Out of the Box

A Celebration of Contemporary Box Art


Visual celebration of 100 of the best examples of contemporary box art (art consisting of an assemblage of found objects and images arranged in a box) from around the world.


ISBN: 9781999858384 Category:

Tom Buchanan, Sarah Lea


“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 of both the self and the world around us.

Out Of The Box celebrates objects, collecting, the everyday and the mischievous staged craft of illusion – “Deceptive Receptacles” in the words of artist Frank Jennings, small discoveries that can surprise and take you places.

Out Of The Box is a collection of 100 creatives, globally, from professional practitioners to those living and working outside society’s mainstream. It captures the remarkably diverse spirit of this unique art form, from the working concepts and executions to the very artists themselves. And it’s no respecter of boundaries, refusing to be categorised; it’s fine art and design, decorative and serious, artefact and artifice.

The very accessibility of box art, touching all aspects of our lives and our daily rituals of rationalising and organising, stimulates an empathetic response. We live, arrange, watch and rest in death in boxes – and in so doing, we face and overcome, before we finally succumb to, the absurdity of life.

Out Of The Box is built on over five years of research and the curating and documenting of collective Box Art exhibitions and events by Tom Buchanan, meticulously recorded by photographer Peter Mallet and with graphic design by Stuart Tolley. It includes a written contribution by leading curator Sarah Lea.

Additional information

Weight 1216 g
Dimensions 17.2 x 24.7 cm
Publisher name Eight Books Ltd
Publication date 14 December 2022
Number of pages 336
Format Hardback
Dimensions 17.2 x 24.7 cm
Weight 1216 g


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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) and Antony Gormley (2019). She writes regularly for the RA Magazine and produces podcasts.