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?”
Postdigital 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)
Maya 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)
Women 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)
The 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)
Art + 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)
Art & 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)
Strange 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)
Drawing 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)
More 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)
The 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)
The 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)
The 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)
Lucian 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)
Street 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)
Subway 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)