Need a moment of relaxation? How about some colouring-in with these downloadable illustrations from 1920’s Bookman issues.
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)
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.
The 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)
The 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)
An 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)
Bernard 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)
Think 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)
Goya: 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)
Studios 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)
Electronics 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)
Women 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)
Artists 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)
Colour 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)
Barbara 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)
Barbara 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)
The 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)
Dustin 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)
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.
Mark 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)
High 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)
Agnes 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)
Unexpected 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)
Painting 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)
Re: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)
Listening 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)
Frida 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)
Pulp 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)
Magnificent 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)
An 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)
See 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)
Art 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)
Drawing 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)
Māori 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)
A showcase of some of the recent art books to our collection.
Van Gogh: a power seething
“Van Gogh is a vivid portrait of the great Impressionist painter that traces his life from the Netherlands, where he was born into a family of art dealers, through his years in England, the Hague, and Paris, to his final home in Arles, where he discovered the luminous style of his late paintings before his suicide at the age of thirty-seven. Julian Bell conveys Van Gogh’s tragic story with great compassion, depicting van Gogh in all his anguished vigor.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)
Andy Warhol diaries
“Spanning the mid 1970s until just a few days before his death in 1987, The Andy Warhol Diaries is a compendium of the more than twenty thousand pages of the artists diary that he dictated daily to Pat Hackett. In it Warhool gives us the ultimate backstage pass to practically everything that went on in his world both high and low.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Why the romantics matter
“With his usual wit and elan, esteemed historian Peter Gay enters the contentious, long-standing debates over the romantic period and provides a fresh account of the immense achievements of romantic writers and artists in all media.Guiding readers through the history of the romantic movement across Britain, France, Germany, and Switzerland, Gay argues that the best way to conceptualize romanticism is to accept its complicated nature.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Wassily Kandinsky : masterpieces of art / Michael Kerrigan.
“Wassily Kandinsky, was a renowned Russian-born painter who is often regarded as one of the earliest pioneers of abstract art. Beginning with a fresh and thoughtful introduction to Kandinsky’s life and art, spanning his early paintings inspired by Russian folk art and fairy tales to his later works characterised by contrasting colours and striking geometric shapes.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
The contemporaries : travels in the 21st-century art world / Roger White.
“It’s been nearly a century since Marcel Duchamp exhibited a urinal and called it art. Since then contemporary art has now expanded to include just about any object, action, or event. In The Contemporaries , Roger White, himself a young painter, serves as our guide through this diffuse creative world, offering a glimpse of the inner workings of the American art world at a moment of unparalleled ambition, uncertainty, and creative exuberance.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
The Basilica of St Francis in Assisi / edited by Gianfranco Malafarina ; introduction by Chiara Frugoni ; photographs by Elio Ciol, Stefan Ciol and Ghigo Roli.
“The Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi is famed for its sequence of frescoes that celebrate the life and teachings of St. Francis. Aided by a wealth of beautiful photographs this is a guided tour of this magnificent complex. Rarely seen details allow the personal imprints of the artists to shine through, united by a desire to mirror reality while maintaining a sense of the spiritual and the sublime.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Sargent: portraits of artists and friends
“John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was one of the leading painters of his generation, whose captivating portraits are universally admired for their insight into character, radiance of light and color, and painterly fluency and immediacy. This book gives us a picture of the artist as an intellectual and connoisseur of the music, art, and literature of his day.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Go figure! new perspectives on Guston
“Go Figure!, considers the late work of Guston illustrating the enduring power of his work, particularly the fireworks generated by expressive contradictions embodied in his last paintings. Among the lessons Guston still has to teach is the necessity of constantly messing up the tidy models of artistic “progress” that aesthetic ideologues and tastemakers keep handing down from on high.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Squeezing in at the end of January, these recent additions to our library collection have a contemporary and urban focus. Of particular note is John Tusa’s “Pain in the Arts” highlighting the political controversies the arts continually face and the battles it continues to fight. Despite economic downturns and political agendas he argues for the sake of excellence and the value of art and its place in our society.
Weak messages create bad situations: a manifesto
“Weak messages create bad situations. Strong messages create good situations. Turner Prize-nominated artist David Shrigley is here to help.
Shrigley has exhibited at the Tate Modern in London, at the MoMA in New York, and in Paris, Berlin, Melbourne and beyond. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2013 and lives and works in Glasgow.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Art in time : a world history of styles and movements / project editor, Tom Melick.
“An essential guide to art styles and movements and a history of world art from the present day to Greek antiquity, this book places the reader in the art historian’s seat, offering an opportunity to work backwards from our own time and reconnect the dots, or even find new dots to connect.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Talk about street art / Jérome Catz ; translated from the French by Anna Hiddleston-Galloni.
“Graffiti and street art have long been part of our visual culture. The artist’s engagement and state of mind are important components of street art; the book covers topics such as anonymity, the art form’s dangerous nature, codes of conduct, and ideological engagement, as well as the interface of street art with contemporary art, pop surrealism, toy art, and music and sport. Street art is found on every continent, and the book gives focus to each country and its own modes of expression and specificities.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
The art of mistakes : unexpected painting techniques & the practice of creative thinking / Melanie Rothschild.
“When it comes to mistakes, we’re all experts. Really. Yet fear of making mistakes often holds us back from trying new things. Whether you are a seasoned artist, or just getting started, learning to embrace and use mistakes can spell the beginning of a new chapter in your art-making life. Showcasing 16 painting techniques to encourage creative thinking and experimentation this book is about how mistakes can serve your art and creativity.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Comics unmasked : art and anarchy in the UK / Paul Gravett, John Harris Dunning.
“Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning look beyond the notion of comics as pleasure reading to focus on their inherently anarchic nature. Combing the British Library’s extensive comic collection not only to explore the full potential of the medium they have also singled out the critical points in history in which the art form challenged the status quo. Comics Unmasked explores the political and social issues raised by British comics and their creators over the last century, from violence and drugs to class and sexuality.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Training days : the subway artists then and now / Henry Chalfant & Sacha Jenkins.
“Training Days focuses on graffiti culture from the mid-1970s until the early 1980s, offering a counterculture viewpoint on the unifying power of graffiti; many artists commented about the lack of race or class distinctions. Whether the images that accompany the text strike the reader as art is a matter of individual taste, but the ultimate fascination lies in the artists’ dissection and analyses of their own styles and those of their contemporaries.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Concrete canvas: how street art is changing the way our cities look
“What happens when you look at graffiti and street art as unlimited art forms instead of urban phenomena? ‘Concrete Canvas’ investigates the media the artists work with, the canvases they work on, the themes that arise through their work, and the way their art redefines the spaces in which it is set.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Pain in the arts / John Tusa.
“Over a distinguished career in cultural leadership, management and journalism spanning almost 30 years, John Tusa has amassed a unique experience of the arts world, the political controversies it faces and the battles it continues to fight. Tusa addresses the controversies in the arts that must be resolved so urgently today, including the ever-flowing arguments on whether they should be useful before they are excellent. He gives guidance on how the arts can survive in the downturn and explains why the case must always be made that they deserve special treatment.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
The art and life of Chaouki Chamoun.
“Chaouki Chamoun is one of the Middle East’s most renowned artists. With 319 color plates to illustrate his story, Chamoun leads us through his own artistic journey, showing how the schools of the modern era have informed his technique and imagery, and how he has been motivated and inspired as much by the tiniest details of a pebble as by the political turmoil visited on his homeland. Born in Lebanon in 1942, Chaouki Chamoun has participated in over fifty group art shows and biennales since 1969.He is the president of the Lebanese Artists Association and has studied at both Syracuse and New York universities.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
This diverse selection of books is indicative of the breadth of disciplines and thinking that makes up art. There is a tinge of an outlier theme with some of these titles. One obvious example in this mix is Eddie Chamber’s Black Artist’s in British Art: A History Since the 1950’s, the story of Black Artists who have been frequently overlooked in the dominant history of 20th Century British Art. Another title worth picking up for those with a particular interest in our national art history is The Critics Part: Wynston Curnow Art Writings 1971-2013, a title that links to the afore mentioned outlier theme. A feature threading through this collection of writing is the particular insularity of New Zealand’s Art scene due to geographical distance and its periphery from international counterparts.
Jeff Koons : conversations with Norman Rosenthal / [Norman Rosenthal, Jeff Koons].
“This book has the potential to become the reference point for all who want to understand Koons and creativity in the twenty-first century. Published to coincide with his 2014-2015 retrospective, this new book provides the most revealing portrait that exists of Jeff Koons’ singular personality and artistic vision as he discusses works across his thirty-five-year career. Rosenthal’s masterful interviews, conducted over three years, give unparalleled access to the thoughts of one of the most influential minds in contemporary culture, disclosing the artist undistorted and in his own words. As well as examining all his major series in depth, from his first inflatables to his latest series on antiquities, the interviews shed new light on the artist’s interest in other artists’ works, reveal the significance of his youth and family life on his art, and explain the key concepts of his practice, such as his ideas on self-acceptance, ecstasy and sex.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
33 artists in 3 acts / Sarah Thornton.
“In three richly interlinked but distinct ‘acts’ – Politics, Kinship and Craft – Sarah Thornton compares and contrasts answers to the simple but profound question: what is an artist? 33 Artists in 3 Acts draws on hundreds of personal encounters with the world’s most important artists, to ask what it means to be making artworks in different parts of the world today. With Thornton as expert guide and trusted insider, we have unprecedented access to the lives of the artists, from late-night Skype chats with Ai Weiwei to taxi rides with Maurizio Cattelan on the way to and from the show that announces his death. The result is a series of cinematic experiences, which juxtapose artists in thought-provoking ways, and build up narratives that end with epiphanies.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
The critic’s part : Wystan Curnow art writings 1971-2013 / edited by Christina Barton and Robert Leonard ; with Thomasin Sleigh.
“Wystan Curnow is New Zealand’s longest-serving and, arguably, most important art critic. This edited collection brings together a selection of his art writings from 1971 to 2013 to provide the first comprehensive overview of his practice. Selectively drawing on his considerable ouput, the publication features Curnow’s long form essays that investigate the stakes for ‘high culture’ in a ‘small province’ like New Zealand, and major essays on key artists including Len Lye, Colin McCahon, Billy Apple, Stephen Bambury, Max Gimblett, and Imants Tillers. Both a map of contemporary theory and practice and a cogent agenda for thinking through the implications and challenges of making art here, this compilation is an essential companion for anyone interested in New Zealand art as it has unfolded since 1970.” (Syndetics Summary)
Brilliant history of color in art
“This book presents a deceptively simple and accessible text that never pretends to be more than a conversational overview of the development and use of color in art. Yet, beginning with cave paintings and progressing casually through the centuries up to the present, the book provides a wealth of information, including brief forays into the science of color. Beautifully illustrated with examples, mostly drawn from the collections of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles “A Brilliant history of color in art” is rich with lesser-known anecdotes from art history.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Robert Indiana : beyond Love / Barbara Haskell ; with contributions by Rene Paul Barilleaux, Sasha Nicholas.
“Much more than a souvenir, this print companion to famous pop artist Robert Indiana’s Whitney show seeks to “reassess and appreciate the power and importance of Indiana’s larger body of workThe focus is on the complexity and variety of his work as a truly American artist while noting his seminal shaping of contemporary art and global appreciation, through authoritative prose and excellent full-color reproductions. Five heavily illustrated sections flesh out this testimony. It is scholarly yet approachable and enjoyable.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Creative block : get unstuck, discover new ideas : advice and projects from 50 successful artists / Danielle Krysa. Creative block presents the most crippling-and unfortunately universal-challenge for artists. This chunky blockbuster of a book is chock-full of solutions for overcoming all manner of artistic impediment. The blogger behind The Jealous Curator interviews 50 successful international artists working in different mediums and mines their insights on how to conquer self-doubt, stay motivated, and get new ideas to flow. Each artist offers a tried-and-true exercise-from road trips to 30-day challenges to cataloging the medicine cabinet- that will kick-start the creative process. (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
50 art movements you should know : from impressionism to performance art.
“Filled with stunning reproductions of some of the world’s greatest masterpieces, this reference book offers a chronological journey through artistic revolutions. Each movement is presented in a series of informative presentations–a concise definition and description; full-page and smaller detailed color illustrations; and in-depth profiles of the artists crucial to the style’s development. Covering a wide range of movements both familiar and obscure, this accessible and informative volume is a perfect introduction for readers interested in art’s constantly evolving story.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Black artists in British art : a history since the 1950s / Eddie Chambers.
“Black artists have been making major contributions to the British art scene for decades, since at least the middle of the 20th century. Sometimes, these artists – with backgrounds in the countries of Africa, the Caribbean, and South Asia – were regarded and embraced as British practitioners of note and merit. At other times, particularly during the 1970s and 1980s, they were not. In response, on occasion, Britain’s black artists came together and made their own exhibitions or created their own gallery spaces. In this book, Eddie Chambers tells the story of Britain’s black artists, from the 1950s onwards, including the contemporary art of Steve McQueen, Chris Ofili and Yinka Shonibare. Black Artists in British Art represents a timely and important contribution to British art history.” (Amazon.co.uk)
Common threads: weaving community through collaborative eco-art
“This book works as a serious guide for those who want to “up-purpose green waste” and create eco-art pieces for their communities. Kallis provides examples from her own extensive work with different kinds of eco-activism and crafts in a variety of public arenas. Some projects are architectural in nature, such as woven fences defining a newly refurbished local public commons; others are ingeniously functional, as when a crocheted net of invasive ivy provides much-needed temporary erosion control. Each object is worked on by many hands and appreciated by many eyes, and then left to its own devices.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
100 moments of Australian painting from the Art Gallery of New South Wales
“What makes a painting endure and resonate through time? What makes a masterpiece? Highly respected art curator Barry Pearce provides a personal tour of 100 of his favourite Australian paintings from the walls and vaults of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He reveals intriguing stories behind some of Australia’s best-loved paintings, and uncovers lesser-known gems along the way.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Ian Davenport / Martin Filler ; Ian Davenport in conversation with Michael Bracewell ; introduction by Damien Hirst.
“Over the past 25 years Ian Davenport has consistently employed intensely rigorous and unconventional painting processes. He has experimented with method and medium, exploring the qualities and applications of paints, both in his early monochrome paintings and in his later complex colour combinations. Davenport is a keen drummer and listens to music while he paints. The musical influence is important; in his more recent paintings the repetition of multiple vertical lines of various colours creates an underlying rhythm that pulses through each work.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Peter Smith : his life and legacy in art and education / Jill Smith.
“Peter Smith was one the most influential art educators in New Zealand. During his 50 year career as well-loved teacher, role model, mentor, and leader in arts education policy he elevated the status and value of New Zealand art education to both national and international acclaim. To know Peter’s life and legacy is to understand the evolution of art education in New Zealand from World War II to today” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Our spring selection of recently acquired art books offers fresh possibilities and insights about contemporary art for everyone; from the consummate art buff to those taking an interest for the first time. Packed full of visually appealing images the notable element of this selection is that many are of a compact size and are very transportable despite the plethora of complex ideas they contain.
Ways of looking : how to experience contemporary art / Ossian Ward.
“This book provides a straightforward, six-step programme for understanding contemporary art based on the concept of the tabula rasa a clean slate and a fresh mind. Because artists increasingly work across traditional media and genres, the author has also developed an alternative classification system Art as Entertainment, Art as Confrontation, Art as Joke designed to help make sense of otherwise obscure-seeming works. Ways of Looking transforms a potentially intimidating encounter with cutting edge contemporary art into a dramatic, sensually rewarding and thought provoking experience.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Portraits: 50 paintings you should know
“Featuring exquisite full-page reproductions accompanied by engaging texts, each of the 50 iconic portraits in this book exemplifies a moment in history, or a turning point in the artist’s career. An introductory essay on the history and importance of the portrait in art history and brief biographies of each artist round out this survey which is an attractive and affordable package.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Myself: portraits of 40 great artists
“This book is a fascinating combination of biographical anecdote and art history. Self-portraits have been created by man from ancient times through to the Middle Ages and beyond, for many different reasons and in many different forms. Juliet Heslewood, art historian and author, has brought together a compelling collection of forty artists’ self-portraits, and the stories behind each one from Durer, Da Vinci and Rembrandt, to Van Gogh, Matisse and Kahlo.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Show time : the 50 most influential exhibitions of contemporary art / Jens Hoffmann.
“Show Time is the first book to explore the radical shifts that have taken place in the practice of curating contemporary art over the last twenty years. Tracing a history of the field through its most innovative shows, renowned curator Jens Hoffmann has selected the fifty exhibitions that have most significantly shaped the practice of both artists and exhibition curators.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Art Inc. : the essential guide for building your career as an artist / Lisa Condon ; edited by Meg Mateo Ilasco ; foreword by Jonathan Fields ; illustrations, Karolin Schnoor.
“In this practical guide, professional artist Lisa Congdon reveals the many ways you can earn a living by making art. Including industry advice from such successful art-world pros as Nikki McClure, Mark Hearld, Paula Scher, and more, Art, Inc. will equip you with the tools,and the confidence, to turn your passion into a profitable business.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Big art, small art / Tristan Manco.
“Scale is being taken to new extremes in art: big and bold on the one hand, intricate and intimate on the other. This book profiles forty-five contemporary artists whose approach to scale is integral to their art practice.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
The global art compass / Alistair Hicks.
“Crosscurrents in the art world are flowing in every direction around the planet. Hicks provides a series of essays about developments in the contemporary art scene organized geographically by continent. This includes extracts from interviews with artists from such diverse locales as Peru, Albania, and India.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Under Spring: Voices + Art + Los Angeles
“This is the story of the transformation of the seedy no mans land of Los Angeles’s North Spring Street bridge from into a vibrant community hub. Between 2006 and 2013, artist Lauren Bon and her Metabolic Studio team transformed the underpass into a creative space that now serves as a public square, ceremonial ground, art gallery, community garden, and musical instrument. Melding stories from artists, scholars, laborers, graffiti artists, urban planners, activists, gang members this book gives an account of the underpass’s many metamorphoses.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Degenerate art : the fate of the avant-garde in Nazi Germany / edited by! Stephanie Barron ; with contributions by Peter Guenther … et al.!.
“This reconstruction of the infamous Nazi exhibition of officially proscribed or degenerate art in 1937 is revealing for the issues of aesthetic taste and artistic censorship it raises and explores. The curators of the current exhibition have reassembled much of the surviving artwork that the German government found so objectionable and in certain instances have reinstalled the pieces in settings identical to their original display. This combination of art and politics is potent and revealing with startling contemporary relevance.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)
Our events calendar is boiling over at the moment, here’s a list to help you keep on top of what’s coming up over the next fortnight. All events are free and all are welcome. Our usual Pre-School Story Times, Book Clubs and Baby Rock ‘n’ Rhyme sessions are all still happening too.
Amiria Grenell – Central 12pm
Wellington Musician Amiria Grenell performs free over the lunch hour in celebration of New Zealand Music Month.
Poetic Voices of Africa – Central at 6pm
Come and join us for an evening of African poetry with Poetic Voices of Africa. A line-up of six African poets from Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, and American poets from Georgia, Hawaii and Washington DC will come together to perform their poetry in the lead up to the Africa Day celebrations on 24 May. The session will be introduced and concluded with a drum performance from Sam Manzanza.
Andy Gibson – Central 5pm
Wellington Musician Andy Gibson performs free in celebration of New Zealand Music Month.
Free Art Workshop – Newtown 6pm
Wellington Artist Marg Elliot shares her drawing knowledge in this one hour workshop.
Harriet And The Matches – Newtown 7pm
A late-night double feature at Newtown, Wellington Musicians Amiria Grenell and Jessie Moss reunite their band a free, one-off performance.
John McIntyre presents a session on Reluctant Readers – Cummings Park (Ngaio) 6:30pm
Children’s book commentator and Kilbirnie’s Children’s Book Shop owner John McIntyre returns to our Westrern Libraries to present this session on how to get your reluctant readers onto the books.
Kōhunga Kōrero – Whāngaia tō Tama Toa ki te pānui pukapuka – Miramar at 9:30
Pre-school Story Time in Te Reo Māori.
Maika – Central 12pm
Wellington Musician Mahinarangi Maika performs as Maika for free over the lunch hour in celebration of New Zealand Music Month.
Free Art Workshop – Newtown 6pm
Wellington Artist Marg Elliot shares her knowledge of shading, tone and texture in this free one hour drawing skills workshop.
Stunning new art books for autumn reading: Brancusi, Indiana, Warhol & more.
Citizen Warhol / Blake Stimson.
“From his life to his work, Andy Warhol is an enigma. The leading figure of the pop art movement, Warhol created paintings, films, performance art, and his famous studio, the Factory, in New York City. Fans, aficionados, enthusiasts, experts, and critics alike have tried to make sense of Warhol, creating a wealth of knowledge and speculation. Blake Stimson builds on this project in this gorgeously illustrated book, which brings new attention to the philosophical and creative influences behind Warhol’s life and work.” (adapted from amazon.com description)
Whistler : a life for art’s sake / Daniel E. Sutherland.
” The first biography in more than twenty years of James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) is also the first to make extensive use of the artist’s private correspondence to tell the story of his life and work. This engaging personal history dispels the popular notion of Whistler as merely a combative, eccentric, and unrelenting publicity seeker, a man as renowned for his public feuds with Oscar Wilde and John Ruskin as for the iconic portrait of his mother. The Whistler revealed in these pages is an intense, introspective, and complex man, plagued by self-doubt and haunted by an endless pursuit of perfection in his painting and drawing.” (adapted from amazon.com description)
Australian art : a history / Sasha Grishin.
“Provides an overview of the major developments in Australian art, from its origins to the present. The book commences with ancient Aboriginal rock art and early colonists’ interpretations of their surroundings, and moves on to discuss the formation of an Australian identity through art, the shock of early modernism and the notorious Heide circle. It finishes with the popular recognition of modern Indigenous art and contemporary Australian art and its place in the world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The essential Robert Indiana / Martin Krause, John Wilmerding.
“Decoding Robert Indiana’s work for a new generation, this revelatory book explores previously unknown autobiographical elements in the work of the Pop artist and printmaker. Famously proclaiming himself to be “an American painter of signs,” Robert Indiana has created an enormous body of work, much of it boldly colored abstractions. In this incisive new examination of the artist, based on ongoing conversations with Indiana, art historian Martin Krause sifts through autobiographical clues within the artist’s work and finds a wealth of affecting and affectionate references to Indiana’s childhood, literary heroes, and the cultural icons of his generation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Brancusi New York, 1913-2013 / text by Jérôme Neutres.
“The pure, abstract sculptures made by Constantin Brancusi have had a large and enthusiastic audience in New York ever since they were first shown on American soil at the 1913 Armory Show. The numerous American collectors, muses, friends, and exhibitions that enabled his success had a profound influence on the eccentric Romanian artist who lived in Paris… Over the last one hundred years his effect on the city’s art scene has never waned. Through stunning archival images and text by art curator Jerome Neutres, Brancusi New York tells the story of the mutually beneficial relationship between the sculptor and the Big Apple.” (adapted from amazon.com description)
The self-portrait : a cultural history / James Hall.
“This broad cultural history of self-portraiture brilliantly maps the history of the genre, from the earliest myths of Narcissus and the Christian tradition of bearing witness to the prolific self-image-making of todays contemporary artists. Focusing on a perennially popular subject, the book tells the vivid history of works that offer insights into artists personal, psychological, and creative worlds… The full range of the subject is explored, including comic and caricature self-portraits, invented or imaginary self-portraits, and important collections of self-portraiture such as that of the Medici.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)