Arts Newsletter: February 2014

Welcome to the first Arts Newsletter of 2014. This month we have a splendid mix of items focussing on the contemporary and classical. One of the many highlights is a particularly exciting new book in the crafting section, Knit Your Own Zoo. Make sure you get your photos into our Seaweek Display.

Library News

Art

For February, a festival of fabulous new art books:-

Syndetics book coverContemporary art in the United Kingdom / [edited by Black Dog Publishing ; contributors, Nicolas Bourriaud … [et al.]].
“The fifth title in Black Dog Publishing’s Artworld series, Contemporary Art in the United Kingdom showcases the wealth of contemporary art being produced in the United Kingdom today. Diverse in content and style, Contemporary Art in the United Kingdom features work from artists including, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin, Fiona Banner, Bob and Roberta Smith, Chris Ofili and Mark Quinn, alongside the work of emerging British artists today. Exploring the phenomenon of the YBA, looking at pre and post-YBA; alongside the growing influence of art fairs such as Frieze and prizes such as the Turner Prize; Contemporary Art in the United Kingdom provides a comprehensive a complexion of the contemporary art scene from all four corners of the British Isles.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverNature morte : contemporary artists reinvigorate the still-life tradition / Michael Petry.
“Current twists on the still life reflect the tradition’s ongoing obsession with death in this survey featuring the work of John Currin, Renata Hegyi, Gabriel Orozco, Cy Twombly, and many others. For Petry (Installation Art in the New Millennium), director of London’s Museum of Contemporary Art, these images are considered nature morte (”dead nature”), as exemplified by the volume’s amusing lenticular cover of an exploding floral arrangement. After discussing the “mortal edge” present in the past five centuries of the still life, Petry traces broad historical changes alongside artistic developments, with selected contemporary works organized into chapters dedicated to “Flora,” “Food,” “House and Home,” “Fauna,” and “Death.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQueen: art & image
“This publication, in association with the National Portrait Gallery in London, follows the reign of Queen Elizabeth II documented in photographs and portraits by some of the most important 20th century artists.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

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Craft

Enjoying crafting? Start this New Year with lots of inspiring ideas and smart choices found in this fabulous collection of new library books. Have fun with yarn and fabric and make use of treasured possessions to create your own piece of history. Look at some enchanting knitting designs of unique accessories, as well as, innovative jewellery, quilting and stitching projects for you and the family. Enjoy the challenge!

Syndetics book coverThe sparkle factory : the design and craft of Tarina’s fashion jewelry and accessories / Tarina Tarantino.
“The cover photograph of celebrity jewelry designer Tarantino will give readers a good idea as to whether her aesthetic suits their tastes. Those whose reaction to her candy-pink hair and bright, oversize, kitschy jewelry is “I love it!” will enjoy this book, while those who think it looks like the aftermath of an unfortunate incident in a costume jewelry factory aren’t the intended audience. Tarantino provides a peek at the steps she took to get her business off the ground, the places she looks to for ideas, and simple projects that reflect her fun-loving credo. The photography is gorgeous; even the images of basic supplies look like still lifes with rhinestones. Furthermore, the projects themselves are easy enough for most crafters to attempt successfully. Verdict? Part collection of projects, part feel-good inspiration, Tarantino’s print debut will appeal to those who believe that there’s no such thing as too much sparkle.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverFun with yarn and fabric / Susanna Zacke & Sania Hedengren ; photos by Magnus Selander ; translated by Ellen Hedström.
“A translation of a Swedish crafting book by two authors who are apparently quite prolific in their homeland, this slim volume is wonderfully illustrated with beautiful full-color photographs by Magnus Selander in the Swedish minimalist style that is beloved in the U.S. To this bare stage, the authors add pops of color in the form of eye-catchingly cheerful crocheted projects, including an unusual- and if not quite the “easy” of the title, at least simple-African Flower stole; covers for a car’s headrests; and a stunning Large Granny Squares bedspread. There are also a handful of knitted and embroidered designs, although many of those rely on purchased embroideries. What Zacke and Hedengren don’t offer are detailed instructions, beyond a handful of stitches in the back; one project, a necktie cross-stitched with a phrase, begins, “Think of what you want to write. Cross-stitch patterns for letters can be found online.” Since the materials used are Swedish (and not sourced) and the text is awkwardly translated at times, readers are advised to enjoy the lovely photographs and project ideas and to glean inspiration from them. Full-color photographs.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverChildren’s spaces : from zero to ten / Judith Wilson ; photography by Debi Treloar.
“A brilliant book for design-conscious parents and kids alike! Children’s Spaces helps you to plan all the practical aspects of children’s rooms and provides plenty of affordable ideas and inspiration when it comes to their design and decoration. Judith Wilson looks at rooms for children between birth and ten years old, with chapters on babies’ rooms, rooms for girls, rooms for boys, and shared bedrooms. There are also chapters on sensible storage and areas that children and adults share – bathrooms, play areas, eating areas and outside space. Children’s Spaces contains a wealth of inspiration drawn from the homes of real families, with real kids, which amply proves that children and great design can happily co-exist without compromising on style.” (Publisher’s description)

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 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)

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Design

This selection of recent architecture books ranges from the first book ever published on new Auckland urban spaces, to an A – Z overview of architects; there are also themes from history to sustainability.

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 coverArchitects from A to Z / Paul Cattermole, Simon Forty.
“From Alvar Aalto to Peter Zumthor, from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century, this comprehensive overview introduces readers to the major names, schools and structures in the field of architecture. Each entry focuses on a seminal architect and one of their career-defining works. Arranged alphabetically, the book is easy to use, and the large superbly reproduced full-colour photographs allow one to examine the details of the buildings it celebrates.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe solar house : pioneering sustainbale design / Anthony Denzer
“The Solar House explores the development of solar residential architecture over the course of the twentieth century and up to the latest designs today. The solar house is often understood as a product of the 1970s, and few people are aware of the influential experimental solar houses which were constructed during the previous four decades, beginning with the work of masters of twentieth-century architecture such as Richard Neutra, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Paolo Soleri, Louis Kahn, Pietro Belluschi, Edward Durell Stone, and Harwell Hamilton Harris, and continuing with more recent innovations.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRock the shack / [edited by Sven Ehmann, Robert Klanten, and Sofia Borges ; text and preface by Sofia Borges].
“For the first time in the history of mankind, more people live in cities than in the country. Yet, at the same time, more and more city dwellers are yearning for rural farms, mountain cabins, or seaside homes. These kinds of refuges offer modern men and women a promise of what urban centers usually cannot provide: quiet, relaxation, being out of reach, getting back to basics, feeling human again. Rock the shack is a survey of such contemporary refuges from around the world — from basic to luxury” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

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Classical Music

Here are our latest classical music books and CDs — featuring the correspondance of Leonard Bernstein, as well as performances of works by composers Vaughan Williams and Richard Strauss. Plus, Stacy Horn traces the evolution of ensemble singing, from monks chanting in the Middle Ages and the blossoming of church music in the Renaissance, through to the golden age of the 19th century in her book, “Imperfect harmony : finding happiness singing with others“. We love how she puts the experience of ensemble singing: “a transcendent feeling of harmonious belonging”:-)

Books:

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)

Syndetics book coverImperfect harmony : finding happiness singing with others / Stacy Horn.
“Horn (Cyberville), in her reflective memoir of her decades-long participation in the Choral Society of Grace Church in lower Manhattan, delves into works the choir and others like it have sung over the centuries… Horn eloquently traces the evolution of ensemble singing, from monks chanting in the Middle Ages and the blossoming of church music in the Renaissance through the golden age of the 19th century. She also discusses many of the works that endure today, such as those by Purcell, Handel, Bach, Haydn, and Mozart…She writes movingly about how singing about death and simply breathing together bring a transcendent feeling of harmonious belonging.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

CDs:

vaughnwilliamsSymphony no. 5 ; Symphony no. 8 / Vaughan Williams. (CD)
“[This] release combines two highly contrasting works to provide a disc which is both moving and uplifting. Symphony No.5 is a generally tranquil work with music influenced by Ravel, with whom Vaughan Williams had studied, and is scored for very traditional forces. Symphony No.8 is dedicated to Sir John Barbirolli and was premièred by the Hallé in 1956.” (Summary courtesy of amazon.co.uk)

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)

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