Art connections – New Art Books in October

October brings us beautiful books on modern art and how history has shaped art to be what it is today. From fabrics and design, to colour, sculpture and photography, this month showcases modern artisans. Not just crafts people but artists using old methods to explore new ideas and push creative and social boundaries.

Syndetics book coverAi Weiwei / edited by Hans Werner Holzwarth ; with texts by Roger M. Buergel [and four others].
“As his personal circumstances move in constant flux, Ai Weiwei remains a cultural magnet. Renowned for his political activism and social media activity almost as much as for his social interventions, contemporary approach to the readymade, and knowledge of Chinese traditional crafts, Ai’s fame extends throughout and beyond the art world. This monograph explores each of Ai’s career phases up until his release from Chinese custody.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCreamy psychology / Yvonne Todd ; edited by Robert Leonard.
“Twelve years ago, a young Auckland photographer, Yvonne Todd, became the surprise winner of the first Walters Award. Todd is best known for her portraits of women, her mostly invented female ‘characters’. Creamy Psychology surveys Todd’s work since the late 1990s, including her recent Gilbert Melrose project and her latest photographic series Ethical Minorities. Comprehensively illustrated, Creamy Psychology is the new go-to book on Yvonne Todd.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreen : the history of a color / Michel Pastoureau ; translated by Jody Gladding.
“This beautiful and richly illustrated book presents a fascinating and revealing history of the color green in European societies from prehistoric times to today. Examining the evolving place of green in art, clothes, literature, religion, science, and everyday life, Pastoureau traces how culture has profoundly changed the perception and meaning of the color over millennia.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChanel art / by Karl Lagerfeld.
“For the set of CHANELs Spring-Summer 2014 Prêt-à-Porter fashion show, Karl Lagerfeld transformed Paris’ Grand Palais into a vast art gallery filled with specially created CHANEL artworks. CHANEL Art is a record of this gallery and unique moment in fashion history. Lagerfeld personally conceived each of the diverse paintings, sculptures and installations, many of which are ironic interpretations of CHANELs famous icons informed by a pop sensibility.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover50 portraits you should know / Brad Finger.
“This wide-ranging collection of 50 iconic portraits includes works by many of the world’s most renowned artists, each with their own style, technique, and story to tell. Throughout the history of art, most of the world’s greatest artists have produced portraits at some point in their careers, whether commissioned by rulers or magnates; created to preserve a cherished friend or relation; or even to capture the artist’s own likeness.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt & textiles : fabric as material and concept in modern art from Klimt to the present / edited by Markus Brüderlin ; with contributions by Hartmut Böhme [and 11 others] ; translations, Amy J. Klement.
“The boundary between arts and crafts appears to be blurring. Thread, weave, network, and pattern are simultaneously foundation, result, and inspiration and spill over into the areas painting, sculpture, installation, and media art. This opulently designed volume presents both an artistic and an intercultural dialogue.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new artisans. II / Olivier Dupon.
“Collectable, one-of-a-kind artisanal objects–whether hand-woven textiles or handblown glass–have become a fixture of the modern home; and the artists who produce them are increasingly sought-after. In this follow-up volume to The New Artisans, design expert and lauded blogger Olivier Dupon continues his exploration of the most creative artisans working today. Divided into two sections, The New Artisans II is the ultimate reference to the vibrant, creative world of the handmade.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverColour in the making : from old wisdom to new brilliance / [Philip Ball, Mark Clarke and Carinna Parraman]
Colour in the Making is a visual history of art told through the materials of color. From the discovery and use of early earth pigments to organic chemistry and into contemporary dyes, inks, printing techniques and manufacture. Throughout this sumptuously colorful book artists’ and designers’ projects illustrate the behind the scenes inventions and processes of color-making.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStrange material : storytelling through textiles / Leanne Prain ; project photography by Jeanie Ow.
Strange Material explores the relationship between handmade textiles and storytelling. Offbeat, poetic, and subversive, it inspires readers to re-imagine the possibilities of creating through needle and fabric.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Art Recent Picks for March 2014

Leaves are falling, light is fading – no better time to get out a snazzy new “coffee table” art book from the library!:

Syndetics book cover9 artists / [edited by] Bartholomew Ryan ; texts by Yael Bartana, Liam Gillick, Renzo Martens, Bjarne Melgaard, Nástio Mosquito, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Hito Steyerl, Danh Vo.
“Accompanying an exciting exhibition at the Walker Art Center, this catalogue brings together 16-page “books” by the contributing artists, with occasional commentary from the curators. The eight artists (yes, there are eight) all create work that is dynamically and decidedly focused on contemporary questions. While their modes and perspectives vary, together they probe the role of the artist and citizen in a heavily networked, globalizing world. The images throughout are as rich and thought-provoking as the text, resulting in a visual and textual object that continually rewards engagement.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYinka Shonibare MBE / edited by Rachel Kent.
“Newly revised and updated, this authoritative book presents the exciting, ironic, and often subversive work of Yinka Shonibare MBE, one of the stars of the international art scene. Born in London and raised in Nigeria, Shonibare employs a diverse range of media–from sculpture, painting, and installation to photography and film–to probe matters of race, class, cultural identity, and history. He is perhaps best known for his signature use of a colorful “African” batik fabric that actually originated in Indonesia and was introduced to Africa in the19th century by British and Dutch colonizers. Incorporated into Victorian costumes, covering sculptures of extraterrestrials, or stretched like canvas for paintings, these vibrant textiles cleverly challenge issues of origin and authenticity. ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMagritte : the mystery of the ordinary, 1926-1938 / edited by Anne Umland ; with essays by Stephanie D’Alessandro … [et al.].
“Featuring works from more than 50 collections, this exhibition catalogue reproduces and contextualizes Rene Magritte’s development as a surrealist artist from 1926, when he began his quest, until 1938, when he presented a lecture that summarized his accomplishments in this genre. The introduction explains Magritte’s cubist work prior to 1926 and explores how the artistic influence of Giorgio de Chirico and Max Ernst shifted his work toward surrealism. The catalogue proper and four additional essays divide the 13-year period into segments based on the artist’s physical location–from Brussels to Paris, back to Brussels, and finally to London, where he completed commissions for Edward James.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe global art compass / Alistair Hicks.
In the past, writers and critics such as Goethe, Ruskin, and Clement Greenberg perpetuated particular ideas about art and even dictated these ideas to the artists themselves. Today, artists no longer have to follow one prevailing theory and the art world is less centralized in particular cities: New York, London, Paris, Berlin, and Beijing all offer rich environments to artists but none are designated as the exclusive center of the art world. In this book, Alistair Hicks demonstrates his belief that no single curator, critic, or dealer should monopolize our view of what is happening in the art world today, but that by listening to the artists themselves, we can gradually make out an ever-evolving web of patterns, relationships, and themes.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFantasy+. 5, World’s most imaginative artworks / Vincent Zhao.
“This is the 2013 volume in the highly regarded Fantasy+ series. This book collects the latest works from top artists around the world, categorised by their applications, from advertising, book illustration, modeling, games, animation to personal portfolio works. Rich artistic creations and a diverse variety of styles engage the reader in a powerful visual experience. It will provide a valuable reference source of expressive methods and techniques for art and design enthusiasts.” (adapted from amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverGallery 1988’s crazy4cult : cult movie art. 2 / introduction by Seth Rogen ; [edited by Gallery 1988].
“There’s probably a more dignified way to enjoy the pop culture group Gallery 1988’s second collection of its Crazy 4 Cult art show than by stopping on every page to show your friends the brilliant takes on -Donnie Darko, The Breakfast Club, Suspiria, or A Clockwork Orange. However, breathless excitement is the honest response to this collection of cult classic-inspired artwork featuring mixed-media takes on beloved films. As actor Seth Rogen says in the book’s introduction, this is an accessible art collection for fans of offbeat interpretations of the movies they grew up watching.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArt : everything you need to know about the greatest artists and their works / Susie Hodge.
“Art introduces readers to 100 of the world’s most important artists and their paintings, from the 13th century to the modern era. Works by artists including Caravaggio, Vermeer, van Gogh and Warhol are reproduced in superb high quality, arranged chronologically and set in their historical context by Susie Hodge’s concise and readable narrative. Including explanations of key periods in art history – from the Early Renaissance to Dutch Realism, and from Rococo to Pop Art – a guide to the world’s best art galleries and a helpful glossary of key terms, this is the perfect book for any art lover.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk description)