Edited by former Dazed and Confused editor Rachel Newsome, the book’s structure is just as unconventional as its concept. With only some cursory housekeeping and navigational advice, the book launches straight into the main body of content – a series of essays written by the likes of artists Damien Hirst and Fiona Banner and critic Ossian Ward. Topics covered include Piers Morgan and the cult of celebrity, souvenirs and their etymology and origins, the cultural cachet of Sid Vicious and Che Guevara, rubbish, revolution, appropriation and pipes. Some talk about Turk and his output, others refrain from mentioning him at all, instead leaving the reader to join the dots as to the article’s implications on the artists work. To help somewhat with the latter, Newsome frames the essays by organising them into three distinct sections: What is Real? discusses representation and the notion of the artist as an outsider, The Machine looks at celebrity and performance with reference to Postmodernism, and Zero explores whether art is past its shelf-life.
The more traditional art criticism (including Newsome’s own reflections on Turk and a Q&A with the artist, which is perhaps the highlight of the book) has been annexed to the appendix, hidden out of site for the discovery of particularly attentive readers. The result is that by the time you actually get to the more factual material on Turk’s practice, the seemingly tangental ideas put forward in previous essays begin to resonate within the discussion of his work.