Book of the Month July 2023: Hurvin Anderson

Our Book of the Month for July is Michael J Prokopow's monograph on Hurvin Anderson – now 20% off with code MONTH20 until the end of July. 


Hurvin Anderson is known for painting loosely rendered ‘observations’ of scenes and spaces loaded with personal or communal meaning. Anderson’s painting style is notable for the ease with which he slips between figuration and abstraction, playing with the tropes of earlier landscape traditions and 20th-century abstraction. His paintings of barbershop interiors, country tennis clubs and tropical roadsides teem with rich brushwork and multitudes of decorative patterns or architectural features, at once obscuring and adding to underlying ruminations on identity and place. 

NOW ON AT THE HEPWORTH WAKEFIELD: Hurvin Anderson: Salon Paintings 

Flat Top, 2008, oil on canvas, 250 x 208 cm. Thomas Dane London. © Hurvin Anderson.
Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery. Photo: Hugh Kelly.


Hurvin Anderson (b. 1965) first painted a Birmingham-based barbershop in 2006. Over the last 15 years, Anderson has repeatedly reworked the same barbershop in a multitude of ways to explore key painting styles, shifting from figuration to abstraction, and experimenting with the classic genres of still life, landscape and portraiture.

The Salon Paintings exhibition focuses on the Barbershop series as a lens through which to understand Anderson’s wider practice and key concerns of memory, identity and nationhood.

The exhibition displays the most comprehensive presentation of the Barbershop series, from the very first work made in 2006 to the latest paintings, Skiffle, 2023 and Shear Cut, 2023, created this spring which culminate the series. Anderson’s studio drawings and related sketches are interspersed throughout the exhibition revealing the subject matter of the barbershop as one that has sustained his approach to experimentation over the past 15 years.

Alongside the Salon Paintings exhibition, Anderson has curated a display of works that will take visitors on a journey through his formative influences. This personal selection offers a unique insight into what informs and motivates Hurvin Anderson’s approach to painting and includes work by Michael Andrews, Francis Bacon, Patrick Caulfield, Prunella Clough, Duncan Grant, Denzil Forrester, Claudette Johnson, Leon Kossoff, Keith Piper and Stanley Spencer.




Michael J. Prokopow's monograph on Hurvin Anderson - the first comprehensive overview of Anderson's career to date – won the HBA Book Award for Exemplary Scholarship on the Contemporary Period. The prize jury commented:  

This beautifully illustrated book carefully maps, for the first time with such depth, the richness of Hurvin Anderson’s oeuvre across several decades. Here, the celebrated and familiar large canvases of barbershop scenes and Caribbean landscapes which have featured in key exhibitions including the Royal West of England Academy’s Jamaican Pulse (2016) and, more recently, Tate’s Life Between Islands (2021), and which were central to the artist’s Turner Prize nomination in 2017, are contextualized not only within broader dialogues around diaspora and its politics but also within a painting practice vested with complex philosophical and art historical implications. Prokopow’s concise and careful examination of Anderson’s work, which draws heavily on interviews with the artist and is supplemented by images from the artist’s archive, is an important and incisive contribution to the field of study around contemporary painting in Britain. 

Dr. Michael J. Prokopow is an historian and curator. His areas of expertise include material and visual culture, design and architecture, cultural theory, postcolonial and decolonization theory and museum and curatorial practice. He has published widely on aesthetics, craft and modernism.

Get your copy of the book HERE and apply code MONTH20 for 20% off!