Authored books


Grayson Perry      Thames & Hudson 2009 / Updated and expanded 2013 / 3rd edition forthcoming 2020

Turner Prize-winner Grayson Perry has become the UK's best-loved artist, with blockbuster exhibitions and a plethora of TV and radio appearances. His hard-hitting yet exquisite work – from ceramic vases and prints to sculpture and tapestry – references his own upbringing and his life as a transvestite while also engaging with broader issues from war and religion to politics and sex.

This is the first and most complete monograph on Perry, exploring all of his major themes and subjects. My texts are accompanied by insightful commentaries by Perry himself, giving unique access to his imaginative world and creative processes. With a full biography, bibliography and exhibition history, this is the definitive book on one of the most popular and important artists of our time.

"Clear, generous and insightful … In unravelling the mystique behind Perry, Klein shows why this unlikely artist is, in fact, most likely a national treasure"   —  The Financial Times

"Lavish … Jacky Klein leads us into the warped world of this crossdressing potter with a keen intellect and a sharp social insight"   — The Times

"A gorgeously splashy volume, spliced with sharp, sober commentary, and invaluable words from Perry himself"   — World of Interirors

What is Contemporary Art? A Children's Guide   Thames & Hudson, London / Museum of Modern Art, New York 2012

Why do some artists use elephant dung, eggshells and crushed cars to make their art? Who created sculptures from fluorescent lightbulbs? Are two giant hamburgers better than one? Does Rachel Whiteread’s bed look comfortable to you? And why is there a suit hanging on the wall of an art gallery?

What Is Contemporary Art? reveals all this and more. The perfect introduction to the world of contemporary art, it celebrates the work of around 70 artists from across the globe. A captivating book for children and parents to read at home, as well as the ideal support for teachers and schools, it invites young readers to understand, enjoy and question the very best art of our time. Exploring subjects such as outer space, unusual materials and bizarre beasts, the book is packed with special features including information and ideas boxes, quotations by the artists and ‘How did they do it?’ prompts.

"Lucid and rather jaunty without being flippant … enough accurate and insightful information for young people to become intrigued … replete with good-quality illustrations that are well chosen and well informed by the text … a beautifully presented and accessible book that parents, teachers and older children will find valuable"  — The Art Newspaper

Books I have contributed to


Body of Art      Phaidon 2015 

The first book to celebrate the beautiful and provocative ways artists have represented, scrutinised and utilised the body over centuries. Diverse and multi-cultural, it explores the manifestations of the body through time, cultures and media. Over 400 artists are featured with works ranging from 11,000 BC to today. 

I contributed around thirty of the texts on artists including Giorgione, Mantegna, Gentileschi, Bernini, Rodin, Manet, Grosz, Derain, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Tracey Emin and Jenny Saville. 

"A sumptuous and continually surprising survey … The editors have grouped their pictures in thought-provoking ways … Short interpretive texts make the correspondences more resonant" — RA Magazine

"Body of Art positions itself as the most extensive survey of the representation of the body in art ever to be published - a bold claim, but one it deftly pulls off" — Daily Telegraph

"Comprehensive and compelling. An impressive range of work" — Aesthetica

Grayson Perry: Small Differences   British Council / Pera Museum 2015 

This is the catalogue accompanying a survey exhibition of Grayson's work organised by the British Council at the Pera Museum, Istanbul. It features  a new interview that I conducted with him, including his reflections on the art that has inspired him, along with an essay by the exhibition curator Linsey Young.


100 Painters of Tomorrow      Thames & Hudson 2014

Painting is enjoying a remarkable renaissance in the 21st century, and this is the essential book on the outstanding painters of the future. The 100 chosen artists – selected from more than 4,000 entrants in a global open-call project – come from more than 30 countries, and their work spans an extraordinary range of styles and techniques, from abstraction to figuration, minimalism to magical realism, and straight oil-on-canvas to mixed-media and installation-based painting.

Entries were judged by an international panel including the painter Cecily Brown, curators Tony Godfrey, Yuko Hasegawa and Gregor Muir, and writer-critics Suzanne Hudson, Barry Schwabsky and Philip Tinari. I helped originate the project and was delighted to be one of the jury members.

"A reference book for curators and collectors, as well as a source of inspiration for artists and a wonderful collection for art lovers"  —

"Overthrows the idea that painting is dead and instead demonstrates why the art form continues to persist, evolve and remain incredibly relevant today"  — Aesthetica

"Intelligent, wide-ranging and exhilarating"  —

Antony Gormley: Blind Light  Hayward Gallery 2007


Antony Gormley is widely recognised as one of the most imaginative and original artists working in the UK today. This illustrated book accompanied the exhibition Antony Gormley: Blind Light at The Hayward, the artist's first major showing in London in over 25 years.

Since the 1980s Gormley has focused consistently on the human figure, often using his own body as the starting point for works that explore our perception of space, architecture, and bodily presence. The book includes an original visual essay by the artist that elaborates his aesthetic preoccupations with images selected from his own photographic archive. Essays from leading writers and scholars Anthony Vidler, Susan Stewart and W. J. T. Mitchell accompany an in-depth interview conducted by me and the Hayward Director Ralph Rugoff, reconsidering Gormley's place within contemporary culture and the history of art.

The Bone Beneath the Pulp: Drawings by Wyndham Lewis  Courtauld Gallery / Paul Holberton Publishing 2004

Described by the poet and critic T. S. Eliot as 'the most fascinating personality of our time’, Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957), artist, novelist and cultural critic, is one of the key avant-garde figures of early twentieth-century British art.  Renowned as the leader of the Vorticist group in the years immediately before the First World War, he produced abstract works that were distinctive for their formal experimentation and acerbic wit, yet his diverse and experimental oeuvre also encompassed figure studies, portraits and works of imaginative fantasy.

Beginning in the early 1900s, this exhibition featured more than fifty drawings from across Lewis's career, including his youthful figure studies, portraits, surreal abstractions and dreamscapes. Charting his move to Canada and the United States during the Second World War and his subsequent return to London in 1945, the exhibition ended with one of Lewis’s last works, completed in 1951 just before he lost his sight.