8 New Books About Art (Want!)
Maybe coffee table books are how adults transition out of our childhood love of picture books. If weighty enough, they can pin me to the couch in happy bliss. Here are a few that are making an appearance for the fall and a couple additional ones that are more engrossing, wordy reads about some of the great creatives and muses of their eras:
THE CLASSICS: I know when I think about gorgeous florals I think about those seventeenth-century Dutch master paintings of exploding bouquets but the newest book from Taschen (image top), The Book of Flowers, showcases the work of a French botanical painter, Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759–1840) whose clients include Napoleon’s wife Josephine (oh no big deal!) and a reputation of being the “Raphael of Flowers.” Also in the arena of French art history is Little Dancer Aged Fourteen: The True Story Behind Degas’s Masterpiece (Nov. 20 release). For those of you who’ve admired this piece (here in California we have a version of this bronze statue at the Norton Simon Museum), now you can read about the life of this dancer, Marie van Goethem, and the world in which she inhabited.
THE WOMEN: For fans of the site, The Jealous Curator, check out Danielle Krysa’s focused celebration of the achievements of 45 female artists (and their art “her-story”) in A Big Important Art Book (Now With Women). Contemporary pioneering women right here and now to inspire even us amateurs (its theme reminsicent of the writings of feminist art historian Linda Nochlin whole life I reflected on here)! If you’re still hungry for more recognition of women in art history and a post-war era buff, check out these icons of modern art in this new profile of five women who blazed trails despite the patriarchy, Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art.
THE GUYS: Some of you may remember my recent post about the demise of the iconic Interview magazine, Andy Warhol’s child that showcased the biggest names in popular culture of the last several decades. The artist who really defined the look of the earliest editions was Richard Berstein, who photographed his subjects like Grace Jones (below), and then glamourized them with his own flare, helping to define the looks of the era (I remember a few wild eyeshadow palettes in my drawer back in the day). Check out his whole body of work over three decades in Richard Bernstein Starmaker: Andy Warhol's Cover Artist. While celebrity culture made Bernstein famous, street art was the avenue through which our next artist rose to fame (while also collaborating with Andy Warhol) in this comprehensive look at his career, Jean-Michel Basquiat XXL (release date, Nov. 21).
THE PHOTOGRAPHERS: Were you a fan of Bill Cunnigham’s street fashion photography featured regularly in the New York Times (and unconventional cycling mode of transportation throughout NYC with his camera as seen in this documentary)? Well, the sartorial world may have lost him, but we can now appreciate his genius in the memoir he left behind, Fashion Climbing: A Memoir with Photographs. Another photographer known for his focus on the streets can be seen in this book, The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand, released earlier this year, an inspiring lesson on aiming your lense and the aesthetics of the 1960s and 1970s.
THE COLLECTOR: Okay I’m listing ninth title (and don’t report me to the principal’s office) because art can be found anywhere and as they say, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. This is celebrated through the fun pages of The Joy of Junk: Go Right Ahead, Fall In Love With The Wackiest Things, Find The Worth In The Worthless, Rescue & Recycle The Curious Objects That Give Life & Happiness for the thrift store and flea market addict. I love how the author, Mary Randolph Carter said that “junk” is not a four-lettered word! Bravo!