May 2016 is a great month for new art book releases. Expect to find books on selfies and self-portraits, current and past NYC installations and exhibitions, photography and plenty more all being released throughout the month of May.

Included in this month’s Art on the Shelf book list are: “Cornelia Parker: The Roof Garden Commission,” “Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraits,” “Gerhard Richter: Panorama: A Retrospective (Expanded Edition),” “Taryn Simon: Paperwork and the Will of Capital,” “Outsiders: American Photography and Film 1950s-1980s,” “Michael Heizer: Altars” and “Facing the World: Self-Portraits (and Selfies) from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei.”

“Cornelia Parker: The Roof Garden Commission”

“Cornelia Parker: The Roof Garden Commission”

Turner Prize–nominated British artist Cornelia Parker (b. 1956) is well known for her large-scale, site-specific installations. Her work has been featured in many solo exhibitions and is included in collections around the world. Often composed of ordinary objects, her installations make the familiar extraordinary, whimsical, and even poignant.

Her work for the 2016 Roof Garden Commission at the Metropolitan Museum, documented here, merges two iconic examples of American architecture: the red barn and the infamous mansion on a hill from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho – itself inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper. The resulting piece is allusive, exploring the tension between the tropes represented by these two cultural symbols. This slim volume includes an interview with the artist in which she illuminates her work and influences.

BASIC FACTS: “Cornelia Parker: The Roof Garden Commission” is written by Beatrice Galilee and Sheena Wagstaff. Published by Metropolitan Museum of Art. Release Date: May 10, 2016. Paperback; 64 pages; $9.95.

“Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraits”

“Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraits”

For centuries, women’s self-portraiture was a highly overlooked genre. Beginning with the self-portraits of nuns in medieval illuminated manuscripts, “Seeing Ourselves” finally gives this richly diverse range of artists and portraits, spanning centuries, the critical analysis they deserve.

In sixteenth-century Italy, Sofonisba Anguissola paints one of the longest series of self-portraits, from adolescence to old age. In seventeenth-century Holland, Judith Leyster shows herself at the easel as a relaxed, self-assured professional. In the eighteenth century, from Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun to Angelica Kauffman, artists express both passion for their craft and the idea of femininity; and the nineteenth century sees the art schools open their doors to women and a new and resonant self-confidence for a host of talented female artists, such as Berthe Morisot. The modern period demolishes taboos: Alice Neel painting herself nude at eighty years old, Frida Kahlo rendering physical pain on the canvas, Cindy Sherman exploring identity, and Marlene Dumas dispensing with all boundaries.

BASIC FACTS: “Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraits” is written by Frances Borzello. Published by Thames & Hudson. Release Date: May 17, 2016. Hardcover; 272 pages; $40.00.

“Gerhard Richter: Panorama: A Retrospective (Expanded Edition)”

“Gerhard Richter: Panorama: A Retrospective (Expanded Edition)”

First published on the occasion of the major retrospective exhibition that opened at Tate Modern in 2011, “Gerhard Richter: Panorama” is the most complete overview of the artist’s entire career to date. This illustrated survey encompasses works from the late 1950s to the present―photo-paintings, abstractions, landscapes, seascapes, portraits, color charts, grey paintings, glass and mirror works, sculptures, drawings and photographs―providing the definitive account of Richter’s achievements. It also includes studio photographs, archival images and texts by an array of international critics and curators.

This expanded edition of “Panorama” includes a new text by Mark Godfrey that covers works made since the 2011 exhibition, including the Strip, Flow and Birkenau paintings, as well as an updated chronology. With more than 300 illustrations, and an interview between Richter and Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, this book remains the most comprehensive survey of one of the world’s pre-eminent contemporary artists.

BASIC FACTS: “Gerhard Richter: Panorama: A Retrospective (Expanded Edition)” is written by Nicholas Serota (Editor and Contributor) and Mark Godfrey (Editor). Published by D.A.P./TATE; Expanded edition. Release Date: May 24, 2016. Hardcover; 312 pages; $65.00.

“Taryn Simon: Paperwork and the Will of Capital”

“Taryn Simon: Paperwork and the Will of Capital”

In “Paperwork and the Will of Capital,” Taryn Simon (born 1975)―one of the most original and challenging conceptual artists of our time―brings together geopolitics, horticultural science and the art of still life to investigate how the stagecraft of power is created, performed, marketed and maintained. At signings of political accords, contracts, treaties and decrees determining some of the gravest issues of our time, powerful men flank floral centerpieces curated to convey the importance of the signatories and represented institutions. Simon reconstituted and photographed the flower arrangements from archival images of key events; she then dried and pressed the flowers as herbarium specimens. This book, part nature study, part metaphor, bears witness to an elaborate and intriguing process of artistic deconstruction and reconstruction.

BASIC FACTS: “Taryn Simon: Paperwork and the Will of Capital” is written by Taryn Simon (Photographer), Hanan Al-Shaykh (Contributor), Daniel Atha (Contributor) and Kate Fowle (Contributor). Published by Hatje Cantz. Release Date: May 24, 2016. Hardcover; 200 pages; $100.00.

“Outsiders: American Photography and Film 1950s-1980s”

“Outsiders: American Photography and Film 1950s-1980s”

A visual tour through life at the margins in the United States from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, “Outsiders” highlights the work of iconic photographers and filmmakers who profoundly changed the image of American culture. Kenneth Anger, Diane Arbus, Shirley Clarke, Nan Goldin, Danny Lyon, Garry Winogrand, and their contemporaries challenged rigid postwar society with their powerful films and photographs.

Lyon’s travels with Chicago biker gangs and Arbus’s sword swallowers form a dramatic counterpoint to a trove of mid century images from Casa Susanna, a community of cross-dressers enjoying country life en femme. “Outsiders” captures diverse and significant subcultures and interests, united by each subject’s will to determine his or her own identity. Accompanying the images, essays by curators and critics explore American underground cinema, street photography, the distinct countercultures of New York and Los Angeles, and the spectacle of everyday living in a time of political and cultural turmoil.

BASIC FACTS: “Outsiders: American Photography and Film 1950s-1980s” is written by Sophie Hackett (Editor) and Jim Shedden (Editor). Published by Skira Rizzoli. Release Date: May 31, 2016. Hardcover; 190 pages; $29.95.

“Michael Heizer: Altars”

"Michael Heizer: Altars"

Working largely outside the confines of the gallery and museum world, Heizer has redefined sculpture in terms of size, mass, gesture, and process. Heizer's work City, an enormous complex in the rural desert of Lincoln County, Nevada, was recently designated Federally Protected Land. He draws on both ancient and contemporary architecture and art, cultivating tons of materials, including dirt, rock, and steel, in his quest to create a "permanent American art."

This book, which features beautiful images of rarely or never-before-seen early paintings, the Altar series of new monumental steel sculptures, and negative wall sculptures of metamorphic and igneous rocks, serves to illustrate this quest. Created in close collaboration with the artist, this new book not only presents Michael Heizer's first exhibition with Gagosian Gallery in New York, but also firmly establishes the artist's reputation as a legendary sculptor.

BASIC FACTS: “Michael Heizer: Altars” is written by Ruth Fine. Published by Gagosian / Rizzoli. Release Date: May 31, 2016. Hardcover; 272 pages; $100.00.

“Facing the World: Self-Portraits (and Selfies) from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei”

“Facing the World: Self-Portraits (and Selfies) from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei”

The self-portrait is one of the most fascinating themes in art history. This book illustrates an exciting survey of around 150 self-portraits from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei, covering six centuries and a wide variety of media, such as painting, drawing, photography, video and performance, Featured artists include such famous names as Palma Vecchio, Gustave Courbet, Anselm Feuerbach, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Henri Matisse, Max Beckmann, Andy Warhol, Marina Abramović and Tracey Emin.

The works are drawn from three major European collections: the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. Introductory essays by three distinguished authors representing each of the participating member countries of the European Union delve further into a topic, which, in the age of the selfie, Facebook and Instagram, seems more relevant than ever. The book accompanies an exhibition, which will be held at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh from July 16 to October 16, 2016.

BASIC FACTS: “Facing the World: Self-Portraits (and Selfies) from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei” is written by James Hall, Wolfgang Ullrich and Pierre Vaisse. Published by Snoeck. Release Date: May 31, 2016. Paperback; 288 pages; $55.00. 

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