Louisa Buck

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Louisa Buck is a British art critic and contemporary art correspondent for The Art Newspaper. She was a jurist for the 2005 Turner Prize. She is also an author or co-author of books on contemporary art market.


Louisa Buck is the only daughter of the late Sir Antony Buck MP QC (1926–2003) by his first wife, Judy Grant, from whom he was divorced after 34 years. His marriage to his second wife, Spanish fashion designer, Bienvenida Pérez Blanco, who was 30 years younger than him, ended in scandal, when she admitted adultery with Sir Peter Harding, the British Chief of the Defence Staff, and sold her story to the News of the World for £150,000.[citation needed] Prior to this, Sir Antony had seemed "the epitome of middle-ranking orthodox Tory establishment achievement": he was Conservative Party MP for Colchester for 30 years, and under Edward Heath, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Royal Navy) (1972–74).[1] Louisa Buck said at her father's remembrance service that he had a "lifelong loathing of pomposity, wicked irreverence and dogged loyalty, even when it was against his own interests".[2]

For two years during the 1980s she had a relationship with George Melly and in his will was left his collection of surrealist books and magazines.[3]

In August 2014, Buck was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[4]


She writes on contemporary art for a number of different journals, as well as making television appearances.

She is the author of Moving Targets 2,.[5] the updated edition of Moving Targets (which she also wrote). This book, published by the Tate Gallery, gives profiles of the artists, curators, collectors, critics and galleries who contribute to the "best and most challenging art that is being made in Britain". Profiles of artists include Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Chris Ofili and Cornelia Parker; critics include Adrian Searle, curators, Sir Nicholas Serota and dealers, Jay Jopling of the White Cube gallery. She comments that these "make up only part of the contemporary art world in Britain. Just as there are artists who choose not to respond to the edgy spirit of the times, so there are a great many dealers, curators and critics who do not venture out of their appointed places. However, the subject of this book is the art that sets out to make us look at the world—and ourselves—with new eyes, along with the infrastructure that supports it."

She praises Richard Cork (art critic for The Times at the time of the book) for being among the "rare species" who search out the latest developments in contemporary art, in contrast to the conventional outlook of many of his colleagues, who "still feel that art should know its place, which is firmly on a plinth or in a frame." Cork was art critic for the Evening Standard (1969–83), until "on a black day for contemporary art, he was succeeded by the fulminating Brian Sewell."

In 2000, she criticised the Stuckists artists, "I saw the last Stuckists exhibition and some of the work was just plain cack ... There may be a lot of boring conceptual work but to have a grumpy reactionary movement against it is just daft."[6]

In 2004, she compiled a report for the Arts Council, Market Matters: The dynamics of the contemporary art market. She quoted Thomas Hoving, former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Art is sexy! Art is money-sexy! Art is money-sexy-social-climbing-fantastic!", a description she elsewhere says has "never ... seemed more apt"[7]

In 2005, she was a member of the Turner Prize jury, which awarded the prize to Simon Starling, whose main exhibit Shedboatshed was a wooden shed he had converted into a boat, sailed down the River Rhine and then turned back into the original shed.[8]


Louisa Buck and Judith Greer wrote "Owning Art: The Contemporary Art Collector's Handbook", published by "Cultureshock Media" (23 October 2006), ISBN 0954699912, ISBN 978-0954699918.

Louisa Buck and Daniel McClean wrote "Commissioning Contemporary Art. A Handbook for Curators, Collectors and Artists" intended as a guide to commissioning contemporary art, published by "Thames & Hudson" in 2012, ISBN 9780500238981.

See also[edit]

Other contemporary UK art critics


  1. ^ "Sir Antony Buck", The Guardian, 11 October 2003 Retrieved 21 March 2006
  2. ^ "Long Serving Essex MP Remembered", East Anglia Daily Times, 3 April 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2006
  3. ^ "Melly's bequest to his lovers", Daily Record 22 October 2007
  4. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". theguardian.com. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  5. ^ Buck, Louisa (2000). Moving Targets 2: A User's Guide to British Art Now. Tate Gallery Publishing. ISBN 1-85437-316-1
  6. ^ Stuckism Press Cuttings Retrieved 21 March 2006
  7. ^ Evening Standard ES Magazine, p.15, 2 June 2000
  8. ^ "One Man and His Boat Shed Sail into a Storm over the Turner", The Times, 6 December 2005. Retrieved 27 March 2006

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