Art Books of the Season


1. What Nerve!: Alternative Figures in American Art 1960 to the Present by Dan Nadel, paperback, $39.95. “Generally speaking, the art is grotesque, garish and exuberant, cranky, sometimes menacing, often hilarious and, in the case of the Hairy Who and Destroy All Monsters, particularly fresh. Much could be considered representational, albeit with a fondness for squiggly, tubular forms and faces that suggest something splattered against a wall. Vectors abound. Hairy Who member Karl Wirsum’s near-psychotic images of trippy, patterned faces are placed in dialogue with Kirby’s painstaking ink and water-color portraits of nascent super-heroes.” –J. Hoberman, Grotesque, Garish, Exuberant American Art, New York Review of Books

2.The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, hardcover $39.95. “I am utterly gobsmacked. The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft is a work of such readability, easy access, precision, and joy that its publication by Liveright is an Olympian landmark of modern gothic literature.” (Harlan Ellison)

3. Yayoi Kusama: I Who Have Arrived in Heaven, hardcover, $55.oo Opening this book is a series of exquisitely produced color plates of brightly colored, large-format square paintings. Part of a recent body of work, they allude to universal spheres or basic life forms and highlight Kusama’s unique amalgamation of representational and nonrepresentational subject matter. Also featured is the video installation, Song of a Manhattan Suicide Addict, in which the artist herself is seen performing a song she composed while an animated slideshow of selected artworks moves behind her and the two mirrored infinity rooms.

4. The Essential Cy Twombly, hardcover, $75.00 edited by Twombly’s longtime collaborator Nicola Del Roscio, is the ultimate overview of his work, presenting the most important paintings and cycles of paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs from Twombly’s diverse oeuvre. The most accessible survey of his work to date, this volume includes essays by Laszlo Glozer, Thierry Greub, Kirk Varnedoe and Simon Schama.”Having nearly sixty years of work at hand provides abundant evidence of the paradox governing Twombly’s art-the interesting play between the epic scope of his cultural materials and the enigmatic, deeply personal means of their representation.Twombly’s art instructs, perplexes, and ultimately seduces.” (Albert Mobilio, Bookforum 2014-09-01)

5. Work Box by the Detroit Artists Workshop, $95. MOCAD, Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead and the Detroit Artists’ Workshop present WORK BOX, a 50th anniversary collection of book reprints, interviews, postcards and artifacts from the Detroit Artists’ Workshop. The WORK BOX is available in a limited numbered edition of 125 copies. The Work Box was made in conjunction with the exhibition; Roots & Branches: The 50th Anniversary of the Detroit Artists Workshop (1964-2014) on display now until Jan. 4th, 2015, at Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead (the house behind MOCAD). For a complete listing of contents visit The Detroit Artists Workshop: Work Box.

6. 1968: Radical Italian Furniture: Photographs by Maurizio Cattelan & Pieropaolo Ferrari, “Like the many oversize pieces in this furniture collection, the book itself – chunky, with images printed onto thick cardboard pages – has a self-announcing physicality to it. “This is not a book, it’s an object,” Cattelan says, suggesting that any book about design should aspire to be a piece of design itself. “You can actually kill a man with it!” (Emami Gazelle New York Time Sunday Style 2014-06-01)

7. The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration. “The pictures cover the period before the age of colour photography, and range from the woodcuts of the early Modern era, to the colour lithographs of the late 19th and early 20th century. Beyond the sheer graphic impact of so much disease, distortion and disfigurement, what distinguishes them is an acute paradox: here the styles and modes of bygone eras are used not to prettify people or create a picturesque landscape, but to render the pathological as clearly as possible with a view to instructing physicians.” –Review From weeping warts to leprosy: the gruesome art of medical illustration, The Guardian

8. American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen by William Mortensen (Contributor), Larry Lytle (Contributor), A.D. Coleman (Contributor), Michael Moynihan. “His favorite photography topics included witches, demons, dancers, peasants, ecstatic nude women, Shakespearean actors and freak-show performers. He borrowed props and costumes from Hollywood sets, and he reworked prints again and again to achieve gauzy effects in a style known as pictorialism.” Witches, gargoyles, demons, crucifixions … William Mortensen’s grotesque photographs are being reassessed with a new book of his life and work, republication of his own book on photography and psychology, and exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. Preview his work at American nightmares: The photography of William Mortensen, The Guardian

9. Photographer’s Playbook “Whether you’re looking for exercises to improve your craft–alone or in a group–or you’re interested in learning more about the medium, this playful collection will inspire fresh ways of engaging with photographic process. Inside you will find advice for better shooting and editing, creative ways to start new projects, games and activities and insight into the practices of those responsible for our most iconic photographs–John Baldessari, Tina Barney, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jim Goldberg, Miranda July, Susan Meiselas, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Tim Walker and many more…the assignments and project ideas in this book are indispensable for teachers and students, and great fun for everyone fascinated by taking pictures.” – Aperture


1. WHISTLER: A Life For Art’s Sake by Daniel E. Sutherland, hardcover $40.00. “[Sutherland] seeks to get behind the public Whistler . . . never judging or condescending to his subject . . . The portrait of Whistler that emerges is complex and mysterious . . . a measured and scholarly account of an extraordinary life.”—Ruth Scurr, Wall Street Journal

2. THE HIDDEN WORLD by Jim Shaw, hardcover, $40.00. Graphics and propaganda from secret societies, bizarre orders and fraternities, evangelical and fundamentalist movements, new-age spiritualists, Scientologists, Mormons, Freemasons, ultraconservatives and all kinds of conspirators; encyclopedias for children and even Dr. Netter’s famous medical illustrations-with The Hidden World, Los Angeles-based artist Jim Shaw (born 1952) exhibits the incredible collection of didactic graphic art that is the main source of inspiration for his diversely informed art.

3. Bill Rauhauser: Eminent Artist. Kresge Foundation paperback (FREE! by request in-store). The 94-page monograph recounts Rauhauser’s work as a photographer and includes scores of his pictures, including a number of genres in addition to the street photography for which he is best known. “Photography cuts out the static and distractions to show us a person, a place, a slice of a community or society in revealing ways, and Bill is a master,” says Rip Rapson, Kresge’s president and CEO. “His street photography provides a rich record of the people, times and culture of Detroit. It’s a remarkable body of work. And Bill’s three-plus decades as a teacher have allowed him to share his craft and his passion with many, many others.” The book is also available as a free download at: Bill Rauhauser: Eminent Artist

4. BILLY NAME: The Silver Age, hardcover, $95. This is the definitive and comprehensive collection of Billy Name’s black and white photographs from Warhol’s Factory. Billy’s photographs from this period (1964-68) are one of the most important photographic documents of any single artist in history. This visual essay, produced in collaboration with Billy, features a foreword by John Cale. It also includes an introduction by Glenn O’Brien and contributions from Factory alumnae including Gerard Malanga, Viva, Allen Midgette, Brigid Berlin and more. It offers an extensive trip through Warhol’s world. Billy photographed the day-to-day happenings at the Factory, including visits from Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, Nico, Edie Sedgwick, Ivy Nicholson and Bob Dylan; filming Screen Tests and features like Chelsea Girls, Vinyl and My Hustler. Featuring over 400 of Billy’s black and white photographs, this volume is not to be missed. Milk Made’s recent Interview with Billy Name.

5. The Puppet and the Modern by Marie Jirásková, Pavel Jirásek, hardcover, Czech puppetry between 1900 and 1950 was an integral part of modernist and contemporary theatre and animation. The book examines the manufacturing of puppets, stage design and technologies, and focuses on the connections of artists from various disciplines and styles to the development of avant-garde and modernist currents in twentieth-century art. The book includes 750 photographs of puppets and unique archival images of performances, sets, posters, periodicals and illustrations.

6.Longing for the Past: The 78 rpm Era in Southeast Asia, slipcased. $57.50 Longing for the Past is the first survey of the 78 rpm record era in Southeast Asia. It is a kaleidoscopic collection featuring 4 CDs with 90 tracks of music spanning six decades (1905-1966), accompanied by a 272-page book with essays and annotations by leading ethnomusicologists that is richly illustrated with more than 250 vintage photographs, record labels, and sleeves. Hear a selection of tracks at dust-to-digital/

7. THE GEORGE KUCHAR READER, paperback, $27.50 “Kuchar was a glamorizer in the spirit if not the style of Hollywood who understood that cheap tricks could spellbind just as potently as big budget ones, but with far greater privilege. Writing for Film Culture in 1964, he articulated the virtues of making films “underground”:” The New American cinema has helped us by opening up new windows that we can jump out of, thereby plummeting into the depths of a new freedom. But if we are to protect ourselves from splashing into the pavement of indecency, we must have something to say. And I have this to say: Strip me naked you immoral world of vice and pleasure and I’ll show you the lilly [sic] white flesh of truth!” —Los Angeles Review of Books

8. COSMIGRAPHICS by Michael Benson, hardcover $50. “… a pictorial catalog of our quest to order the cosmos and grasp our place in it, a sensemaking process defined by what Benson aptly calls our “gradually dawning, forever incomplete situational awareness.” From glorious paintings of the creation myth predating William Blake’s work by centuries to the pioneering galaxy drawing that inspired Van Gogh’s Starry Night to NASA’s maps of the Apollo 11 landing site, the images remind us that the cosmos — like Whitman, like ourselves — is vast and contains multitudes. This masterwork of scholarship also attests, ever so gently, ever so powerfully, to the value of the “ungoogleable” — a considerable portion of Benson’s bewitching images comes from the vaults of the world’s great science libraries and archives, bringing to light a wealth of previously unseen treasures. —Branpickings

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