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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)

Art connections – New Art Books in September

This month’s selection showcases a whole world of art, from great Maori sculptor Fred Graham to French painters and children’s book illustrators. We visit spiritual sculpture in Polynesia, street artists across the globe and one of the great paradoxes of Australian art.

Syndetics book coverFred Graham : creator of forms : te tohunga auaha / Maria de Jong with Fred Graham ; photographs by Geoff Dale.
“Māori sculptor Fred Graham is a leading figure in New Zealand’s art world … This rich retrospective reveals the stories behind Graham’s life – from his early career as an art teacher to his emergence as a revered figure within the contemporary Māori art movement.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe language of mixed-media sculpture / Jac Scott.
“Both a survey and a lavish celebration of contemporary approaches to sculptures that are formed from more than one material, this book profiles the discipline in all its expanded forms, and recognizes sculpture in the 21st century not as something solid and static, but rather as a fluid interface in material, time, and space. It reveals the inspirations, influences, and creative journeys of more than 30 contemporary artists, and explains the practical processes and raw materials they use.” (Adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverShow me a story! : why picture books matter : conversations with 21 of the world’s most celebrated illustrators / compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus ; with a foreword by David Wiesner.
“In his introduction to this collection of 21 interviews with renowned children’s illustrators, Marcus reveals his impetus for embarking on the project: a mad quest for the vital thread that links an artist’s life story to the stories and images for which he or she is known. To do this he often starts where all things start; in childhood.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverIn Montmartre : Picasso, Matisse and modernism in Paris 1900-1910 / Sue Roe. 
“Montmartre, the hillside district of northern Paris, lay at the heart of an emerging modernism at the turn of the 20th century. Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Gertrude Stein, Marcel Proust, and other famous modernists lived, worked, and congregated within its neighbourhood cafes, bars, and studios. Roe painstakingly depicts Montmartre’s cultural and political history.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverMiró : the experience of seeing : late works, 1963-1981 / Carmen Fernández Aparicio, Belén Gálan Martín, Charles Palermo, Pere Portabella, Jesús Carrillo.
“This book details Miro’s antagonistic relationship with the Franco regime; his strong sense of being Catalan; his differences from surrealism, and his relationships with Marcel Duchamp. It is generously and well illustrated, particularly for the sculpture. It should bring Miro to the forefront of 20th-century art.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverPro Hart : life & legacy / Gavin Fry.
“Pro Hart was without doubt a most enigmatic figure in Australian art. Can one be described as being ‘without a doubt the greatest artist in our nation’s history’, yet also be considered a ‘parish pump incompetent’, meretricious and a charlatan? That is the paradox of Pro Hart. To be an artist turning over more than one million dollars a year, yet fly beneath the radar of serious art. How did that situation arise and what it does it say about Australia?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAtua : sacred gods from Polynesia / Michael Gunn.
“The Polynesian concept of atua ― of gods, figurative objects and associated beliefs ― developed over thousands of years and spread throughout the region. Sculptures of ancestral gods connected the Polynesians with Te Po, the supernatural world, giving them strength and sacred knowledge. The superb examples of sculpture illustrated in this volume provide an island-by-island insight into this rich and intriguing heritage.” (Adapted from Amazon 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, and trompe l’oeil.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

New Art books in June

In this month’s selections we cover colourful pop art and street art, we travel outdoors to examine larger-than-life sculptures and look inward at the private sketchbooks of sculptor Grayson Perry, and we take a detailed look at the work and life of some beloved artists, including video & installation artist Bill Viola.

Syndetics book coverBotticelli reimagined / [edited by] Mark Evans and Stefan Weppelmann.
“Renowned for his iconic The Birth of Venus, Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) is arguably one of the greatest artists of all time, and his work has inspired countless others. As famous as he is today, Botticelli was quickly forgotten after his death, only to be rediscovered in the 19th century. This fascinating book is the first to contrast Botticelli’s work with modern appropriations of it–including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, videos, fashion, and design by artists such as Edgar Degas, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, René Magritte, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and Bill Viola.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to be an artist without losing your mind, your shirt, or your creative compass : a practical guide / JoAnneh Nagler.
“Whether you’re a new graduate, considering a job change, or a creative type who isn’t finding time to pursue your passions, don’t fall for this line: “Do what you love and the money will follow.” The world is full of starving artists, but you don’t need to starve financially to thrive artistically. Author JoAnneh Nagler wants you to welcome your creativity and continue to make art–but to do so with a plan. In this groundbreaking book, she provides step-by-step strategies to teach writers, sculptors, painters, musicians, designers, and other artists how tohave a well-supported, well-lived life–and make art at the same time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUrban art legends / Ket.
“From being spray-painted onto walls and trains, to enjoying acclaim in galleries and museums, the graffiti movement has changed. Far from being viewed as mindless vandalism, graffiti, or urban street art, has become prized as a highly valued and socially relevant art form. From well-known names such as Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Blek le Rat to superstars of the underground movement, these are artists who have moved far away from the cliched lettering and tags to develop individual styles that reflect and critique modern life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOutdoor art : extraordinary sculpture parks and art in nature / Silvia Langen ; translation, Fiona Elliott, Edinburgh.
“This book offers an astonishing glimpse beyond the garden walls of some of today’s most innovative art spaces around the world–sculpture parks and art situated in nature. From Edward James’s surreal sculpture garden Las Pozas in Mexico to Anselm Kiefer’s sprawling studio complex in the French countryside, artists and art collectors are creating outdoor spaces in order to display sculpture and art that is both transformative and powerful. This book is filled with breathtaking photographs of 25 of these spaces from throughout the world–many of which are not open to the public.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSketchbooks / Grayson Perry.
“For over 30 years, Grayson Perry has made his name sculpting ceramic vases that are brazenly decorated and strikingly detailed. In this unique collaboration with the artist, over 100 double-page illustrations bring to life the sketches that have been essential in forming Grayson’s style, from his days as a fresh art graduate to the moment he won the Turner Prize.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Bill Viola / edited by Chris Townsend.
“The video and installation artist Bill Viola is one of the most popular artists in the world today. Viola’s rich imagery touches a nerve with large international audiences. Viola is one of those rare artists whose work makes us aware of our nature as human beings. In The Art of Bill Viola eminent critics examine the scope of the artist’s creations since the 1970s. Their studies include the relationship of Viola’s art to the religious traditions of both Asia and Europe, the use of space as metaphor within his installations, the use of sound in his work, and the impact of its exhibition upon other video artists.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArtrage! : the story of the BritArt revolution / Elizabeth Fullerton.
“The Young British Artists (YBAs) stormed onto the contemporary art scene in 1988 with their attention-grabbing, ironic art. Both dismissed as trivial gimmickry and praised for its witty energy, their art made an indelible mark on the art scene and on public consciousness, still visible today. Drawing on interviews with all the key Brit Art players, as well as extensive archival research, Elizabeth Fullerton examines the entire cast of characters, as well as crucial events and seminal artworks. Among the artists discussed are Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread, Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Sarah Lucas, and Gary Hume.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMake your mark : the new urban artists / Tristan Manco.
“In an age when Banksy’s installations are protected by Plexiglas and graffiti artists exhibit in galleries as well as on the street, Make Your Mark explores the work of thirty-five urban artists who use mark-making techniques–drawing, painting, and other methods–to create a diverse array of work. Featured artists include the French illustrator and graffiti artist Bault, the American muralist Zio Ziegler, and the Japanese painter Fuco Ueda.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI’m with her / Rochelle Feinstein ; text by David Norr and six others.
I’m with Her is the first book to offer a cohesive presentation of American artist Rochelle Feinstein’s rich career to date. Bringing together several important bodies of work, such as The Estate of Rochelle F , The Abramovic Method and The Wonderfuls , this compendium showcases an evolving, expansive and highly self-reflexive painting practice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMan Ray : writings on art / edited by Jennifer Mundy, with Andrew Strauss and Edouard Sebline, consulting editors.
“Man Ray (1890 -1976) was a pioneer of the Dada movement in the United States and France and a central protagonist of Surrealism. Today he is one of the best-known American artists of the twentieth century, celebrated above all for his innovative and often seductively glamorous photography. Man Ray: Writings on Art fills a conspicuous gap in scholarship on the artist and his period. It brings together his most significant writings, many of them published here for the first time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent Art Picks in March

Here are some recent additions to our art book collection that are well worth seeking out.

Syndetics book coverArt + fashion : collaborations and connections between icons / by E.P. Cutler and Julien Tomasello.
Art + Fashion reveals the astonishing work that results when luminaries from the art world  come together with icons of the fashion world .  Represented in lavish visuals with thoughtful essays reflecting on the history of each project this books brims with the energy and possibility.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Artblog1_Transcommunality : interventions and collaborations in stilt dancing communities, New York, Trinidad and Tobago, Oaxaca / Laura Anderson Barbata.
“This book celebrates the artist Laura Anderson Barbata’s alliance with traditional stilt dancers from the West Indies and Mexico, as well as her collaboration with artisans of Oaxaca, Mexico. Born in Mexico City, Barbata is a multidisciplinary artist who has worked primarily in the social realm. The resulting works challenge the notions of collaborative community art, public art, performance, sculpture and tradition.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverJewel city : art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition / edited by James A. Ganz ; with Emma Acker, Laura Ackley, [and 10 more].
“One hundred years ago, San Francisco hosted a spectacular world’s fair. The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition drew millions of viewers, and its attractions  included the most comprehensive  art exhibition ever mounted on the West Coast.” (Adapted from jacket cover description and Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt in minutes / Susie Hodge.
“The perfect compact reference guide for all would-be art buffs. Art historian Susie Hodge takes you on a whistle-stop international tour of all the major artistic cultures, movements, phases, developments, artists and themes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Artblog2101 works of art / writers, Ken Hall, Jenny Harper, Felicity Milburn, Nathan Pohio, Lara Strongman, Peter Vangioni ; editor, Sarah Pepperle ; designer, Aaron Beehre ; photographer, John Collie.
“Christchurch Art Gallery showcases 101 treasures from its collection that stand out in a line-up of New Zealand’s most significant collected works. Enjoy thoughtful, conversational texts written to feel as if the reader is standing with the curator in front of the painting.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThinking about art : a thematic guide to art history / Penny Huntsman.
Thinking about Art explores some of the greatest works of art and architecture in the world through the prism of themes, instead of chronology, to offer intriguing juxtapositions of art and history.The book ranges across time and topics, from the Parthenon to the present day and from patronage to ethnicity, to reveal art history in new and varied lights.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt Visionaries (Visionaries) [paperback]
“This compelling book chronicles 75 of the most influential artists from the dawn of the 20th century to the present, and from around the world. Through a combination of lively text and arresting visuals, this is an inspirational and wholly original guide to some of the artists whose vision has helped to shape the modern art world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPop! : The World of Pop Art
“Exploring Pop art’s origins in modern European avant-garde movements such as Cubism and Dadaism, this compelling book also travels the world to examine how Pop art influenced artists as far afield as Italy, Spain, Finland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Key figures include Japan’s Yayoi Kusama and Italy’s Mimmo Rotella.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBetter Living Through Criticism : How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth
“Drawing on the long tradition of criticism from Aristotle to Susan Sontag, Scott shows that real criticism was and always will be the breath of fresh air that allows true creativity to thrive. “The time for criticism is always now,” Scott explains, “because the imperative to think clearly, to insist on the necessary balance of reason and passion, never goes away.”” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverModern Scottish Women: Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965 [paperback]
“This revelatory book concentrates on Scottish women painters and sculptors of the Glasgow School of Art and 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. A fresh look at the achievements of Scottish women artists of the modern period.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaking sense of Buddhist art and architecture
Making Sense of Buddhist Art & Architecture is designed to equip the cultural tourist and art student with the means to interpret each painting, building, or artifact in terms of the iconography and symbolism of the Buddhist religion. By tracing the paths between Buddhist belief and artistic intention, Making Sense of Buddhist Art & Architecture deepens understanding not only of Buddhist art and architecture but also of Buddhism itself.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOlivia Spencer Bower: making her own discoveries
“I paint for myself. That’s the only way. For when you paint to please it’s not the honest thing and inhibits the chances of discovery, because there’s no point in writing or painting unless you make your own discoveries.” Olivia Spencer Bower wrote those words near the end of an almost six-decade career as one of New Zealand’s finest and best-loved artists.  In this, the first book to consider Olivia Spencer Bower’s life and work, art historian Julie King offers a superb evocation of one of the most engaging and vital artists this country has produced.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Colouring-in for the weekend

Need a moment of relaxation? How about some colouring-in with these downloadable illustrations from 1920′s Bookman issues.

Download the illustrations here: Summer Reading & Children’s Books

Summer Reading2

children's books The Bookman 1929

Recent Art Picks for January

We kick of the new year with this smorgasbord of recent picks. There is even a pocket guide to our fair city’s public art in the mix. My personal standouts are the first three in the following line up. Postdigital artisans and Maya Lin Topologies for combinations of imagery and concepts. In fact  this following quote about Maya Lin (which also applies to Postdigital artisans) sums up what makes these two books great. “Lin has been proposing ways of thinking and imagining that resist categories, genres, and borders.” And homage has to given to Linda Nochlin who penned the 1971 classic and rightly provocative “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”

Syndetics book coverPostdigital artisans / author, Jonathan Openshaw.
“Digital technology has irreversibly changed how we see, think and act. A staggering number of us spend as much as half our waking hours online. As we are drawn deeper into a symbiotic relationship with the digital, there is also a growing desire for more tactile, immersive experiences. It’s in this context that today’s “postdigital artisans” operate. Inescapably influenced by the digital world, they nonetheless reject strictly screen-based design and total reliance on automated production, such as 3D printing. They advocate a return to craft, with objects made from clay, metal, glass and wood. They neither turn their backs on technology nor glorify nostalgia, but the high-tech honeymoon is over.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaya Lin : topologies / foreword by John McPhee ; essays by Michael Brenson, William L. Fox, Paul Goldberger, Philip Jodidio, Maya Lin, Lisa Philips, and Dava Sobel ; index by Tan Lin.
“This is the first comprehensive monograph on the acclaimed American artist and architect, known for her environmental works and memorials that distill a tranquil yet texturally rich minimalism. Maya Lin is one of the most important public artists of this century. From the moment she entered the national spotlight with her design for the Vietnam Memorial, Lin has been proposing ways of thinking and imagining that resist categories, genres, and borders.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWomen artists : the Linda Nochlin reader / edited by Maura Reilly.
“Linda Nochlin is one of the most accessible, provocative, and innovative art historians of our time. In 1971 she published her essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”–a dramatic feminist call-to-arms that called traditional art historical practices into question and led to a major revision of the discipline. Women Artists brings together twenty-nine essential essays from throughout Nochlin’s career, making this the definitive anthology of her writing about women in art.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe watercolor course you’ve always wanted : guided lessons for beginners and experienced artists / Leslie Frontz.
“This straightforward handbook offers a fresh approach to watercolor mastery that bridges the gap between theory and practice. Through thoughtful discussion, expert instruction, and in-depth step-by-step demonstrations, Leslie Frontz shows readers how to eliminate common barriers to achieve beautiful, captivating watercolor paintings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt + religion in the 21st century / Aaron Rosen.
“Artists today continue to reflect seriously upon religious traditions, themes, and institutions, suggesting a new approach to spirituality that is more considered than confrontational. This is an in-depth study of artists who use their work to explore religion’s cultural, social, political, and psychological impact on today’s world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt & about : a pocket guide to Wellington’s public art / Frances Sutton ; with photos by Helena Fierlinger.
“Wellingtonians and visitors love the city’s profusion of public art. Complete with maps and photos to help you uncover even the most hidden treasures, this book tells you about each work and the artist who made it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStrange tools : art and human nature / Alva Noë.
“In his new book, Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature, the philosopher and cognitive scientist Alva Noë raises a number of profound questions: What is art? Why do we value art as we do? What does art reveal about our nature? Drawing on philosophy, art history, and cognitive science, and making provocative use of examples from all three of these fields, Noë offers new answers to such questions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrawing people : the human figure in contemporary art / Roger Malbert.
Drawing People is a thoughtful and beautifully illustrated survey of the most compelling and inventive drawings of the human form being produced today. An introduction places the medium of drawing in its historical context, discussing its intersection with photography, painting, collage and illustration.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMore than words : illustrated letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art / Liza Kirwin ; with a foreword by Richard J. Wattenmaker.
More Than Words features correspondence by such revered artists as Winslow Homer, Frida Kahlo, Andrew Wyeth, Man Ray, Eero Saarinen, Alexander Calder, Gio Ponti, and Andy Warhol. These gorgeous letters reveal the joys and successes, loves and longings, disappointments and frustrations of their legendary lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe organic artist : Make your own paint, paper, pens, pigments, prints, and more from nature / Nick Neddo.
“This is an art book which highlights the possibility of using natural, organic materials as art supplies and inspiration.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe business of being an artist / Daniel Grant.
“The fifth edition of this updated and expanded classic provides visual artists with an in-depth guide to developing and building a career as a professional artist. Veteran art writer Daniel Grant weaves the words and experiences of dozens of practicing artists throughout this informative volume to describe their real-life challenges and the solutions they found to overcome them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Face of Britain: A History of the Nation through its Portraits [hardback]
“Combining his two great passions, British history and art history, for the first time, Schama’s extraordinary storytelling reveals the truth behind the nation’s most famous portrayals of power, love, fame, the self, and the people. Mesmerising in its breadth and its panache, The Face of Britain will change the way we see our past – and ourselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLucian Freud: British Artists series (British Artists Series) [hardback]
“Lucian Freud (1922-2011) was one of the most influential artists of his generation. Freud’s commitment to realism, and particularly to the human figure, was often controversial. Always creating debate, Freud consistently addressed questions of human existence and perception, testing, through a sustained practice of looking, the possibility of knowing and recording human individuality.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStreet art : Australia / Lou Chamberlin.
“Sometimes street art on an otherwise dull area can both transport and intrigue: who was the artist? What is the story behind the painting? This book highlights a number of street artists in Australia and  is a following up from the success of  art photographer Lou Chamberlin’s Street Art: Melbourne.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSubway art / Martha Cooper & Henry Chalfant.
“This revised edition of the 1984 ground breaking Subway Art presents stunning photographic documentation of the burgeoning street art  movement in New York. Thirty years later, this bible of street art has been updated with over seventy photographs not included in the original edition and new insights on an incredibly rich period for urban art and its legacy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent Art books gracing our shelves in October

Whether we like it or not,  at some time or another each one of us has had a fascination with a piece of art or artist, and it is true that opinions on art can be wildly disparate and sometimes even incendiary. From a marketing take on the idea of the artist, through to artist biopics and more; a few of of the  following books perpetuate commonly held notions about artists and art, whilst others document artists lives and work and discuss major shifts in this sprawling universe of a topic.

Syndetics book coverThe art of the con : the most notorious fakes, frauds, and forgeries in the art world / Anthony M. Amore.
“Anthony M. Amore’s The Art of the Con tells the stories of some of history’s most notorious yet untold cons, incredible not only for their boldness but more so because they actually worked. Using interviews and newly released court documents, The Art of the Con will also take the reader into the investigations that led to the capture of the con men, who oftentimes return back to the world of crime. For some, it’s an irresistible urge because their innocent dupes all share something in common: they want to believe.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of forgery : the minds, motives and methods of master forgers / Noah Charney.
The Art of Forgery: Case Studies in Deception explores the stories, dramas and human intrigues surrounding the world’s most famous forgeries – investigating the motivations of the artists and criminals who have faked great works of art, and in doing so conned the public and the art establishment alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn Artist Once Said : An Inspiration Book
An Artist Once Said includes over fifty thought-provoking lines from artists such as Picasso, Andy Warhol, Matisse, Van Gogh, Paul Klee, Dali, O’Keeffe, and many more. This is the perfect book for art lovers or anyone looking for inspiration.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBernard Buffet: the invention of the modern mega-artist
“Bernard Buffet was the first artist of the television and the jet age. As the first of the so-called Fabulous Five (Francoise Sagan, Roger Vadim, Brigitte Bardot and Yves Saint Laurent) he was a leader of the cultural revolution that seemed to forge a new France from the shattered remains of a discredited and demoralized country. While still in his twenties he had a Rolls Royce, a chateau, an island, high society at his feet and a glittering future ahead. Yet his extraordinary fall from grace was engineered by the very establishment that created him.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThink like an artist: how to live a happier, smarter, more creative life
“Will Gompertz, the BBC’s Arts Editor and a former director at the Tate, has spent years getting up close and personal with some of the world’s greatest creative thinkers. And he’s discovered a handful of traits that are common to all successful people, from novelists and film directors to scientists and philosophers. These basic practices allow their talent to flourish.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGoya: his life & works in 500 images: an illustrated account of the artist, his life and context, with a gallery of 300 paintings and drawings
“This beautifully illustrated book is essential reading for anyone who would like to learn about the life, work and influence of one of Spain’s great masters. Francisco de Goya was the last Old Master of Spanish art and the first of the great moderns. From royal portraits to bizarre, grotesque illustrations, his legacy demonstrates a tortured genius, generating some of the most compelling art ever produced.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStudios for Artists : Concepts and Concrete
“The form, function and future of the artist’s studio is the central focus of the collaboration and of this publication. Studios for Artists presents how the partners formalized their work, resulting in amongst other initiatives, the design and construction of an award-winning studio building and the establishment of a sustainable graduate studio program. It reveals not just the ongoing challenges faced by art education, but also the threat to affordable studio provision where spiraling property prices threaten this vital, but generally unacknowledged, part of the contemporary visual arts ecology.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElectronics for artists : adding light, motion, and sound to your artwork / Simon Quellen Field.
“Simon Quellen Field has developed a primer for creative individuals looking for new ways to express themselves though electronically enhanced art. Following step-by-step examples of basic circuitry and programming, readers can develop the skills necessary to enhance their works of art. The book also features art projects to try.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWomen Artists : The Linda Nochlin Reader
“Linda Nochlin is one of the most accessible, provocative, and innovative art historians of our time. In 1971 she published her essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”–a dramatic feminist call-to-arms that called traditional art historical practices into question and led to a major revision of the discipline. This Reader brings together twenty-nine essential essays from throughout Nochlin’s career, making this the definitive anthology of her writing about women in art.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArtists Living With Art
“For those who are curious Artists Living with Art invites readers into the homes and personal art collections of some of the world’s most renowned contemporary artists, including Cindy Sherman, Helen and Brice Marden, Chuck Close, Rachel Feinstein and John Currin, Glenn Ligon, and Pat Steir.” (Adapted 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 and design told through the materials of color-from the discovery and use of early earth pigments through lakes to organic chemistry and into contemporary dyes, inks, printing techniques and manufacture. Throughout this sumptuously colorful book artists’ and designers’ projects illustrate the often behind the scenes inventions and processes of color-making.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBarbara Hepworth: Writings and Conversations [hardback]
“This first collection reveals the remarkably eloquent writings and conversations of sculptor Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) spanning almost the whole of Hepworth’s artistic life. Her gift for language and desire to communicate to a public are evident throughout. The collection sheds new light on Hepworth’s life, her artistic practices, the sources of her inspiration, the breadth of her intellectual interests, and her deep engagement with contemporary politics and society.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBarbara Hepworth [hardback]
“This groundbreaking new publication focuses on the spaces and contexts, physical and conceptual, in which the Hepworth is positioned. It examines her interest in staging and presenting work–indoors and out–in studio, film, garden, stage, architecture, photography, and print. As well as placing her work alongside her British and international contemporaries, a broad range of distinguished contributors also consider wider technical and intellectual concerns.  The book features previously unseen documentary material, including photographs and film stills that cast new light on one of the 20th century’s greatest artists.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe idea of art : building a contemporary international art collection / Anthony Bond.
“Curator Anthony Bond began building a contemporary international art collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney in 1984. Bond discusses the guiding philosophies that steered his formation of the gallery’s collection. Incorporating conversations with many high-profile contemporary artists, the book offers important insights into how recent innovations connect with the art of the past, and with human experience.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDustin Yellin : heavy water.
“For the past decade, Dustin Yellin has been dazzling the art world with his large-scale glass sculptures, which transport collage to another dimension. With a precise and painstaking process, multi-dimensional images grow from successive planes of multiple stacked panels of glass to create intricate 3D collages that bring to mind giant psychedelic paperweights taking on an abstract cinematic quality.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

 

 

New Art Picks for August

With something to offer for everyone this selection zig-zags between pop and cult culture, modernism and minimalism, to advice for practising artists. If you haven’t encountered artists Mark Wallinger or Nick Cave’s work (the artist not the singer) I suggest you seek them out. Mark Wallinger is first in this line up and Re:purposed further down the line features Nick Cave’s work. Curiosity and the lure of materiality makes Magnificent Obsessions (on the objects artists are drawn to collect) is fascinating read and well worth picking up.

Syndetics book coverMark Wallinger / Sally O’Reilly.
“Painter, sculptor, and video artist Mark Wallinger has created some of the most intelligent and irreverent work of the last 25 years. Winner of the Turner Prize in 2007, Wallinger is well known for his 50-meter sculpture of a white horse standing in the English countryside and a multipart work, Labyrinth , made for the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. Like all titles in this series, the book has 100 color illustrations and a new interview with the artist.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHigh art: public art on the High Line
“High Art surveys the first five years of art on the High Line, the unique elevated park in New York City created through the repurposing of an abandoned railway line. Since 2009, when the High Line was opened to the public, nineteen million visitors have been witness to more than 100 public art projects animating the grounds of this unique “park in the sky.”  The High Line is steadily broadening the audience for contemporary art while pushing the boundaries of traditional public art programs.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAgnes Martin: her life and art
“Over the course of a career that spanned fifty years, Agnes Martin’s austere, serene work anticipated and helped to define Minimalism. “I paint with my back to the world,” she says both at the beginning and at the conclusion of a documentary filmed when she was in her late eighties. No substantial critical monograph exists on this acclaimed artist; who was championed by critics as diverse in their approaches as Lucy Lippard, Lawrence Alloway, and Rosalind Krauss.  Agnes Martin is essential reading for anyone interested in abstract art or the history of women artists in America.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnexpected art : serendipitous installations, site-specific works, and surprising interventions / Jenny Moussa Spring, Florentijn Hofman, Christian L. Frock. (Overdrive E-Book)
“Graffiti made from cake icing, man-made clouds floating indoors, a luminous moon resting on water. Collected here are dozens of jaw-dropping artworks – site-specific installations, extraordinary sculptures, and groundbreaking interventions in public spaces – that reveal the exciting things that happen when contemporary artists play with the idea of place.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPainting Beyond Pollock
“Painting Beyond Pollock is a captivating account of the history of European and American painting from the mid20th century onwards. Art historian and critic Morgan Falconer presents an extensively researched piece of writing that explains why painting has surged in popularity since Jackson Pollock and the Abstract Expressionists began painting in the late 1940s-early 1950s.”  (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRe:purposed / by Matthew McLendon.
“What is ‘garbage’? ‘Trash’? ‘Rubbish’? More than a hundred years after Marcel Duchamp changed the course of Western art by re-focusing our view of ‘found objects’, artists today continue to explore ‘refuse’ and its many uses and meanings in contemporary art. Each theme is a potent reminder of our close connection to the materials we use to create and facilitate our lives. In the deft hands of these artists, those connections are far from severed when these materials are discarded.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverListening to stone: the art and life of Isamu Noguchi
“Throughout the twentieth century, Isamu Noguchi was a vital figure in modern art. From interlocking wooden sculptures to massive steel monuments to the elegant Akari lamps, Noguchi became a master of what he called the “sculpturing of space” constantly striving to “take the essence of nature and distill it.” Herrera locates Noguchi in his friendships with such artists as Buckminster Fuller and Arshile Gorky, and in his affairs with women including Frida Kahlo and Anna Matta Clark. Listening to Stone is a moving portrait of an artist compulsively driven to reinvent himself as he searched for his own “essence of sculpture.”” (Adapted syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverFrida Kahlo and Diego Rivera : Mexican Modern Art
“Few artists have captured the public’s imagination with the force of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Icons respectively of surrealism and the Mural Movement, their work reflected their immersion in indigenous Mexican culture while looking ahead to progressive ideals and wielding a defining influence on Mexican Modernism.Set in the broader context of the Mexican modernist movement, Kahlo’s and Rivera’s pieces are accompanied by works by such other masters as José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo, and Leonora Carrington.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPulp Macabre : The Art of Lee Brown Coye’s Final and Darkest Era
“No other artist working in mid-century pulp fiction created work as twisted as Lee Brown Coye. By the 1970s, after surviving a life-threatening illness, Coye would outdo himself, creating lurid illustrations exclusive to rare privately published books and fanzines. Pulp Macabre showcases Coye’s final and darkest era, containing some of the most passionately ghoulish artwork ever made.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMagnificent obsessions : the artist as collector / editorial coordination, Lincoln Dexter.
“This unique and revealing book probes the aesthetic and psychological dimensions of collecting and shows how objects can influence and reflect their owners’ work.  A lead essay examines the reasons why artists collect, attempting to understand the relationship between the objects artists amass and the works they make, and contributions by or on each of the artists reflect on the personal significance of collecting habits.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn Artist Friendship : An Artist Friendship
“The catalogue brings together the paintings, watercolours, drawings, handcrafts, objects, and documents of August Macke and Franz Marc, demonstrating their influence on one another’s work. The friendship between Marc (1880-1916) and Macke (1887-1914) was of vital importance to both painters, and defined their work.  Despite conceptual and cultural-political differences, a deep mutual affection characterised their joint undertakings.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSee Hear Yoko
“See Hear Yoko is a visual portrait of an icon of contemporary American cultural history, from her days with John Lennon through to the present. Rock Photographer Bob Gruen has selected more than three hundred classic color and black-and-white photographs–accompanied by text of Yoko’s insights gleaned from Denberg’s many hours of interviews–to illuminate the intimate story of Yoko Ono. Lavish and beautiful, See Hear Yoko brings into focus an extraordinary woman, and one of the most memorable periods in modern history.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt before breakfast : a zillion ways to be more creative, no matter how busy you are / by Danny Gregory.
“This unique guide serves up a hearty helping of inspiration for aspiring artists who want to draw and paint but just can’t seem to find time in the day. Packed with practical instructions on techniques and materials there are also strategies for making work that’s exciting, unintimidating, and fulfilling.  Art Before Breakfast teaches readers how to develop a creative habit and lead a richer life through making art.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrawing and painting : materials and techniques for contemporary artists / [Kate Wilson]
“Bursting with practical techniques, engaging artist profiles and inspirational galleries, Drawing & Painting combines an authoritative category killer approach with a contemporary aesthetic guaranteed to appeal to all artists.” (Adapted syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMāori art : history, architecture, landscape and theory / Rangihiroa Panoho ; with photographs by Mark Adams & Haruhiko Sameshima.
“This book presents a unique focus on Maori art by exploring the connection between the traditional and contemporary, and the place of Maori art within an international context. Maori Art provides a framework for looking at Maori art in a new way and fills a gap in Maori art history – while there are myriad surveys of Maori art there is currently very little critical writing on Maori art and artists.”(Adapted syndetics summary)


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