Take Your Vitamins: Phaidons P2 By the Numbers


Phaidon’s Vitamin P, a 2002 survey of contemporary painting, is the publisher’s best-selling contemporary art title, so it made sense to expect a sequel.

New this month is the latest in the “Vitamin” series: Vitamin P2: New Perspectives in Painting. The book’s numerous, often full-page illustrations highlight paint-slingers from the already famous (Dana Schutz, for example) to the emerging (London’s Justin Mortimer). Each is covered by a brief text by one of a team of contributors.

Faced with the 350-page tome, A.i.A. broke down some numbers.

The 115 featured artists, with none repeated from the first Vitamin P, include—look out, gender balance police!—49 women and 66 men. (That’s 43% vs. 57%, Jerry Saltz.)

They come from 29 countries. That’s just 15% of the 193 member nations in the UN. Maybe Phaidon can do better next time.

Three-quarters of the artists come from Europe and North America. To be more precise, 50 are from Europe, 37 from North America, 18 from Asia, 5 from South America, 4 from Africa and 2 from Australia. (Better luck next time, Antarctica!)

They were nominated by 77 experts, including critics such as A.i.A. contributor Barry Schwabsky , who also penned the introduction, and A.i.A.‘s own Faye Hirsch. There are also curators, such as Jens Hoffmann and Adriano Pedrosa, curators of the current Istanbul Biennial, and artists such as Luc Tuymans and Olu Oguibe.

All of the works featured in the book are from the past five years, and most from the past two. Our sources couldn’t confirm whether any of the paint was still wet.