Gilbert & George met at St Martin’s School of Art in September 1967. Fifty years later, Michael Bracewell has worked with them on this beautifully designed primer, posing the question What Is Gilbert & George? Over the course of 37 short chapters, Bracewell—who has written extensively about Gilbert & George over many years—has created an accessible handbook to their work.
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. We may never find the answer to the question What Is Gilbert & George?, but this book, marking their halfcentury partnership, brings us closer than ever before.
Gilbert was born in Italy in 1943; George was born in the UK in 1942; both live and work in London. They have had extensive solo exhibitions, including at the Whitechapel Gallery (1971–72), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1995–96), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1997), Serpentine Gallery, London (2002), Kunsthaus Bregenz (2002), Tate Modern, London, Haus der Kunst, Munich (both 2007), Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, and Philadelphia Museum of Art (both 2008). Novelist and cultural commentator Michael Bracewell (born 1958) first saw the art of Gilbert & George in 1977. He met the artists 20 years later, and has since written extensively about their art and interviewed them many times. His recent publications have included essays on the art of Bridget Riley and Richard Hamilton, as well as the books When Surface Was Depth and Roxy Music.