Eco-art, Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Floating Piers, Mary Heilmann's approach to abstraction and Lucian Freud's sketchbooks are just some of the topics explored in new books published in August. Summer's perfect to settle in with a good book. Following is our list of new and upcoming art books for recommended reading for fleeting summer days.
“Lucian Freud’s Sketchbooks”
This publication features a selection of reproduced images from the sketchbooks of Lucian Freud (1922–2011), one of the world’s greatest realist painters. Most of the sketches – which include works in pencil, pastel, and watercolor from across the artist’s long career – are published here for the first time. These images extend an understanding of Freud’s work and demonstrate the scrutiny he brought to his subjects.
The sketchbooks, now in the archive of the National Portrait Gallery, London, include portraits of Freud’s family members, friends, and lovers. Designs for book covers, images of his beloved dogs and horses, landscapes, and interiors appear among nudes, still lifes, and several sketches that relate to major works. Around and between the drawings are Freud’s annotations and jottings – appointments, racing tips, notes and musings. The book includes an essay by Martin Gayford and an illustrated chronology of Freud’s life.
BASIC FACTS: “Lucian Freud’s Sketchbooks” is written by Sarah Howgate (Introduction) and Martin Gayford (Contributor). Published by Yale University Press. Release Date: August 16, 2016. Hardcover; 108 pages; $29.95.
“Mary Heilmann: Looking at Pictures”
Mary Heilmann studied ceramics and poetry before moving to New York in 1968 and taking up painting. A pioneer of infusing abstract painting with influences from craft traditions and popular culture – especially rock music and California beach culture – Heilmann is one of the most important yet under-recognized artists working today.
“Mary Heilmann: Looking at Pictures” explores the artist’s approach to abstraction from two distinct but interrelated perspectives: the formal and the personal. The autobiographical dimension of the artist’s work is revealed in pieces related to friendships, memories and places; while the formal aspect is evident in paintings of grids and squares rendered in primary colors and in works based on architectural planes. The book features a new essay by Briony Fer and writings on key works by the artist as well as over 100 full-color illustrations from Heilmann’s five-decade career including paintings, works on paper, furniture and ceramics.
BASIC FACTS: “Mary Heilmann: Looking at Pictures” is written by Lydia Yee (Editor), Mary Heilmann (Artist) and Briony Fer (Contributor). Published by Whitechapel Gallery. Release Date: August 23, 2016. Hardcover; 176 pages; $45.00.
“Helen Marten: Parrot Problems”
This publication on British artist Helen Marten (born 1985) features a 40-page sequence, designed by Marten, that comes close to an artist book. The objects and images by Marten proliferate with models and motifs, which define physical and linguistic limits of everyday life. This publication accompanied Marten’s first institutional solo exhibition Helen Marten: Parrot Problems held in 2014 at Fridericianum, Kassel in Germany.
The book features essays by Diedrich Diederichsen and Johanna Burton, offering insight on the artist, who through processes of manipulation, abstraction and shifting resembles recognizable elements anew; piercing the patina of familiarity covering the density and complexity of our everyday material lives. In 2016 Helen Marten is shortlisted for both the Turner Prize and The Hepworth Sculpture Prize.
BASIC FACTS: “Helen Marten: Parrot Problems” is written by Susanne Pfeffer (Editor), Helen Marten (Artist), Diedrich Diederichsen (Contributor) and Johanna Burton (Contributor). Published by Koenig Books. Release Date: August 23, 2016. Paperback; 236 pages; $55.00.
“The Time of the Force Majeure: After 45 Years Counterforce is on the Horizon”
This book offers a 21st-century manifesto from the pioneers of the eco-art movement. Since the 1970s Helen and Newton Harrison have been creating art inspired by the earth. They established a worldwide network among biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners, politicians, and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues about ideas and solutions, which support biodiversity and community development.
This definitive survey traces an influential joint career that has lasted nearly half a century. Organized chronologically, it features works from each decade, from their earliest installations to their continent-traversing work of the 1990s; and their most recent works both educating people about global warming and designing large-scale responses to the phenomena itself.
BASIC FACTS: “The Time of the Force Majeure: After 45 Years Counterforce is on the Horizon” is written by Helen Mayer Harrison (Author) and Newton Harrison (Author). Published by Prestel. Release Date: August 25, 2016. Hardcover; 496 pages; $60.00.
“Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Floating Piers”
From June 18 to July 3, 2016, 100 kilometers east of Milan and 200 kilometers west of Venice, thousands of people walked on water. The Floating Piers by Christo and Jeanne-Claude deploys 70,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric above a modular floating dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes to create a temporary, three-kilometer walkway across the surface of Lake Iseo, connecting the mainland to the islands of Monte Isola and San Paolo.
The Floating Piers is Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s first large-scale project since The Gates in 2005 and draws upon their established history of projects in Italy. As with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects, The Floating Piers will be funded entirely through the sale of Christo’s original works of art. After the 16-day exhibition, all components will be removed and recycled. This book presents photographic coverage of The Floating Piers alongside sketches, models, documents and designs, revealing the process behind this waterborne work of art. Incorporating everything from approval procedures to the manufacture of fabric and anchoring elements, it testifies not only to Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s unique creative imagination but also to the immense technical, bureaucratic, and logistical feats that allowed the concept to take float.
BASIC FACTS: “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Floating Piers” is written by Jonathan William Henery (Author), Wolfgang Volz (Photographer) and Jeanne-Claude (Artist). Published by Taschen. Release Date: August 26, 2016. Paperback; 128 pages; $29.99.
“Hockney’s Portraits and People”
Ever making his first portraits and self-portraits at the age of sixteen, David Hockney has been fascinated by people and how they have been represented throughout the history of art. As much as any other artist in recent years, David Hockney has embraced, invigorated, and often subverted traditional portraiture, making it a central concern of his work.
Through a careful selection of works both iconic and previously unpublished, this book explores the many ways in which Hockney has depicted the people around him, be they famous names such as Andy Warhol, Christopher Isherwood, and W. H. Auden or lifelong friends such as Henry Geldzahler and Celia Birtwell, among many others. It tells the story of the artist’s relationships with family, friends, and lovers, illustrated by works ranging from the intimate and frequently moving studies of his parents and partners to his more recent large-scale double portraits in watercolor.
BASIC FACTS: “Hockney’s Portraits and People” is written by Marco Livingstone (Author) and Kay Haymer (Author). Published by Thames & Hudson. Release Date: August 30, 2016. Paperback; 240 pages; $28.94.
“Reading Cy Twombly: Poetry in Paint”
Many of Cy Twombly's paintings and drawings include handwritten words and phrases– naming or quoting poets ranging from Sappho, Homer, and Virgil to Mallarmé, Rilke, and Cavafy. Enigmatic and sometimes hard to decipher, these inscriptions are a distinctive feature of his work. “Reading Cy Twombly” poses both literary and art historical questions. How does poetic reference in largely abstract works affect their interpretation?
“Reading Cy Twombly” is the first book to focus specifically on the artist's use of poetry. Twombly's library formed an extension of his studio and he sometimes painted with a book open in front of him. Drawing on original research in an archive that includes his paint-stained and annotated books, Mary Jacobus's account, unlocks an important aspect of Twombly's practice. Jacobus shows that poetry was an indispensable source of reference throughout Twombly's career.
BASIC FACTS: “Reading Cy Twombly: Poetry in Paint” is written by Mary Jacobus (Author). Published by Princeton University Press. Release Date: August 30, 2016. Hardcover; 320 pages; $45.00.
“Surreal Encounters: Collecting the Marvellous”
This book brings together over 160 of the finest surrealist artworks by legendary artists including Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Joan Miró and Man Ray. The works hail from the four private collections of Edward James, Roland Penrose, Gabrielle Keiller and Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch, and together offer an overview of surrealist art.
Ten essays explore the different origins, historical contexts and creative urges behind these collections. The sheer quality of the works acquired is astonishing and, while passionate about their private visions, all the collectors have been mindful of contributing something to the public good. The collections complement each other and allow us to follow some of the artists' careers from beginning to end. By uniting them, new juxtapositions emerge along with a fuller and richer picture of the surrealist movement as a whole.
BASIC FACTS: “Surreal Encounters: Collecting the Marvellous” is written by various contributors. Published by National Galleries Of Scotland. Release Date: August 31, 2016. Paperback; 240 pages; $42.95.
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