How do you paint a war? New Art books

Our picks of the new art books this time round include public art projects from Australia and round the globe, plus: a tribute to the memory of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, a history of queer art from around the world since 1900, and some remarkable botanical sketchbooks from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries. This quote, on the topic of Australian war art from World War One, also touched us:

Among all the forms of national memory and commemoration, it falls to the artists to paint a war. When war is as traumatic as the Great War, the artists’ burden is so much greater

Syndetics book coverTo paint a war : the lives of the Australian artists who painted the Great War, 1914-1918 / Richard Travers.
“Among all the forms of national memory and commemoration, it falls to the artists to paint a war. When war is as traumatic as the Great War, the artists’ burden is so much greater. The Australian artists who painted World War I approached their subject personally, in ways that reflected their experience of the war. Grace Cossington Smith painted on the home front. Hilda Rix Nicholas suffered personal loss beyond words. Tom Roberts, George Coates, and Arthur Streeton served as wardsmen in a military hospital in London. George Lambert travelled to Anzac Cove in 1919 to make the definitive record of the war at Gallipoli. Some contributed as members of the official war artists’ scheme. Others painted as eyewitnesses of the unfolding tragedy. Yet others painted from their hearts. Their work, in all its richness and variety, is a sweeping painterly chronicle of the war, and a vital part of Australia’s heritage.” (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverThe short story of art : a pocket guide to key movements, works, themes & techniques / Susie Hodge.
“The Short Story of Art is a new and innovative introduction to the subject of art. Simply constructed, the book explores 50 key works, from the wall paintings of Lascaux to contemporary installations, and then links these to sections on art movements, themes, and techniques. The design of the book allows the student or art enthusiast to easily navigate their way around key periods, artists and styles. Accessible and concise, it simplifies and explains the most important and influential concepts in art, and shows how they are linked.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverColonial Gothic to Māori renaissance : essays in memory of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki / edited by Conal McCarthy & Mark Stocker.
“Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943–2014) was a much loved and respected academic and curator of broad and varied interests, who made an immense contribution to New Zealand art history over almost half a century. His scholarship was matched by a terrific generosity of spirit and personal charisma. Colonial Gothic to Māori Renaissance is a remarkable tribute to his memory from friends, colleagues and former students alike. Its contents are as varied and interesting as the man himself: Victorian church architecture and liturgy, mysticism, the New Zealand International Exhibition of 1906, the Toi Te Papa exhibition of 2006, traditional and contemporary Māori art, and the artists Thomas Benjamin Kennington, Gottfried Lindauer, Colin McCahon, Tony Fomison, Philip Clairmont and Emily Karaka are all included here. Beautifully illustrated and scholarly yet readable, this book is a powerful testament to the inspiration of a remarkable person.” (Victoria University Press)

Syndetics book coverVisionaries : creating a modern Guggenheim / [curator], Megan Fontanella
“Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim celebrates the late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century masterworks at the core of the institution’s holdings, and the trailblazers – artists and early patrons alike – whose contributions helped define the forward-looking identity of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Central to Visionaries is the story of museum founder Solomon R. Guggenheim, who with support from his trusted advisor, Hilla Rebay, become a great champion of ‘nonobjective’ art and assembled a radical collection against the backdrop of economic crisis and war in the 1930s and ’40s.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRunning the city : why public art matters / Felicity Fenner.
“Leading Australian curator Felicity Fenner profiles activity-based and pop-up contemporary public art projects from Australia and around the globe. Running the City explores art projects that bring together diverse disciplines and cultures – including running, cycling, architecture, and guerilla gardening. From runners taking to the streets of Sydney’s CBD in Runscape to Work No. 850, where athletes sprinted through the corridors of Tate Britain, the book surveys recent art projects that utilise the city both as subject matter and a site for art.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA queer little history of art / Alex Pilcher.
“The last century has seen a dramatic shift in gender and sexual identities for both men and women, reflected in artistic experimentation as artists have sought to challenge social conventions and push the boundaries of what has been deemed acceptable. The result is a wealth of deeply emotive and powerful art intended to express a range of desires and experiences but also to question, criticize, and provoke dialogue. This generously illustrated book showcases the breadth and depth of queer art from around the world since 1900, exploring identity, eroticism, relationships, hidden desires, love, and gender, revealing how experiences have also been shaped by class and ethnicity, and how art itself has played a key role in changing attitudes and crystalizing identities in different historic and contemporary contexts.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBotanical sketchbooks / compiled by Helen & William Bynum.
“Recording the world of plant and animal life and documenting the strange beauty of the natural world have been human passions ever since the first cave paintings. While there are many histories of botanical art featuring beautiful paintings and finished drawings, the artists’ preparatory sketches, first impressions, and scribbled notes on paper are rarely seen. But it is often these early attempts that give us real insight into the firsthand experiences and adventures of the botanists, artists, collectors, and explorers behind them. This exquisite visual compendium of botanical sketches by eighty artists from around the world brings these personal and vividly spontaneous records back into the light. Filled with remarkable images from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, sourced from the unparalleled collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Library, Art & Archives, and other libraries, museums, and archives, Botanical Sketchbooks also provides fascinating biographical portraits of the intriguing characters featured within, including such renowned artists, scientists, and amateur botanists as Leonardo da Vinci, Georg Dionysius Ehret, Carl Linnaeus, Maria Sibylla Merian, Mark Catesby, and Helen and Margaret Shelley (sisters of the novelist Mary Shelley), among many others.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt record covers / Francesco Sampinato ; ed. Julius Wiedemann.
“An unprecedented collection of artists’ record covers from the 1950s to today. Since the dawn of modernism, visual and music production have had a particularly intimate relationship. From Luigi Russolo’s 1913 Futurist manifesto L’Arte dei Rumori (The Art of Noise) to Marcel Duchamp’s 1925 double-sided discs Rotereliefs, the 20th century saw ever more fertile exchange between sounds and shapes, marks and melodies, and different fields of composition and performance. In Francesco Spampinato’ unique anthology of artists’ record covers, we discover the rhythm of this particular cultural history. The book presents 500 covers and records by visual artists from the 1950s through to today, exploring how modernism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art, postmodernism, and various forms of contemporary art practice have all informed this collateral field of visual production and supported the mass distribution of music with defining imagery that swiftly and suggestively evokes an aural encounter.” (Syndetics summary)

New art books to enjoy

Enjoy a selection of these beautiful art books new to the library this month. We have art books from New Zealand and the globe including the works of Gottfried Lindauer and J.M.W. Turner. If you want to develop your own work there are new books on using perspective and symbolism.

Syndetics book coverGottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand : the Māori portraits / edited by Ngahiraka Mason and Zara Stanhope.
“From the 1870s to the early twentieth century, the Bohemian immigrant artist Gottfried Lindauer travelled to marae and rural towns around New Zealand and – commissioned by Maori and Pakeha – captured in paint the images of key Maori figures. For Maori then and now, the faces of tipuna are full of mana and life. Now this definitive work collects those portraits for New Zealanders.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Beatrix Potter : sketches, paintings, and illustrations / Text by Emily Zach ; Foreword by Steven Heller ; Introduction by Linda Lear ; Afterword by Eleanor Taylor.
“Published for the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth, this magnificent collection celebrates the artist behind The Tale of Peter Rabbit and numerous other beloved children’s books. Brimming with famous images and rarely seen gems this monograph explores Potter’s artistic process and reveals the places that inspired her timeless work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrawing autism / Jill Mullin ; with a foreword by Temple Grandin.
“In Drawing Autism, behaviour analyst and educator Jill Mullin has assembled a staggering array of work from autistic artists – ranging from Gregory Blackstock and Jessica Park to the unknown but no less talented. Their creations, coupled with artist interviews, comprise a fascinating and compelling book that serves to educate and inspire anyone whose life has been affected by ASD.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrawing perspective / Tim Fisher.
“In this essential addition to Search Press’s high level drawing series, Tim Fisher gives a masterclass in perspective drawing, from one-point, two-point and multiple point right through to curvilinear perspective. There is good basic advice on drawing techniques such as hatching and creating tone, as well as on measurement, proportion, scale and adding people and animals in a landscape.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTurner : the extraordinary life and momentous times of J.M.W. Turner / Franny Moyle.
“J.M.W. Turner is one of the most important figures in Western art, and his visionary work paved the way for a revolution in landscape painting. Bringing a new level of expression and colour to his canvases, he paved the way for the modern artist. Franny Moyle brilliantly tells the story of the man to give us an astonishing portrait of the artist and a vivid evocation of Britain and Europe in flux.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMedieval wall paintings / Roger Rosewell.
“What medieval wall paintings remain in English churches tend to be shadows of their former selves – rare fragments of art that have survived not only the Reformation, but successive waves of iconoclastic zeal and unsympathetic restoration. Roger Rosewell here offers a guide to the role played by medieval wall paintings, as religious, didactic and commemorative works of art, telling the stories of those who created them and those who used them on a daily basis.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Suter : people, places, perspectives : artworks from the collection.
“This book is timed to coincide with the reopening of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū after an extensive redevelopment project. It features a selection of works from the gallery’s permanent collections, chosen by Gallery Director Julie Catchpole and Bishop Suter Trust Chairperson Craig Potton.” (Dust jacket)

Syndetics book coverSymbolism / Rodolphe Rapetti ; translated from the French by Deke Dusinberre.
“The result of over ten years of research, this work offers an in-depth analysis of the European Symbolist movement: its conceptual background, major characteristics, ramifications, known and less-well known works, and main personalities.” (Syndetics summary)

Women in Art – New Art books in January

This month we have books about amazing female artists and how their word is changing, or has changed, our world. From iconic female artists like Frida Kahlo, to academics, and even women as artists’ subjects, there is no lack of places to find inspiration.

Syndetics book coverWomen who read are dangerous / Stefan Bollmann ; foreword by Karen Joy Fowler.
“This concise survey of women readers as subjects in the visual arts touches on several periods and includes Edward Hopper, Henri Matisse, Michelangelo & Suzanne Valadon. Bollmann gives a useful history of the issues surrounding women’s access to literature (reading was once said to cause illness, immorality, and early death) and attempts to explain why so many different artists have chosen to depict this act.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverElizabeth Durack : art & life : selected writings / edited by Perpetua Durack Clancy.
Art &​ Life contains extracts from diaries, letters, essays, travelogues and poetry written by Elizabeth Durack over the course of seven decades. With wit and candour, the writing reveals some of the most important influences and episodes – and the paradox – of her life. Durack read and travelled widely and drew inspiration from many sources: from the men and women she knew; from classical Western and ancient Aboriginal traditions; and from contemporary politics.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverLadies drawing night : make art, get inspired, join the party / By Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, and Rachael Cole ; photographs by Kate Edwards.
“Grab your pens, round up some friends, and get ready for an inspiring night of drawing. Join in with Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, Rachael Cole, and friends as they gather together to try out new ideas, explore different media, collaborate, and swap stories of successes, doubts, and the joy of making art.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverModern Scottish women : painters and sculptors, 1885-1965 / edited by Alice Strang.
“This revelatory book concentrates on Scottish women painters and sculptors from 1885, when Fra Newbery became Director of the Glasgow School of Art, until 1965, the year of Anne Redpath’s death. It explores the experience and context of the artists and their place in Scottish art history, in terms of training, professional opportunities and personal links within the Scottish art world.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverWalk through walls : a memoir / Marina Abramović ; with James Kaplan.
“Performance artist Abramovic’ shares the remarkable experiences of her life and background on some of her best-known art pieces in this enchanting and emotionally raw memoir. She provides fascinating glimpses into her experiences living with Aboriginal Australians and her walk of China’s Great Wall, sharing illuminating notes from her performances diaries and giving insight into her teaching technique. This is an honest, gripping, and profound look into the heart and brilliant mind of one of the quintessential artists of the postmodern era.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book cover25 women : essays on their art / Dave Hickey.
“Hickey was inspired to revisit and revamp his essays about 25 women artists and their work as a tribute to his friend, the late curator and New Museum founder Marcia Tucker. He revels in the turbulent depths of painters as varied as Joan Mitchell, Vija Celmins, Bridget Riley, Elizabeth Murray, and Hung Liu. The artists are significant and intriguing, Hickey’s criticism exceptionally dynamic and enlightening.” (Adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverWomen artists : the Linda Nochlin reader / edited by Maura Reilly.
“Linda Nochlin has been a groundbreaking art critic and curator for decades. The text moves from 1971’s groundbreaking “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” through many years’ worth of catalogue essays, journal articles, and previously unpublished works. Readers will be delighted by this opportunity to watch Nochlin’s ideas advance over the decades. Nochlin’s contributions have been crucial in rethinking art history and rejecting the narrow idea of a core female aesthetic. (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverMargaret Preston / Elizabeth Butel.
“Margaret Preston, Australia’s foremost woman painter between the wars, sent a series of shock-waves through Sydney’s art circles with her vital art, her spirited journalism and her belligerent enthusiasm for living, during a career that spanned over seventy years. ‘A red-headed little firebrand of a woman’, she was an artist who never stood still, moving from realism to Post-Impressionism, to an Aboriginal-inspired style of art with unceasing verve and freshness.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverFrida Kahlo at home / Suzanne Barbezat.
“This book explores the influence of Mexican culture and tradition, La Casa Azul and other places Frida Kahlo called home, on her life and work. La Casa Azul, now one of the most visited museums in Mexico City, was the artist’s birthplace and the home where she grew up, lived with her husband Diego Rivera for a number of years, and also where she died. Fully illustrated, the book features Frida’s paintings together with archive images and family photographs, objects and artefacts she collected and photographs of the surrounding landscape.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Pop and punk in print – New Art Books in November

This month we have lots of cool new art books to enjoy, including some great new titles on graffiti and street art. There are also fascinating new books on other modern changes in art, including pop art, and graphic novels and cartoons.

Syndetics book coverOh so pretty : punk in print 1976-80 / essay by Rick Poynor ; the Mott Collection.
“A compelling visual portrait of a time, place, and subculture that raised a middle finger to modern society. Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-80 is an unrivalled collection of visually striking ephemera from Britain’s punk subculture. It presents 500 artefacts – ‘zines,’ gig posters, flyers, and badges – from well-known and obscure musical acts, designers, venues, and related political groups.” (Adapted from Amazon Summary)

Syndetics book coverNew street art / Claude Crommeliln.
“Crazy and wonderful stencils, paste-ups, paintings and little sculptures that catch our eye and surprising us with their beauty, humour or pithy comment on society. It is however ephemeral, the work can disappear very quickly. Claude has documented thousands of works from across London.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverIt’s all a bit Heath Robinson : re-inventing the First World War / Lucinda Gosling in association with Mary Evans Picture Library.
“Combining a distinctive draughtsmanship with a curious and ingenious mind, the advent of the First World War inspired Robinson to dream up a series of increasingly outlandish and bizarre military inventions with which the opposing armies would try to outwit each other. From the kaiser’s campaigning car or a suggestion for an armoured bayonet curler, his cartoons are a fantastically absurd take on wartime life.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverPop art : a colourful history / Alastair Sooke.
“Pop Art is the most important 20th-century art movement. It brought Modernism to the masses, making art sexy and fun with coke cans and comics. Today, in our age of selfies and social networking, we are still living in a world defined by Pop. Full of brand new interviews and research, Sooke describes the great works by Warhol, Lichtenstein and other key figures, but also re-examines the movement for the 21st century and asks if it is still art?” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverStreet art world / Alison Young.
“This strikingly illustrated book explores every aspect of street art, from making and photographing it to stealing and selling it. Artists working in the streets reveal both their passion for street art and ambivalence about its commodification. Based on twenty years of research in the graffiti and street art scenes, Street Art World is the first book to provide a history and context for the words and images that appear in cities all around the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverGraphic storytelling and visual narrative : principles and practices from the legendary cartoonist / Will Eisner.
“Learn how to control a story effectively using a broad array of techniques. With examples from Will Eisner’s own catalog and other masters, this book distills the art of graphic storytelling into principles that every comic artist, writer, and filmmaker should know.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverBrett whiteley : art, life and the other thing / Ashleigh Wilson.
“When he died in 1992 Brett Whiteley left behind decades of ceaseless activity:some works bound to a particular place or time, others that are masterpieces of light and line. Whiteley had arrived in Europe in 1960 determined to make an impression. Before long he was the youngest artist to have work acquired by the Tate. Written with unprecedented behind-the-scenes access, and illustrated with classic Whiteley pieces, rare notebook sketches and candid family photos, this biography reveals the full portrait of a mercurial artist.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverBromhead / Peter Bromhead.
“One of New Zealand’s best-known cartoonists, Peter Bromhead has led a colourful life. In his satirical, illustrated memoir, Bromhead, as he is affectionately known, shares his life in words and pictures. Packed with hilarious illustrations recounting his harsh upbringing, romantic missteps, cartooning career and experiences as an older father.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverStreet art/today : the 50 most influential street artists today / texts, Elise Luong, Bjørn Van Poucke.
“Street art is more than artistically acknowledged graffiti. This book highlights this new art form in all its facets, beyond the cliches. From installation art to socially critical tags to photo realistic mural paintings: street art exists in all forms and sizes. This book maps the genre and investigates new tendencies such as ecological street art, the naive wave & trompe l’oeil.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Art connections – New Art Books in October

October brings us beautiful books on modern art and how history has shaped art to be what it is today. From fabrics and design, to colour, sculpture and photography, this month showcases modern artisans. Not just crafts people but artists using old methods to explore new ideas and push creative and social boundaries.

Syndetics book coverAi Weiwei / edited by Hans Werner Holzwarth ; with texts by Roger M. Buergel [and four others].
“As his personal circumstances move in constant flux, Ai Weiwei remains a cultural magnet. Renowned for his political activism and social media activity almost as much as for his social interventions, contemporary approach to the readymade, and knowledge of Chinese traditional crafts, Ai’s fame extends throughout and beyond the art world. This monograph explores each of Ai’s career phases up until his release from Chinese custody.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCreamy psychology / Yvonne Todd ; edited by Robert Leonard.
“Twelve years ago, a young Auckland photographer, Yvonne Todd, became the surprise winner of the first Walters Award. Todd is best known for her portraits of women, her mostly invented female ‘characters’. Creamy Psychology surveys Todd’s work since the late 1990s, including her recent Gilbert Melrose project and her latest photographic series Ethical Minorities. Comprehensively illustrated, Creamy Psychology is the new go-to book on Yvonne Todd.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreen : the history of a color / Michel Pastoureau ; translated by Jody Gladding.
“This beautiful and richly illustrated book presents a fascinating and revealing history of the color green in European societies from prehistoric times to today. Examining the evolving place of green in art, clothes, literature, religion, science, and everyday life, Pastoureau traces how culture has profoundly changed the perception and meaning of the color over millennia.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChanel art / by Karl Lagerfeld.
“For the set of CHANELs Spring-Summer 2014 Prêt-à-Porter fashion show, Karl Lagerfeld transformed Paris’ Grand Palais into a vast art gallery filled with specially created CHANEL artworks. CHANEL Art is a record of this gallery and unique moment in fashion history. Lagerfeld personally conceived each of the diverse paintings, sculptures and installations, many of which are ironic interpretations of CHANELs famous icons informed by a pop sensibility.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover50 portraits you should know / Brad Finger.
“This wide-ranging collection of 50 iconic portraits includes works by many of the world’s most renowned artists, each with their own style, technique, and story to tell. Throughout the history of art, most of the world’s greatest artists have produced portraits at some point in their careers, whether commissioned by rulers or magnates; created to preserve a cherished friend or relation; or even to capture the artist’s own likeness.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt & textiles : fabric as material and concept in modern art from Klimt to the present / edited by Markus Brüderlin ; with contributions by Hartmut Böhme [and 11 others] ; translations, Amy J. Klement.
“The boundary between arts and crafts appears to be blurring. Thread, weave, network, and pattern are simultaneously foundation, result, and inspiration and spill over into the areas painting, sculpture, installation, and media art. This opulently designed volume presents both an artistic and an intercultural dialogue.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new artisans. II / Olivier Dupon.
“Collectable, one-of-a-kind artisanal objects–whether hand-woven textiles or handblown glass–have become a fixture of the modern home; and the artists who produce them are increasingly sought-after. In this follow-up volume to The New Artisans, design expert and lauded blogger Olivier Dupon continues his exploration of the most creative artisans working today. Divided into two sections, The New Artisans II is the ultimate reference to the vibrant, creative world of the handmade.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverColour in the making : from old wisdom to new brilliance / [Philip Ball, Mark Clarke and Carinna Parraman]
Colour in the Making is a visual history of art told through the materials of color. From the discovery and use of early earth pigments to organic chemistry and into contemporary dyes, inks, printing techniques and manufacture. Throughout this sumptuously colorful book artists’ and designers’ projects illustrate the behind the scenes inventions and processes of color-making.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStrange material : storytelling through textiles / Leanne Prain ; project photography by Jeanie Ow.
Strange Material explores the relationship between handmade textiles and storytelling. Offbeat, poetic, and subversive, it inspires readers to re-imagine the possibilities of creating through needle and fabric.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)