Category: Recent picks

HISTORY TOLD THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY

This month is particularly biased on history, from personal histories of less known observers’ world views, to histories of some of the political royalties of last century. This review wraps up with two self-proclaimed time-saving guides that will keep you au-fait with the latest technologies available to today’s amateur photographer.

syndetics-lcVivian Maier out of the shadows 
After spending her life in the shadows of anonymity, her body of work reaching over one hundred thousand pictures, remaining in locked cabinets, garages and basements, Vivian was luckily discovered after her death and finally her photographs were brought to the light they deserve. As one of her former employers remembers, although she was marvellous with the children, “she wasn’t interested in being a nanny at all. She really wanted to be out on the street. She wanted to be taking pictures”. She worked to support her art. This book combines a powerful selection of her work, in a compact square format that reflects her choice of medium format cameras, mainly a Rolleiflex, with compelling stories from those who met her, acting as a posthumous memoir of this discreet human being.  
Mary Ellen Mark, herself revered for the humanity of her documentary photography says of Vivian Maier ”She was a humanist in the best tradition. She showed real life. And that’s so difficult to do.” A resounding accolade no less.

indexCADLIFPSFrom Prague to Auckland
“Published on the occasion of the exhibition From Prague to Auckland: the photography of Frank Hofmann (1916-1989) curated by Leonard Bell at the Gus Fisher Gallery, The University of Auckland, New Zealand, 26 August – 29 October 2011″–Colophon.(courtesy of Syndetics)

syndetics-lcHer Majesty
“The extraordinary public and private life of the world’s most famous monarch -
In honor of theQueen’s Diamond Jubilee—60 years on the throne—TASCHEN celebrates the extraordinary private and public life of Her Majesty. Born in 1926, married in 1947, crowned as Queen in 1953,for over six decades she has steadfastly and loyally carried out her duty on behalf of her country, never speaking out of turn or putting a foot wrong. The book tells her remarkable royal story through hundreds of stunning photographs, many previously unseen and sourced from multiple archives in the United Kingdom (including the Royal Collection), Continental Europe, and the United States.These images have it all: history, politics, glamour, fashion, culture, travel, and, of course, hats.
As the Queen, she has endlessly traveled the globe, been introduced to every leading icon of the 20th century, including the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, and JFK, attended thousands of receptions and state functions; while concurrently being a mother to four children under the constant glare of public scrutiny.These photographs cover every aspect of her reign: the early years, coming of age during World War II, becoming a wife, Queen and mother, the Royal Tours, the palaces, the crowds, the weddings, the Royal Family, the Silver Jubilee in 1977, and the later years. God save her indeed!
Photographers included:Cecil Beaton, Studio Lisa, Dorothy Wilding, Karsh, Lord Snowdon, Patrick Lichfield, as well as more contemporary work from the likes ofWolfgang Tillmans, Rankin, Annie Leibovitz,and many others.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcTwilight of the Romanovs – A Photographic Odyssey Across Imperial Russia
“Twilight of the Romanovs opens a door into the world of pre-revolutionary Russia using original photographs taken during the last decades of Romanov rule. They include remarkable colour images created using an early three-colour-plate technique that brings the remote past to life. Our companions on this journey include the Scottish photographer William Carrick, Americans George Kennan and Murray Howe, the German-Russian Carl Bulla, Sergey Produkin-Gorsky, and the writers Leonid Andreyev and Anton Chekhov, together with many anonymous others.
These photographs are snapshots of a vanished world, yet they reveal a surprising continuity: despite the subsequent revolution, faces, buildings, and landscapes still resonate with those who see them a century and more later.” (From publisher)

syndetics-lc The Kennedys
“This publication is the definitive collection of Mark Shaw’s renowned photographs of the Kennedys. Photographys includ Kennedy’s favourite ever shot of himself, walking alone on the dunes at Hyannis Port, plus images on the campaign trail, relaxing at home with friends, entertaining at the White House, and the sombre days immediately following JFK’s assassination.” (Syndetics summary)
A personal favourite in this collection is the photograph of John and Jackie shot in November 1963, shortly before the fateful day. It struck a chord with Jackie herself whose letter to Shaw thanking him for the artful accompanies the print. “John looks like a Caravaggio — and, the one of John, reflected in the table, like some wonderful, strange, poetic Matisse.”

syndetics-lcThe Photoshop Elements 11
“This book (for Windows and Mac) breaks new ground by doing something for digital photographers that’s never been done before–it cuts through the bull and shows exactly “how to do it.” It’s not a bunch of theory; it doesn’t challenge readers to come up with their own settings or figure things out on their own. Instead, it tells readers flat-out which settings to use, when to use them, and why. This book gives the inside tips and tricks of the trade for organizing, correcting, editing, sharpening, retouching, and presenting photos like a pro. Readers will be absolutely amazed at how easy and effective these techniques are–once they know the secrets. “(From publisher)

syndetics-lcThe Quick Expert’s Guide to Mobile Phone Photography
“This series offers a shortcut to instant expertise! Quick Expert’s Guides are aimed at teens and ‘tweens who are keen to know more about a popular topic but who may be put off the idea of having to read wordy or technical guides. Each title includes features that break down technical/scientific/complex aspects of the subject, inspirational case studies, activities and a final project to test the reader’s new skills. Chapter round-ups also offer tips on key words and phrases as well as boosting self esteem and confidence, in order to walk the walk and talk the talk of a true expert.” (from Amazon.com)

Recent art picks March 2013

Fabulous art books for autumn reading : including a very large and beautiful new book on Klimt:-

Syndetics book coverManet : portraying life.
“Depicting the Paris of his day, Edouard Manet (1832-1883) captured the nineteenth-century urban experience, legitimizing ‘modern life’ as an artistic subject. His detached, frank mode of looking and his subversive handling of both paint and subject-matter shocked his contemporaries, and eventually established his reputation as the father of modern painting. This remarkable book explores Manet’s portraiture, a significant yet often neglected aspect of his work, including examples from throughout his career…”–P. [2] of cover.

Syndetics book coverGustav Klimt : the complete paintings / Tobias G. Natter (ed.) ; directed and produced by Benedikt Taschen.
“[This] publication … places particular emphasis upon the voices of Klimt’s contemporaries via a series of essays examining reactions to his work throughout his career. Subjects range from Klimt’s portrayal of women to his adoption of landscape painting in the second half of his life. The cliché that Gustav Klimt was a man of few words who rarely put pen to paper is vehemently dispelled: no less than 231 letters, cards, writings and other documents—all known Klimt correspondence—are included in this monograph. This wealth of archival material, assembled here for the first time on such a scale, represents a major contribution to Klimt scholarship” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverInventing abstraction, 1910-1925 : how a radical idea changed modern art / [organized by] Leah Dickerman ; with contributions by Matthew Affron … [et al.].
“In 1912, in several European cities, a handful of artists–Vasily Kandinsky, Frantisek Kupka, Francis Picabia and Robert Delaunay–presented the first abstract pictures to the public. Inventing Abstraction, published to accompany an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, celebrates the centennial of this bold new type of artwork. It traces the development of abstraction as it moved through a network of modern artists, from Marsden Hartley and Marcel Duchamp to Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich, sweeping across nations and across media…” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverAn illustrated journey : inspiration from the private art journals of traveling artists, illustrators and designers / Danny Gregory.
Collects excerpts from the personal travel journal sketchbooks of forty-three artists, illustrators, and designers.

Syndetics book coverLiving with art / Mark Getlein.
“Living with Art’s approach to art appreciation supports students’ acquisition of the essential skills of the course. Mark Getlein’s vivid narrative, in concert with McGraw-Hill’s powerful adaptive learning program LearnSmart within CONNECT Art, helps students understand, analyze, and appreciate the ways art work communicates to us in our visual world. In doing so, Living with Art provides the foundation for a life-long appreciation of art, as well as critical thinking skills that will benefit students far beyond the classroom into their chosen careers” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverM to M of M/M (Paris) / Emily King.
A 528-page monograph presenting for the first time twenty years of works by M/M (Paris), one of the most emblematic and influential design practices and art partnerships of the twenty-first century… Published to mark their twentieth anniversary, this is the definitive monograph. It records hundreds of their mind-blowing projects, each represented in illustrations and photographs and arranged alphabetically from ‘M’ to ‘M’.
(abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe progress of love / edited by Kristina van Dyke, Bisi Silva ; with contributions by Elias K. Bongmba, Francesca Consagra, Banning Eyre.
“Published in concert with a collaborative project between the Menil Collection in Houston, Lagos’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Mo., this beautifully designed book gathers the work of 30 artists from Africa and the African diaspora to examine the virtues, complexities, and challenges of love. Accompanying essays discuss the difficulty of talking about love in a translational context, the effect of globalization on local identity and custom, the importance of performance in African culture, and the way artists address loss, romantic or otherwise…” (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly)

Art recent picks for February 2013

From Impressionism (and fashion) to Damien Hirst : new art books for February 2013:-

Syndetics book coverArt of the 20th century / Ruhrberg … [et al.] ; edited by Ingo F. Walther.
“The quintessential roundup of art from 1900-2000.
Who could possibly have forecast on New Year’s Eve 1899 that, one hundred years later, painting and sculpture would be only options, not prerequisites? The term “art” has been defined and redefined so many times over the last 100 years that it has gained entirely new social, political, and technological meanings. Ranging across the full spectrum of disciplines available, including photography and new media, and thematically chaptered to highlight relationships between works and movements, this readable and encyclopaedic masterwork does just what it says on the cover. Whether you want Surrealism or Land Art, Fluxus or Bauhaus, this is your be-all, end-all guide to art of the 20th century. An undertaking as immensely ambitious as this one deserves to be owned by everyone.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverDamien Hirst / edited by Ann Gallagher ; with contributions by Ann Gallagher … [et al.].
“Born in Bristol in the UK in 1965, Damien Hirst is one of the most controversial and highly regarded artists of his generation. This illustrated survey is a fitting tribute to Hirst’s ground-breaking achievements”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverImpressionism, fashion & modernity / edited by Gloria Groom, with contributions by Heidi Brevik-Zender … [et al.].
“This volume is the first to explore fashion as a critical aspect of modernity, one that paralleled and many times converged with the development of Impressionism, starting in the 1860s and continuing through the next two decades, when fashion attracted the foremost writers and artists of the day. Although fashionable subjects have been depicted throughout history, for many artists and writers, including Charles Baudelaire, Sté́phane Mallarmé, Émile Zola, Gustave Caillebotte, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, fashion became integral to the search for new literary and visual expression.”–Book jacket. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSalvador Dalí : the making of an artist / Catherine Grenier ; [translated from the French by David Radzinowicz].
“This extensive volume uncovers Dali’s influences, artistic development, and legacy, offering unprecedented access inside the world of the man behind the mustache. Through astute analysis of Dali’s work and how the events of his time converged with his drive to become a legend, this volume examines one of the most significant contributors to twentieth-century art… The author offers insight into this undisputed genius, charting Dali’s progression as an artist and controversial public figure, and demonstrating his influence on contemporary artists such as Warhol, Koons, and Murakami.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverAppetite for design: eat me : product. packaging. art. branding. interior / edited & produced by viction:workshop ltd..
“In addition to the highly competitive realm of food packaging design, the book also features a symphony of recent art creations, social events, identity projects, restaurant designs, culinary implements and products inspired by food. The substantial showcase is complemented by fascinating insights in their forewords and case studies given by experts, entrepreneurs and practitioners, each distinct with regards to their experience in product, packaging, image-making, branding and spatial design”–Publisher’s web site.(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverColour : a workshop for artists and designers / David Hornung.
“This book demystifies its subject for professionals and students alike. It inspires confidence in colour’s application to graphic design, illustration, painting, textile art, and textile design. In addition to covering the fundamentals of colour theory, the author provides assignments that guide the student through a variety of colour experiences, moving logically from basic structural concepts to experiments with colour applications. Concepts and terminology are always linked with supporting visuals. The book is generously illustrated with examples drawn from the rich, multicultural history of art and design. Colour charts and studies, created by students themselves, round out the range of illustrations. The book also includes an extensive, fully illustrated glossary of colour terms…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Art recent picks for Jan 2013

Six new books on six very different painters : Jan 2013’s picks for summer art reading:-

Syndetics book coverJohn Everett Millais / Jason Rosenfeld.
“John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896) was one of the most significant English painters of the nineteenth century, successful and respected during his career, honoured as the first painter to be created a baronet, he remains, as recent exhibitions of his work have demonstrated, equally well known today. Whilst his substantial contributions are rarely, if ever, denied, in past art historical accounts of Millais’s long career there has been an unfortunate tendency to superficially distinguish between the early promise of his Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces and the perceived commercial and traditionalist orientation of his later works. In this new study of the artist’s life and work Rosenfeld argues that such readings are far from accurate, demonstrating that the development of Millais’s art was at the forefront of contemporary painting throughout his life. … In Rosenfeld’s words, it is a ‘consistently relevant and inventive Millais’ that emerges in this book” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverKeith Vaughan / Philip Vann and Gerard Hastings.
Keith Vaughan (1912-77) was a major figure in post-war British art who is known for his searching portraits of the male nude and his association with the Neo-Romantic painters. This book provides for the first time a definitive, illustrated account of his life and work, exploring his wide-ranging achievement as a modern British artist. … A fascinating essay by Gerard Hastings provides a close-up examination of Vaughan’s gouache technique. (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMark Rothko : the decisive decade, 1940-1950 / Bradford R. Collins, editor ; [essays by] David Anfam … [et al.].
“The first publication dedicated exclusively to Mark Rothko’s art during the critical formative period of the 1940s. Examining the development and artistic exploration of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, this unprecedented volume presents the works of American artist Mark Rothko from the 1940s, a time when his most essential development as a painter occurred, dramatically and in a very compact space of time. During this period, Rothko moved from expressive figurative and surrealist canvases to more abstract multiform subjects and finally to his signature abstractions–luminous rectangles of color suspended in space.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaster of stillness : Jeffrey Smart : paintings 1940-2011 / Barry Pearce.
This book on the work of Jeffrey Smart is the first since his virtual retirement from painting in 2011. It illuminates the vision of the most celebrated of Australian expatriate artists, from his beginnings in Adelaide until his last major composition painted in Italy where he has lived for the last five decades. Adelaide, where Smart was born in 1921, was where his essential evolution as an artist took shape. His early fascination for its grid-like urban landscape was a perfect basis for an ongoing celebration of the phenomena of highways, traffic signs, trucks, transmitters and brutish modular architecture in post-war Europe; aspects of the modern world others found ugly but which he declared beautiful. (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPaul Klee : life and work / text by Christine Hopfengart and Michael Baumgartner ; with contributions by Fabienne Eggelhöfer … [et al.].
“The many books on Paul Klee (1879-1940) published over the years should not obscure the fact that there has been no new, comprehensive Klee overview since Will Grohmann’s much reprinted 1954 monograph. With Paul Klee: Life and Work, the Zentrum Paul Klee has set out to fill this gap, drawing on a wealth of new resources including the Klee family’s archives, much of which is published here for the first time. …The result of many years of research and labor, this magisterial publication demonstrates conclusively why Klee numbers among the most influential and best loved artists of the past 100 years.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverRaphael : a passionate life / Antonio Forcellino ; translated by Lucinda Byatt.
“In this carefully crafted biography of one of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance, art historian Forcellino offers a vivid account of the artist’s ambitions and cogent explanations of the personal and political motivations of Raphael’s patrons, many of whom were from the Roman Curia. The author examines the career of Raphael, son of a painter from Urbino, who at 30 painted the papal apartments in the Vatican with scenes that were inspired by church policy; and who created the propagandistic portraits of Julius II and Leo X. Forcellino also endorses the legend of Raphael as a lover, interpreting the sensuality of Raphael’s paintings of beautiful women in light of historical accounts that Raphael died because of his romantic exploits. Nonetheless, despite his early death, Raphael developed a unique style of psychological portraiture and had significant insight into ancient building techniques.” (CHOICE) (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Art recent picks for December 2012

Dreaming of an art book Christmas? – try these beautiful new December acquisitions:-

Syndetics book cover5000 years of Indian art / text by Sushma K. Bahl.
This visually stunning book is a rare example of a volume that offers a panoramic view of Indian art from the pre-historic times to contemporary period. (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverArt in Oceania : a new history / Peter Brunt, Nicholas Thomas, Sean Mallon, Lissant Bolton, Deidre Brown, Damian Skinner and Susanne Küchler ; edited by Peter Brunt and Nicholas Thomas, assisted by Stella Ramage.
The arts of Oceania are astonishing: great statues, daunting tattoos, dynamic carving, dazzling woven and painted fabrics, intricately carved weapons, and a bewildering variety of ornaments, ritual objects, and utilitarian but beautiful things. This landmark book breaks new ground by setting the art of Oceania in its full historical context and capturing an up-to-date understanding of the field… This beautifully illustrated volume will appeal to general readers interested in world art, collectors, university students, scholars and museum professionals in the field. (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverBruegel : the complete paintings, drawings and prints / Manfred Sellink.
The Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525–1569) is considered the first Western landscape and genre painter. He has been especially beloved through the centuries for his paintings of peasant scenes…This stunning book reproduces all 40 paintings and 70 drawings attributed to Bruegel in lush full color, with numerous close-up details, as well as his 75 prints. (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverDanger! women artists at work / Debra N. Mancoff.
A beautifully illustrated exploration of the way in which women artists, from the Renaissance to the present day, have reshaped the art world through their often challenging and provocative work. (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverPicasso black and white / edited by Carmen Giménez ; [contributions by Dore Ashton, Olivier Berggruen, Carmen Giménez, and Richard Shiff].
“Picasso Black and White examines the artist’s lifelong exploration of a black-and-white leitmotif through paintings and a selection of sculptures and works on paper. Picasso continued the tradition of engaging the color black that had been employed throughout a centuries-long history of Spanish painting by fellow artists José de Ribera, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán, and Francisco de Goya. Moreover, he made highly effective use of isolated black, white, and gray hues in a nod to monochromatic grisaille painting and to drawing, line, and form. As this volume attests, the recurrent motif of black and white appears throughout Picasso’s oeuvre, including his blue and rose periods, his investigations into Cubism and Surrealism, his interpretations of historical subject studies for his celebrated painting Guernica, World War II, and an homage to old masters, as well as the powerful paintings of his last years. Featuring reproductions of more than 150 works, this book examines the extraordinary complexity and power of these expressive artworks, which purge color in order to highlight their formal structure. Including essays by leading Picasso scholars, this book is a unique and coherent perspective on one of the world’s most innovative and influential artists.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverGraphic design before graphic designers : the printer as designer and craftsman 1700-1914 / David Jury.
Who first coined the phrase “graphic design,” a term dating from the 1920s, or first referred to themselves as a “graphic designer” are issues still argued to this day. What is certain is that the kinds of printed material a graphic designer could create were around long before the formulation of such a convenient, if sometimes troublesome, term. Here David Jury explores how the “jobbing” printer who produced handbills, posters, catalogues, advertisements, and labels in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries was the true progenitor of graphic design, rather than the “noble presses” of the Arts and Crafts movement. (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverNew modernist type / Steven Heller, Gail Anderson.
Classic modern design never goes out of style: it is merely retired or subtly adapted to its given place and time. Having surveyed handwritten, new vintage, and new ornamental tendencies in type and lettering, graphic-design guru Steven Heller now turns his encyclopedic gaze on Modernism. New Modernist Type reveals how a graphic language of simplicity and economy has impacted contemporary design. (adapted from amazon.com description)

Recent art picks for November

This month: Banksy, Grimwood & Slinkachu + Cezanne, Symbolism & NZ art:

Syndetics book cover240 : two hundred and forty years of New Zealand painting / Gil Docking, ; with additions covering 1970-2010 by Michael Dunn ; and 1990-2010 by Edward Hanfling.
“This landmark book on New Zealand artists and their work was first published in 1971, extended to 1990 by art historian Michael Dunn and now again to 2010 by art historian, writer and lecturer Edward Hanfling… In total, this new edition features more than 200 paintings… “–Ubsbooks.co.nz. (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBehind the canvas : an insider’s guide to the New Zealand art market / Warwick Henderson.
“A look at the world of collecting art with a focus on the New Zealand art market. Written by an accomplished art dealer and gallery owner.”–Publisher information. (from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCézanne : a life / Alex Danchev.
An assessment of the life and work of Paul Cézanne offers insight into his views about an artist’s role and his self-doubt about his own capabilities, demonstrating how his beliefs revolutionized the ways subsequent artists would see and depict the world. (from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVan Gogh to Kandinsky : symbolist landscape in Europe 1880-1910 / Richard Thomson … [et al.].
A groundbreaking collaboration between the National Galleries of Scotland, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Finnish National Gallery, this catalogue accompanies the first exhibition dedicated to landscapes by the Symbolists, the innovative movement whose artists took a more imaginative and emotional approach to painting and embraced themes such as music, nationalism, science and modernity. It covers a wide range of artists, from forerunners of symbolism, like Bocklin and Whistler, to Mondrian and Kandinsky, who provided the impulse for major 20th-century movements, such as surrealism and abstraction… (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBanksy : you are an acceptable level of threat and if you were not you would know about it / [compiled and edited by Gary Shove ; words by Patrick Potter].
“The single best collection of photographs of Banksy’s street work. Period. You Are An Acceptable Level of Threat concentrates on this singular artist’s iconic imagery, spanning the late 90s up until NOW. The locations are from around the world (predominantly the UK, US and Europe), and many images have never been seen before. When Banksy started out painting, the political landscape was bleak. Fortunately now, it’s ten times worse. As Banksy’s cheerfully aggressive political work becomes ever more relevant, this comprehensive tome sets about presenting his art in the context of the era he was responding to” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverBrian Grimwood : the man who changed the look of British illustration.
“Celebrated illustrator and artist Brian Grimwood is often referred to as “the man who changed the look of British illustration”. His free and fluid style first characterised the visual culture of the 1960s in iconic images such as those he did for the influential magazine Nova… And as founder (in 1983) and Director of the Central Illustration Agency (CIA), London, Grimwood has also been pivotal in the promotion of the work of a host of illustrators from around the world, including Peter Blake, Jeff Fisher and Alan Aldrige-among the 80 or so illustrators on CIA’s books. With an ‘Introduction’ by Sir Peter Blake, this beautifully illustrated book is the first complete overview of Grimwood’s work, and serves to further reinforce his fundamental contribution to the changing face of illustration since the 1960s – both in Britain and internationally.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk description)

Syndetics book coverGlobal model village : the international street art of Slinkachu.“… Global Model Village collects together the international works of Slinkachu, the London-based artist who as part of his ‘Little People Project’ has been abandoning tiny model people on the mean streets of the world since 2006. Documented through photography, these little dramas of hope and tragedy, loneliness and humour somehow get to the heart of what it means to be human; to be alone among millions of other people, all experiencing the particular melancholy and magic of life in the big city.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk description)

War and peace: humanity as a stage

syndetics-lcWorld Press Photo 12
Every year since 1955 an international jury has convened under the auspices of the World Press Photo Foundation to choose the finest press photographs of the year.
Universally recognized as the definitive competition for photographic reporting, it has been described by Michael Rand — for many years Art Director of The Sunday Times Magazine — as ‘the international photographic contest’.

This exceptional book contains the most haunting and inspiring photographs from 2011 — more than 160 pictures submitted by photojournalists, picture agencies, newspapers and magazines throughout the world.
Selected from more than 101,000 images taken by over 5,200 photographers representing 124 countries, these prize-winning photos capture the most powerful, moving and sometimes disturbing events of 2011. (From Publisher)

syndetics-lcThe Sartorialist, Closer
Photography book or fashion book? Great street portraits of people with style.. In the Sartorialist: Closer, Scott Schuman gives us a new instalment on human style as diverse and unique as the cities he visits with his camera, capturing the essence of global styles the world over, from Seoul to London, New York to Tokyo. His blog designed to feature the people he captured on the street just because they looked great,  has become an international phenomenon and his work is now part of collections such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and showcased in many different fashion magazines.

syndetics-lcPhotography, the Whole Story
A new history of photography presented in a compact yet exhaustive volume, this title is divied chronologically into 5 main periods from the experimental years in the early 1820’s to the very latest trends in global photography. Each chapter features a double spread timeline that serves as a visual table of content. Trends, genres and iconic photographers are described, discussed and attractively illustrated, focusing on specific details of featured photographs within their design, historical and cultural context. The Navigator, Focal Points and Photographer Profile make it a lively guided tour of the subject of photography through the ages.

syndetics-lcTheatre of War – Cecil Beaton
“At the beginning of the Second World War the Ministry of Information, through the advice of Kenneth Clark, commissioned Cecil Beaton to photograph the Home Front. Beaton set to work recording the destruction of the Wren churches in the City and the heroism of Londoners under attack. He conducted a survey of Bomber and Fighter Commands for the RAF, which was published with Beaton’s own astute commentary. Beaton was an effective propagandist, but his voice, like his photographs, was touchingly elegant. Whatever his subject, Beaton was always a stylist. Beaton’s wartime work for the Ministry amounted to seven thousand photographs, which are now housed with their negatives at the Imperial War Museums. They form a great document both of the landscape of war and of the passing of the Empire. He travelled through the Western Desert and on to Iraq, Palestine, Transjordan and Syria. In 1943 he left for India where he photographed the final days of the Raj in New Delhi and Calcutta before joining the Burma campaign. He ended the war deep in Chinese territory where he witnessed the Nationalist resistance to the Japanese. Beaton’s inherent sense of theatre extended from palatial drawing rooms to the jungle and the desert. Whatever the circumstances he never departed from his radical aesthetic. Theatre of War is published in conjunction with the Imperial War Museums on the occasion of a major exhibition”–publisher’s website.

syndetics-lcHenri Cartier-Bresson, A Biography
The 20th century was that of the image, and the legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, born in 1908, was the eye of the century. He focused on the fascination of Africa in the 1920s, the tragic fate of the Spanish Republicans, the Liberation of Paris, the weariness of Gandhi a few hours before his assassination, the victory of the Chinese communists, and much more besides. Cartier-Bresson was always on the spot, the great opportunist, seizing life’s historic events as they happened. An intensely private individual, Cartier-Bresson nonetheless took Pierre Assouline into his confidence over a number of years, discussing such subjects as his youthful devotion to surrealism, his lifelong passion for drawing, his experience of war and the prison camps, his friends and the women in his life. He even opened up his invaluable archives. This sensitive biography is the result of the meeting of two minds, revealed in much the same way and with the same truth as one of Cartier-Bresson’s outstanding, inimitable photographs. (from Amazon.co.uk)

syndetics-lcLife – A Journey through time
A remarkable photographic exploration of life on earth. In the year 2000, world-renowned wildlife photographer Frans Lanting set out on a personal journey to photograph the evolution of life on earth. He made pilgrimages to true time capsules like a remote lagoon in Western Australia, spent time in research collections photographing forms of microscopic life, and even found ways to create visual parallels between the growth of organs in the human body and the patterns seen on the surface of the earth. The resulting volume is a glorious picture book of planet Earth depicting the amazing biodiversity that surrounds us all. Lanting’s true gift lies beyond his technical mastery: it is his eye for geometry in the beautiful chaos of nature that allows him to show us the world as it has never been seen before. From crabs to jellyfish, diatoms to vast geological formations, jungles to flowers, monkeys to human embryos, LIFE is a testament to the magical beauty of life in all its forms and is one of Lanting’s most remarkable achievements. (Library catalogue)

syndetics-lcParis, Portrait of a city
The vivid history of the capital of love and photography. A city built on two millennia of history, Paris is entering the third century of its love story with photography. It was on the banks of the Seine that Niépce and Daguerre officially gave birth to this new art that has flourished ever since, developing a distinctive language and becoming a vital tool of knowledge. Paris, Portrait of a City leads us through what Goethe described as a “universal city where every step upon a bridge or a square recalls a great past, where a fragment of history is unrolled at the corner of every street”. The history of Paris is recounted in photographs ranging from Daguerre’s early incunabula to the most recent images – an almost complete record of over a century and a half of transformations and a vast panorama spanning more than 600 pages and 500 photographs. This book brings together the past and the present, the monumental and the everyday, objects and people. Images captured by the most illustrious photographers – Daguerre, Marville, Atget, Lartigue, Brassaï, Kertész, Ronis, Doisneau, Cartier-Bresson and many more – but also by many unknown photographers, attempt to bottle just a little of that “Parisian air”, something of that particular poetry given out by the stones and inhabitants of a constantly changing city that has inspired untold numbers of writers and artists over the ages. (Library catalogue)

October Art recent picks

Our recent art books include: A classy book on Georgia O’Keefe, a fascinating collection of interviews with artists (find out who has influenced them!), a new look at Andy Warhol, a beautifully illustrated book on the Spanish painter Sorolla, and the very cool graphic art book “Sketchtravel”.

Syndetics book coverGeorgia O’Keeffe and her houses : Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu / Barbara Buhler Lynes and Agapita Judy Lopez.
“Painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s (1887-1986) dominant themes–vast, open spaces and washes of color, skulls, flowers, mountains, sky, “all the earth colors of the painter’s palette”–were inspired by the landscape surrounding her two custom-designed houses in New Mexico (Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu), traditional buildings that were carefully tweaked to bring desert light into spaces for eating, reading, cooking, and painting. O’Keeffe scholar-curators Lynes (Georgia O’Keeffe Museum) and Lopez collect correspondence, architectural plans, photographs, present-day images, portraits of the artist, and reproductions of paintings to illustrate how O’Keeffe’s living spaces influenced her creative life… ” (Publisher Weekly) (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn my view : personal reflections on art by today’s leading artists / edited by Simon Grant.
“In this splendid tribute to the enduring power of images, art historian Grant, editor of the magazine Tate Etc., gathers the reflections of more than 75 international artists as they contemplate the work of an artist who has inspired and influenced them… This impressive collection reminds us of the power of great art to inspire and change us” (Publisher Weekly) (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRegarding Warhol : sixty artists, fifty years / Mark Rosenthal ; [interviews conducted by] Marla Prather ; [visual archive], Ian Alteveer ; [A timeline], Rebecca Lowery.
“The first full-scale exploration of Andy Warhol’s tremendous reach across several generations of artists who in key ways respond to his groundbreaking work. Includes interviews and visual archive and illustrated chronology that chart the “Warhol effect” over the past 50 years” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSorolla : the masterworks / Blanca Pons-Sorolla..
“A new survey of the best works by the elusive and spectacular Spanish Impressionist Joaquín Sorolla. Often compared to his contemporary, the American artist John Singer Sargent, Joaquín Sorolla (1863–1923) was a master draftsman and painter of landscapes, formal portraits, and monumental, historically themed canvases. Highly influenced by French Impressionism, the Valencian artist was a master plein-air painter known for his luminous seaside scenes of frolicking youths and for vivid depictions of Spanish rural life and its pleasures and customs… With virtually all of the artist’s previous publications now out of print, this much-anticipated volume is an important addition to the literature on this great Spanish master” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverSketchtravel.
“Sketchtravel is an artistic journey unlike any other. No editorial project has ever before brought together as many visual artists around a common object. Passed between 72 artists over 5 years and across over 35,000 miles, the Sketchtravel sketchbook showcases the creativity of artists in numerous disciplines from around the world. Illustrators, animators, painters, and more each illustrated a page with their unique style before passing the book to the next artist. Reflecting a who’s who of popular contemporary artists, this imaginative diverse collection of artwork will inspire art lovers with its scope, diversity, and beauty, much as it did each artist who contributed a link in its chain” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Current Photographic Exhibition in Wellington

syndetics-lcBehind Closed Doors
Commissioned to complement the exhibition “Behind closed doors: New Zealand art from private collections in Wellington”  shown at the Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi of Victoria University in Wellington in 2011, and currently at the {Suite} Gallery (3-27 October 2012), this book is a portrait of Wellington as a city of art collectors and lovers. The representation of art in the context of homes rather than the institutional walls of museums or galleries offers an interesting point of view. Neil Pardington, already a familiar photographer in the world of collections and museums, discretely uncovers the private spaces inhabited by art collected according to personal agenda and sensibilities. His black and white photographs are accompanied by extensive text by Lara Strongman, setting the context of each collection and its owners. One notable collection is that of Milly Paris, the largest private art collection in New Zealand, recently in the news as it went under the hammer. Listen to a National Radio interview with Milly Paris.

Art recent picks

The impossible museum, and other intriguing new art books for September 2012:

Syndetics book coverArt of the Andes : from Chavín to Inca / Rebecca Stone.
“This wide-ranging survey has established itself as the best single volume introduction to Andean art and architecture, and is an essential guide to pre-Columbian Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia for the general reader, student, traveler, and artist alike. Describing the strikingly varied artistic achievements of the Chavín, Paracas, Moche, Nasca, Chimu, and Inca cultures, among others, Rebecca Stone has rewritten and expanded the text throughout, touching on many of the recent discoveries and advances in the field…” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverThe early Dürer / [Albrecht Dürer] ; edited by Daniel Hess and Thomas Eser ; [translations: Lance Anderson ... [et al.]].
“Painter, engraver, designer of woodcuts, and major art theorist, Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) is Germany’s most famous artist. This new study, published in association with the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, focuses on his early art and the circumstances of the young painter’s life that enabled his unique work. Dürer is resituated in the artistic context of his time, at an exciting crossroad between the imitation of traditional painting and the selfconscious renewal of his profession…”
(adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverGive me tomorrow / Alex Katz ; [texts by Martin Clark ... [et al.] ; edited by Martin Clark].
“Born in 1927 in Brooklyn, New York, Alex Katz is one of the most important and respected living American artists. He began exhibiting in the 1950s, at a time when Abstract Expressionism was still the dominant force in American art. Whilst he was heavily influenced by this generation, the work he himself created became a precursor to the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. Katz’s paintings are defined by their flatness of colour and form, their economy of line, and their cool but seductive emotional detachment, evoking an everyday America of easy living, leisure and recreation…” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverThe impossible museum : the best art you’ll never see / Céline Delavaux.
“Spanning centuries and encompassing a variety of masterpieces–from paintings on canvas and cave walls to structures and jewelry–this fascinating compendium of “lost art” takes readers on a historic journey and explores how and why art can disappear from our lives… However they disappeared from view, these works represent significant gaps in art history. Fortunately for us, many exact replicas or studies for these pieces exist, while others were photographed before their destruction. Working with the latest research and documentation, author Céline Delavaux brings each lost piece back to life through illuminating text and helpful illustrations…” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverRoy Lichtenstein : a retrospective / James Rondeau and Sheena Wagstaff ; with contributions by Clare Bell, Yve-Alain Bois, Iria Candela, Harry Cooper, Sara Doris, Chrissie Iles, James Lawrence, and Stephen Little.
“Released in conjunction with a retrospective exhibit, this critical survey presents Roy Lichtenstein as an artist who transcended subject matter in order to create a visual world both culturally prescient and deeply engaged with art history. Although widely regarded as a preeminent Pop artist, Lichtenstein’s work and thematic concerns have received relatively slight critical attention; the nine essays collected here help remedy the situation, with every writer addressing a different mode or period of the artist’s oeuvre… (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly) (Syndetics summary)


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