Art Newsletter for October

November seems to bring warmer weather (fingers crossed!) and quite a few interesting Art exhibitions in Wellington at the City Gallery, Tōi Poneke, the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, and Te Papa, amongst others. While you explore the many possibilities our city has to offer artwise, think also about what treasures your libraries hold in print, images and soundbytes.

Library News

Art

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

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

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

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Craft

Take time out to unwind and celebrate the new season and let us inspire you with a fabulous selection of new library books featuring knitting, quilting and crochet projects with lots of new ideas and tips how to make fabulous handmade gifts for family and friends. Enjoy the challenge!

Syndetics book coverWith fabric & thread : more than 20 inspired quilting & sewing patterns / Joanna Figueroa.
“As a generation of mostly self-taught, creative women takes to the world of fabric, quilting and sewing are joining forces in a way that they never have before. Long-time quilters, committed to their craft for decades, are starting to experiment with a bit of home sewing or simple sewing for their grandchildren. The younger side of the sewing community is embracing the world of patchwork and quilting, a world that once seemed inaccessible or even undesirable to younger seamstresses. Fabric & Thread seamlessly bridges the language and intimidation gap between these two crafts and delivers a unique collection of projects that appeal to sewers and quilters alike. Featuring 20 new projects, With Fabric & Thread marries the nomenclature of both sewing and quilting to create an effortless set of instructions that anyone can follow.” (Abridged summary from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverWhat to knit when you’re expecting : 28 simple mittens, baby blankets, hats & sweaters / Nikki Van De Car ; photography by Claire Richardson.
“Once you’ve got a handle on your delivery from the stork, flip through this adorable assortment of 30 knitting projects for the bundle of joy. The projects range from first trimester projects (which are moderately advanced, since there are months to finish) to second trimester (when most parents can determine the baby’s gender and prepare for a boy or girl), to third trimester quickies, when time is short. The booties, bibs, toys, blankets, and clothing will be one-of-a-kind items, fit to welcome a special person into the world.” (Abridged summary from Amazon.com)

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Classical Music

October’s classical music picks feature a Spanish cello and guitar duo, some never before recorded New Zealand organs, a unique juxtaposition of Bach and Cage, and other quirky and exciting recordings that have recently graced our shelves!

Cover ImageA lesson in love. (CD)
“English lyric soprano Kate Royal devised this stunning collection, which charts the journey of a young girl’s relationship: from the first kiss and thrill of a blossoming love and initial intimacy through to the joy of a love fulfilled, to the disappointment and anger when the relationship breaks down, and ends with the girl’s acceptance and a cheeky sense of optimism about what her future love life might hold. The result is a unique song cycle – a thematic journey through the highs and lows of love, of young naivety lost and emotional maturity gained. Royal leads us through her own personal choice of song, where her innate sense of drama and her passion for musical storytelling brings a fresh and youthful interpretation of the disc repertoire. A Lesson in Love contains a mixture of well-known songs as well as some surprising rarities, with a range of song styles and languages to appeal to a broad audience.” (adapted from amazon.com product description)

Cover imageSinfonie Nr. 1, c-Moll, Urfassung 1865/66 (Linzer Fassung) / Anton Bruckner. (CD)
“With Bruckner’s first four symphonies, Simone Young follows in the footsteps of Georg Tintner in trusting the original text. She has already recorded Sym. 2-4, so this new Sym. #1 completes the mission. In all these early symphonies Young has done well. She has a natural feeling for Bruckner’s long line and doesn’t lapse into episodic music-making even when the work itself tends to be disjointed. Young is so light and fresh in her approach to this formative work, which straddles the worlds of Schubert and mature Bruckner, that even when you recognize the primitive nature of the development sections, listening is pleasurable” (amazon.com review)

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Art recent picks

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

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

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

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

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

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

New art books: designers, dreams, and the Young British Artists at 50

In this month’s picks of the new art books: “Growing up” (the Young British Artists at 50), “Lust” (“a documentary of unrealized projects and a traveling report of creativity from around the world; a handmade sketchbook zig-zagging across six continents, gathering steam and collecting documents” — we love this description!), and more great new art books. Have a browse:

Syndetics book coverGrowing up : the Young British Artists at 50 / Jeremy Cooper.
“This book provides a personal, intimate account of the meteoric success of the young British artists and of the often painful realities of the contemporary art world… Now five of the most prominent members of the group — Anya Gallaccio, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Michael Landy, and Sarah Lucas — are profiled in this collective portrait. Based on personal interviews by Jeremy cooper and on his years of close observation of the London art world, this book includes his insightful commentary as well previously unpublished photographs and letters. The result is a fascinating combination of biography and art history that both traces the yBas’ collective legacy and contemplates their individual futures.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt since 1900 : modernism, antimodernism, postmodernism / Hal Foster … [et al.].
“Five art historians combined their talents to produce an art survey reference that is lively and fun owing in part to its unusual (perhaps unique) approach and organization. The first edition was published in 2004. This second edition is revised, expanded, and brought up to date.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRaw + material = art : found, scavenged and upcycled / Tristan Manco.
“Tristan Manco, perhaps the worlds most influential commentator on street art, showcases the work of 38 truly innovative and inspirational artists who use low-cost, low-tech media and often totally original techniques to produce work that defies categorization and pushes the boundaries of art itself…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWilhelm Sasnal / Dominic Eichler, Andrzej Przywara, Jörg Heiser.
“Gifted and politically engaged, the painting and film of Polish artist Sasnal is well known in his home country. This beautifully produced volume introduces Sasnal to English readers, with text that includes an interview, essays on his work by the editors of Frieze, and the screenplays for two of his films, Widlik and Swineherd…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStitt : autobiographics ; a book about the graphic design work created by a sizeable group of atoms, molecules, fats, acids, proteins, cells and synapses that have come together to work in concert for a brief time span, regrettably now nearing its likely use-by date, and answering to the name of / Alexander Stitt ; edited and co-written by Paddy Stitt.
“Stitt Autobiographics is a pictorial record of the 50-year professional life of graphic designer Alex Stitt, who has been the hand behind many aspects of Australia’s culture since the 1950s, and has been described by Phillip Adams as one of the country’s most under-recognised creative talents. Though his name remains relatively unknown, millions of Australians are still familiar with Stitt’s drawings and animated films, most of which date back to the 1970s and 1980s. Stitt has created Australian icons like Norm of ‘Life. Be in it’; Hector the Cat, who taught road safety rules to school children; ICPOTA, who encouraged the use of the classified pages of the Age, and Sid, the lisping, dancing seagull from ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ for the Cancer Council…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLust : a traveling art journal of graphic designers / edited by James Victore.
“What would you do or make if you had an unlimited budget, a visionary client, and complete control? We all dream of high-paying, high-profile jobs and crave for more creativity in our work. Lust is a peek into what is possible when designers are allowed to pursue this dream. Lust is a documentary of unrealized projects and a traveling report of creativity from around the world; a handmade sketchbook zig-zagging across six continents, gathering steam and collecting documents. In it are designers, dreams, and a peek into their processes.” (Syndetics summary)

April in Photography : far away adventures and tragic lives

Our picks of the recent photography books this month include two travel books that will transport you through time and space with their collections of historical photographs that document two “polar opposite” (yet both very arid) regions of the world: Antartica (as we follow in Scott’s footsteps via his own, previously uncollected, photos of his fated expedition), and Saudi Arabia (with a collection of photographs taken between 1860 and 1950). We also reflect on the lives of three women whose common thread is their passion for photography: Diane Arbus, Clover Adams and Vivian Maier. And of course, the debate on the fate of analog photography continues…

syndetics-lcFilm is not dead : a digital photographer’s guide to shooting film / by Jonathan Canlas & Kristen Kalp ; photography by Jonathan Canlas.
To pick up on last month’s post, film is indeed NOT dead, as this book is intent on proving:
“With the popularity of digital photography growing by leaps and bounds over the last decade, some say film has been dying a slow death ever since –- or is already dead. The reality is that film has never gone away, and in recent years has experienced a surging, renewed popularity –- sometimes simply for its retro, analog status, but mostly for film’s ability to create a look and feel that many believe digital can still not achieve. If anyone can attest to this, it’s Utah photographer Jonathan Canlas, who exclusively shoots with film, and has both an extremely successful wedding photography business, as well as a series of popular workshops held numerous times per year around the world.” (summary from Amazon.com)

Incidentally, you may want to check out Jose Villa’s book, another wedding photographer who specialises exclusively in film (reviewed back in July 2011).

syndetics-lcSaudi Arabia by the first photographers / William Facey with Gillian Grant.
“The photographs in this book were taken between 1860 and 1950, at a crucial period just before the ancient way of life in the region was swept away. The selection draws on all the known photographic collections, from the earliest travel photographers, through to the 1950s. These remarkable images are accompanied by historian William Facey’s excellent text which places them in their historical context, plus detailed commentary on photographic techniques by photographic archivist Gillian Grant.” (Library Catalogue)

syndetics-lcThe lost photographs of Captain Scott : unseen photographs from the legendary Antarctic Expedition / David M. Wilson.
“The legend of Captain Robert Falcon Scott who perished with his fellow explorers on their return from the South Pole on March 29 1912 (100 years ago this year!), is an enduring one. Until now, the history of the ill-fated Terra-Nova expedition has been pieced together from Scott’s own diaries and those of his companions, the sketches of “Uncle Bill” Wilson, and the celebrated photographs of Herbert Ponting. Yet, for the final, fateful months of their journey, Scott also photographed this extraodinary scientific endeavour himself. Trained by Ponting, and faced with extreme climatic conditions and practical challenges at the dawn of photography, Scott achieved a series of images, remarkable for both their technical mastery and their poignancy. In this landmark book, the photographs are catalogues and published together for the first time, paying tribute to the last great expeditions of the Heroic Age of Artic Exploration.” (adapted from Publisher’s description)

syndetics-lcA good companion to this title would be the recently published An Empire of Ice. Pulitzer winner Edward Larson follows the triumphs and disasters of Robert Scott, Ernest Shackleton, David Livingston, Roald Amundsen, and numerous other intrepid explorers, who risked life and limb to be the first to leave footprints in uncharted territory.

A few fascinating biographies have recently been published on women photographers. Besides world reknown Diane Arbus’ biography and retrospective, Clover Adams and Vivian Maier — two relatively unknown women with a passion for photography — are the subject of, respectively, a compelling biography and a collection of photographs. Three somber lives to ponder.

syndetics-lcClover Adams : a gilded and heartbreaking life / Natalie Dykstra.
“Clover, an inquisitive, loving, fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at 28 the older and soon-to-be-eminent historian Henry Adams. She thrived in her role as an intimate to political insiders in Gilded Age Washington, where she was valued for her wit and taste by such artistic luminaries as Henry James and H. H. Richardson. Clover so clearly possessed, as one friend wrote, “all she wanted, all this world could give.” And yet there is a mystery: why did Clover, having embarked on an exhilarating self-taught course of photography in the spring of 1883, end her life less than three years later by drinking from a vial of a chemical she used in developing her own photographs? The answer is revealed through Natalie Dykstra’s original discoveries regarding the thirteen-year Adams marriage. Dykstra illuminates Clover’s enduring stature as a woman betrayed as she untangles the complex truth of her shining and impossible marriage.” (taken from Publisher’s description)

syndetics-lcAn emergency in slow motion : the inner life of Diane Arbus / William Todd Schultz.
“Schultz confesses that his subject, revered and controversial photographer Diane Arbus, remains a mystery after nearly seven years of inquiry. His struggle to understand Arbus and her indelible portraits o. freak. makes for a strikingly candid, indefatigably inquisitive, and poignantly unsettling psychobiography, a meticulous yet passionate attempt to decode her inner life. Born in 1923 to wealth and misery in a New York household of silence and secrets, including a sexual relationship between Diane and her brother, the future poet laureate Howard Nemerov, Diane married photographer Allan Arbus very young. The marriage didn’t last, and Schultz offers no insights into what sort of mother Arbus was to their two now accomplished daughters. Instead, he focuses on Arbus’ signature fascination with weirdos and grotesques and reveals her compulsive and risky sexual adventures, and argues that sex was her true artistic obsession, right up to her 1971 suicide. Exceptional prose, illuminating psychological theory, and the visceral memories of those who knew her add up to a haunting portrait of Arbus as a tenacious and quixotic artist whose outre photographs blaze on in all their strange romance, protest, and longing.” (Booklist)

In the light of this psychobiography, it is interesting to revisit some of Arbus’ most iconic photographs in the Aperture’s 25 Anniversary edition published last year:

syndetics-lcDiane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph was originally published in 1972, one year after the artist’s death, in conjunction with a retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art. Edited and designed by Arbus’s daughter, Doon, and her friend and colleague, painter Marvin Israel, the monograph contains eighty of her most masterful photos. The images in this newly published edition, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the collection’s original publication, were printed from new three-hundred-line-screen duotone film, allowing for startlingly clear reproduction. The impact of the collection is heightened by the introduction, which contains excerpts of audio tapes in which Arbus discusses her experiences as a photographer and her feelings about the often bizarre nature of her subjects. Diane Arbus’s work has indelibly impacted modern visual sensibilities, evidenced by the intensely personal moments captured in this powerful group of photographs. (adapted from Library Catalogue)

syndetics-lcVivian Maier : street photographer / edited by John Maloof ; foreword by Geoff Dyer.
Were it not for the accidental find by historian John Maloof of 100,00 photographs hidden in a storage locker, no one would have discovered the amazing work of this nanny during the day, self-taught photographer in her leisure time, who scouted the streets of countless cities in her quest for human urban tableaux. An outsider and observer all her life, she remained invisible until fate decided otherwise. In this book her impressive body of work is presented in print form for the first time. Also highly recommended is the Vivian Maier website , a brilliant showcase of her photography and further facts about this intriguing photographer. And finally, watch out for the documentary film “Finding Vivian Maier” currently in production.

And for titles in the compendium style, we will focuse this month on the new addition to the Prestel 50 Series — 50 Photographers you should know

syndetics-lcThis series is growing at a regular pace and each new title is a welcome addition, guiding the novice and filling up the gaps in the enthusiast/student’s knowledge. This title is a concise and portable (not often the case with art books) collection of chronologically ordered greats of photography, from Nadar to Tillmans. The timeline for each photographere is a very useful element, placing the artist in historical, political and cultural context. A good reference with just enough photographs and facts to wet the appetite for further research.

Further titles we hold in the 50’s series are:

50 contemporary artists you should know

50 architects you should know

50 paintings you should know

50 women artists you should know

50 american artists you should know

50 fashion designers you should know

50 Bauhaus icons you should know

50 modern artists you should know

50 British artists you should know

“The Earth at night is a masterpiece of light and motion” : new photography books

There are some amazing new photography books this month – so many its hard to do justice to them all here. It’s been really hard to choose just a few, but here are our picks. Included are books on Francesca Woodman, Len Lye, early New Zealand photography, and the resurgence of lo-fi photography. Our absolute picks for the month though, are Magnum Contact Sheets, and Lights of Mankind : The Earth at night as seen from space. Enjoy!

syndetics-lcEarly New Zealand photography
“We are all participants in an increasingly visual culture, yet we rarely give thought to the ways that photographs shape our experience and understanding of the world and historical past. This book looks at a range of New Zealand photographs up to 1918 and analyses them as photo-objects, considering how they were made, who made them, what they show and how our understanding of them can vary or change over time. The writers include photographers, museum curators, academics and other researchers. Their essays are not intended as definitive readings but rather offer a variety of ways in which to read the images they have chosen. In the course of the book, they explore a host of issues related to the development of photography in New Zealand. World War I is the end point, as it coincided with profound cultural shifts with the expansion of the mass illustrated press and the rise of consumer photography, as well as a change in New Zealand’s place in the world.” (Publisher’s description)

syndetics-lcShadowgraphs : photographic portraits by Len Lye
Len Lye’s Shadowgraphs were the subject of a recent exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery on the Victoria University Wellington campus. This catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition and provides a valuable insight into this aspect of Lye’s work. Fascinated by cameraless photography as were some of his contemporaries such as, notably, Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy, Lye experimented with this process while in New York in 1947, producing portraits of his entourage. Introduced by Professor Geoffrey Batchen, the resulting images are the subject of essays by Art History students. An interesting side to one of New Zealand’s iconic and visionary artists. For further information on his work and life, don’t miss our other fascinating titles dedicated to this master of movement. And then, why not visit the Len Lye Foundation at the Govett-Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth and the soon to be opened Len Lye Centre.

Now, for some unintentional poetry…

syndetics-lcLights of Mankind The Earth at night as seen from space
A compelling collection of images never before published in one volume, selected from 130,000 photographs downlinked by astronauts from the Cupola observation module of the International Space Station creates a magnificent, multifaceted and comprehensive portrait of our planet, accompanied by beautiful and informative text, including words by astronauts who share what they saw and how they felt as they witnessed those incredible scenes. Astronaut Douglas Wheelock sets the tone when he says: “The Earth at night is a masterpiece of light and motion. Aurora australis dancing on a moonlit night… a new dawn just beyond the horizon… Tonight we set sail for the blue planet. It has been nearly six months, and we are being called home. I hope to one day return to this place. Seems I’ve lived a hundred life-times… yet I blinked, and the time has slipped away. What will that first breath be like when the hatch opens on Earth?… I can only imagine.” We can only imagine what it must have felt like to be up there, discovering the amazing patterns humanity imprints on the surface of our world, intentionally or not, with consequences not always so fortunate but an awesome testament to our lives nonetheless.

syndetics-lcMagnum Contact Sheets
If I were to choose one book for the month, this would be it. It is is worth the muscle power (weighs a few kilos) and you’ll need the time to appreciate it fully. It presents an amazing selection of 139 contact sheets from 69 Magnum photographers over the lifespan of the influential agency, revealing the processes behind some of the most famous shots in documentary photography — from capture to editing and final selection. The accompanying text is also enlightening and tells the stories behind those icons of contemporary history. As Peter Conrad puts it for the Guardian newspaper, we may view “these contact sheets, souvenirs of a technology that is now obsolete” as “the elegy for a lost art”. A book that commands respect, attention and detailed scrutiny. Fascinating!

syndetics-lcLo-fi photo fun! Creative projects for Polaroid, Plastic and Pinhole Camera
So, did someone mention the death of analog photography? Not so fast. Have you ever heard of Lomography, a young and vibrant community committed to analog photography? Or the Impossible Project, which claims to have saved analog instant photography from extinction by releasing brand new and unique instant films replacing the defunct Polaroid instant films? Regardless of this self-professed achievement, it is undeniable that there is a renewed interest for what had been regarded as an obsolete technology and this book is proof of the ever increasing following “toy-cameras” have been enjoying lately. Divided into short, simple and attractively illustrated sections, this book is designed to kick-start creative projects and inspire.

syndetics-lcFrancesca Woodman
“Artists who arrive fully formed at a young age always dazzle, and Francesca Woodman was one of the most gifted and dazzling artist prodigies in recent history. In 1972, the 13-year-old Woodman made a black-and-white photograph of herself sitting at the far end of a sofa in her home in Boulder, Colorado. Her face is obscured by her hair, light radiates from an unseen source behind her out at the viewer through her right hand. This photograph typifies much of what would characterize Woodman’s work to come: a semi-obscured female form merging with or flailing against a somewhat bare and often dilapidated interior. In an oeuvre of around 800 photographs made in just nine years, Woodman performed her own body against the textures of wallpaper, door frame, baths and couches, radically extending the Surrealist photography of Man Ray, Hans Bellmer and Claude Cahun and creating a mood and language all her own. In the 30 years since her untimely death, Woodman has gained a following among successive generations of artists and photographers, a testament to her work’s undeniable immediacy and enduring appeal. Amid a renewed intensification of interest in Francesca Woodman, this volume is published for a major touring exhibition of her photographs and films at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Containing many previously unpublished photographs, it is the definitive Francesca Woodman monograph.” (Publisher’s description)

syndetics-lcPhotoshop Compositing Secrets
From analog to digital, the world of photography is all encompassing. What would we do without Photoshop these days? Compositing may not be for everyone but everyone can take something from the skills featured in this useful how-to book. If you want to master the tools that will allow your creativity to blossom, this book is sure to help.

New art & graphics books: featuring David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama, Alessandro Raho and more

A mixture of arty treats to start off your New Year – three great artist biographies and four stunning graphic art books. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverAlessandro Raho / Michael Bracewell & Nicholas Cullinan.
“Exploring the career of Alessandro Raho (b.1971) from the early 1990s to the present day, this monograph, the first of its kind on the artist, places Raho in the context of the period in which his career was established and has flourished… Exploring the major themes and subjects found in his work, alongside his artistic and philosophic influences, this groundbreaking publication will appeal to experts and artistic enthusiasts alike and will be an essential purchase for all those interested in contemporary art.” (Adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverHockney : the biography. Volume 1, 1937-1975 / Christopher Simon Sykes.
“In this astounding first volume of his authorised biography Christopher Sykes explores the fascinating world of the most popular living artist in the world today. David Hockney’s career has spanned and epitomised the art movements of the last five decades; His story is one of precocious achievement at Bradford Art College, the Swinging 60s in London where he befriended many of the iconic cultural figures of the generation, to California and the cool of the swimming pool series of paintings, through the acclaimed set designs for countless operas around the world and major retrospective exhibitions.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInfinity net : the autobiography of Yayoi Kusama / Yayoi Kusama ; translated by Ralph McCarthy.
“In 1957, encouraged by Georgia O’Keeffe, artist Yayoi Kusama left Japan for New York City to become a star. By the time she returned to her home country in 1973, she had established herself as a leader of New York’s avant-garde movement, known for creating happenings and public orgies to protest the Vietnam War and for the polka dots that had become a trademark of her work. Her sculptures, videos, paintings, and installations are to this day included in major international exhibitions.” (Adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverErratic : visual impact in current design / [edited by Robert Klanten, Floyd Schulze].
“Change is one of the few constants in the world. In recent years, more and more images are being created that not only capture a moment in time, but also point to a change that can and will take place directly thereafter. Erratic is a collection of current, often playful work by designers, photographers, and artists who are exploring the reciprocal effects between stability and instability, symmetry and asymmetry, and pressure and counter-pressure.” (Adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverFingerprint no. 2 : the evolution of handmade elements in graphic design / by Chen Design Associates ; with an introduction by Joshua C. Chen ; foreword by Debbie Millman ; commentary by Colin Berry and visual essays from Stefan Bucher … [et al.].
For many designers, creating things by hand is a reaction to too much computer-based design. Since the first Fingerprint was published, ideas that were once on the fringe have begun to thrive in the mainstream. From typography and illustration to book-making and film titles, elements of handcraft have soaked into everyday life. Fingerprint No. 2 reflects the evolution of those ideas. In this second volume, you’ll still find plenty of projects created entirely without the aid of computer technology. But you’ll also discover how designers are beining to incporate the two aesthetics—handmade and digital—in order to best communicate their message. A third, hybrid aesthetic is emerging, one that marries the technologies of the past and future into a vibrant, exciting present (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverJuxtapoz illustration 2 / [edited by Saelee Oh ; writer, Evan Pricco].
The tenth book in the series revisits the magnetic attraction of the figurative line. Once again an exciting roster of contributors ranging from commercial illustrators to outsider artists put forth a retina-searing collection (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVectorism : vector graphics today / [edited and produced by Viction:workshop].
Showcases over 480 vector works composed by over 50 graphic artists from all around the world (Syndetics summary)

New and “now” – contemporary fine art & graphic art picks

We’ve got some great new contemporary art books in the catalogue this month. Current perspectives in Japanese Illustration and profiles on new artists at the cutting edge, take a look!

Syndetics book coverIt’s all about the image / [Dick Frizzell].
“This is the A to Z of Dick’s philosophy dissembled through 100 or so images that have influenced his point of view…” – (adapted from Back cover)

Syndetics book coverContemporary art : world currents / Terry Smith.
“Diversity – the contemporaneity of difference, not a convergence towards sameness, Smith argues, is what makes today’s art contemporary.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA bigger message : conversations with David Hockney / Martin Gayford.
“David Hockney’s exuberant work is widely loved and widely praised, but he is also an incisive and original thinker on art. Based on a series of conversations between Hockney and the art critic Martin Gayford, this book distills the essence of the artist’s lifelong meditations on the problems and paradoxes of representing a three-dimensional world on a flat surface …” – (adapted from Amazon product description)

Syndetics book coverJapanese illustration now / [edited by] Cristian Campos.
“This example-packed overview of contemporary Japanese illustration showcases the works of 100 of Japan’s most successful and exciting artists and designers …” – (adapted from Amazon product description)

Syndetics book cover100 new artists / Francesca Gavin.
“100 New Artists brings together the creatives who are shaping the aesthetics of the next decade. All the artists featured were born after 1970 … ” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVitamin P2 : new perspectives in painting / [designed by Julia Hasting].
“The first volume of Vitamin P, published in 2002, inaugurated a vibrant period for painting. Since its publication, a whole new generation of painters has emerged, some inspired by the artists who appeared in that book, others taking cues from new sources. Vitamin P2: New Perspectives in Painting introduces this new wave of painters to the world…” – (adapted from Amazon product description)

Great European artists re-examined

A new look at old favourites from the “golden” era to Goncharova:

Syndetics book coverDürer / Norbert Wolf.
“Drawing on the latest research, this luxurious volume presents an exciting new interpretation of Durer, both as a man and as an artist.
Durer’s prints and drawings inspired centuries of artists both during his life and after his death. Yet his talent as a painter and colourist, and his enthusiasm for the scientific world have not been widely appreciated. Durer’s influence was both international and intergenerational; indeed Picasso claimed to have been inspired by the sixteenth-century artist. Reproduced in stunning detail and including illustrations of Durer’s most famous prints and drawings, a catalogue raisonne of his paintings, and biographical research, this book presents a Durer for the twenty-first century.” (Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverErnst Ludwig Kirchner : retrospective [published in conjunction with the exhibition “Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Retrospective”, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, April 23 to July 25, 2010 / edited by Felix Krämer].
“Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painted city life as a joyous, bustling pageant, a sophisticated swirl of desiring bodies and colorful urbanity, giving Germany an energetic iconography for the glory days of modernity. One of the four founders of Die Brucke (The Bridge), Kirchner drew on German Renaissance art to conjure expressive exaggerations of face and posture, and brought to landscape painting a city-dweller’s zest, imbuing tranquil scenery with riotous energy. Coinciding with a Kirchner retrospective at the Stadel Museum–the first to be seen in Germany in 30 years–this massive volume surveys the artist’s several creative phases and genres. … With essays by renowned art historians, this definitive monograph offers fresh perspective on the continued relevance of Kirchner.
(Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverEgon Schiele : self-portraits and portraits / edited by Agnes Husslein-Arco and Jane Kallir.
“This fascinating new book explores how Egon Schiele reinvented the art of portraiture, brilliantly capturing the inner lives of his numerous subjects including himself. This book traces Schiele’s development as a portraitist through four principal chronological phases, from 1906 to 1918. Starting with the artist’s rigorous training at the Vienna Academy, it chronicles Schiele’s eventual break with academia and the emergence of his Expressionistic style… This volume also offers a close examination of Schiele’s self-portraits and his relationship with Gustav Klimt, Schiele’s gestic language in the context of contemporaneous photography and the silent film, as well as brief biographies of Schiele’s subjects and transcriptions of illuminating letters pertaining to his life and work.” (Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverGolden : Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk Van Otterloo Collection / Frederik J. Duparc with Femke Diercks, Reinier Baarsen, and Loek Van Aalst.
“The van Otterloos’ personal assemblage of art represents two decades of astute collecting. Items represented are from the Dutch/Flemish golden age of the 17th century, created during a time of “rapidly changing opportunity and rich circumstances.” The collectors have a great eye and were assisted by Simon Levie, former director of the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), as well as Duparc, former director of the Mauritshuis (The Hague). The van Otterloos’ passion and Levie’s skill are evident in this collection of portraits, history paintings, landscapes, genre scenes, still lifes, and furniture from more than 60 artists. Each work has a meticulous listing of provenance, exhibitions, and literature so you can research whether or not you’ve seen it displayed (the owners frequently lend to museums).” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverNatalia Goncharova : between Russian tradition and European modernism / edited by Beate Kemfert with Alla Chilova ; with texts by Evgenia Iluchina … [et al.].
“One of the original “amazons of the Russian avant garde,” Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) bequeathed a rich and complex body of work to a culture that has only recently begun to recognize it. Like her contemporary Kazimir Malevich, Goncharova drew inspiration from the folklore and art of her country, producing in her early years very colorful and strongly ornamental paintings, as well as religious works influenced by the Russian icon tradition. In the 1910s, Goncharova began experimenting with Cubism, becoming one of the earliest exponents of modern art in Moscow; in 1917, she settled permanently in Paris, where she designed costumes and sets for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. This publication, the first to provide a full overview of Goncharova’s career (including her later, less documented years in Paris) illuminates the trajectory of Goncharova’s career, restoring her work to its former prominence.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRenoir in the 20th century / with essays by Roger Benjamin … [et al.] ; [managing editor, Claudia Einecke].
“Here at last is a publication devoted to the glorious final three decades of Pierre-Auguste Renoir-the decades in which the painter turned away from Impressionism and toward a more decorative approach informed by his own idiosyncratic interpretation of art history. During this period, Renoir was initially looking at painters such as Rubens, Titian and Raphael, and dedicating himself to cheery subjects such as bathers, domestic idylls and landscapes that were influenced by both classical mythology and by his relocation to the South of France. … in this book, which accompanies a major touring exhibition organized by the Reunion des Musees Nationaux, the Musee d’Orsay and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it is possible to see clearly the influence that Renoir had on younger artists such as Bonnard, Matisse and Picasso, as well as how they received and studied his work.” (Amazon.com description)

New Art book picks for June 2011

Masterworks, modern art and more! Have a browse.

Syndetics book coverCourbet : a dream of modern art / edited by Klaus Herding and Max Hollein.
” With over 200 color reproductions of the French Realist’s work, as well as essays by Sylvain Amic and Bettina Erche, this volume acts as a welcome counterweight to the Courbet we thought we already knew, further complicating and enriching our understanding of one of the most influential European painters any century has produced.” (Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverDancing with the dark : Joan Snyder prints 1963-2010 / Marilyn Symmes, with essays by Faye Hirsch and Marilyn Symmes.
“”This book accompanies the exhibition Dancing with the Dark: Joan Snyder Prints 1963-2010, organized by the Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, January 29-May 29, 2011.”” (Syndetics summary) ; “The first monograph dedicated to the renowned artist’s powerful and diverse prints” (Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverJean-Michel Basquiat : 1960-1988 : the explosive force of the streets / Leonhard Emmerling.
“… young graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was catapulted to international fame in his early 20s and died of a drug-overdose at 27. The subject of a feature film by fellow artist Julian Schnabel, Basquiat is one of the most admired artists to emerge from the 1980s art boom. This book explores his short but prolific career.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA life in pictures / Alasdair Gray.
“Alasdair Gray is known throughout the world for his writing, but he is also a highly regarded artist …In this autopictography he gathers together the work that has mattered most to him over the years, and weaves the story of his life through and around these pictures in his own unmistakable style. A beautifully and copiously illustrated book, designed by [the artist] himself”. (Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverRobert Rauschenberg / [editors, Ealan Wingate and Emily Florido].
“An essential volume on the work of Robert Rauschenberg, this relevatory selection of rarely seen masterworks is curated in collaboration with the artist’s estate and includes an extensive chronology… This book covers the full span of the artist’s career, from 1950 to 2007, focusing on key works from the collection of the artist’s estate … as well as masterpieces that have recently been seen in museum exhibitions”. (Amazon.com description)

Alice Neel – art books to check out!

Alice Neel is an American painter who produced works in the mid-part of the twentieth century.   A feminist before her time, Neel’s lifestyle, and even her art, was sometimes considered controversial.  She is now thought of as one of the best American artists of last century, even though her work is not as well known as contemporaries Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko.   Her style is figurative, linear and emotional and I think it’s similar to Elizabeth Peyton or John Curran.  The library has two new books about her that are worth checking out if you enjoy modern, American art and discovering new artists.

Syndetics book coverAlice Neel : painted truths / Jeremy Lewison … [et al.].
This book was published to coincide with an international exhibition of Alice Neel’s work held last year.  It’s a comprehensive collection of her art, spanning seven decades, with wonderful colour plates of both her paintings and drawings.   The essays examine her stylistic development and complex pyschological themes.

Syndetics book coverAlice Neel : the art of not sitting pretty / Phoebe Hoban.
Well known writer Phoebe Hoban covers Neel’s personal life and artistic career in this biography.  Neel had a tough life – living in 1920s Cuba, struggling with the death of her child, suffering a nervous breakdown – but continued to create contemporary works of art amidst all the drama.  Her paintings were highly personal and she often used her experiences as subjects, or subtexts, for her paintings.  The book places Neel in the social context of her time and considers her place as an artist who worked outside the accepted New York art world and as an important figure in the feminist art movement.  It is an interesting read about a talented artist with a tumultuous life and career.