Recent Art Books, 2013

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“One of performance art’s royalty.” —Roberta Smith, New York Times

“She’s my idol.” —Lady Gaga

“Bizarre but brilliant. She sticks with her own thing.” —Courtney Love

“The avant-garde icon offers brief thought experiments that offer a guide to simplifying the challenges of a complex world…Lennon wrote about the acorns in the Beatles song “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” but in many ways, it was more her project than his. Its attitude of pointed whimsy has been a hallmark of Ono’s sensibility going back to the start of her career.” — Los Angeles Times


Singular Spaces: From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art EnviromentsSingular Spaces: From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Enviroments

“Jo Farb Hernández spent close to fourteen years surveying the elaborate fanciful worlds, idiosyncratic sculptures and unique visionary creations of 45 self-taught Spanish artists…. Jo Farb Hernández is an internationally-recognized scholar in the field of self-taught artists and visionary environments. She is a Professor and Director of Exhibitions and Special Projects for the School of Art and Art History at San José State University and Director of the SPACES archives.” -John Foster, preview at: DESIGN OBSERVATORY


George Ohr: The Greatest Art Potter on EarthGeorge Ohr: The Greatest Art Potter on Earth

Eccentric, wild, weird and wonderful pottery

“Self-styled eccentric George E. Ohr’s wild, weird, wonderful pots gathered dust in a garage for half a century. Now architect Frank Gehry is designing a museum dedicated to the artist who made them.” -The Mad Potter, Smithsonian Magazine

This handsome volume, showcasing some 135 of Ohr’s masterpieces, accompanies a major exhibition at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art… new photographs of the objects—most never before publicly exhibited—illustrate Ohr’s ability to combine color and form to create vessels of incomparable delicacy. This volume is filled with new research and fresh insights into the life and work of one of America’s most singular and creative master artists.


John Cage Ryoanji (Hardcover)John Cage Ryoanji (Hardcover)

“This book shows, in extraordinarily delicate reproductions, the immense breadth of the Ryoanjidrawings, their notations ranging from isolated circular lines to seemingly chaotic and overlapping networks of strokes.  Provided with the proper sequence of all works in the series, the reader can for the first time fully experience the suspense and tension Cage so skillfully created between repetition and uniqueness, order and disorder, agitation and tranquility.  One of Cage’s artistic goals was to obtain maximum insight with minimum means — an achievement impressively attested to in this beautiful edition.” –Laura Kuhn, John Cage Trust


Amor Psyche Aktion: Vienna: The Feminine in Viennese ActionismAmor Psyche Aktion: Vienna: The Feminine in Viennese Actionism

Next to the internationally well-known Actionists Hermann Nitsch, Otto Muehl, Günter Bus and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, the women, with their efforts to change things in the revolutionary 1960s, remain to a large extent unknown. They became involved in Actionism through their artist partners, whom they supported with physical actions.

Viennese collector and gallery owner Julius Hummel has compiled visual material that quite emphatically presents the involvement of the feminine and androgynous, which consciously or subconsciously is contained in the work of the Activists. In-depth essays offer an enthralling basis for the academic analysis of the subject matter.


Various Small BooksVarious Small Books

Good art should elicit a response of ‘Huh? Wow!’ as opposed to ‘Wow! Huh?’ -Edward Ruscha

” Various Small Books offers a survey of how an artist’s body of work can influence art history and contemporary practice. But it is also a perceptive look at how appropriation can evolve into innovation.” — Steven HellerNew York Times Book Review

“What a fascinating survey of creativity inspired by Ed Ruscha’s photo books from a few decades ago… a delightful and intriguing look back at the continuing influence of Ed Rusha on photography.”  –preview at PARKA BLOGS



Someday is Now: The Art of Corita KentSomeday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent

This full-scale survey of Corita Kent’s work includes prints and ephemera from all phases of her life, revealing her importance as an activist printmaker and a sylistic innovator in graphic design. Artist, activist, teacher, and devout Catholic Corita Kent (1918-1986) eloquently combined her passions for faith and politics during her rich and varied career.

“As a nun who embraced both pop culture and contemporary art, Corita Kent refracted the messages of religion through the populist medium of printmaking, leaving a legacy of vibrant art that is just now being fully explored.” –preview at HYPERALLERGIC.COM



Mike KelleyMike Kelley

A wide-ranging retrospective catalog for a landmark exhibition.

“This compendium opens with the artist’s college punk band, Destroy All Monsters, and moves through his star-making turn with creepy stuffed animal sculpture and his extensive catalog of dream-like videos documenting his thoughts on repressed memory syndrome, and everything in between.” -NY Observer

“Whether you like or dislike him, as you might by turns, he felt as indispensable as a compass in the darker woods of contemporary experience….Kelley still seems omnipresent, because his influence is so wide and deep.” –Peter Schjeldahl, New Yorker review



Jim Shaw: Rinse CycleJim Shaw: Rinse Cycle

The Rinse Cycle is the first ever full-scale survey of Shaw’s work internationally and will bring together more than one hundred paintings, sculptures, drawings and videos from the last twenty-five years.

“From a giant eyeball to a venomous version of the stars and stripes, Shaw’s first UK retrospective is eye-popping in its scope…Going too far is what he does: his projects take him years, driving him – and us – to peculiar places.” —The Guardian


Giorgio Morandi: A RetrospectiveGiorgio Morandi: A Retrospective

“This remarkable retrospective contains a hundred works (oil paintings on canvas, drawings, etchings, and watercolours), brought together by the exhibition’s curator, Maria Cristina Bandera. She invites you to explore the major themes of Morandi’s oeuvre and to immerse yourself in his world as you savour his calming still lifes, the beauty of his landscapesinspired by the countryside of Emilia-Romagna, and thebouquets of flowers he occasionally gave to friends and acquaintances.” –A Luc Tuymans video preview at: BOZAR

“Aspirants to the role of painter-as-poet are many. Giorgio Morandi was the real thing. And the retrospective, “Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964),” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the second of its size in the United States, with nearly a hundred still lifes and a dozen landscapes, is something that anyone in love with painting and its very specific poetry will want to see.” –Holland Cotter, New York Times


Wunderkammer (hardcover)Wunderkammer (hardcover)

Inspired by the idea of the wunderkammer—“wonder-room” or “cabinet of curiosities”—that originated during the Renaissance, world-renowned architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien invited 42 celebrated architects and designers from around the world to create their own wunderkammers, filling boxes with objects that inspire them.

“One of the most lasting impressions from last year’s Venice Architecture Biennale was the Wunderkammer installation, curated by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.” –10 Notable Design Books of 2013


Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints From the CatacombsHeavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints From the Catacombs

“These macabre images elicit a range of contemporary references, from Goonies to bling-laden rappers to artist Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull.” (

“Smart and accessible, Heavenly Bodies opens the door to this largely overlooked aspect of the Counter Reformation era.” (Hi-Fructose)

“Prepared to be amazed by the splendor and beauty of ornamented skeletal remains.” (Palm Springs Life)

“Martyrs’ relics were used as a sort of conduit for prayers, who asked their intercession for those still on earth. The theory seemed reasonable to believers such as St Jerome, who wrote that such ‘venerable bones are held to be the altar of Christ’”. –preview at THE TELEGRAPH



A Motor City noise-zine of visual derangement

We recently received a gorgeous zine (and sticker) in the mail from Chris Pottinger, head of Detroit-based Tasty Soil Records and Art. Featuring the work of C.F., Nate Young, Chris (Pottinger) himself, Mat Brinkman, and Bill Nace (plus a contribution from Elaine Barry Kahn), it’s an awesome collection of illustrations that are visceral and intriguing. I was immediately absorbed by the zine, thanks in part to its green cardstock cover with meticulous silver ink drawings and the beautiful layout that pulls them together.  preview at SECRET DECODER.NET


what art is (hardcover)what art is (hardcover)

“This miraculously economical book summarizes many decades of reflection and provides an ideal entry into the philosophical system of the most important American-born writer who has discussed visual art.”—David Carrier, author of Proust/Warhol: Analytical Philosophy of Art

“Danto’s writing is elegant and his insights acute.” —Publishers Weekly

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