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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)

Art Recent Picks for February 2014

For February, a festival of fabulous new art books:-

Syndetics book coverContemporary art in the United Kingdom / [edited by Black Dog Publishing ; contributors, Nicolas Bourriaud ... [et al.]].
“The fifth title in Black Dog Publishing’s Artworld series, Contemporary Art in the United Kingdom showcases the wealth of contemporary art being produced in the United Kingdom today. Diverse in content and style, Contemporary Art in the United Kingdom features work from artists including, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin, Fiona Banner, Bob and Roberta Smith, Chris Ofili and Mark Quinn, alongside the work of emerging British artists today. Exploring the phenomenon of the YBA, looking at pre and post-YBA; alongside the growing influence of art fairs such as Frieze and prizes such as the Turner Prize; Contemporary Art in the United Kingdom provides a comprehensive a complexion of the contemporary art scene from all four corners of the British Isles.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverNature morte : contemporary artists reinvigorate the still-life tradition / Michael Petry.
“Current twists on the still life reflect the tradition’s ongoing obsession with death in this survey featuring the work of John Currin, Renata Hegyi, Gabriel Orozco, Cy Twombly, and many others. For Petry (Installation Art in the New Millennium), director of London’s Museum of Contemporary Art, these images are considered nature morte (“dead nature”), as exemplified by the volume’s amusing lenticular cover of an exploding floral arrangement. After discussing the “mortal edge” present in the past five centuries of the still life, Petry traces broad historical changes alongside artistic developments, with selected contemporary works organized into chapters dedicated to “Flora,” “Food,” “House and Home,” “Fauna,” and “Death.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEl Greco : life and work – a new history / Fernando Marías; [translated from the Spanish by Paul Edson and Sander Berg].
“Domenikos Theotokopoulos, known to us as El Greco, was one of the seminal figures of the Spanish Golden Age. This magnificent volume, published to mark the four hundredth anniversary of the artist’s death, features superb new photographs of recently cleaned and restored paintings, revealing hitherto unknown facets of his art. He was a painter not only of religious subjects but also of idiosyncratic portraits executed in his own uniquely dramatic and expressionistic style.” (abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalk the line : the art of drawing / Marc Valli & Ana Ibarra.
“Drawing has always been a fundamental skill and good drawing skills allowed artists to grasp the reality around them. At the turn of the millennium, however, the general impression was that with the wide availability of computers, scanners, digital cameras and image software, drawing would dwindle into a marginal activity. In fact, the opposite happened: the enthusiasm for digital imagery died down and the ability to draw has become a treasured skill. In the art world, attitudes to drawing have also changed. Drawing became a way of making a statement as an artist, of showing masterly skill something that up to then had been most commonly associated with painting. After centuries in the shadow of its more illustrious fine art relatives, drawing started to be appreciated for its own sake, as an art discipline, an end in itself, an art form.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQueen: art & image
“This publication, in association with the National Portrait Gallery in London, follows the reign of Queen Elizabeth II documented in photographs and portraits by some of the most important 20th century artists.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverArt of D*Face: one man and his dog
“D*Face has been a leading figure in urban art for well over a decade. A contemporary of Banksy, he was at the forefront of the urban art movement, and has had a constant presence throughout its meteoric rise into popular culture. This long-awaited monograph shows the development of his career as an artist to date, encompassing his continuing street work, and the path that led him from the early beginnings of the street art genre to multiple sell-out solo exhibitions around the world. Containing previously unseen images of his working process and studio, as well as firsthand anecdotes, and the stories behind his extraordinary work, the book provides an insider’s view of one of Britain’s most important urban artists.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Art Recent Picks for January 2014

A selection of new art books as varied as Wellington’s “summer” weather:-

Syndetics book coverFace to face : Flanders, Florence, and Renaissance painting / Paula Nuttall.
“This lavishly illustrated catalogue accompanies an exhibition of the same name at the Huntington Art Collections that runs from September 28, 2013 to January 13, 2014. Co-curator and scholar Paula Nuttall explores the transmission of ideas, techniques, and modes of artistic rendering that first developed in the Burgundian court and became hugely influential in southern Europe—notably painting in Florence, usually considered the artistic epicenter of Renaissance Europe. Nuttall treats thematic groupings of the exhibition, exploring the diptych as an art form, the portrayal of the face of Christ, the development of portraiture, and the virtuosic renderings of materials and textures.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverDamien Hirst : relics / curator, Francesco Bonami ; essays by Francesco Bonami, Abdellah Karroum, Michael Craig-Martin ; and an interview by Nicholas Serota.
“A groundbreaking work, this catalog accompanies the largest exhibition ever realized on Damien Hirst, surveying the oeuvres of the highly acclaimed British artist. Published on the occasion of Relics, Hirst’s first retrospective exhibition in Doha, Qatar, this richly illustrated book offers a different perspective on the work of one of the best-known artists working today. Tracing Hirst’s career from his emergence on the art scene in the Young British Artists movement to his present status as one of the most controversial and highly regarded artists of his generation, this volume offers a complete overview on his wide-ranging practice, which includes installation, painting, sculpture, and drawing and challenges the boundaries between art, science, and popular culture.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAmerican mirror : the life and art of Norman Rockwell / Deborah Solomon.
“In this well-paced, insightful biography of the iconic illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post, art critic Solomon (Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell) reveals an enormously complicated man whose wholesome vision of America was not merely commercial kitsch, but art that sprung from an emotional life fraught with anxiety, depression, and self-doubt. This sympathetic portrait depicts a repressed and humble Rockwell-a fastidious realist whose style and obsessions clashed with the values of modernism… Though Solomon opts to simplify and quickly dismiss criticism of Rockwell (such as Dwight Macdonald’s), her substantive narrative captures the abundant complexities of this unusual artist, and reclaims him as a master storyteller.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBalthus : cats and girls / Sabine Rewald.
“Accompanying an exhibition at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art that opens in September 2013, this captivating catalogue focuses on French painter Balthus (aka Balthasar Klossowski, 1908-2001) and his obsession with childhood and the pubescent girls who modeled for his best-known works. Veteran Balthus scholar Rewald, a curator of modern and contemporary art at the Met, lucidly provides both the biographical and art-historical context for Balthus’s young subjects, whom he often depicted in gawky poses that heighten the tension between their innocence and looming puberty. Balthus vehemently denied the work’s eroticism. The girls are typically accompanied by smug cats-possibly erotic symbols and perhaps “a stand-in for the artist.” Cats had been a theme of Balthus’s since his childhood; at age 11, he completed 40 ink sketches of a stray he called Mitsou, and published the sketches with the support of poet Rainer Maria Rilke; they are splendidly reproduced here.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe Vatican : all the paintings / Anja Grebe ; introduction by Ross King.
“This comprehensive and heavy tome illustrates all the works of art on display in the Vatican and underscores the variety of its art, including works that popes commissioned from painters as well as works that were accumulated for art appreciation and prestige beginning in the 17th century. The book is divided into 22 sections representing the museums and areas of the Vatican. This includes the Pinacoteca (painting gallery), with paintings given to or purchased by the popes or removed from altarpieces of papal churches. Also included are images of art from the Borgia Apartments, the famous Raphael Rooms, and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. This book, which has a DVD that includes every work of art, will appeal to readers who are interested in the art of the Vatican.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Art Recent Picks for December 2013

Art now, and then: several new and fascinating surveys of the art world for the festive season:-

Syndetics book coverArt now. Vol. 4 / [edited by Hans Werner Holzwarth].
“Think of this tome as a global go-round of the world’s most influential galleries: if it’s hot in the art world today, it’s in this book. Emerging artists are featured alongside established greats like Chuck Close, David Hockney, or Brice Marden. A to Z entries on more than 100 artists include images of important recent work, an introductory text, and a short exhibition history with bibliographical information. The illustrated appendix collects contact details for the galleries representing the artists as well as auction results of the last few years” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverA map of the world : according to illustrators & storytellers / edited by Antonis Antoniou, Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann, and Hendrik Hellige.
“Maps help us understand the world. This book features the most original and sought-after map illustrators whose work is in line with the zeitgeist. Drawing a map means understanding our world a bit better. For centuries, we have used the tools of cartography to represent both our immediate surroundings and the world at large–and to convey them to others… A new generation of designers, illustrators, and mapmakers are currently discovering their passion for various forms of illustrative cartography. A Map of the World is a compelling collection of their work.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverArt since 1980 : charting the contemporary / Peter R. Kalb.
“Charts the story of art in contemporary global culture while holding up a mirror to our society. With over 300 pictures of painting, photography, sculpture, installation, and performance and video art, we are led on an illuminating journey via the individuals and communities who have shaped art internationally” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverMasterpieces of Chinese painting, 700-1900 / edited by Zhang Hongzing ; with essays by Ling Lizhong … [et al.].
“Painting has always been regarded by the Chinese as a supreme art, equal to those of poetry and philosophy. But dating back over 2,500 years, many Chinese paintings were made to be viewed just for a few hours or weeks. As a result, the masterpieces of the form have been seen very rarely, and then only by a few. This spectacular book accompanies a major V&A [Victoria & Albert Museum, UK] exhibition that brings together some of the world’s greatest paintings on silk and paper—many of which will be displayed only for a short time. All the paintings are reproduced in full, together with enlarged details.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverArt cities of the future / 21st century avant-gardes / authors, Antawan I. Byrd, Suygu Demir, Hyun Jung [and nine others].
“The explosion of global biennials and art fairs has been cited by some as the instrumentalisation of the art world by the financial world. Others see it as a sign of the destabilization of Western dominance and the emergence of new art centers. This book takes the latter position, arguing for 12 new international sites-Beirut, Bogota, Cluj, Delhi, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Lagos, San Juan, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Singapore, and Vancouver. Another significant effect of this opening of art worlds is the rise to prominence of the curator as a key figure who both elucidates and organizes this new topography. This work brings together curators from the regions mentioned above, each of whom has a highly specialized background. Each title city is introduced with a brief description of the locale’s political and contemporary art history written by the curator. Eight artists (and collectives) represent the avant-garde of their cities, and all share a commitment to experimental art and to their local milieu…” (abridged from Syndetics summary)

Art Recent Picks

Six wonderful new art books including: Street art, Chinese art, art scandals, and Breakfast with Lucian [Freud].

Syndetics book coverThe museum of scandals : art that shocked the world / Éléa Baucheron, Diane Routex.
“Art scandals are as old as art itself. Centuries ago, the liberal representation of naked flesh and all-too-obvious hints at political injustice broke many a taboo. In modern and contemporary art, too, provocative actions regularly attract attention. In this stunning book Éléa Baucheron and Diane Routex have collected the most outrageous scandals of art history from the Middle Ages to the present day, from Michelangelo to Ai Weiwei.” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverThe Chinese art book / contributors, Colin Mackenzie, Keith Pratt, Jeffrey Moser, Katie Hill.
“Taking on a dauntingly vast topic, this book attempts to survey discrete images and historical contexts from the long history of Chinese art while maintaining threads of cohesion. China is widely considered the oldest extant civilization, and the visual arts that emerged from Chinese cultures remained intricately entwined with their attendant politics, spiritualties, and material realities. Rather than organize this immense visual history along chronology or medium, the authors present the generously reproduced images in suggestive pairings on opposing pages, each work receiving its own page and a brief contextualization… The necessary concision of the prose, the lavish beauty of the images, and the accompanying timelines of Chinese and world history all aid in creating a pleasurable, heuristic read, worth the distraction regardless of the reader’s familiarity with calligraphic techniques or dynastic histories.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPainted on 21st street : Helen Frankenthaler from 1950 to 1959 / curated by John Elderfield ; in cooperation with the Estate of Helen Frankenthaler.
“Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) came to New York City in 1949 at age 21 and created many of her most original paintings in the 1950s, in a studio on East 21st Street. This handsome book includes many superb reproductions of her paintings from the period and follows Gagosian Gallery’s spring 2013 exhibition of her ’50s work-the first time these paintings had been shown together in more than 40 years. An informative and thoughtful essay by Elderfield, chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, introduces the collection, convincingly arguing that it’s crucial to go beyond painter Morris Louis’s description of Frankenthaler as “a bridge between Pollock and what was possible”; we must instead view her work as “its own destination,” he writes” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of drawing : British masters and methods since 1600 / Susan Owens.
“This beautiful book reveals works from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s rich collection of drawings ranging from the early 17th century right up to the present day. Reproducing, often for the first time, works by foremost British artists, this book offers fresh insights into the wide range of ways in which these artists have used drawing to think on paper, build up ideas, and make finished exhibition pieces. Including examples from the greatest masters—William Blake, Thomas Rowlandson, John Constable, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Paul Nash, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, John Piper, Grayson Perry, and others—author Susan Owens discusses the art and craft of drawing, materials, and techniques, and why artists chose them.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverBreakfast with Lucian : a portrait of the artist / Geordie Greig.
“For ten years Geordie Greig was among a very small group of friends who regularly met Lucian Freud for breakfast at Clarke’s restaurant on Kensington Church Street. Over tea and the morning papers, Freud would recount stories of his past and discuss art. It was, in effect, Freud’s private salon. In this kaleidoscopic memoir, Greig remembers Freud’s stories: of death threats; escaping from Nazi Germany; falling out with his brother Clement; loathing his mother; painting David Hockney; sleeping with horses; escaping the Krays; painting the Queen; his controversial role as a father; and why Velazquez was the greatest painter. It is revelatory about his art, his lovers, his children, his enemies and his love of gambling.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe world atlas of street art and graffiti / Rafael Schacter ; foreword by John Fekner.
“Since its genesis on the East Coast of the United States in the late 1960s, street art has travelled to nearly every corner of the globe, morphing into highly ornate and vibrant new styles. From Steve Powers (Espo) in New York to Kid Zoom in Australia, taking in Banksy’s London, Paris as transfigured by Honet and OX, and the gargantuan murals of the Brazilian twins ‘Os Gêmeos’, The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti is the first truly geographical history of the form. Featuring specially commissioned works from major graffiti and street art practitioners, The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti offers the reader an insider’s view of the urban landscape as the artists themselves experience it. This beautifully illustrated book, produced with the help of many of the artists it features, dispels the idea of such art as a thoughtless defacement of pristine surfaces, and instead celebrates it as a contemporary and highly creative inscription upon the skin of the built environment.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Art recent picks August 2013

Syndetics book coverCornelia Parker / Iwona Blazwick ; foreword by Yoko Ono ; introduction by Bruce W. Ferguson ; commentaries by Cornelia Parker.
“Described as a “physicist with the virtuoso skills of a craftsperson,” British conceptual artist Parker (born in 1956) has received glowing praise since the 1990s for her scientific research-based work and violent transformations of found objects. Wonderfully photographed and featuring a foreword by Yoko Ono … Unfortunately, Blazwick’s five essays do not adequately explain Parker’s enthusiasm for objects associated with history and famous people: a light-box display of Mia Farrow’s blue gown from Rosemary’s Baby; photomicrographs of Einstein’s chalk board; a pillow cut by Henry VIII’s sword. Viewers are supposed to be intrigued by these historical abstractions, but they can feel superfluous. As Parker writes, “Very often, the process involved in my work is just a flimsy excuse to get my hands on these objects that changed the face of history.” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverFrancis Bacon : painting in a Godless world / Rina Arya.
“Arya (Univ. of Wolverhampton, UK) examines a contradiction of Francis Bacon’s oeuvre: the atheist’s denigrating use of religious imagery that seems to reinforce the potential meaning of the source material. According to Arya, Bacon’s art engages questions of theological debate while exploring the human condition through themes such as animalism, violence, suffering, alienation, and death … In examining connections between Bacon’s life, art, and religious association of symbolic and compositional devices, the book achieves its chief aim of consolidating recognition of religion’s significance in Bacon’s art…” (Syndetics review)

Syndetics book coverBoaz Vaadia : sculpture 1971-2012 / essay by Wendy Steiner ; foreword by Ivan C. Karp ; introduction by Anthony Brown ; artist Impressions by Boaz Vaadia.
“Eye-catching, life-size, and natural stone sculptures creatively conceived and intricately constructed that stop passersby in their tracks, are the hallmark of sculptor Boaz Vaadia. Drawing inspiration chiefly from what Vaadia calls ‘the primal connection to nature,’ he carves and assembles multilayered figurative pieces from glacial boulders and bluestone – originally discovered by Vaadia when bluestone sidewalks in SoHo were being replaced by concrete in the mid-1970s. He sculpts the bluestone in assorted sizes and colours to portray stunning likenesses – all named from the Old Testament – of family members, friends, and even the occasional accompanying dog or cat…” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverZainul Abedin / edited by Rosa Maria Falvo, with essays by Abul Monsur, Nazrul Islam, and Abul Hasnat.
“Zainul Abedin (1914-1976), reverently called the Shilpacharya or guru of art, is the architect of the modern art movement in Bangladesh, which began with the setting up of the first Government Art Institute in Dhaka in 1948. For his devotion to art education and his visionary and artistic achievements he has always been the undisputed protagonist of the Bangladeshi modern art scene. This book showcases Zainul Abedin’s work over a period of 40 years, with more than 200 colour and black and white plates illustrating his special relationship with his country, from various artistic, social, and political perspectives. This ground-breaking work retraces his personal vision and provides the best interpretative angles into a culture and reality that has been often overlooked and even misunderstood in the West. Abedin’s humanitarian stance and his commitment to art forged the way for an entire generation of Bangladeshi contemporary artists”
(adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverThe Bay Area School : Californian artists from the 1950s and 1960s / Thomas Williams.
“Tracing the development of Abstract Expressionism and the counter-blast of Figurative art on the West Coast of America during a decisive period, this important publication marks a milestone in the on-going understanding of the post-war art scene in the United States. The movement had its origins in the art schools of San Francisco and Berkeley in the early 1940s and rose to prominence in the 1950s as a major challenge to the dominance of New York. Starting with the work of the ‘first generation’ artists, such as David Park and Richard Diebenkorn, whose pioneering images explored both figuration and abstraction, the movement’s ‘bridge’ and ‘second’ generation artists, including Paul Wonner and Joan Brown, also feature. Including insightful discussions regarding the importance of drawing as a group activity, The Bay Area School skilfully presents a thorough survey of key works of the period and successfully argues the mutual influence of abstraction and figuration during this critical period, demonstrating, in turn, the continued importance of the these artists today” (amazon.com description)

Art recent picks May 2013

From the street to surrealism: an eclectic selection of amazing new art books for May 2013.

Syndetics book coverNew street art / Claude Crommelin (ClaudeLondon).
“Street art is part of every cityscape. By street art, we mean the crazy and wonderful stencils, paste-ups, paintings and little sculptures that decorate our urban landscape, catching our eyes and surprising us with their beauty, humour or pithy comment on society. It is, however, ephemeral and the work can disappear very quickly or be damaged by the elements or vandalism. Through his website, ClaudeLondon has documented thousands of works by artists active in the city.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverDrawing Surrealism / Leslie Jones ; with contributions by Isabelle Dervaux, Susan Laxton.
“An exhibition catalogue for a show at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art and the Morgan Library and Museum, this volume features a text by LACMA curator Jones and two accompanying essays by Dervaux and Laxton. The publisher describes it as the “first large-scale loan exhibition to focus on drawing as a prevailing form of expression for surrealist artists.” …” (CHOICE) (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe books that shaped art history : from Gombrich and Greenberg to Alpers and Krauss / edited by Richard Shone and John-Paul Stonard.
“Written by some of today’s leading art historians and curators, this new collection provides an invaluable road map of the field by comparing and reexamining canonical works of art history. From Émile Mâle’s magisterial study of thirteenth-century French art, first published in 1898, to Hans Belting’s provocative Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era of Art, the book provides a concise and insightful overview of the history of art, told through its most enduring literature …” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverChagall : modern master / Simonetta Fraquelli ; with contributions by Angela Lampe … [et al.].
“Though his paintings of Russian village life, floating figures, flying cows, and roosters are instantly familiar, Marc Chagall (1887–1985) remains one of the least understood artists of his generation. Bringing together more than 60 paintings and a selection of works on paper, this lavishly illustrated book focuses on the artist’s time in Paris before World War I, his visit to Berlin and his exhibition there in 1914, and the years he spent in his native Russia around the time of the Revolution in 1917, all experiences that reinforced his highly personal visual language.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverTreasuring the gaze : intimate vision in late eighteenth-century eye miniatures / Hanneke Grootenboer.
“The end of the eighteenth century saw the start of a new craze in Europe: tiny portraits of single eyes that were exchanged by lovers or family members. Worn as brooches or pendants, these minuscule eyes served the same emotional need as more conventional mementoes, such as lockets containing a coil of a loved one’s hair. The fashion lasted only a few decades, and by the early 1800s eye miniatures had faded into oblivion. Unearthing these portraits in Treasuring the Gaze, Hanneke Grootenboer proposes that the rage for eye miniatures—and their abrupt disappearance—reveals a knot in the unfolding of the history of vision…” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverWhat was contemporary art? / Richard Meyer.
“Contemporary art in the early twenty-first century is often discussed as though it were a radically new phenomenon unmoored from history. Yet all works of art were once contemporary to the artist and culture that produced them. In What Was Contemporary Art? Richard Meyer reclaims the contemporary from historical amnesia, exploring episodes in the study, exhibition, and reception of early twentieth-century art and visual culture…” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Hotere: Honouring an Icon

Ralph Hotere, or Hone Papita Raukura, was a prominent Māori artist and widely recognised as one of New Zealand’s most important artists. He was born in Mitimiti, Northland and was of Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa decent. Known as a “warrior artist”, he was renowned for his passionately political artworks, as he provocatively portrayed some of New Zealand’s most divisive historical events. He is attributed with having helped shape New Zealand’s cultural identity, and was accordingly appointed to the Order of New Zealand in the New Year Honours 2012 for services to New Zealand. He passed away on 24 February 2013 at age 81, and was mourned and remembered in a large service in Dunedin on 28 February.

We have many books about Ralph Hotere here at the library:

Syndetics book coverRalph Hotere : black light : major works, including collaborations with Bill Culbert / [editors, Cilla McQueen ... [et al.]]

Syndetics book coverRalph Hotere / with Kriselle Baker & Vincent O’Sullivan.

Syndetics book coverHotere : empty of shadows and making a shadow : lithographs by Ralph Hotere / Peter Vangioni, Jillian Cassidy ; introduction by Marian Maguire.

Syndetics book coverThe desire of the line : Ralph Hotere figurative works / Kriselle Baker.

As well as these, we have a DVD about Ralph Hotere:

Ralph Hotere / directed by Darcy Lange.

And even a video!

Hotere [videorecording] / a Paradise Films production ; written & directed by Merata Mita.
Discusses the artwork of New Zealand’s most famous contemporary Māori artist, Ralph Hotere. Suggested audience: general.

We also have a full collection at Central Library of Art New Zealand magazines, dating back to 1976. Ralph Hotere features in a huge number of them. If you need assistance to access the collection, just ask at any of our Central Library enquiries desks and we’ll be glad to help.

Art recent picks for Jan 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent art picks for November

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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