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Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  3,325 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
This highly illustrated overview of the state of painting documents concerns and ideas among contemporary painters. Often moving beyond the traditional image associated with this medium, this survey illustrates the richness, eclecticism, dynamism and contemporaneity of painting.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 14th 2004 by Phaidon Press (first published 2002)
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More of a reference than a sit-down-and-read, Phaidon has created yet another incredible art book, that shoudl be considered indispensible for the contemporary painter, and invaluable for an enthusiaist of contemporary painting.


There's a lot of work in here that's not going to knock your socks off. The collection of artists assembled here are somewhat inconsistent in quality--but from an editor's point of view, an incredibly large range of work is represented--you might be surprised
Sep 11, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing
As others have noted, this isn't a "sit down and read" type of book but rather a coffee-table art book full of some of the best contemporary painting from the late 1990s to the early 2000s (it was published in 2004). So reviewing it is different from reviewing a novel or biography, yet it has Phaidon Press' award-winning, jaw-dropping, amazing graphic design and is of the highest of quality all the way around. A stellar selection of artists, true diversity and quality, and the best design and pr ...more
May 07, 2008 Chris rated it it was amazing
Schwabsky, Barry, ed. Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting. London: Phaidon, 2002. 352ps. ISBN: 0714844462. $39.95.

Reviewed by Chris Pusateri

Among the most venerated of visual media, painting occupies a position that is both enviable and dubious. The same ubiquity that makes it identifiable to any schoolchild also makes it an easy target for detractors. But one thing is certain: not since Marcel Duchamp famously abandoned painting has there been any question of its use as a proving ground—a
Jul 20, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
This may be an odd book about which to write a review, since 90% of its page space goes to pictures. But I take my art books as seriously as the rest of my collection, and took the time to go through this one cover-to-cover, so I figured I might as well write down my thoughts. As a collection of contemporary painters, this book is fantastic – the breadth of forms and techniques present is truly astounding, and even the most up-to-date art lover is bound to encounter the work of a painter they’d ...more
Michael Endo
Mar 14, 2008 Michael Endo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: artists and art lovers
Shelves: studio-shelf
This book is a "must have" for anyone interested in painting. My only hope is that they release new editions as the landscape of contemporary painting changes.
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May 15, 2007 miguel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any poor souls interested in contemporary art
Though I haven't explored their photography volume yet, Phaidon's Vitamin series are excellent primers to contemporary art, narrowed down to a specific medium (thank god). The general scene being as diverse and everywhere as it is, this kind of loose focus (operative term being loose) is amazing to experience, leafing through artist after artist. The critical blurbs can be frustratingly brief and at worst too vague, but for the most part they give a reasonable introduction in thinking of an arti ...more
Chris Lockhart
Dec 26, 2011 Chris Lockhart rated it did not like it
Shelves: art
some nice artwork, difficult typography. I did not read this book, because it was unpleasant to look at. I feel the graphic designer made stylistic choices that gave importance to design and used the text and images to that end, rather than the other way around. Therefore, the book was nice to look at on the shelf, on the coffee table, and flipping through the pages. Too bad I was actually interested in the artwork and text.
Annelise DeVore
Apr 03, 2008 Annelise DeVore rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Another excellent art survey from Phaidon, Vitamin P includes a surprisingly broad assortment of contemporary artists working in paint. It's a useful reference for the artist, and an accessible introduction for anyone new to the world of late 20th - current painting. Also check out Vitamin D, their book of drawing.
Feb 26, 2008 Kim rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of my favorite reference books. This book is indispensible and time and time again I thumb through it for inspiration when I come up to that road block of creativity. A must have! Well done, Phaidon, well done.
Jan 06, 2013 Lucie rated it it was amazing
I own this great and pretty heavy book thats ideal for artists or just people who want to know the current trends in art. Definately good to find out some new and unkown names in the area! :) ...more
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A phosphorus, vitamins, essential oils, 1 1 Nov 01, 2016 11:17PM  
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Barry Schwabsky is an American poet and art critic. He recently relocated to New York after living in London for more than ten years. His recent collection of poems, Book Left Open in the Rain, was published in January 2010 by Black Square Editions and is available from Small press Distribution ( and he has also recently published a small book called 12 Aba ...more
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