their nine colleagues, the team from The Wrong Gallery selected only artists who were more than sixty years old and who have recently re-emerged into the contemporary art world’s consciousness. This crossing of generations is not often found in titles focusing on lesser-known artists and brings a distinctive depth and flavour to Ice Cream.
At the same time, Ice Cream offers a panoramic view of an increasingly globalized contemporary landscape. More than ever, the ability to see across geographical borders is vital to understanding the latest developments in art, and the Ice Cream curators have brought their knowledge of grassroots scenes – here spanning more than two dozen countries around the globe – to find today’s most significant emerging artists, no matter where in the world they’ve chosen to make their work.
As with Cream 3, the curators have also selected ten source artists from a preceding generation who have influenced and inspired both them and the artists included here. The addition of these established names provides the reader with the opportunity to reflect upon the works by emerging artists from a different vantage point.
Other innovations found in this edition are the brave responses to the challenge of describing works that are temporary and ephemeral in nature. For example, Tino Sehgal is an artist who chooses not to document his works with photographs, preferring that they be experienced first-hand or described to others by one who has experienced them. In order to include this artist, curator Jens Hoffmann has produced specially commissioned ‘text/images’ that describe the performances.
Of course the experience of personally confronting art is undoubtedly inimitable and there is no substitute for looking at art in its intended context. However, by consolidating information that would be impossible to gather without years of study and criss-crossing the globe, Ice Cream provides a compact and rich resource that can be revisited time and time again.