Lisson Gallery
Skoob Works Skoob Works Skoob Works

John Latham Estate

Skoob Works


John Latham (1921–2006) was a pioneer of British conceptual art, who, through painting, sculpture, performances, assemblages, films, installation and extensive writings, fuelled controversy and continues to inspire.

Latham began using books as a medium in 1958, extending his earliest spray-painted canvases into the third dimension by creating reliefs wherein the publication emerged from plaster on canvas.

Titled ‘skoob’, a reversal of ‘books’, these works invert the traditional function of literature, typically read in a linear and temporal manner, to create an object that can be consumed spontaneously and without structure.

The exhibition at Lisson Gallery features a selection of the artist’s early book reliefs from the 1960s, which consist of books and a variety of other materials including scrap metal, wires, gauze and nails, attached to a flat rectangular surface with plaster.

Also presented are Latham’s subsequent Skoob works from the 70s and 80s, including his seminal sculptural piece, They’re Learning Fast (1988): a fish tank containing a number of piranhas and waterproofed inserts with extracts from Latham’s philosophical treatise, Report of a Surveyor.

Featuring contributions from curator Pavel Pys and Turner Prize-winning artist, Laure Prouvost this publication is a useful introduction to the practice of this innovative artist who used books throughout his career. 

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, John Latham: Skoob Works at Lisson Gallery, New York (2 May – 16 June 2018).

Publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780947830694

Format: Softback

Pages: 64

ISBN: 9780947830694

We use cookies on our website to improve your experience. You can find out why by reading our privacy policy. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies Privacy Policy