Pump Up The Volumes
Because we know that there’s a significant likelihood that you, like us, are scrambling for last-minute gifts, we bring to you a selection of this year’s art books that may ease the task. There’s a little something for everyone—visual and literary types, the hopeful and the cynical. Consider it our last-minute gift to you.
Hell Bound: New Gothic Art, by Francesca Gavin (Laurence King Publishing, $24.95)
“Gothic is the art world’s zombie. It refuses to die,” proclaims Francesca Gavin, author of this season’s premier survey of gorgeously gory art by over 30 youngbloods, including Terence Koh, Amie Dicke, Chloe Piene, Matt Greene, and Wes Lang. In addition to being a leading art critic and Dazed & Confused‘s visual arts editor, author Gavin is also currently one of the coolest figures in London’s art subculture. Consider this darkly themed tome your tart antidote to an overdose of saccharine holiday cheer.
I Won’t Let You Die, by Youssef Nabil (Hatje Cantz Verlag, $60.00)
Okay, so Nabil’s book won’t be available until March, but the Egyptian photographer’s nostalgia-tinged, hand-colored images are just too beautiful not to be a holiday option. (Just give a lovely IOU written on a Smythson note card.) Nabil renders his portraits with a lovingly luxurious look adopted from old images of Egyptian cinema. His first monograph has been over a decade in the making, featuring portraits of friends and fellow artists like Julie Mehretu, David Lynch, Shirin Neshat, and Tracey Emin. Of special note is the stunning stand-alone spread of John Waters.
The Marriage of Reason & Squalor, by Jake Chapman, (FUEL Press, $32.95)
The first work of fiction by the elder Chapman Brother, one half of British art’s perennial bad-boy duo, is a salty send-up of England’s cloying Mills and Boon romances. The pulpy paperback includes 20 drawings Chapman made in the persona of his female protagonist, the Bond-ishly named Chlamydia Love, whose perilous quest for happiness with a best-selling novelist is graphically told in the raunchy and hilarious text.
Yes We Can: Barack Obama’s History-Making Presidential Campaign, by Scout Tufankjian (Powerhouse Books, $29.95)
It was a year to make art lovers want to go into hiding. However, these visuals should perk up just about anyone—except maybe hard-line Republicans. Tufankjian’s 192-page book of images taken in her role as the only photographer intimately covering Obama’s entire two-year run for presidential office are a powerful and moving record of this remarkable historical moment. You might consider attaching a packet of Kleenex to your gift.
Seven Days in the Art World, by Sarah Thornton (W.W. Norton & Co., $24.95)
In her elegantly written overview of the contemporary art world, London-based Canadian art writer and sociologist Sarah Thornton serves as a Virgil guiding readers through the divine comedy of contemporary art. She condenses five years of intimate investigation into crisp and compelling character-driven profiles of the seven magic circles of the international contemporary-art world.
Cecily Brown, by Dore Ashton (Rizzoli, $85.00)
This first major monograph for artist Cecily Brown, who pioneered the return of painting to the forefront of contemporary art, showcases the powerful punch of her full-blooded and erotic Expressionistic paintings. But it also demonstrates Brown’s ability to push past provocative subject matter, making Brown one of the few truly mature artists appropriating adult material.
Maneater, by Aurel Schmidt (O.H.W.O.W. and Deitch Projects, $35.00)
Maneater is a collection of Aurel Schmidt’s charming and awe-inspiring drawings. Though her medium is graphite and colored pencil, Schmidt’s intricate drawings would have you believing otherwise. Her trompe l’oeil style has Greek busts made of snakes and faces composed of trashed fast food and maggots. But Schmidt turns city grime and the debris of life into drawings exquisite enough to pass as Victorian horticulture sketches.