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Out of the Box
A celebration of contemporary box art

by Tom Buchanan


240 x 168 mm

336 pages 

c.400 colour photographs

Hardback with cloth quarter binding


Published: 29 September 2022


ISBN 9781999858384


Rights sold: Available


A fascinating journey into a labyrinthine world, this is an inclusive, in-depth compendium of artists’ imaginations from very different walks of life. Gavin Turk

From Duchamp’s Kunstkammer to the avian works of Joseph Cornell, box art re-invents the ordinary and stimulates an endless journey of discovery, both of the self and of the world around us. Out of the Box celebrates objects, assemblage, and the lost art of collecting in an increasingly digital world. 


This fascinating compendium features more than 100 creatives from 21 different countries—not only professional artists, but also those living and working outside the mainstream. Showcasing over 500 works, the book encapsulates diversity by way of a practice that refuses to be categorized: it is fine art and design, decorative and serious, artefact and artifice captured in miniature. 


The very accessibility of box art, touching all aspects of our lives and our daily rituals of rationalizing and organizing, elicits an empathetic response. We live, arrange, watch, and rest in death in boxes, and this extraordinary book is testament to the absurdity and wonder that is life.


Out of the Box is built on a decade of research, curating, and the documenting of box art exhibitions and events by Tom Buchanan. It includes a written contribution by Sarah Lea, a leading curator from the Royal Academy of Arts, London.



Foreword by Tom Buchanan

An Historical Context by Sarah Lea

Artists and Concepts



Tom Buchanan is a freelance designer, artist and curator based in London, UK. He studied graphic design at Camberwell College of Arts and his own work has evolved through a fusion of collage, print, ink, model making and photography. He has worked for numerous advertising agencies, publishers, record labels and newspapers, including Condé Nast, The Guardian, Saatchi & Saatchi, Time Life, Random House, TBWA GGT, Time Out, INK publishing, Jonathan Cape, Thames & Hudson, Polydor records and New Scientist. In 2012 he was invited to participate in The Brighton Arts Festival and this inspired him to assemble a nationwide open submission to exhibit “Artworks that have evolved, been created within, or even escaped from a Box...”. This was the start of the phenomenal “Out of the Box” series of exhibitions.


Sarah Lea is an art historian and exhibitions curator. Having joined the Royal Academy in 2007, Sarah has curated several major exhibitions including Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust (2015) Dali/Duchamp (2017), Tacita Dean: Landscape (2018), Antony Gormley (2019) and Francis Bacon: Man and Beast (2022). She writes regularly for the RA Magazine and produces podcasts.

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