Recent Art Picks

Squeezing in at the end of January, these recent additions to our library collection have a contemporary and urban focus. Of particular note is John Tusa’s “Pain in the Arts” highlighting  the political controversies the arts continually face and the battles it continues to fight. Despite economic downturns and political agendas he argues for the sake of excellence and the value of art and its place in our society.

Syndetics book coverWeak messages create bad situations: a manifesto
“Weak messages create bad situations. Strong messages create good situations. Turner Prize-nominated artist David Shrigley is here to help.
Shrigley has exhibited at the Tate Modern in London, at the MoMA in New York, and in Paris, Berlin, Melbourne and beyond.  He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2013 and lives and works in Glasgow.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverArt in time : a world history of styles and movements / project editor, Tom Melick.
“An essential guide to art styles and movements and a history of world art from the present day to Greek antiquity, this book places the reader in the art historian’s seat, offering an opportunity to work backwards from our own time and reconnect the dots, or even find new dots to connect.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverTalk about street art / Jérome Catz ; translated from the French by Anna Hiddleston-Galloni.
“Graffiti and street art have long been part of our visual culture. The artist’s engagement and state of mind are important components of street art; the book covers topics such as anonymity, the art form’s dangerous nature, codes of conduct, and ideological engagement, as well as the interface of street art with contemporary art, pop surrealism, toy art, and music and sport. Street art is found on every continent, and the book gives focus to each country and its own modes of expression and specificities.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of mistakes : unexpected painting techniques & the practice of creative thinking / Melanie Rothschild.
“When it comes to mistakes, we’re all experts. Really. Yet fear of making mistakes often holds us back from trying new things. Whether you are a seasoned artist, or just getting started, learning to embrace and use mistakes can spell the beginning of a new chapter in your art-making life. Showcasing 16 painting techniques to encourage creative thinking and experimentation this book is about how mistakes can serve your art and creativity.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverComics unmasked : art and anarchy in the UK / Paul Gravett, John Harris Dunning.
“Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning look beyond the notion of comics as pleasure reading to focus on their inherently anarchic nature.  Combing the British Library’s extensive comic collection not only to explore the full potential of the medium they have also singled out the critical points in history in which the art form challenged the status quo. Comics Unmasked explores the political and social issues raised by British comics and their creators over the last century, from violence and drugs to class and sexuality.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverTraining days : the subway artists then and now / Henry Chalfant & Sacha Jenkins.
Training Days focuses on graffiti culture from the mid-1970s until the early 1980s, offering a counterculture viewpoint on the unifying power of graffiti; many artists commented about the lack of race or class distinctions.  Whether the images that accompany the text strike the reader as art is a matter of individual taste, but the ultimate fascination lies in the artists’ dissection and analyses of their own styles and those of their contemporaries.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverConcrete canvas: how street art is changing the way our cities look
“What happens when you look at graffiti and street art as unlimited art forms instead of urban phenomena? ‘Concrete Canvas’ investigates the media the artists work with, the canvases they work on, the themes that arise through their work, and the way their art redefines the spaces in which it is set.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverPain in the arts / John Tusa.
“Over a distinguished career in cultural leadership, management and journalism spanning almost 30 years, John Tusa has amassed a unique experience of the arts world, the political controversies it faces and the battles it continues to fight.  Tusa addresses the controversies in the arts that must be resolved so urgently today, including the ever-flowing arguments on whether they should be useful before they are excellent. He gives guidance on how the arts can survive in the downturn and explains why the case must always be made that they deserve special treatment.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art and life of Chaouki Chamoun.
“Chaouki Chamoun is one of the Middle East’s most renowned artists. With 319 color plates to illustrate his story, Chamoun leads us through his own artistic journey, showing how the schools of the modern era have informed his technique and imagery, and how he has been motivated and inspired as much by the tiniest details of a pebble as by the political turmoil visited on his homeland. Born in Lebanon in 1942,  Chaouki Chamoun has participated in over fifty group art shows and biennales since 1969.He is the president of the Lebanese Artists Association and has studied at both Syracuse and New York universities.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)