April Arts Newsletter

Welcome to our April Arts Newsletter – a variety of books overflowing with ideas to warm your imagination as the season chills.

Library News

Art

Our latest Art selections take a look at still life, line drawing, urban street art, and maps.

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 coverWalk the line : the art of drawing / Marc Valli & Ana Ibarra.
“Drawing has always been a fundamental skill and good drawing skills allowed artists to grasp the reality around them. At the turn of the millennium, however, the general impression was that with the wide availability of computers, scanners, digital cameras and image software, drawing would dwindle into a marginal activity. In fact, the opposite happened: the enthusiasm for digital imagery died down and the ability to draw has become a treasured skill. In the art world, attitudes to drawing have also changed. Drawing became a way of making a statement as an artist, of showing masterly skill something that up to then had been most commonly associated with painting. After centuries in the shadow of its more illustrious fine art relatives, drawing started to be appreciated for its own sake, as an art discipline, an end in itself, an art form.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt of D*Face: one man and his dog
“D*Face has been a leading figure in urban art for well over a decade. A contemporary of Banksy, he was at the forefront of the urban art movement, and has had a constant presence throughout its meteoric rise into popular culture. This long-awaited monograph shows the development of his career as an artist to date, encompassing his continuing street work, and the path that led him from the early beginnings of the street art genre to multiple sell-out solo exhibitions around the world. Containing previously unseen images of his working process and studio, as well as firsthand anecdotes, and the stories behind his extraordinary work, the book provides an insider’s view of one of Britain’s most important urban artists.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

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 Amazon.com)

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Craft

It’s been an exiting time for our crafty library team, cataloguing and sorting out all these cool and ‘delicious’ craft books, which are packed with inspiring knitting, quilting, crocheting and sewing projects. If you are ready for an artistic journey then start here.

Syndetics book coverOnce upon a knit : 28 Grimm and glamorous fairy-tale projects / Genevieve Miller. “Iconic fairy-tale characters from storybooks, movies, and television inspire this collection of magical knitting patterns perfect for modern knights, villains, and princesses. Once again, Genevieve Miller taps a wide range of contributors (from knitwear designers to students) to create a collection of 28 wearables, accessories, and toys that can be knit for adults or kids. Inspired by the recent resurgence of fairy-tale and fantasy characters, these projects draw from classic stories as well as pop-culture phenomena featuring romantic, feminine costumes. Projects range from kid- and teen-friendly animals hats to an Alice in Wonderland beret to a crystal-embellished vest fit for a Snow Queen, adding a little dress-up fun to knitters’ everyday wardrobes.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverMade for you : homemade gifts to give / Jenny Occleshaw. “Helps you create gifts for your friends, family and loved ones using your sewing, beading, knitting, crochet, felting and embroidery skills. This book features projects that are divided into the following sections: Gifts for children, ladies, gents and the home. It is suitable for experienced crafters and newcomers alike.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book cover “How to show & sell your crafts : how to build your craft business at home, online, and in the marketplace / Torie Jayne. “Online marketplaces like Etsy have opened up a new world for crafters who want to make money from their work, and UK-based Jayne, whose aesthetic is part English country house, part “put a bird on it” quirk, enlists the help of a number of successful craft entrepreneurs for this collection of tips for making a living selling creations. Though the title is presented as a book on showing and selling crafts, it comes across as more of a lifestyle manual, with cutesy projects taking the place of practical advice. Some of Jayne’s suggestions are a little odd-does it really matter if you cover your storage boxes with floral wallpaper, or if the chair you sit in to work is “stylish”?-but her tips on branding will be helpful to those who are new to marketing their wares. Those who have already mastered the basics and are looking to take their fledgling businesses to the next level may prefer Kari Chapin’s Grow Your Handmade Business, which focuses less on making your workspace pretty and more on selling handmade goods as a livelihood. VERDICT Crafters who are just starting out may find some handy tips here, but only if they’re willing to wade through all the style-related fluff to find the nuggets of wisdom.” (Library Journal)

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Design

New in Design is a breathtaking look at Victorian Architect William Burges, back-to-basics refuges for those yearning the quiet life, Alice Rawsthorn’s look at where design meets life, and some furniture and lighting eye candy.

Syndetics book coverWilliam Burges and the high Victorian dream / J. Mordaunt Crook.
“William Burges (1827-81) was arguably the greatest of all Victorian architects. But he was more than just the creator of a modest number of fabulous, and fabulously expensive, buildings. He dreamed of hundreds more, designed dozens, and in addition created some of the most remarkable furniture and jewellery of all time. He was an art-architect. Rich, clever, well connected and short lived, he was uncompromising, profoundly learned, skilled in every process of design and explosively inventive. A brilliant talker, pungent critic and hilarious companion, he was one of Victorian London’s great eccentrics and networkers, though he was bewitched by the Middle Ages. . His furniture, fabric and jewellery designs and his unrealised projects were also hugely influential, and the former are now enthusiastically collected. This book was a landmark in Victorian studies when first published in 1981 and is now completely revised and re-illustrated substantially in colour.” (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)

Syndetics book coverHello world : where design meets life / Alice Rawsthorn.
“Design is one of the most powerful forces in our lives. When deployed wisely, it can bring us pleasure, choice, strength, decency and much more. But if its power is abused, the outcome can be wasteful, confusing, humiliating, even dangerous. None of us can avoid being affected by design, whether or not we wish to. It is so ubiquitous that it determines how we feel and what we do, often without our noticing. Hello World explores design’s influence on our lives. From the macabre symbol with which 18th century pirates terrorised their victims into surrender, to one woman’s quest for the best possible prosthetic legs and the evolution of the World Cup ball, it describes how warlords, scientists, farmers, hackers, activists and professional designers have used the complex, often elusive process of design to different ends throughout history. At a time when we face colossal changes, unprecedented in their speed, scale and intensity – from the deepening environmental crisis, to giant leaps in science and technology – Hello Worldexplains how design can help us to make sense of them and to turn them to our advantage.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverSo far / David Trubridge.
“David Trubridge’s first major international breakthrough came at the 2001 Milan Furniture Fair when his now famous Body Raft was picked up for manufacture by Cappellini, the hugely influential Italian furniture company. Since then he has gone on to produce and sell furniture and lighting throughout the world, and his work has become a staple of design magazines and publications everywhere. He believes that his life and work are one and the same, and consequently this very personal book is a fascinating and insightful look at the progress of his career, his thoughts on the creative process, and crucially his passionate interest in attempting to develop a work practice that is as environmentally sustainable as possible. Beautifully produced, and full of photographs, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in art, design, architecture and creativity.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

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Classical Music

New in Classical Music is a look at the birth of Opera, the letters of Leonard Bernstein and Stacy Horn’s Imperfect Harmony.

Books:

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)

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)

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