Arts Newsletter: January 2014

Welcome to the first Arts Newsletter of 2014! Here are our latest picks from around the library

Library News


In art our selection this month has been described as, “as varied as Wellington’s summer.” A Map of the World: according to illustrators & storytellers is particularly fascinating.

Syndetics book coverDamien Hirst : relics / curator, Francesco Bonami ; essays by Francesco Bonami, Abdellah Karroum, Michael Craig-Martin ; and an interview by Nicholas Serota.
“A groundbreaking work, this catalog accompanies the largest exhibition ever realized on Damien Hirst, surveying the oeuvres of the highly acclaimed British artist. Published on the occasion of Relics, Hirst’s first retrospective exhibition in Doha, Qatar, this richly illustrated book offers a different perspective on the work of one of the best-known artists working today. Tracing Hirst’s career from his emergence on the art scene in the Young British Artists movement to his present status as one of the most controversial and highly regarded artists of his generation, this volume offers a complete overview on his wide-ranging practice, which includes installation, painting, sculpture, and drawing and challenges the boundaries between art, science, and popular culture.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAmerican mirror : the life and art of Norman Rockwell / Deborah Solomon.
“In this well-paced, insightful biography of the iconic illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post, art critic Solomon (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell) reveals an enormously complicated man whose wholesome vision of America was not merely commercial kitsch, but art that sprung from an emotional life fraught with anxiety, depression, and self-doubt. This sympathetic portrait depicts a repressed and humble Rockwell-a fastidious realist whose style and obsessions clashed with the values of modernism… Though Solomon opts to simplify and quickly dismiss criticism of Rockwell (such as Dwight Macdonald’s), her substantive narrative captures the abundant complexities of this unusual artist, and reclaims him as a master storyteller.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt now. Vol. 4 / [edited by Hans Werner Holzwarth].
“Think of this tome as a global go-round of the world’s most influential galleries: if it’s hot in the art world today, it’s in this book. Emerging artists are featured alongside established greats like Chuck Close, David Hockney, or Brice Marden. A to Z entries on more than 100 artists include images of important recent work, an introductory text, and a short exhibition history with bibliographical information. The illustrated appendix collects contact details for the galleries representing the artists as well as auction results of the last few years” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverA map of the world : according to illustrators & storytellers / edited by Antonis Antoniou, Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann, and Hendrik Hellige.
“Maps help us understand the world. This book features the most original and sought-after map illustrators whose work is in line with the zeitgeist. Drawing a map means understanding our world a bit better. For centuries, we have used the tools of cartography to represent both our immediate surroundings and the world at large–and to convey them to others… A new generation of designers, illustrators, and mapmakers are currently discovering their passion for various forms of illustrative cartography. A Map of the World is a compelling collection of their work.” (adapted from

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Also varies was our eclectic mix of new craft books, featuring clever and creative ideas to help you kick off the New Year. Experience the contemporary culture of crafting, learn new techniques and create something adorable.

Syndetics book coverVintage quilt revival : 22 modern designs from classic blocks / Katie Clark Blakesley, Lee Heinrich, Faith Jones.
“Vintage Quilt Revival is a resource for quilters of any age or style who love to use today’s modern colors and fabrics. With fresh quilt layouts, detailed instructions on foundation piecing, and a wide variety of traditional blocks and modern projects, Vintage Quilt Revival is at the forefront of the burgeoning interest in the “traditional-made-modern” movement.
Join the authors and make 20 traditional quilt blocks. Use them to sew a sampler quilt or explore the authors’ tips and modifications for making the blocks fresh and appealing and use them to create quilts with a modern flair. Projects range from full-size quilts to a pillow, table runner, bag, and zipper pouch. Learn bits of quilting history throughout the book and see design tips on how to take traditional quilt blocks and piecing techniques and give them a modern spin. If you’re already knowledgeable about piecing, basting, quilting, and binding, this book is an essential addition to your library.” (Summary adapted from

Syndetics book coverWoolbuddies : 20 irresistibly simple needle felting projects / Jackie Huang ; photographs by Antonis Achilleos.
“Wool felting is surprisingly easy; all crafters need to get started is a felting needle, a piece of soft foam to use as a felting pad, and some colorful scraps of wool roving. Huang, who began felting so he could make toys for his daughter, has a background in animation, which is apparent in the expressive faces of his creations. The projects are arranged by level of difficulty (simple, moderate, and challenging), and full instructions are presented along with accompanying photographs. Beginners will appreciate the introduction, which provides the basics in a clear, concise, easy-to-follow manner. Verdict? There are many felting books that focus on creating small animal toys, but few contain projects with as much verve as those in this book. Felters will love making these little woolbuddies, and children will enjoy playing with them.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverMake your own lampshades : 35 original shades to make for table lamps, ceiling lights, and more / Elizabeth Cake.
“Lighting is one of the most important elements of a room’s decorating scheme. It is functional but it can also create drama, warmth, atmosphere and a sense of fun. This fabulous new book with 35 wonderful projects from lampshade designer Elisabeth Cake shows how a beautiful and unique lampshade can completely transfer a room.” (Adapted from Publisher’s Description)

Syndetics book coverKnit your own zoo / Sally Muir & Joanna Osborne ; photography by Holly Jolliffe.
“Knitting patterns for 25 wild animals. There is something here for everyone, with instructions for knitting spots, stripes, fur, scales, trunks, wings and beaks! The animals are surprisingly easy to make. It will only take a few evenings to create yourself an exotic pet or reproduce your favourite species. These knitted animals in miniature are much easier to look after than the real things – they don’t need feeding, they won’t make a mess and they take up hardly any room!” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverHome / Beci Orpin.
“Home will appeal to fans of Beci and to those who loved her previous publication, Find and Keep. Filled with 25 creative projects, each individually imagined by Beci, and designed especially for the home environment, Home will make you fall in love with your house, all over again. Similar to Find and Keep, Home is filled with inspiration and crafty ideas, along with projects designed by Beci, but this time specifically created for you home. The book is separated into three spatial areas: Living Space, Working Space and Sleeping Space. Each chapter is filled with photos and quirky illustrations from Beci, along with solid ideas on how to beautify your home, Beci style. At the end of each chapter there is a collection of projects created by Beci especially for this book, each with a varying level of difficulty, but definitely something for everyone. Try your hand at making cushions, or creating your own duvet cover. Be inspired to design your own wall art, or perfect your workspace with carefully designed space-saving techniques that are both beautiful and functional. Enter the world of Beci’s Home and be inspired to make and create objects and artwork that will enhance your living space and make your house feel all brand new again.” (Summary adapted from uk)

Syndetics book coverThe collage workbook : how to get started and stay inspired / Randel Plowman.
“The author of The Collage Workbook has been making at least one small collage per day for many years and has chronicled his work since 2006 on the blog Plowman covers design basics, tools, and techniques before inviting readers to make their own mixed-media found-object artworks using 50 short exercises. Hundreds of examples of inspiring collages are included. A companion website to the book,, provides links to sources for public-domain imagery and a place for readers to share work. Verdict? This book will help readers see creative possibilities in mundane and unusual places.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

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The latest selection of recent architecture books ranges from the first book ever published on new Auckland urban spaces to interior design and more!

Syndetics book coverAuckland, new city spaces / design and production by Diana Curtis. “The first book ever published on new Auckland Urban Spaces, featuring descriptions, plans and photographs of 16 major urban spaces in Auckland City -all which have made a positive contribution to the development of a new urban fabric for the City. Projects include; Queen Street, Aotea Square, Lorne Street, Auckland Art Gallery, Elliott & Darby Streets, St Patrick’s Square, Fort Street area, Britomart Precinct, Taurarua Judges Bay, Queen’s Wharf, Te Wero, Karanga Plaza, North Wharf, Jellicoe St, Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter Playspace, Victoria Skatepark & Victoria park Tunnel. Practices responsible for these areas include; Boffa Miskell, Architectus, Isthmus, Reset Urban Design, Ted Smythe & Associates, Cooper/Cheshire Architects, Taylor Cullity Lethlean/Wraight + Associates and Archimedia. This is an important book which all those interested in Auckland, urban spaces and urban planning should include in their collection.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBritish stuff : life in Britain through 101 everyday objects / by Geoff Hall and Kamila Kasperowicz.
“Using essential British design items and everday objects, “British Stuff” acquaints one with the ins and outs of modern UK life. Through the everyday objects that are part of the fabric of conetmporary life in the UK, this fascinating full-color photographic compendium introduces Britain in a new way. Containing a wealth of iconic British design staples as well as the treasures of everyday life–from the Mini and the Anglepoise lamp to M&S underwear and the Argos catalog–this guide is a must-have for anyone who wants to understand British culture from the inside out, complete with all its idiosyncrasies and quirks.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverDecorating with style : speedy tips, savvy tricks & cool ideas to transform your home / Abigail Ahern ; photography by Graham Atkins-Hughes.
“According to the internationally renowned interior designer, the most successful homes always have an element of the unexpected. Proving that style has nothing to do with money and everything to do with confidence, Abigail goes back to basics to help you determine your own style, then demonstrates how to take interiors to the next level by mixing and layering different styles and eras; injecting intrigue into a room with some maximalist lighting or a decorative rug; playing around with scale, colour and texture to create an enchanting, idiosyncratic vibe. Packed with original ideas, beautiful photography, speedy updates and easy DIY projects – that transform affordable furniture and accessories into something you’d see in a designer showroom – this hip, hands-on guide offers all the tips, tricks and inspiration you need to create a stylish home.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

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Classical Music

Here is a selection of our latest classical music books and CDs — featuring the correspondance of Leonard Bernstein, as well as performances of works by composer Richard Strauss, and — cornerstones of the Russian repertoire — Mussorgsky and Prokofiev.


Syndetics book coverThe birth of an opera : fifteen masterpieces from Poppea to Wozzeck / Michael Rose.
“Rose (Berlioz Remembered) draws from a series of BBC radio programs he co-created with Hanns Hammelmann, which aired from 1955 to 1971 and focused on the genesis of 15 operas from the 17th to the 20th centuries. He excerpts contemporary sources such as letters from composers to librettists, as well as the views of conductors, opera house managers, critics, and other luminaries, while filling in the historical context… Accompanying engravings and photographs are illuminating and the bibliography is a useful blend of historic and recent titles.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe Leonard Bernstein letters / edited by Nigel Simeone.
“This book boasts an impressive assortment of 650 letters to and from the maestro, spanning the years 1932, when Bernstein was a precocious teenager studying piano, and 1990, the year of his death…Bernstein was one of the most articulate and witty writers on the contemporary music scene, and his posthumous prose collection Findings contains ample evidence of his literary prowess. This talent is very much on display in this volume. Simeone has chosen letters that highlight Bernstein’s musical activities rather than strictly personal ones, and the list of correspondents forms a who’s who of musical, literary, artistic, and political luminaries in the second half of the 20th century.” (Adapted from Library Journal)


musorgMusorgsky, Prokofiev (CD)
Steven Osborne has become one of the most valuable pianists recording today…Now he turns to further cornerstones of the Russian repertoire in this recording of Musorgsky’s ‘Pictures from an Exhibition’ (a work which has been in Osborne’s concert repertoire for many years), and two sets of Prokofiev’s miniatures. Musorgsky’s masterpiece is one of the most popular programmatic works of the 19th century. Yet it is also a great pianistic challenge, with the spectacular textures of the climactic movement ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’ requiring the highest technical accomplishments. (summary courtesy of

alsosprachzarathustraAlso sprach Zarathustra / Richard Strauss. (CD)
“This masterful live recording of Strauss’s ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’ is sure to please. The Berlin Philharmonic, as always, play to an exceptionally high standard under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel (a young conductor proving he is growing exponentially in his abilities). This popular piece is moody, atmospheric, and rich – well worth a listen.” (Summary by Emily)

couperinTrois leçons de ténèbres / Couperin ; [with works by] Marais [and] Sainte-Colombe. Ravishing second release on The King’s Consort’s new classical label, VIVAT, features world-renowned British soprano Carolyn Sampson and outstanding Norwegian mezzo Marianne Beate Kielland in entrancingly evocative French Baroque music. (Summary courtesy of

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