Giacometti

The Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti made art-world news in February, 2010, when his 1961 bronze Walking Man 1 sold at Sotheby’s in London for $104.3 million U.S. Experts had estimated it would go for between $20 and $30 million, but ten bidders sent the price skyrocketing—a surprising result given that the sculpture was produced in an edition of six. The subject of interest for numerous critics and intellectuals, including the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, Giacometti’s insistently figurative art linked modernist reductivism to the European tradition of humanist sculpture. This remarkable volume establishes a context for Giacometti’s work with some family art history. Alberto’s father, Giovanni, is now recognized as an important early modern Swiss painter; another relative, Augusto, was also an adventurous painter. Giacometti’s brother Diego, a frequent model and muse for the sculptor, was a furniture designer. The reproductions are faultless throughout the book and lend a visceral presence to sculptures and paintings alike. An in-depth illustrated chronology furnishes a rich social background for an artist who is now famous for expertly rendering modern alienation.
These people walking up and down the street were unconscious automatons…like ants; everyone went his own way, by himself, entirely alone, in a direction none of the others knew…Except they would turn towards a woman. A motionless woman, and four men walking…it occurred to me that I had always made a woman standing still, and a man always walking. All of my women stand there, and all of my men walk by.
—Alberto Giacometti, 1961

Hatje Cantz

224 pp

$90.00

Buy this book

Documentary Protocols (1967–1975)

In a series of recent exhibitions, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery director Michèle Thériault and the curator Vincent Bonin have been hard at work reassessing the fundamental value of archives in reconstructing a key point in contemporary Canadian art, namely the period that saw the initial rise of artist-run culture and its subsequent implosion under differing ideological and administrative points of view. This hefty volume follows up with plentiful primary sources and new critical interpretations that argue for the pros and cons of these “partially realized utopias.”

Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery

416 pp

$40.00

Buy this book

Art of the Middle East

More appreciative overview than critical examination, this book traces artistic activity in the Middle Eastern region over the last half century. Organized according to a themes-plus-key-works structure, it includes more than 200 artists, only a handful of whom (such as Mona Hatoum, Shirin Neshat and Walid Raad) will be familiar to Western audiences; artworks by Wafa Hourani, Nedim Kufi and Parviz Tanavoli are highlights among the lesser-known names. While the overall quality of the included work is uneven, the book is eye-opening in several senses: it establishes the central role that calligraphy and poetry continue to play in much art from the Middle East region and allows us to witness a contemporary- art tradition that comes out of a clearly sacred rather than secular lineage.

Merrell

384 pp

$84.95

Buy this book

Fierce: Women’s Hot-Blooded Film/Video

Like the artists’ videos featured within it, this catalogue to a group exhibition curated by Hladki is infused with a direct, DIY aesthetic and clear, accessible prose. Making a case for the “nervy tinderbox vehemence” of works by Maureen Bradley, Dana Claxton, Allyson Mitchell and b. h. Yael, the book includes carefully considered essays by the likes of Lisa Steele and Richard Fung that attest to the lasting influence of Canadian feminist practices.

McMaster Museum of Art

56 pp

$20.00

Buy this book

Creamier

Every few years, Phaidon’s Cream series has ten curators fashioning an overview of new voices on the international scene. This entry begins with a conversation among the curators about how and if 2008’s global recession has affected new art-making. Geoffrey Farmer, Janice Kerbel, Ron Terada and Althea Thauberger make the roster, thanks to the presence of the Canadian curator Kitty Scott among the gatekeepers. This crop of 100 gravitates toward performative, ephemeral practices, as well as complicated intellectual and/or material infrastructures for their art. The format is questionable, however: while there is visual punch to seeing the art-world “news” presented on old-fashioned broadsheets, the resulting broken-up columns of tiny type make reading the book’s thoughtful entries on the latest and greatest an eye-straining struggle.

Phaidon Press

300 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

Recipes for an Encounter

This “recipe” book, produced as a textual extension of Western Front’s 2008 group show “Kits for an Encounter,” collects instruction-based projects from 16 artists and groups, including Vahida Ramujkic, Kristina Lee Podesva and The Center for Tactical Magic. While appealingly openended, the projects’ Fluxus-inspired, pragmatic approach to creating communion and antagonism is often at odds with the editors’ densely theoretical introduction.

edited by Marisa Jahn, Berin Golonu and Candice Hopkins

168 pp

$20.00

Buy this book

When Marina Abramović Dies

If Marina Abramović’s spring retrospective at MOMA set out to canonize the self-styled “grandmother of performance art,” this intimate yet decidedly non-hagiographic biography, written by a former assistant to the artist, offers a compelling subtext to Abramović’s extraordinary life and career, including her largely undocumented early years in Yugoslavia. Westcott elegantly pieces together rare, illuminating photos from Abramović’s private archive and adds testimonies from more than 60 of the artist’s colleagues to paint a human portrait of a living legend.
For Abramović, performance was a means of initiating herself—again and again— into a sharpened state of consciousness...constructed traumas that served as rehearsals for death.
—James Westcott in When Marina Abramović Dies

Anish Kapoor

Like Kapoor’s work itself, this giant volume, the most comprehensive on the Bombay-born British sculptor to date, is at once beautiful, imposing and inviting. The book covers Kapoor’s beginnings in performance art, Eva Hesse–like assemblage and the bright, delicate pigment works that won him acclaim in the 1980s, then moves on to document the seemingly endless array of sculptures he has produced in a wide range of materials (fibreglass, stone, stainless steel and PVC, to name a few) since then. These works are often reflective and shaped simply and sensuously; while undeniably visceral and on occasion truly monumental, many feature enigmatic voids that have given rise to a critical discourse of absence and the sublime around his work: rather than taking up space, they seem paradoxically to open up the space around them, to possibility, self-reflection and a place for the viewer. Despite its obvious grandeur and drama, Kapoor’s work is shot through with humour, grace and intimacy; his recent works in wax add an energetic, unexpected element of deconstructed messiness to a polished, distinguished oeuvre.
I think I am a painter who is a sculptor. My view is that sculpture has always been about presence in the world... What I have been engaged in...is to deal with an illusory presence in the world; one that isn’t necessarily here...I am making physical things that are all about somewhere else.
— Anish Kapoor

Phaidon

528 pp

$120.00

Buy this book

The Marchesa Casati: Portraits of a Muse

Lover of the poet Gabriele d’Annunzio and immortalized by painters such as Giovanni Boldini and Augustus John, Luisa Casati was one of the most notorious celebrities of the early 20th century and an inspiration for artists ranging from Man Ray to Jean Cocteau. Now the iconoclastic beauty is the subject of a new book by the Casati archivists Ryersson and Yaccarino. With more than 200 pictures, including private family photos, this visually lavish publication chronicles the rise and fall of a heroine who, despite her tragically destitute end, transformed herself into a work of art. With a preface by Diane von Furstenberg and an afterword by Lady Moorea Black, Casati’s granddaughter, it encapsulates the haunting legacy of an unmatched muse.

Abrams

240 pp

$64.99

Buy this book

Meaning Liam Gillick

It’s difficult to pin down the work of the British artist Liam Gillick. From writings on neo-utopian idealism to gallery-filling sculptural scenarios on social dynamics, his practice defies categorization and exists instead in the rich, critical middle ground between art and life. The approach has earned Gillick a wide following among prominent international curators and critics, a fact that is reflected in the impressive list of contributors to this reader. The Rotterdam-based Canadian writer Monika Szewczyk has put together a volume that abounds with the complexities of Gillick’s work and offers insights into its participatory strategies.

MIT Press

220 pp

$26.50

Buy this book

James Carl: Do You Know What

Last year, a trio of Ontario galleries teamed up to mount “do you know what,” a three-venue show that added up to a full-scale survey of the work of the Toronto artist James Carl. From marble “monuments” to obsolete and disposable items to household appliances rendered in packaging materials, Carl’s deceptively simple works trouble the relationships among form, function, use-value and worth in delightfully savvy and perplexing ways. This catalogue features excellent photos of Carl’s work over 20 years; the project as a whole is a model for collaborative exhibition-making.

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery/Cambridge Galleries/Macdonald Stewart Art Centre

128 pp

$25.00

Buy this book

Michael Snow: Wavelength

Despite its iconic status in the history of Canadian art, Michael Snow’s 1966 film Wavelength, the latest work to get the star treatment in Afterall’s “One Work” book series, is notoriously difficult to summarize: it operates between abstraction and representation, between aural and visual. Legge, one of Canada’s foremost Snow scholars, manages to situate the fiercely experimental piece within broader arguments about the status of film work in the art world of the 1960s and 1970s, drawing on the artist’s own writings to attest to Wavelength’s standing as a “touchstone for contemporary art and film studies.”

Afterall Books

104 pp

$18.50

Buy this book

Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night

Van Gogh’s letters show him to be one of the most astute colourists ever to put pen to paper. While his sensitivity to colour was long-running, its expression in the bright, intense paintings we associate with his name came only in the last two years of his life. This book throws those famous sunflowers and high noons into relief by celebrating the nocturnes and twilight scenes that he developed simultaneously, bringing van Gogh’s treatment of colour full circle and onto a 24-hour clock.

MOMA/ Van Gogh Museum

160 pp

$50.00

Buy this book

Jeff Wall: The Complete Edition

This ambitious monograph on the renowned Canadian photographer who has been mythologized as a “painter of modern life” for our times offers an anthology of some of the most fruitful interpretations of Wall—it includes writings by de Duve, Jean-François Chevrier and Boris Groys, among others—alongside interviews with the artist and Wall’s own theoretical writings. The highlight of the compilation, which is generously illustrated with 185 thematically organized photographs, is an insightful new essay by Mark Lewis in which the contemporary filmmaker relates his first encounter with Wall’s work.
This is what I felt when I initially saw...[Jeff Wall’s work]: that I’d never seen anything quite like it before, even though I thought I recognized everything.
— Mark Lewis in Jeff Wall: The Complete Edition

Phaidon

280 pp

$79.95

Buy this book

Art School

Madoff, who is Senior Critic at Yale University’s School of Art, has pulled together writings by leading artists, curators and theorists for this state-of-the-art overview of art schools and their future. Beginning with the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Bauhaus, he also details notable experiments in art education. Acknowledging the post-Duchampian hybridity of contemporary art, however, he predicts no new radical educational models on the horizon but surveys today’s most influential schools, including Bard College, the Zollverein School of Management and Design and Le Fresnoy. Boris Groys and Ken Lum add playful speculation and frontline reporting, and a conversation between the artists Tania Bruguera and Marina Abramovic is worth a term’s tuition on its own.

MIT Press

392 pp

$35.95

Buy this book

Art and Text

In 1969, the American artist Sol LeWitt wrote: “If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature; numbers are not mathematics.” LeWitt’s now-iconic conceptualist maxim signalled a fundamental shift in 20th-century visual thinking. No longer bound to the ephemeral mystique of object-based modernism, artists increasingly took their cues from the structures and systems of the real world, language and text included. For these artists, a work of art was no longer something to be looked at in awe; rather, it was meant to be thought about, to be engaged with and to be “legible.” That’s a key notion to keep in mind when working through this sturdy volume of text-based art, ranging from the subversive poetics of Dada and Futurism to the conceptual deconstructions of LeWitt and company to present-day concerns with the politics of public and personal space. With richly illustrated chapters on “Text,” “Context,” “Semiotext” and “Textuality” informed by a set of critical essays by Will Hill, Charles Harrison and Dave Beech, the book reaffirms the power of art as text and of language as art.
Wittgenstein stated that to understand a language is to understand a way of life, and it therefore follows that to interrogate language is to interrogate the social and cultural landscape itself. In a word, language is political...an art made of language...draws us into questions about how we think, how we live, how we judge, how we feel...
— Dave Beech in Art and Text

Black Dog Publishing

288 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

Bringing Art to Life: A Biography of Alan Jarvis

The stellar rise and tragic fall of Alan Jarvis holds a mythical yet often misunderstood place in Canadian art history. This detailed study irons out the facts: Jarvis’s humble Toronto beginnings, his time in England as a Rhodes Scholar and member of the wartime British elite and his directorship of the National Gallery of Canada in 1955 at age 39. But Jarvis’s life was fraught with a self-destructive inner turmoil that ultimately killed him. As one friend put it, he was “the most intelligent, the most charming, the most beautiful, the most talented, the most phoney person I’ve ever met.”

McGill-Queen’s University Press

464 pp

$39.95

Buy this book

Flash Forward 2009

Magenta’s annual digest of new photography, Flash Forward, has become a vibrant venue for the recognition and promotion of emerging photographers from Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. This year’s fifth-anniversary volume comes sleekly leatherbound and, besides showcasing new talent, revisits selected artists featured in past editions. The 300-plus images vary widely but, as Bainbridge observes, share a “search for meaning through authenticity, be it an affirmation or a questioning of the truth.”

Magenta Foundation

288 pp

$40.00

Buy this book

And While I Have Been Lying Here Perfectly Still: The Saskia Olde Wolbers Files

A series of fictional psychological case studies of patients suffering from pseudologia fantastica, or pathological lying, creatively reinterprets the video works of the Netherlands-born, London-based artist Saskia Olde Wolbers in this pocket-sized exhibition catalogue. Richly detailed and heavily influenced by film noir, the stories sit well alongside Wolbers’s fantastical scenarios, which are filmed in eerie underwater sets. As Monk puts it in a “postscript” essay, her work “is not only fictional but is about the making of fictions.”

Art Gallery of York University

136 pp

$20.00

Buy this book

My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic

The self-deprecating humour of the title continues inside this charming book by Britain’s best-known contemporary collector. Famously unwilling to be interviewed, Saatchi has structured the book as an interview with an anonymous interlocutor. He seems taken with the format—small type on the last page, included perhaps with an eye to future editions, reads: “If you have questions on any subject you would like Charles Saatchi to answer, send them to pkapublishing@googlemail.com.” So, whether it is his plans for the new Saatchi Gallery in London or his thoughts on Obama’s Nobel Prize, the field is wide open.

Phaidon Press

176 pp

$12.95

Buy this book

africa remix: Contemporary art of a continent

When Kertész left Hungary for Paris in 1925, his prospects were modest: he had just a few years of artistic experimentation under his belt and his French was mediocre. Before long, he shot to success and renown as his photographs of urban life were eagerly taken up by the European illustrated press at a time when photography was still knocking at the door of fine art. Kertész experienced personal and professional disappointments after moving to New York in 1936, but, as this beautifully produced and researched book shows us, his art continued to grow. In tapping into the potency of the intuitive, spontaneous moment, Kertész was hugely prescient, and contemporary art's debt to him is mighty.

Hayward Gallery

224 pp

$60.00

Buy this book

andré Kertész

As a critic, Vicki Goldberg has overseen photography's rise in contemporary art over the past 25 years and Aperture has collected appearances of her colourful prose into a feisty little book. Goldberg has no patience for the moneyed glam that now shapes the commercial scene. In her profiles and essays she asks us again and again to remember quality over success. It makes for a spirited history of the last quarter century. She expresses an earned anxiety about whether photography—and contemporary art in general—still bears the capacities to shape society and touch the heart.

National Gallery of Art/Princeton University Press

316 pp

$80.00

Buy this book

Diane Arbus Revelations

Surprisingly, this is the first major English-language publication on Candida Höfer, and it complements her first full North American survey exhibition. The German artist is renowned for her photographs of public interiors—libraries, lecture halls, museums and, recently, the grand palaces of rococo Europe—that are full of culture, but always emptied of people. The essayists make the case that Höfer's rigorous compositions are defined by a delicate formal and ideological balance between abundance and emptiness, space and detail. It is a thoughtful interpretive frame that makes it possible to see that Höfer is anything but a detached documentarian; to the contrary, she asks a tantalizing question about social space and cultural function with every photograph.

Random House

352 pp

$150.00

Buy this book

Light Matters: Writings On Photography

Ghost Ships begins with a love triangle among three of Surrealism's pre-eminent figures: the French poet Paul Eluard, his Russian émigré wife Gala and the German painter Max Ernst. Between 1921 and 1924, the trio were inextricably linked. Ernst and Eluard were intellectual equals and collaborators; Gala was their shared muse. Then Eluard disappeared, suddenly bolting on a steamship bound for French Indochina. From there, McNab outlines a rarely examined yet essential facet of the Surrealist mythology: the dépaysement—dislocated exile—of travel. The Surrealists, like Gauguin and Rimbaud before them, believed free movement inspired free imagination. In fleeing his domestic mire, Eluard blazed a trail from Marseille to Angkor Wat that Ernst, among others, would soon follow. The experience, as McNab shows, shaped and haunted their work, and the Surrealist ethos that followed.

Aperture

248 pp

$39.95

Buy this book

Lisa Yuskavage: Small Paintings 1993-2004

The story goes that the actual 18th-century horse reared back when Stubbs unveiled his nearly completed Whistlejacket in the stable. True or not, Stubbs brought a new realism to equine depiction, a subject close to the hearts of the English aristocrats who offered him commissions after seeing anatomical studies that had made their way around London coffeehouses. Stubbs's low, wide views onto racers and landscape are like a photo history in paint, but his later symbolic treatment of horses and lions also beats a path toward the emerging age of Romanticism.

Harry N. Abrams

192 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Candida Höfer: Architecture Of Absence

Aperture

112 pp

$49.95

Buy this book

I, Goya

Prestel

160 pp

$87.00

Buy this book

Ghost Ships: A Surrealist Love Triangle

Yale University Press

276 pp

$49.95

Buy this book

Thomas Hirschhorn

Phaidon Press

160 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

Stubbs and the Horse

Yale University Press

248 pp

$62.50

Buy this book

Caught In The Act: An Anthology Of Performance Art By Canadian Women

If an award were given for all-around accomplishment in modernist aesthetics, Rolph Scarlett might be the winner. The Guelph native spent much of his career in the United States, creating everything from theatre sets to swivel lamps; the years he spent painting geometric abstracts under the patronage of the Museum of Non-objective Painting (which became the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum) in the 1930s and 40s were his artistic heyday. Read this book to see Scarlett's sleek industrial designs and for its behind-the-scenes scoop on the early endeavours of the Guggenheim Foundation.

YYZ Books

444 pp

$39.95

Buy this book

Rolph Scarlett: Painter, Designer, Jeweller

This is a busy season for the Toronto independent curator Peggy Gale. In addition to her work on Artists Talk, Gale also curates a retrospective exhibition by the Montreal artist Donigan Cumming, who is recognized for the rawness of his photo and video portraits of down-at-heels, elderly rooming-house residents. In the companion catalogue, Gale explores the abject, performative aspects of the work.

McGill-Queen's University Press

192 pp

$44.95

Buy this book

de Kooning: An American Master

In 2002, the Belgian artist Carsten Höller and the German curator Jens Hoffmann shared opinions of Okwui Enwezor's Documenta 11, and Höller wondered aloud whether it was time for an artist to do the next one. The question became the basis for an e-mail correspondence among 31 artists. Their consensus was "why not?" and Canadian artists are well represented among the participants. AA Bronson, for instance, wants Documenta 12 to be about sex. Tim Lee wants laughter to replace the serious, the solemn and the sincere. Ken Lum wants to remind us that art and the art system do not share the same identity. In Kassel, meanwhile, the German curator Roger Buergel was named as the artistic director for Documenta 12, which will open there in June 2007.

Alfred A. Knopf

752 pp

$50.00

Buy this book

Lying Quiet: Donigan Cumming

Every generation has its own Brancusi. For Modernists he was the gleaming, quintessential abstractionist. For Minimalists, a truth-to-materials process artist. For our recent photo-based era, a matchless natural-light photographer. In this catalogue for the touring Tate Modern/ Guggenheim exhibition, the curator Carmen Giménez acknowledges this multiplicity by titling her essay "Endless Brancusi." It is a charming, informative essay that matches the charming, visceral reproductions, which make the sculptures ageless and fresh. A pithy appendix of aphorisms concludes the book with the varied sounds of Brancusi's voice: to see far, that is one thing: to go there, that is another; theories are nothing but meaningless specimens; male nudes in sculpture are not even as beautiful as toads. All in all, it makes for an engaging, three-dimensional portrait.

MOCCA

172 pp

$29.00

Buy this book

William Hodges 1744-1797: The Art of Exploration

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is the baby of the international museum circuit. It was established only in 1941, after the banker and U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon gifted a collection of 121 old master paintings. Since then, the museum has sponsored several publications on its holdings. This one puts emphasis on 90 acquisitions made since 1984, which run the gamut from Bernardo Bellotto to Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer and Anselm Kiefer. Our National Gallery might consider the good example and do likewise.

Yale University Press

224 pp

$80.00

Buy this book

The Next Documenta Should be Curated by an Artist

e-flux & Revolver

92 pp

$32.00

Buy this book

Everybody Loves Nothing: Video 1996-2004

Coach House Books

200 pp

$21.95

Buy this book

Constantin Brancusi: The Essence of Things

Tate Publishing

144 pp

$60.00

Buy this book

The Molly Fire

ECW Press

250 pp

$19.95

Buy this book

National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection

Abrams

480 pp

$90.00

Buy this book

Shards of America

"A photographer is someone who wagers everything on seeing," wrote Shomei Tomatsu, one of the giants of Japanese photography, and indeed of the medium anywhere since 1950. This catalogue for his stunning new retrospective is the first major publication in English on his work. Best known for his startling images of the effects of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Tomatsu eschewed photojournalism for a go-for-broke expressive style. Yet his expansive eye takes in everything, and his oeuvre functions brilliantly as a portrait of Japan's contested identity since the Second World War, particularly of the nation's love/hate relationship with its own Americanization and with the West in general. He achieves a fine balance between subjectivity and wisdom that pulses with the power of witnessing and observation.

Quantuck Lane Press

136 pp

$36.00

Buy this book

Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation

No contemporary artist has worked with a smarter, stronger moral imperative than Hans Haacke. After his early days in conceptual art, the German artist turned to hybrid context-based works that exposed museum politics, the ill-begotten wealth of some of contemporary art's most eminent collectors and corporations who use art sponsorship as a calculated image cleanser. He became so controversial that each of his exhibitions held the potential to become "an acid test of an institution's independence and integrity." His relentless ethical concerns culminated with the remarkable installation Germania, which stunned crowds at the 1993 Venice Biennale.

Yale University Press/SFMOMA

224 pp

$63.00

Buy this book

Artists talk: 1969-1977

Henry Darger (1892- 1973) was the ultimate outsider artist. His epic fantasy The Realms of the Unreal, a series of stories and paintings about the seven Vivian sisters and their battle against the evil ad-ult Glandelinian empire, has become the stuff of legend. Darger's life story, though, competes for strangeness. Committed to an asylum for most of his youth, he was obsessed with weather storms and lived his life as a sometime janitor and eccentric recluse. The only question remaining is who Hollywood will cast to play him in the movie.

Press of the Nova

400 pp

$49.95

Buy this book

Hans Haacke

Schiele was only 28 when he died in the 1918 influenza pandemic. Best known for the dark eroticism of his Viennese portrait work, he was also a prolific landscapist who conveyed the same fin de siècle claustrophobia in his studies of Austrian villages and treed farmlands. For Smith, the landscapes are defined by tensions between resignation and renewal, and they point not inward to Schiele's personal psychology, but outward to the dynamics of Austrian society.

Phaidon Press

160 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

A History of Art in Quebec

Tamara de Lempicka was the portraitist of choice for Europe's smart society in the 1920s and 30s, and her paintings rank among the most well known images of the era. Out of favour with the post-war avant-garde, who had no use for a careerist, portrait-painting social climber in an age of abstract austerity, her reputation has since been rescued by a resurgence of collector interest and fascination with the decadent Art Deco milieu in which she lived and worked. In a style derived from classical Renaissance portraiture, De Lempicka transformed her subjects into emotionally steely, immensely sensuous creatures. The best of her works follow a formula of monumental, stylish figures set against Futurist cityscape backdrops, a startling picture of Jazz Age hedonism colliding with Machine Age anxiety.

Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

272 pp

$39.95

Buy this book

Henry Darger: Disasters of War

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

213 pp

$47.50

Buy this book

Andrea Fraser: Works 1984-2003

Dumont

288 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

Between Ruin and Renewal: Egon Schiele’s Landscapes

Yale University Press

220 pp

$79.00

Buy this book

Calder: Gravity and Grace

Phaidon Press

260 pp

$99.95

Buy this book

Tamara de Lempicka: Art Deco Icon

Royal Academy of Arts

144 pp

$90.00

Buy this book

Plop: Recent Projects of the Public Art Fund

Still haunted by the spectre of Richard Serra's famously ill-received Tilted Arc, those at New York's Public Art Fund have, in recent years, re-embraced the idea of "plop" art. Projects are dropped into the city's landscape, regardless of context, location or public opinion. This seemingly detached approach often works; Plop documents 49 projects by key contemporary art players (Mariko Mori, Francis Alÿs and Dan Graham among them) who, unfettered by the bureaucracy that has plagued commissions in the past, are given full control over their works. The results are ambitious, idiosyncratic and, amazingly enough, crowd-pleasing.

Merrell

256 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

Turner, Whistler, Monet

Whistler is the hinge figure in Lochnan's exhibition. In her AGO show, he embodies the transit of energies that flowed from English landscape painting into French impressionism. He is a hinge who, strangely, trades more in grey than colour, but it's the broad, proto-modern brushwork and fleeting-minded subject matter that found firmest companionship with Monet and company. Lochnan brings to the organization of the catalogue the same sharp eye that she brought to the show. The biographical material and painting-by-painting commentary are exemplary.

Art Gallery of Ontario

264 pp

$54.95

Buy this book

Introducing Gilbert & George

"Gilbert and George have a wide range of sculptures for you—singing sculpture, dancing sculpture, meal sculpture, walking sculpture, nerve sculpture, cafe sculpture, and philosophy sculpture." To the list add friend and author sculpture Robert Rosenblum, the American art historian and curator. His book frames the British duo in an expansive web of art-historical references. Nicholas Hawksmoor, Owen Jones, Gustave Doré, Christian altarpieces: the connections he builds for them are ever shifting, ever thoughtful.

Thames & Hudson

176 pp

$38.00

Buy this book

Biographie Of The Walking Woman 1961-1967 (2004)

This pair of French publications gives Michael Snow enthusiasts much to discover. In Biographie, Snow has opened his archive of "lost works" from the seminal 1961-67 Walking Woman series. It is a photobook that tracks the multiconceived, multiform work from studio to gallery to street. Digital Snow is an interactive history of Snow's career as an artist and musician. It comes with interviews, documentaries, critical writing and excerpts from more than 700 works. Snow says both books qualify as artworks themselves.

La Lettre volée

240 pp

$67.00

Buy this book

René Burri photographs

This monster tome encapsulates the career of the Swiss-born Magnum photographer Burri, best known for riveting interview photos of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara that raised Guevara to the status of a pop star in the 1960s. South America in general has a hold on Burri. Some of his best work was shot there, including the cover image of long-shadowed São Paulo businessmen on a heliport rooftop. It's no surprise to learn that earlier, on a shoot in Paris, he spent time photographing Giacometti in his studio.

Phaidon

448 pp

$139.95

Buy this book

Thomas Jones: an artist rediscovered

A Naples oil sketch of a weather-beaten wall in hot sun graced the cover of Peter Galassi's 1981 treatise Before Photography. Painted by the itinerant Welsh artist Thomas Jones during his years in Italy, it encapsulated the realism and intimacy of what later became photographic seeing. Jones's grasp of atmospheric light and colour is often uncanny, especially in the smaller study works he painted of nearby rooflines from his studio windows. Seldom has painting seemed a more direct extension of vision. The work shows classical-minded 18th-century aesthetics giving way to modern preferences for immediacy and clarity and catalogues both Jones's oils and his watercolours.

Yale University Press

304 pp

$99.00

Buy this book

double-Cross: The hollywood films of douglas Gordon

Curator Philip Monk's book on Douglas Gordon's film "appropriations" comes three years after the popular Scottish artist was curated by Monk in a Toronto show at The Power Plant. Gordon has moved on since then, but Monk leaves nothing out in his dense analysis of the implications of Gordon's formal and temporal manipulation of Hollywood films in light of the artist's favoured themes of guilt, doubles and mirrors, trust and the space between madness and sanity.

The Power Plant/Art Gallery of York University

272 pp

$31.95

Buy this book

Luc Tuymans

When Phaidon began its Contemporary Artists series in the 1990s, the books quickly became indispensable guides to leading artists of the day. The formula of essays, interviews and artist-chosen texts built a well-rounded picture of what goes into contemporary art-making. Rather than see the series grow stale, Phaidon has started updating some of the books on key figures. Vancouver artist Jeff Wall was the first to see an expanded, revised edition. Now it's the turn of Belgian painter Luc Tuymans. Tuymans has almost singlehandedly reinvented figurative painting as a capable political practice. Newly added images cover his recent thematic installations at the 2001 Venice Biennale and Documenta XI.

Phaidon

260 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

Aural Cultures/Sound in contemporary canadian

Taken together, these new books create a comprehensive record of audio works in contemporary art. Developed independently, both are packed with writings by artists and critics. Gingras calls it "a forum for discussion centred on the act of listening." There is little overlap in contributors, but the texts tend to be academic in tone, which may cause some hesitations for the general reader. A CD of audio works is included with each volume.

YYZ Books/Walter Phillips Gallery Editions/Éditions Artextes

CD + 288 pp

$29.95/

Buy this book

heartways: the exploits of genny o

This "faux romance compilation" comes with significant art-world and publishing heft behind it. Figures ranging from John Baldessari to Douglas Coupland to Fabio have taken up their pens to contribute to the story of art-world innocent Genny O in an anonymously arranged series of takes on romantic and erotic fiction. The book does not quite add up to the smart deconstruction it seeks or holds the promise to be. Perhaps the future titles in this planned series of genre-based, collectively written books—Crimeways, Futureways and Myways are the upcoming entries—will offer more satisfaction.

ArsenalAdvance/Whitney Museum of American Art/Printed Matter, Inc.

160 pp

$17.95

Buy this book

Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties

By tracking the intersecting lives of the motley cast that gathered around Pop artist Andy Warhol in the 1960s, author Steven Watson has written a novel-like history of the American avant-garde that combines both main and momentary players. The book makes important links between New York's experimental film world and Warhol's cinematic development. It places Warhol among, rather than above, the highly creative eccentrics who surrounded him. It is a reality check, although the characters are often so extreme that at times it's not easy to distinguish fact from fiction. But it makes great reading.

Pantheon Books

512 pp

$41.95

Buy this book

the National Gallery of Canada: Ideas, Art, Architecture

Published a year ago, Ord's critical history of the National Gallery in Ottawa has begun to appear with regularity on book-chain shelves. As much a history of ideas as a history of an institution, the book frames Moshe Safdie's 1988 building as a culminating expression of ongoing gallery concerns in representing religious truth and national spirit.

McGill-Queen's University Press

496 pp

$49.95

Buy this book

turner and Venice

Turner sometimes seems to be the basis for an entire publishing industry as new titles keep appearing year by year. This entry concentrates on Turner's ongoing relationship with the lagoon city, where sky meets water at street level. The exemplary reproductions pick up the scumbled textures of the paintings and the cold-pressed, washed surfaces of the watercolours. Every Turner book should be so lucky on press. With this standard, the Tate could conceivably begin reproducing its full Turner Bequest holdings.

Tate Publishing

280 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Sophie Calle: Did you see me?

Sophie Calle's show at the Centre Pompidou in Paris last winter and spring was titled "M'as-tu vue?"—which literally translates to "Did you see me?" but is also a French expression denoting a show-off. The title was a nod both to the breadth of the exhibition, which was a major retrospective, and to the tenor of Calle's work, which has been consistently intense, intimate and based in the voyeuristic experience for more than twenty years. The diaristic design of the catalogue, which incorporates postcards, bookmarks and Calle's reflections on the everyday, is an effective distillation of the artist's conceptual and emotional evolution.

Prestel

444 pp

$122.95

Buy this book

The Devil’s Playground

Nan Goldin's diaristic photo practice has spawned legions of imitators. Her unique achievement lies in vaulting viewers past all the accepted truths about photographic distance and irony, straight into pure empathy. Here, intimate insights by Goldin's peers, song lyrics and poetry accompany a staggering 500 mostly unpublished portraits and other works spanning 30 years, following Goldin's friends and allies in a tribute to life lived by choice at the margins, and lived intensely.

Phaidon

504 pp

$139.95

Buy this book

Julian Schnabel

Schnabel, once a much-anticipated painter, is now more of an anticipated filmmaker; Basquiat and Before Night Falls have garnered him more praise over the past decade than his art. However, this catalogue of a 30-year survey of work in Frankfurt is an eye-opener. The book is beautifully made, with a 1/100-scale pictorial index guide to the sumptuous flow of uncaptioned paintings. The original scale of the work is heroic, and Schnabel himself seems imaginatively immersed in a landscape of endless legend.

Harry N. Abrams

368 pp

$120.00

Buy this book

El GreCo

Crowds packed the Met last fall for the debut of this magnificent exhibition by the most modern of Old Masters, now up at the National Gallery in London. The show has revived consideration of El Greco's portraits, but both book and show seem to gloss over the determined weirdness of the more celebrated devotional work of the Crete-born artist, whose career flourished amid the Counter-Reformation zeal of 16th-century Toledo, and whose gaudy colours and unmistakable elongated figures make him a singular figure in art history.

London/Yale University Press

320 pp

$102.00

Buy this book

The Complete Untitled Film Stills

Sherman was an unknown artist in her 20s when she created a set of 70 black-and-white photographs conceived as still images from imaginary '50s and '60s films. She never foresaw their enormous impact; MOMA eventually purchased the entire Untitled Film Stills series for $1 million, sending waves through the art world. The images' mysterious narrative possibilities and Sherman's prescient staging of the symbiotic, parasitic tension between modern media imagery and female identity have given the landmark work a lasting allure.

Museum of Modern Art/D.A.P.

164 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

Goya

Hughes insists on Goya's relevance for contemporary art and the claim is a fair one, with or without the Chapman brothers' appropriation of Disasters of War. In his print cycles and portraits, Goya made criticality a conscious artistic stance. Hughes is thorough in setting out the social context of late-18th and early-19th-century Spain. He shows how crucial the late arrival of the Enlightenment was as a prompt for the artist's distemper. Deafness and personal isolation came second to a recognition that brutal ignorance ruled the land. Hughes's tone of voice can grate at times, but he brings a rare vividness to reading the paintings.

Knopf

430 pp

$55.00

Buy this book

Art:21 art in the twenty-first century 2

The book partners the PBS television series, hence its American-weighted emphasis, but aside from the frightening prospect of an American Century this century too, the result is a vivid and intimate introduction to contemporary art-making. The text is in the voices of the artists and with Kiki Smith, Walton Ford, Do-Ho Suh, Janine Antoni, Kara Walker, Gabriel Orozco, Elizabeth Murray and Vija Celmins, among others, the tone is sharp and informative. The images don't lag for a second, either. All in all, it makes you want to go check the bookstores for volume one.

Harry N. Abrams

216 pp

$70.00

Buy this book

Joseph Szabo: Teenage

From 1972 to 1999, Joseph Szabo taught photography at Malverne High School on Long Island. In Teenage, he offers us a glimpse into those years with photos of his students hanging out between classes, at school dances and in the high-school parking lot. For Szabo, teenagehood is loaded with nostalgia. More importantly, beneath the awkward adult posing and raging hormones these candid portraits are a testament to the unguarded innocence of adolescence on the verge of adulthood.

Greybull Press/D.A.P.

168 pp

$71.50

Buy this book

Installation Art in the New Millennium: The Empire of the Senses

The authors run the Museum of Installation in London, England, and together they make a plausible case for regarding installation art as the home of avant-garde practice in contemporary art. For them, the wide-open parameters of installation work set the stage for honing the perceptual skills required for dealing with the fragmented onslaught of mechanized, information-driven reality. And they have a long list of names on their side. Inside the soft, cushiony cover that puns the subtitle of the book are succinct summaries of installation projects by artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Vanessa Beecroft, Santiago Sierra, Diller + Scofidio and Olafur Eliasson. Canadians Janet Cardiff, Stan Douglas and Micah Lexier also figure in the roundup of key figures.

Thames & Hudson

208 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Video Art

For many in the art world, the 2001 Venice Biennale ("the video biennale") signalled the culmination of video art's avant-garde appeal. With that debate ongoing, this survey is a timely opportunity to reconsider video's overall impact on contemporary art. From the introduction of portable cameras in the 1960s to video installations and digital video, Rush tracks the medium as a hybrid that incorporates film, sculpture and performance, as well as mass media. Michael Snow, Stan Douglas and Rodney Graham are all noted as pivotal players. The rest of Canadian video merits a mere paragraph.

Thames & Hudson

224 pp

$68.00

Buy this book

Rita Letendre: aux cou-leurs du jour

This substantial retrospective catalogue attests to Letendre being more than the artist who produced a series of iconic abstract "arrow paintings" in the 1970s. From her Automatiste compositions of the 1950s and Expressionist works of the 1960s to the luminous, meditative airbrush works of the 1980s and painterly linear compositions of the 1990s, Letendre's oeuvre is a comprehensive exploration of colour, light, material and technique. With her Native Canadian background, she is also living proof that abstraction is not an exclusive, male preserve.

Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

160 pp

$39.95

Buy this book

home and away

Last fall, the Vancouver Art Gallery mounted a show of work by Do-Ho Suh, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Fiona Tan, Yin Xiuzhen, Jin-me Yoon and Sharon Lockhart, artists who engage with ideas of home, nation, diaspora and globalization, and whose work negotiates between "place of origin" and the growing mobility of the people of the Asia Pacific region. This catalogue, with an introduction by curator Bruce Grenville, elucidates the significant underlying ambiguities of this dynamic, multi-faceted show.

Vancouver Art Gallery

72 pp

$24.95

Buy this book

Crossing the Channel: British and French Painting in the Age of Romanticism

When British painters John Constable, Richard Parkes Bonington and Copley Fielding made a gold-medal sweep of the 1824 Paris Salon, it signalled an official end to the Franco-British cultural divide that had lasted since the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. In this era of détente cordiale, the Romantic age flourished. Noon’s richly illustrated book considers the impact these restored connections had on the artists and intellectuals at work in both countries, beginning with the success of Géricault’s exhibition of The Raft of the Medusa in London in 1820.

Tate Publishing

296 pp

$95.00

Buy this book

Philip Guston Retrospective

Guston is the painter of choice for many young painters working today. The break he made from abstraction in the 1970s is a behaviour model, but Auping makes a case in his book that all Guston’s paintings are of a piece and that their existential edge was continuous. It is especially clear how the late paintings circle back on the artist’s beginnings: from his family’s early move from Montreal to California, to his father’s suicide four years later, to Guston spending his youth drawing cartoons in a closet lit by a single light bulb. These were the seeds of their raw-coloured angst.

Thames & Hudson

272 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Turner: the Late Seascapes

This informative book was produced to accompany an exhibition of Turner’s late seascapes in Williamstown, Massachusetts, this past summer. The show was an eyeful and it brought home how enjoyable it is to see Turner outside his usual home at the Clore Gallery at Tate Britain. In Williamstown the installation space was generous, and the show mixed groups of large paintings and watercolours to happy effect in understanding Turner’s everyday imaginative commitment to the movement of water. The book matches that achievement.

Yale University Press

162 pp

$66.00

Buy this book

Tangent e: Alain Paiement

The Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal is home to one of the world's most significant collections of architectural photography. "Tangent," a new curatorial initiative that invites artists into the CCA stacks to create new works that "translate" ideas of photography, architecture and archive, launched its program in the spring of 2003 with Alain Paiement's tangent e. The accompanying front and back covers of the catalogue, which feature Paiement's photo collage of Montreal's Palais des congrès with a rare view of Tatlin creating the model for his Monument to the Third International, says it all.

Lars Müller Publishers

68 pp

$24.95

Buy this book

Content 1.0

Content is the name of a new computer font whose characters are sleek line drawings of the bottles that house common household materials. The font was created by Toronto artist James Carl, and is downloadable by anyone who is in possession of the CD-ROM that accompanies this book. The project is an extension of Carl’s sly, ongoing project that focuses on the recontextualization and redistribution of consumer goods. Is it a stretch to suggest that Content is also a metaphor for art itself: essentially functionless, yet still irresistible?

Art Metropole/Mercer Union

104 pp

$48.00

Buy this book

Confluence: Contemporary Canadian Photography

This slim volume documents a 2003 overview exhibition of current Canadian photo art practice. Sixteen artists, a mixture of old guard and new faces, are included, and together they do seem like a serious bunch: their works form an austere, largely unpeopled image gallery. Certain major names from the last decade are absent; nevertheless, this grouping serves as a useful register of the period’s dominant approaches and themes.

National Gallery of Canada/Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography

74 pp

$24.95

Buy this book

Susan Kealey: Ordinary Marvel

Artist and activist Susan Kealey was an inspiring figure to many in the Toronto artist-run community before her early death in 2000. Her work in photography and other media, reproduced here generously and in full colour, carries a cozy, irreverent feel. Just as interesting is the assorted collection of writings by a cross-section of artists and writers, who frame a memorial to Kealey as artist and person.

YYZ Books

180 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

Artists’ Gestures

After September 11, 2001, an artists' gestures exhibition organized by OPTICA and intended for New York was relocated to Montreal - reflecting on the inherently contingent and mobile nature of the practice. The work of the six participating artists discussed in this bilingual text engages with dialogue and silence, activity and inactivity, community and isolation, intimacy and distance. With essays by curators Marie Fraser and Marie-Josée Lafortune and Moukhtar Kocache of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, as well as interviews with the artists, the book furthers discussion of an art form that, by its nature, is best experienced firsthand.

OPTICA

88 pp

$17.00

Buy this book

For the Record: Drawing Contemporary Life

An inescapable trend in recent contemporary art has been the concerted curatorial championing of drawing, heralded perhaps by MOMA’s early 2003 omnibus “Drawing Now” exhibition. The Vancouver Art Gallery’s extensive “For the Record,” which gathered a first-class cast of contemporary artists and focused, in a surprising turn, on drawing’s representational and documentary function, was part of an even larger suite of drawing shows the gallery hosted coincidently last summer. The book is attractively bound and looks more like a gift notebook from a stationery store than an art exhibition catalogue. This appeal as an object is fitting, as it inspires a certain intimacy with the artists’ ingenuity and virtuosity—a private view that seems more possible with drawing than other forms.

Vancouver Art Gallery

104 pp

$39.95

Buy this book

Bridget Riley

Now in her 70s, Riley has recently seen resurging interest in her work. Survey shows at the Dia Art Foundation and Tate Britain in 2000 and 2003 have brought her release from the Op Art ghetto to which she was long consigned. The eye-popping intensity of her work has been constant while her paintings progressed from circles to stripes to waves and broken diagonals, but her quest has never been just a pursuit of stylist variation within abstraction. It is a seeking of the terms that shape the interaction of colour, vision and perception.

Tate Publishing

240 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian Imagination

For the author, Canadian photography since the 1950s carries a number of shared and peculiar attributes: a relentless interest in death and entrapment, a persistent dualism and the consistent representation of metaphysical boundaries (particularly between life and death). Her hypothesis that these characteristics indicate rites marking Canada’s passage into maturity as a nation seems questionable; still, this sustained, theorized study is sure to be widely influential.

McGill-Queen’s University Press

352 pp

$50.00

Buy this book

Before and After the I-Bomb

Tom Sherman, one of Canada’s first text-based conceptual artists, has produced a compelling, compact book that represents three decades of inquiry into the “information” explosion that has transformed our lives and shaped the landscape of the 21st century. With wit, humour and irony, Sherman observes the effects of media on the individual. There is also a lot of original theory and Canadian content; Colin Campbell, Jack Chambers and other media-based artists are well-represented between its covers, along with a fresh, insider’s perspective on the Canada Council for the Arts.

Banff Centre Press

376 pp

$30.00

Buy this book

Marcel Duchamp

This handsome book has gone to great lengths to provide some of the most vivid reproductions of Duchamp’s art yet. As the Readymade reaches its 90th anniversary, that effort is important in reminding us that Duchamp was an object-maker, not just a mind-over-matter conceptualist. He strove from the beginning to make an erotic art and his choices of Readymades entailed a rich bodily subtext that augmented their day-life as mass-production excerpts. Jacques Caumont also provides a well-illustrated chronological “biography.”

Hatje Cantz

232 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Van Gogh: Fields

Two model art histories combine around the artist’s 1889 Field with Poppies, painted at the asylum of Saint-Rémy. Part I illustrates all of Van Gogh’s field paintings as well as pertinent drawings; together, they show him enlarging the scale of his viewpoint as he recuperates from a breakdown. Part II summarizes the art-world scandal that broke in Germany in 1911 when the Bremen Kunsthalle purchased Field with Poppies and set off a firestorm of nationalist complaint against “French” painting.

Hatje Cantz

252 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

The Age of Watteau, Chardin, And Fragonard

In 18th-century France, “genre painters” were considered, as art critic Denis Diderot wrote in 1769, a subordinate class “who confine themselves to imitating base nature and scenes from the country, the city, and domestic life.” Nonetheless, the painting of Watteau, Chardin, Greuze and Fragonard, among others, is now understood as the most highly developed and influential work of the era. This catalogue accompanies a touring exhibition of French genre painting curated by the Frick’s Colin Bailey. It proves to be an in-depth and well-illustrated study that unveils the social, political and art- historical traces behind the painted masterpieces of the fashionable and gallant ancien régime.

Yale University Press

384 pp

$107.00

Buy this book

Max Beckmann

In the “Painting on the Move” exhibition in Basel last year, the French philosopher/art historian Bruno Haas took the controversial position that painting stands apart from art, in a territory all its own. It’s a view that gives painting the last word in representation, and in confronting Beckmann’s work in the MOMA’s recent survey, who could deny that Beckmann’s paintings now seem to offer the richest rendering of Europe’s miserable 1914 to 1945 history? Of special note among the dozen catalogue essays are ruminations on his work by Leon Golub, William Kentridge and Ellsworth Kelly.

Museum of Modern Art

304 pp

$103.00

Buy this book

Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence

Brought up in Harlem, in the 1940s Jacob Lawrence gained great early acclaim for series of narrative paintings depicting the northward migration of African-American people from the US South. Throughout his career, he turned modernist techniques toward creating a portrait of African-American life that is almost gasp-inducing in its clarity and power. Lawrence died in 2000 as this book was being prepared, holding a primary place in 20th-century American art.

University of Washington Press

336 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Traces of India

This catalogue to the CCA’s exhibition featuring archival British photography of Indian architectural sites from 1850 to 1900 draws an interesting set of parallels between the developing sciences of photography and modern archaeology. The book is also a telling study of the lasting influence of, and Indian response to, the British colonial fascination with exotic and foreign culture.

Canadian Centre for Architecture/Yale Center for British Art

360 pp

$50.00

Buy this book

Maurizio Cattelan

If you attended the opening days of this year’s Venice Biennale, you may have been surprised to see a boy on a tricycle pedalling through the crowded pavilions and gardens. That was Charlie, a very real-looking remote-control animatron and the latest work by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Cattelan’s trademark wit and pointed, offbeat humour are the focus of this pocket-size Phaidon monograph, which also, according to Cattelan, is a sculpture in itself.

Phaidon

212 pp

$30.00

Buy this book

Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics

We don’t want to contradict John Berger, who wrote the introduction to this collection of Strauss’s essays. Berger’s first words are “This brilliant book…” and as the pages turn you agree with him wholeheartedly. Strauss is a remarkable critic. In essay after essay, he reminds his readers of the moral dimensions of photography and, in passing, undoes Ingrid Sischy’s arrogant yet sadly influential dismissal of the Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. Photojournalism is one of Strauss’s enthusiasms, and there is no better art writing anywhere than his essay “A Sea of Griefs is Not a Proscenium,” about the Rwanda projects of the Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar.

Aperture

224 pp

$32

Buy this book

I Bought Andy Warhol

Polsky spent the 1980s as a private art dealer in California, then turned art-market journalist when the market fell in the ’90s. His book details his travails buying an Andy Warhol “Fright Wig” Self-Portrait—twice. The real story, however, is his bitchy take on the West Coast and New York art scenes. He makes them out as worlds where either you take advantage of someone or wait for them to take advantage of you.

Harry N. Abrams

256 pp

$40.00

Buy this book

TamÁss: Contemporary Arab representations: Beirut/Lebanon 1

In 2002, Spain’s Fundació Antoni Tàpies hosted the first instalment of a long-term project to bridge the divided Arab and Western worlds. Under the direction of Catherine David, it assembled a core of Lebanese artists and intellectuals to discuss the complexities of post–civil war Beirut and Lebanon in an era of globalization. With an eye on recent Middle East developments, the physical and cultural challenges of rebuilding from the ruins of war carry an increasing weight. Most importantly, the book introduces contemporary critical thought and art from one key part of the Arab world.

Fundació Antoni Tàpies

164 pp

$43.50

Buy this book

The Garden Book

The Garden Book deserves to be as successful as The Art Book and The Photography Book, with their succinct, wide-ranging summaries of visual art and photography. An A-to-Z compendium of the world’s most engaging gardens—some real, some imaginary—the book ultimately seems like a history of utopian imagination, instilling ideas of place with the possibility of perfection. Perhaps Phaidon will issue it in the same compact format as its Art and Photography books. This is what you want in hand on a winter subway ride.

Phaidon

512 pp

$69.95

Buy this book

Giotto

As a publishing house, Skira once had a lock on high-end art books and reliable colour reproductions. Then the industry got bigger. Now Skira is back setting new standards. This is a beautiful book showing Giotto’s series of frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. The images are cool and immaculate and they pull the 14th-century paintings down to captivating eye-level. The results are compelling enough to hope for a whole Skira series devoted to in situ artworks.

Skira

456 pp

$135.00

Buy this book

Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century European Drawings in the Robert Lehman Collection

With a Wall Street fortune behind him, Lehman collected what he liked. He made a point of stretching his father’s interest in the Old Masters into new territory. Nineteenth-century France was his touchstone and he assembled a collection of paintings and drawings that now seems formidable in representing the period. Preferring Renoir to Cézanne, there was a lightness to his taste, but the drawings—now in the collection of the Met—still seem as fresh as the day they were made.

Princeton University Press

480 pp

$165.00

Buy this book

Van Gogh’s Imaginary Museum

From its breezy cover this book looks like fun, but that design energy masks what amounts to a series of dogged academic essays that mark the 150th anniversary of Van Gogh’s birth. Still, the reproductions are terrific. So is the accumulating idea of the historical art that impacted on Van Gogh’s divided sensibilities. He loved the old, but in his hands the old always turned out looking new.

Harry N. Abrams

320 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky

If you missed the National Gallery of Canada’s recent retrospective exhibition of works by Toronto photographer Edward Burtynsky, this catalogue is definitely the next best thing. Since the early 1980s, Burtynsky has documented the evidence of industry in the landscape. But rather than just recording environmental ruin, his meticulously composed photos view the modern landscape as an industrial sublime. The book does an admirable job of representing the size and scope of Burtynsky’s large prints in 64 colour plates. Essays by curator Lori Pauli, Mark Haworth-Booth and Kenneth Baker plus an interview with the artist fill in the details.

Yale University Press

160 pp

$80.00

Buy this book

Jeff Wall: Photographs

Last November, Vancouver’s Jeff Wall won the prestigious Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. This monograph, published to complement the award exhibition, offers a rare selection of works, some from Wall’s own collection, in an innovative curatorial order that invites new readings between photos. First-rate reproductions throughout prove that if there is one Jeff Wall book to own, this is it.

Steidl

156 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Place

The place is Lethbridge, Alberta. It has drawn the gaze of Canadian photographer Geoffrey James, most recently known for his impeccably cultured images of Paris. This well-printed book definitely approaches Lethbridge in the context of an archetypal prairie identity, not as a modern city—a few glaringly millennial subdivisions aside, most of these black-and-white photos could be from the 1950s, with the city reduced to its elemental forms: river, landform, low building, roadway, sky. Novelist Wiebe, whose other writings have unearthed the histories of Mennonite and Cree peoples in Alberta and Saskatchewan, brings his long engagement with the region to a set of anecdotal and socio-historical texts.

Douglas & McIntyre

128 pp

$50.00

Buy this book

Thomas Gainsborough

“The curs’d Face Business” is how Thomas Gainsborough once described his profession as a portrait painter to 18th-century Britain’s rich and famous. This catalogue to the Tate’s touring Gainsborough exhibition is full of ladies and landed gentry posed in their finest clothes in idyllic British country scenes. The book’s essays propose that beneath the flamboyance, Gainsborough painted his subjects with a socially astute, almost subversive wit and irony.

Harry N. Abrams

296 pp

$95.00

Buy this book

Édouard Vuillard

This huge book delivers all you will ever need and likely want to know about the early modern French painter Édouard Vuillard. It is the catalogue to the current exhibition that is touring Washington, Montreal, Paris and London. Cogeval’s writing is both vivid and enthusiastic as he makes a compelling case for the psychological subtleties of Vuillard’s art, drawing from private journals kept by the artist between 1888 to 1940. One section is devoted to the snapshots that Vuillard regularly took with an early Kodak camera, and they seem a crucial source for the intimacy and instantaneity that characterize the best of his paintings.

Yale University Press

528 pp

$110.00

Buy this book

Titian

The exhibition of the season has been the National Gallery’s Titian retrospective in London. It gathered many important pictures by the 16th-century Venetian painter for what is likely the last time they will ever be seen together in a single venue. In this catalogue to the show, leading Titian scholars contribute informative essays on his life and practice. In his lifetime from 1487 to 1576, Titian was more widely discussed than any other painter, and his work continues to fascinate practicing painters. An essay on his technique by Jill Dunkerton recounts how the 18th-century English painter Joshua Reynolds once scraped a Titian down by layers to discover its “secrets.”

Yale University Press

192 pp

$60.00

Buy this book

Gutenberg Galaxy: Chromophobia

A museum curator was recently explaining to me the difficulties he was having with some of his trustees over acquisitions. They could understand textual irony, he said, but they couldn’t grasp what he called “visual irony.” ...
by Robert Linsley

Reaktion Books

128 pp

$32.95

Buy this book

The Films of Jack Chambers

Jack Chambers is best known for the Perceptual Realism of his Southern Ontario landscape paintings, such as 401 Towards London No. 1 (1969). But during the ’60s and ’70s, he led a parallel life as an avant-garde filmmaker. This monograph takes an extensive look at Chambers’s film practice and charts his pivotal influence in shaping the experimental reaches of Canadian cinema.

Cinematheque Ontario

248 pp

$29.95

Buy this book

Stan Douglas: Every Building on 100 West Hastings

The work referred to in this book is a beautiful, four-metre-long composite photo by artist Stan Douglas. The Vancouver block that it pictures is in the Downtown Eastside, a once vital, now famously impoverished central area where the city’s serious crime and drug trade are currently concentrated. What unfolds is a potent discussion of the history and present role of the Eastside and its residents in an upscale, global city. It’s a scathing, learned must-read on civic neglect, and to think—all because of an artwork.

Arsenal Pulp Press

120 pp

$22.95

Buy this book

The Group of Seven in Western Canada

Look past this book’s bland design to find a considered re-interpretation of the work of the Group of Seven. This catalogue for the exhibition touring Canada throughout 2003 provides a meaty and critical take on the artists and their works. Detective-style, it proves how specific elements of the Western Canadian landscape influenced different Group members. Most surprising is the book’s willingness to place the Group in a social and political context, arguing convincingly how the myths in their art were in tune with the interests of the powerful in early and mid-20th-century Canada. Also fascinating is a chapter on the abstractionism of Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald and Lawren Harris.

Key Porter Books

208 pp

$60.00

Buy this book

Whistler and His Circle in Venice

Commissioned to produce a dozen etchings for an English client, Whistler arrived in Venice in September 1879, expecting to be back in London by Christmas. He was still nursing wounds over the “one farthing” settlement he was awarded in his libel suit against the critic John Ruskin, who had accused him of “flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.” The embarrassment of the trial saw Whistler’s career collapse and his subsequent declaration of bankruptcy. No wonder Venice was a respite and that his stay extended to 14 months. The book recounts the story of his time there, presenting fine reproductions of works produced under the duress of the situation. The backstreet scenes have intense centres of focus, as if each one had been a feat of concentration.

Merrell

160 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

On Kawara

The elusive Mr. Kawara, who does not do interviews, leads the publisher to revamp the formula of its Contemporary Artists series and start this one with a “tribute” section....

Phaidon

160 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

Marcel Duchamp: The Bachelor Stripped Bare

The author’s sentences sometimes get away from her in this argumentative biography of the grandfather of conceptual art. ...

MFA Publications

368 pp

$58.00

Buy this book

Pomona Britannica: The Complete Plates

First published in 1812, Brookshaw’s Pomona Britannica was designed as a “country gentleman’s” guide to pomology, the then new science of describing, identifying and classifying fruits. In fact, it’s a specialist’s encyclopedia of 256 fruit varieties illustrated life-sized in 90 plates. The lush reproductions in this Taschen edition are a testament to Brookshaw’s genius as an illustrator and while the book’s subject may be antique, it’s a marked contrast to the bigger-is-better rationale of genetically modified foods.

Taschen

200 pp

$48.00

Buy this book

The Art of Tracey Emin

British artist Tracey Emin’s notoriously personal art and headline-grabbing antics have made her a star among stars in the yBa world, as well as the favourite whipping girl of critics who charge that the group’s art is low on substance. This collection of essays asserts that it is nearsighted and critically lazy to view Emin’s art as straightforwardly confessional or merely provocative. Some go overboard in imputing impossibly sophisticated (and essentially unprovable) intentions and strategies to her varied practice, but the best examine the affective appeal of Emin’s art squarely and provide valuable insight into how persona and the power of pop-culture celebrity function in art’s reception.

Thames & Hudson

224 pp

$37.99

Buy this book

Off Limits: 40 Artangel Projects

Since 1991, James Lingwood and Michael Morris, co-directors of London’s Artangel, have created one of the most innovative art organizations in the world. Dedicated to commissioning independent artist projects, Artangel has stood behind a series of artworks that have reached past traditional exhibition venues to build new audiences for contemporary art. From Janet Cardiff’s The Missing Voice to Matthew Barney’s Cremaster film cycle to Rachel Whiteread’s career-launching House and other notable works, Artangel and its team of artists have pushed the envelope for how art can be shown. This compendium of a decade’s worth of projects, in addition to being a chronicle, is also a concise who’s who of the contemporary scene.

Merrell

256 pp

$80.00

Buy this book

Ideal Cities: Utopianism and the (un)Built Environment

The idea of a perfect society has dogged philosophers, artists and architects for two millennia and this book sets out to render the history of this elusive pursuit of civic perfection. From Plato’s republic of philosopher-kings to Thomas More’s island state to Archigram’s Plug-In City, the book makes an informative study. Behind its beautiful cover, Ideal Cities arrives loaded with drawings, paintings and maps. Utopia may literally mean “no-place,” but the book provides a rich and detailed guide.

Thames & Hudson

255 pp

$90.00

Buy this book

Sign After the X_____

Sometimes books examine a single entity—fast food, maybe, or the screwdriver, or salt—and use it as a critical lens through which to view our greater history and contemporary culture. Only Marina Roy is bold enough to do it with a single letter—specifically, the letter "x," convincingly portrayed as a marginal sign, the ungovernable renegade of the alphabet. Sign After the X_____ trips nimbly through the worlds of math, science, linguistics, history and philosophy to show how persistently x seems to stand in for that which is unknown or unspeakable in our culture: X-rated, x marks the spot, x=y, the X-Files. Drawings by Roy are included as well but this intellectually lively book, like x, cannot really be adequately described in words—readers must discover x on their own terms.

Arsenal Pulp Press/Artspeak

220 pp

$18.95

Buy this book

All Amazed: for Roy Kiyooka

This book grew from a 1999 conference on Canadian artist and poet Roy Kiyooka, who died in 1994. The event attracted the likes of Michael Ondaatje and Sarah Sheard, testifying to Kiyooka’s influence in Canadian literary circles. Indeed, Kiyooka was creatively restless, turning in 1959 from abstract painting, which had earned him a considerable reputation, to poetry, music and photographic projects. With his experimental sensibility and his constant search for new forms, Kiyooka occupies an important place within Canadian art as one of its first truly multi-disciplinary artists.

Arsenal Pulp Press/Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery/Collapse

160 pp

$19.95

Buy this book

Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown.

Tate Publishing

182 pp

$42.50

Buy this book

Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait

In his sci-fi panoramas and distorted, zombie-style revamps of Renaissance portraiture, Glenn Brown breaks down and recombines signs from various inherited image languages while never losing faith in the expressive potential of the brush. This catalogue to his lauded 2009 survey at Tate Liverpool pinpoints how the British artist’s work is informed by the insight that painting today exists at the slippery, uncomfortable nexus of Old Master depth, modernist flatness and the unlimited vistas of digital space.

Prestel

112 pp

$49.95

Buy this book

Roxy Paine

I like the paintings to be sitting nervously on a fence... I am surprised that people should say that they want to lick my paintings or eat them, when I have just spent months trying to make the most toxic foul-smelling lump I can.

Prestel

256 pp

$93.00

Buy this book

Vitamin 3-D: New Perspectives in Sculpture

Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait.

Phaidon Press

352 pp

$95.00

Buy this book

Dan Graham, Pavillions: A Guide

The digitally fabricated photos that comprise Chris Jordan’s Running the Numbers series take dry statistics about the wounding effects of modern consumerism and bring them, Jordan explains, “into a more universal visual language that might allow for more feeling.” Simultaneously art photography, political critique and environmentalist statement, the Seattle-based artist’s unsettling yet alluring photographic landscapes, which depict apocalyptic wastelands made of defunct cellphones, used plastic bottles and other detritus, force us to bear witness to our own slow but unmerciful undoing of the planet.

Art Metropole

76 pp

$20.00

Buy this book

Ai Weiwei

Roxy Paine.

Phaidon Press

160 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

Rothko: The Late Series

For much of 2009, visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden were met by what the New York Times called the “awesome spectacle” of Roxy Paine’s Maelstrom: a sprawling, seemingly storm-blasted heavy-metal forest. Known for weirdly fascinating sculptures that look like trees but are made of stainless-steel industrial tubing, Paine has also sampled and fabricated plants and fungi (in works such as Weed-Choked Garden) and created absurd yet historically savvy art-making machines and kits. His material play and appreciation of chance, illogic and “impurities within systems” have resulted in one of the smartest and most appealing bodies of contemporary work to address the perplexingly unpredictable interrelationships among human culture, nature and industry.

Tate Publishing

256 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

Beneath the Roses

Vitamin 3-D: New Perspectives in Sculpture.

Abrams

140 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

Art Power

This survey of contemporary sculpture joins the ranks of Phaidon’s other omnibus roundups (of painting, photography and drawing) and features 117 artists, including Brian Jungen and David Altmejd. The book makes a case for “sculpture’s ever-expanding field,” suggesting that everyday materials, relational aesthetics and theatricality have brought a new relevance to an old medium that has re-embraced representation and allusion.

MIT Press

200 pp

$23.50

Buy this book

An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar

Dan Graham, Pavillions: A Guide.

Steidl

152 pp

$80.00

Buy this book

Alphabet City No. 8: Lost in the Archives

The Toronto-based book series Alphabet City is a unique publishing entity, acclaimed for its cross-disciplinary approach to contemporary issues. This issue tackles the theme of the archive, surveying how knowledge is stored, accessed and used in the information age. Weighing in is an eclectic cast, from Gustave Flaubert to current poets and critics to artists like Sharon Lockhart, Vid Ingelevics and Jeff Wall, who contribute impressive photo projects. The book accompanied "NEXT MEMORY CITY," Canada’s entry at the 2002 Venice Biennale for Architecture.

Alphabet City Media

776 pp

$35.00

Buy this book

Richelieu: Art and Power

Cardinal Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu was the de facto cultural ruler of France from 1624 to 1642 as the right hand to Louis XIII. He personally oversaw a literary, architectural and artistic golden age in France, from the foundation of l’Académie française to a commissioned legacy of works by Nicolas Poussin, Philippe de Champaigne and Jacques Lemercier. This catalogue to the touring exhibition of the same name confirms Richelieu’s artistic and cultural vision in detail, portraying a man of limitless energy, political genius and refined taste, who saw the arts as a propaganda tool of the French nation.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts/Wallraf-Richartz-Museum

440 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Monsters: Human Freaks in America’s Gilded Age

First released in 1979, this new four-colour edition of Canadian photographer Michael Mitchell’s book looks at the career of 19th-century photographer Charles Eisenmann. From his photographic studio in New York City’s East Side Bowery, Eisenmann played host to some of the era’s most famous giants, dwarfs and freaks. These "dime show" stars—Admiral Dot, Zip the Pin-head, JoJo the Dog-Face Boy and others—were part of an emerging mass-entertainment industry, and they turned to Eisenmann for their publicity photos. In his essay, Mitchell details the photographer’s life, photo techniques and times.

ECW Press

128 pp

$23.95

Buy this book

Gustav Klimt: Landscapes

We don’t think of Klimt as a landscapist. He is the fin de siècle Viennese painter of sensual women and of the magical geometries that overtake them and his paintings. Koja’s book, however, is a delight from start to finish. It provides a comprehensive look at Klimt’s landscape work, which accounted for half the artist’s output in the last 20 years of his career. Forests, fields and orchards were his subject, and he renders them in a luminous splendour that is nonetheless waning and claustrophobic. The essays, including one by noted cultural historian Carl E. Schorske, are wide-ranging on the work’s aesthetic, social and biographical backdrop.

Prestel

228 pp

$95.00

Buy this book

Vision and Art: the Biology of Seeing

Livingstone is a neurophysiologist interested in colour. Her book is about how the brain functions in the process of perception, and she uses a wide range of art as examples. She shows how perception is double-tiered, with the brain seeking simultaneous answers to the questions where and what. Luminance, or subjects’ brightness and darkness, holds the key to where; colour perception, rough in comparison, points in the direction of what.

Harry N. Abrams

208 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

Colour is Power

What strikes one immediately about Montreal photographer Robert Walker’s tightly framed photographs of city centres in New York, Toronto, Montreal, Rome and Warsaw is the dense, almost abstract impact of their colour. Walker’s pictures render the visual commotion of urban life as a supersaturated mesh of motion and advertisements. He credits the early influence of painters Kenneth Noland and Ellsworth Kelly, as well as Pop artists Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Robert Rauschenberg on his style. Indeed, his images are as painterly as they are photographic. The book accompanies a major touring exhibition of Walker’s work on view at various European venues until 2004.

Thames & Hudson

134 pp

$68.00

Buy this book

Milton Avery: The Late Paintings

During his long career, some skeptics called Avery’s paintings naive and primitive. By his death in 1965, however, a different opinion had taken hold: he had become the source of American Colour Field painting. In a eulogy, Mark Rothko called Avery "a great poet inventor who invented sonorities never seen...before." Clement Greenberg was one of the first to make a case for the sophisticated subtlety of Avery’s art, and his essay is included in this book, which reproduces 52 paintings from the last 15 years of the artist’s career. The careful tonal shifts that caught Rothko’s eye stand out in full force and Hobbs’s authoritative essay sets Avery against a backdrop of Matissean modernism and the philosophical poetry of Wallace Stevens.

Harry N. Abrams

112 pp

$49.00

Buy this book

Masterpieces at the Leopold Museum, Vienna

The recently inaugurated Museums Quarter complex in Vienna boasts two new museum buildings, one in white stone, the other in black. The white one, the Leopold Museum, is home to the extensive holdings of Dr. Rudolph Leopold who, after the Second World War, began assembling an important collection of early modern Austrian art. Works by the Expressionist Egon Schiele are its highlight. With more than 50 paintings and numerous drawings, the Leopold’s is the largest Schiele collection in the world. The fraught sexuality of the artist’s work continues to hold lasting interest for audiences, but the Leopold is more than its Schieles. Medieval art, primitive art and Vienna Secession furniture show alongside some truly excellent Klimts and surprises like Richard Gerstl, whose impastos painted in Vienna before 1910 are as fresh as any contemporary painting anywhere.

Yale University Press

264 pp

$85.00

Buy this book

Tom Thomson

The story of Tom Thomson is unrivalled in Canadian art history. He was the master of the palette and the paddle and his legacy as painter and woodsman epitomizes our romance with the North. It is amazing, given the fact that Thomson painted in Ontario’s Algonquin Park for only four years before his death at 39 in 1917. The catalogue for the National Gallery of Canada/Art Gallery of Ontario’s touring exhibition of Thomson’s paintings sets a benchmark. Essays by Thomson scholars Dennis Reid, Charles C. Hill and Andrew Hunter (among others) and a chronology by Joan Murray deliver a multi-faceted overview of Thomson’s life, influences and circumstances. The colour reproductions, many of Thomson’s oil-on-board sketches, are as crisp, clear and fresh as the land he painted.

Douglas & McIntyre

386 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

Facing History: Portraits From Vancouver

"Facing History" appeared first as a mammoth documentary exhibition at Presentation House Gallery in North Vancouver last fall. This welcome book version presents 120 of its photographs alongside a series of short critical essays by a wide array of art writers tackling individual works and some of the primary issues in current photography. Compelling portraits from the past 30 years sit alongside contemporary works and images made by some of Canada’s leading artists. The project’s curator and editor, Karen Love, considers the overall project as an excursion defining the face of Vancouver and its mobile social realities of urban living.

Arsenal Pulp Press

160 pp

$29.95

Buy this book

Shiva’s Really Scary Gifts

The well-known Toronto artist and Governor General’s Award–winner appears in this compact new book in the charming guise of becoming one of Canada’s best natural storytellers. From his childhood in Windsor, Ontario through 30 insider years of Toronto art scenes, Scott has kept a watchful and imaginative eye on the passing parade. He has led an eventful life to date, and with help from writer Ann MacDonald, we listen in to some of his most memorable stories and anecdotes. They are self-deprecating adventures that have a way of being both funny and philosophical.

Coach House Books

208 pp

$21.95

Buy this book

Jeff Wall

Phaidon’s Contemporary Artists monographs are must-haves for any art library and this revised and expanded second edition of the 1996 Jeff Wall entry is no exception. New writings by Wall and an essay by eminent French art historian and photography critic Jean-François Chevrier, plus 50 new photos, bring us up to date with the very latest works by the Vancouver photographer.

Phaidon Press

212 pp

$49.95

Buy this book

New York: Capital of Photography

This beautiful book lays out a stellar history of modern New York photography. All the big names are here, and their images jump with a street-photography vibrancy. In his illuminating essay Kozloff locates the empathy and the lateral gaze that he finds in the work within an identifiable Jewish photographic sensibility. Over the book’s pages he tracks an evolving dynamic between the city and its photographers and provides an incisive walk-through of the images.

New York/Yale University Press

216 pp

$53.00

Buy this book

Lucian Freud

Expelled from school for indecent exposure, Lucian Freud has consistently challenged authority. In a career spanning 60 years he has pushed the boundaries of artistic subjectivity with his intimate portrayals of life models. This superb, comprehensive book coincides with the largest retrospective of Freud’s work to date. A lucid biographical essay charts pivotal moments in the painter’s practice, notably the consequences of his influential friendships with fellow London painters Frank Auerbach and Francis Bacon. The selection of works includes some that have never been published before: look out especially for Freud’s startlingly honest self-portrait from 2002.

Tate Publishing

240 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Aelbert Cuyp

Not much is known about Cuyp, other than that he was the son of a painter, that he developed his own immensely successful practice in 17th-century Holland and that he died a wealthy pillar of the community. Introducing soft Italian light into his local landscapes, he made his paintings synonymous with the accomplishments of the Dutch Golden Age. His scene-filling skies resonate with a sense of ample peace and calm that falls to limitless warm horizons.

Thames & Hudson

320 pp

$98.00

Buy this book

Sam Taylor-Wood

England’s Taylor-Wood is noted for her smartly executed works in photography, film and video. This monograph was published on the occasion of a summer retrospective at London’s Hayward Gallery. The show was filled with moments where emotional crisis loomed large: Pièta, a two-minute video in which the birdlike Taylor-Wood struggles to support a sprawling Robert Downey, Jr., is far more poignant than parody. However, her art’s formal use of sound and timing means that some of the most affecting works do not lend themselves well to reproduction in book format—the beautiful Five Revolutionary Seconds photographs are one example.

D.A.P.

256 pp

$56.00

Buy this book

American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States 1820–1880

Inspired by the sublime beauty of the American wilderness, the Hudson River School painters created breathtaking scenes of the Catskill Mountains, Niagara Falls and the western Rockies, capturing America’s identity in a period of great expansion. This beautifully illustrated catalogue accompanied the Tate exhibition "American Sublime." It chronicles the work of Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church and Sanford Robinson Gifford, along with their contemporaries and successors. The insightful essays place the artists’ oeuvre securely in the philosophical, social and political contexts of a 19th-century world-view and highlight how these painters shaped European traditions to articulate the powerful grandeur yet "still small voice" of America.

Princeton University Press

284 pp

$77.50

Buy this book

Barnett Newman

Newman’s first retrospective since his death in 1970 travels to the Tate Modern this fall after its run at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Temkin is curator of modern and contemporary art. In pulling together this richly illustrated book, she has done a remarkable job in reminding us of Newman’s vast influence, not only on the New York School that he helped found in the 1940s, but on Minimalism and contemporary painting’s abiding conceptual underpinnings.

Yale University Press

356 pp

$100.00

Buy this book

Van Gogh: The Complete Paintings

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers have endured for more than a century, symbolizing the artist’s vital approach to nature. This book takes the reader on a journey from van Gogh’s roots in rural Holland to his creative flourishing in Impressionist Paris and collaboration with Paul Gauguin in Arles. Above all, it explores the connections between van Gogh’s painting and his writing, linking good reproductions of his complete works with extracts from letters to his close confidant, his brother Theo.

Taschen

740 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

Robert Capa: The Definitive Collection

This massive book of 937 images sums up the life work of Hungarian-born photographer Robert Capa, from his early Paris years with Kertész and Cartier-Bresson to his iconic frontline battlefield photos of the Spanish Civil War and World War II to his final photographs in French Indochina, where he was killed in 1954.

Phaidon Press

572 pp

$98.00

Buy this book

Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting

MOMA’s big Richter show has made for a big, impressive book....

Museum of Modern Art

340 pp

$123.00

Buy this book

Wild Walls

The collaborative photo work of artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler is essentially about the architecture of a space and story....

Kerber Verlag

152 pp

$66.00

Buy this book

Les Commensaux: When Art Becomes Circumstance

From September 2000 to June 2001, Montreal artist-run centre SKOL themed its programming around intervention art—the art that most directly insists upon an intersection between art and life....

SKOL

244 pp

$29.95

Buy this book

Douglas Gordon

For those only familiar with the enigmatic Hollywood film "appropriations" through which we have come to know Douglas Gordon’s work (and his Blakeian preoccupation with doubling, good and evil), this book is a dramatic encounter with the Scottish artist himself....

MIT Press/Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

184 pp

$60.00

Buy this book

Janet Cardiff: A Survey of Works Including Collaborations with George Bures Miller

It’s been a busy and fruitful couple of years for Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller....

P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center

200 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

No Man’s Land: The Photography of Lynne Cohen

Since the early 1970s, Ottawa artist Lynne Cohen has been fascinated by the places in which we live and work....

Thames & Hudson

160 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Thomas Eakins

With its dozen essays and 400 illustrations, this is the ultimate Eakins book....

Yale University Press

352 pp

$104.00

Buy this book

Anselm Kiefer: The Seven Heavenly Palaces 1973-2001

The terrifically printed reproductions in this book come from a recent Swiss exhibition that set itself the goal of charting most of the major themes in Kiefer's painting....

Hatje Cantz

112 pp

$74.00

Buy this book

Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi

There were two unmissable painting shows this spring in New York: one by Gerhard Richter at the MOMA, the other by this 17th-century father/daughter duo at the Met....

Yale University Press

496 pp

$120.00

Buy this book

Paris

A hundred years ago, Atget inventoried the streets of Paris with his camera, giving photography its most impressive and influential body of work. James’s project is an homage to Atget’s haunting images.

, Cultural Services, Canadian Embassy (Paris)

112 pp

$40.00

Buy this book

Robert Polidori: Havana

Polidori has gained a wide audience with his photographs for the New Yorker, where selections from this Havana series ran a while back.

Steidl/D.A.P.

160 pp

$115.95

Buy this book

Mark Rothko

The Swiss were early European supporters of Rothko, and Galerie Beyeler, in Basel, eventually handled sales of many of the artist’s paintings after his death in 1970.

Hatje Cantz Publishers/D.A.P.

204 pp

$84.95

Buy this book

Leonard and Reva Brooks: Artists in exile in San Miguel de Allende

Leonard, the painter, and Reva, the photographer, lived eventful lives. A noted naval war artist, Leonard moved with Reva to Mexico following the Second World War.

McGill-Queen’s University Press

396 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

Postcard Fictions

This unique collaborative work showcases the paintings of Winnipeg’s Andrew Valko.

Key Porter Books

144 pp

$36.95

Buy this book

art and artifact: the museum as medium

Putnam knows his stuff. His book is a comprehensive compendium of art and the theme of the museum.

Thames & Hudson

208 pp

$68.00

Buy this book

feminism–art–theory: An anthology 1968–2000

Robinson excludes several better-known, easily available texts and chooses instead to feature 99 important but less widely published works, a move that seems so democratic and, well, so feminist.

Blackwell Publishers

706 pp

$34.95

Buy this book

deutsch—Young German Photography2: Oliver Sieber

Kruse Verlag is a Hamburg art press publishing mostly debut monographs by new photographers of emerging reputation.

Kruse Verlag/D.A.P.

64 pp

$38.95

Buy this book

John Berger: selected essays

Few writers and thinkers have impacted the nature of looking at art and seeing the world as distinctly as British writer and art critic John Berger.

Bloomsbury

588 pp

$53.00

Buy this book

Women artists in the 20th and 21st century

With a cover by Los Angeles artist Pae White, this copious book illustrates the lives and works of 93 international female artists.

Taschen

576 pp

$63.00

Buy this book

Neo-Avantgarde and Culture Industry: Essays on European and American Art from 1955 to 1975

When Buchloh has written, he has been read and read avidly. This useful book gathers 19 influential essays published between 1977 and 2000.

MIT Press

592 pp

$50.00

Buy this book

The Sound I Saw: Improvisation on a Jazz Theme

Recognized as a master photographer of Harlem and its musicians (Ellington, Basie, Coltrane, Holiday, and more) DeCarava presents 196 tritone-printed black-and-white images that recreate a book-work conceived in the early 1960s.

Phaidon

208 pp

$110.00

Buy this book

David Blackwood: Master Printmaker

To leaf through Blackwood’s prints of Newfoundland is to enter a world of dark, melancholic energy, where fishermen and ship-builders ply their dying trades alongside mysterious holiday "mummers," leviathan sea creatures and barren ice fields.

Douglas & McIntyre

194 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

Still

It is Struth’s year in publishing, perhaps as a balance to Andreas Gursky’s big retrospective at MoMA. The two German photographers vie for primacy of the Düsseldorf school.

Monacelli Press

144 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

Sorel Etrog

Etrog has gone through several changes in style but behind most of them lies the idea of the standing figure.

Prestel

168 pp

$80.00

Buy this book

Joyce Wieland: Artist On Fire

Lind interviewed friends, colleagues and Wieland herself before the artist’s death in 1998, and it shows in the detail she imparts to this book.

James Lorimer & Company

400 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums

Among the McCord Museum of Canadian History’s holdings in Montreal are hundreds of amateur photographic albums that Langford has found to be a treasure trove—she submits that the modest album is an important aesthetic and performative art form.

McGill/Queen’s University Press

252 pp

$49.95

Buy this book

The Art of Arts: Rediscovering Painting

With its tall, narrow format and its lengthy footnotes, this beautiful book opens new vistas on painting. The early Van Eyck chapters are exceptional in establishing painting’s capacities as a philosophical compendium.

Knopf

388 pp

$53.00

Buy this book

Vermeer’s Camera: Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces

Steadman tries to settle once and forever the debate about whether Vermeer used a camera obscura to trace and paint his pictures.

Oxford University Press

224 pp

$40.00

Buy this book

Tony Tascona: Resonance

The in-studio photographs included in this catalogue of the past summer’s retrospective at the Winnipeg Art Gallery show Tascona looking like a man at work building something heavy and useful, something relevant.

Winnipeg Art Gallery

112 pp

$26.50

Buy this book

Thomas Struth: Dandelion Room

The book documents a 1993 commission for a hospital in Winterthur, Switzerland. Struth took a series of large-format photographs for each of its 37 rooms.

D.A.P. in association with Schirmer/Mosel

184 pp

$70.00

Buy this book

Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together, 1840–1918

For a time in the 19th century, it was not uncommon for male friends to visit commercial photographers together and return with poses that to today's eyes seem extraordinarily intimate and unrestrained.

Harry N. Abrams

160 pp

$49.00

Buy this book

Thomas Struth: Museum Photographs

Struth studied with the Bechers and Gerhard Richter and brings an abiding interest in the art world to his photographs.

Schirmer/Mosel

72 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Odjig: the Art of Daphne Odjig, 1960–2000

During the 1960s and '70s, Native Canadian artists like Daphne Odjig, Norval Morrisseau and Carl Ray broke with convention by drawing subject matter and techniques from their own communities rather than the "universal" modernism of inherited American and European tradition.

Key Porter Books

128 pp

$41.95

Buy this book

Janet Cardiff: A Large Slow River

Through the summer and fall of 2000, Oakville Galleries hosted a site-specific project by the Millennium Prize–winner at its lakefront Gairloch Gardens site.

Oakville Galleries

48+ audio CD pp

$35.00

Buy this book

Sights Of Resistance: Approaches To Canadian Visual Culture

In his introduction to this book, BC art historian Robert Belton proposes that it should be read as an alternative to what he calls "textbook closure" on the understanding of Canadian art.

University of Calgary Press

408+ CD-ROM pp

$59.95

Buy this book

Between Street and Mirror: the Drawings of James Ensor

In the mystical/political tradition of Blake and Goya, Belgian artist James Ensor painted and drew phantasmagoric visions of devils, puppets, magistrates, soldiers, skeletons, religion, and more.

University of Minnesota Press

256 pp

$52.43

Buy this book

Thomas Demand

This book's crisp images catalogue the German artist's major exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris last winter.

Thames & Hudson

112 pp

$44.99

Buy this book

Thomas Struth: Portraits

Since the 1980s, the German photographer has also used his large-format camera to photograph friends and colleagues.

Schirmer/Mosel

192 pp

$97.50

Buy this book

Money Value Art: State Funding, Free Markets, Big Pictures

How does state subsidization for the arts, taken for granted in Canada, mitigate the cultural and monetary value assigned to certain artworks and practices?

YYZ Books

288 pp

$22.95

Buy this book

Negative Thoughts

They were all a bit intimidating, the General Idea boys.

Museum of Contemporary Art

112 pp

$31.00

Buy this book

MIES IN BERLIN

The importance of this pair of catalogues on the work of German-born American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is twofold.

The Museum of Modern Art

392 pp

$105.00

Buy this book

Your Private Sky: Discourse

R. Buckminster Fuller saw himself as a navigator.

Kars Muller Publishers

320 pp

$72.00

Buy this book

Jana Sterbak. Penser Tout Haut/Thinking Out Loud; Nancy Spero. L’image Parlee/ The Spoken Image

A double set of hardback books with colour illustrations from a rare exhibition of early drawings by Canadian artist Jana Sterbak and American artist Nancy Spero.

Galerie de l'UQAM

122 pp

$25.00 each

Buy this book

1900: art at the crossroads

This book accompanied the exhibition at the Royal Academy, London and the Guggenheim, New York which recreated a turn-of-the-century art show at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.

Harry N. Abrams

448 pp

$115.00

Buy this book

Yes yoko ono

In 1953, Yoko Ono composed a musical score of two half notes with notation for “the accompaniment of birds singing at dawn.” In a performance from the mid-’60s, she knelt silently on stage as members of the audience came up and cut away her clothing.

Society, New York/Harry N. Abrams

352 pp

$90.00

Buy this book

They Called her Styrene, ETC

The roughly 500 "word" drawings that make up this chunky, colourful volume by American artist and cultural chronicler Ed Ruscha never have the dry cerebral quality of other text-based art works.

Phaidon Press

512 pp

$29.95

Buy this book

Richard Serra

October, the art journal, delves into its impressive editorial archive to assemble this collection of critical essays on American minimalist sculptor Richard Serra.

The MIT Press

205 pp

$29.95

Buy this book

Life Style

Life Style is the bookshelf counterweight to S, M, L, XL, Mau’s 1996 collaboration with Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The new book is also big and it delivers an intricate visual essay, with images culled from pop culture and projects by the Mau design studio.

Phaidon Press

624 pp

$98

Buy this book

OTHER CONUNDRUMS: RACE, CULTURE AND CANADIAN ART

Compiled from more than a decade’s worth of writing, Other Conundrums combines critical essays on such artists as Paul Wong and Shani Mootoo with Gagnon’s committed take on anti-racist initiatives in the Canadian arts.

Arsenal Pulp Press/Artspeak Gallery/Kamloops Art Gallery

196 pp

$21.95

Buy this book

City of glass: Douglas coupland’s vancouver

His book Generation X showed that Coupland is one of the best list makers and namers in the business. He brings the same saucy, tuned sensibility to the jewel of Lotus Land, Vancouver, which is here otherwise called Backlot North

Douglas & McIntyre

152 pp

$24.95

Buy this book

Wayne thiebaud: A paintings retrospective

Thiebaud is a painters’ painter, widely appreciated for his sumptuous, impastoed pictures. When he paints a cake, the paint sits up on the surface as if it was real icing. Trained as a cartoonist, he always hovered on the edges of the Pop Movement, but his pictures were smaller and less ironic

Thames & Hudson

192 pp

$67.50

Buy this book

Minimalism: Themes and Movements

“Art excludes the un-necessary.” In this terse statement from 1959, artist Carl Andre defined the work of a group of American artists who had begun to reduce sculpture and painting to basic geometric forms. The idea was to remove the extraneous, see the object whole and alone and make its impact more intense. Collectively, their approach became Minimalism.

Phaidon Press

304 pp

$95.00

Buy this book

Art bc: masterworks from british columbia

Vancouver Art Gallery curator Ian Thom says his book is not a history of art in the province, but his selection of 100 “masterworks”

Douglas & McIntyre/Vancouver Art Gallery

232 pp

$60

Buy this book

DON’T KISS ME: THE ART OF CLAUDE CAHUN AND MARCEL MOORE

The sly, genderbending self-portrait photographs of Claude Cahun (born Lucy Schwob) are part of the Surrealist canon, but this book argues for a broader view of her life and activities, paying overdue attention to her literary projects and making a case for the contributions of her stepsister and lifelong companion and collaborator, Marcel Moore (born Suzanne Malherbe). Also brought to light is the pair’s remarkable Resistance work during the Nazi occupation of the island of Jersey (their home) during the Second World War.

Aperture/Jersey Heritage Trust

240 pp

$50.95

Buy this book

Geoffrey James

In this new book of photographs by the renowned artist Geoffrey James, Mark Kingwell hits the mark when he describes Toronto’s muchdiscussed identity crisis as “iatrogenic”—a problem that is made worse by examination. James himself doesn’t seem to worry too much about theorizing the city, though his mostly unpeopled, wide-angle, blackand- white portrait of Toronto certainly looks sleek and nostalgic—even shambolic Kensington Market comes off as unfamiliarly vintage and pristine. A set of short writings by a crew of architects, urbanists, curators and historians on the particular neighbourhoods and local spots James has turned his camera toward proves that perhaps the most productive interrogations of the city take place at the micro rather than macro level.

Douglas & McIntyre

176 pp

$85.00

Buy this book

THE ARCHIVE

From the encyclopedic imagery of Gerhard Richter’s Atlas to the autobiographical tracings of Christian Boltanski to the constructed histories of Ilya Kabakov and The Atlas Group, the archive has played a defining role in contemporary art. The collection and reordering of documents into archival formats has provided artists with a conceptual framework to explore the parallel narratives that link history, art and society. For this first volume in Whitechapel’s Documents of Contemporary Art series, the art historian, curator and critic Charles Merewether tracks key concepts of the archive in texts and artist writings, starting with Freud and concluding with the Canadian artist Jayce Salloum.

Whitechapel/MIT Press

208 pp

$27.50

Buy this book

ART AFTER CONCEPTUAL ART

Forty years have passed since Sol LeWitt set out the terms that defined conceptual art: “The idea becomes the machine that makes the art.”Conceptual practice has lost none of its cutting edge over the years, but, as this book’s title suggests, it is due for a critical update. In Art After Conceptual Art, the editors Alexander Alberro and Sabeth Buchmann present a selection of texts on the subject by numerous notable international thinkers, including Benjamin Buchloh, Helen Molesworth and Thomas Crow, but they resist shaping a seamless trajectory through conceptual art’s history. The pointed differences of opinion and radical departures from established theory considered here instead offer a fresh perspective on the implications of working in a conceptual mode in the global arena of the 21st century. This is an important prompt to a developing discussion.

MIT Press

240 pp

$34.95

Buy this book

TECHNOLOGIES OF INTUITION

While Technologies of Intuition has the appearance of a standard collection of essays, its 24 contributions include art-theory texts, interviews, artworks and critical essays on a wide range of subjects. While centred on the relationship between intuition and art, much of the writing raises auxiliary issues of feminism and spiritualism. The interviews with Marina Abramovic and Chrysanne Stathacos are particularly illuminating; throughout, intuition is something that exists in opposition to rigorous logic. Overall, the anthology offers extensive insight into the varied works of artists strongly informed by intuitive awareness.

YYZ Books

272 pp

$29.95

Buy this book

KOUDELKA

The Czech photographer and Magnum photo agency partner came to prominence in the late 1960s with brave images taken on the streets of Prague during the Soviet invasion of August, 1968, and a set of documentary projects on gypsies. Since then, however, the urgency of Koudelka’s work has fallen off, and his gritty street findings can seem more graphic than gripping. The romantic, overwritten essays in this book sadly mirror the broader social ascendancy of rhetorical tropes over the engagement of reporting.

Aperture

276 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

Art and Social Change: A Critical Reader

Art and Social Change: A Critical Reader.

Tate Publishing

480 pp

$43.95

Buy this book

Practical Dreamers: Conversations with Movie Artists

This collection of artists’ texts and critical writings, published in conjunction with the art journal Afterall, concentrates on the modern history of revolutionary art practice as manifested not in works of art but, rather, through the ideological stances of artists in the face of political, social and cultural upheaval. To that end, Bradley and Esche pull together an extensive chronology of primary sources to track avant-garde protest and activism, from the Paris Commune–era socialism of Courbet and Morris to parallels found in the networked resistance of the recent Global Days of Action. A final section of six commissioned essays rounds out the picture by expanding on the modern tradition of anti-establishment thinking.

Coach House Books

320 pp

$29.95

Buy this book

Ingres

Practical Dreamers: Conversations with Movie Artists.

Phaidon

240 pp

$49.95

Buy this book

The Bader Collection: Dutch and Flemish Paintings

Taking its title from Man Ray, Practical Dreamers comprises 27 conversations between the author (a respected veteran filmmaker himself) and Canadian fringe film and video artists on the subject of how and why they put their thoughts and dreams into moving pictures. The interviewees (Kent Monkman, Jeff Erbach and Su Rynard, to name a few) represent the range of perspectives being explored in film and video today and speak candidly about both specific inspirations and their general creative philosophy. Like Hoolboom’s 1997 Inside the Pleasure Dome, this compendium is sure to connect with fringe-film aficionados but also prove enjoyable for the casual reader.

Agnes Etherington Art Centre

344 pp

$72.00

Buy this book

Edward Burtynsky: Quarries

Ingres.

Steidl

192 pp

$80.00

Buy this book

Joseph Beuys

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres went to work in the studio of the artist Jacques-Louis David in 1796 and was a practising artist until his death in 1867. His career stretched from the empire of Napoleon to the beginnings of modernism. A stringent neoclassicist with the inclinations of a fantasist, he left behind an inventory of peerless portraits as well as strange, sexualized mythic scenes. The final chapter in this new Phaidon monograph is titled “Ridicule and Respect,” which neatly sums up his wavering reputation yet undeniable influence on artists like Manet, Renoir, Picasso, Man Ray, even Cindy Sherman. For Ingres, the image was everything. The surface-smart sheen of his paintings anticipated the medium of photography, an art that he watched come into being.

Schirmer/Mosel

396 pp

$130.00

Buy this book

Luc Tuymans: I Don’t Get It

The Bader Collection: Dutch and Flemish Paintings.

Ludion

200 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

The Life & The Work

The art collector and chemical magnate Alfred Bader’s bequest of more than 270 paintings to Queen’s University is the largest gift of art ever presented to a Canadian university. Now a suitably fine publication marks his gesture: this catalogue of the collection is thoroughly researched and well illustrated. According to de Witt, Bader’s acquaintance with the Rembrandt expert Christian Tümpel led him to focus his collecting on Rembrandt’s circle and their works on Old Testament themes: Bader was especially taken with loosely styled works that reveal inclusive, humanistic thinking rather than class pretension. The result is a splendid book of paintings with broad appeal.

Getty Research Institute

172 pp

$57.50

Buy this book

The Dinner Party: From Creation to Preservation

Edward Burtynsky: Quarries.

Merrell

308 pp

$61.95.

Buy this book

Sculpture Today

Edward Burtynksy’s eerie but beautiful photographs of the industrial sublime have become an important venue for witnessing the environmental impact of industrialization. In Quarries, the Canadian photographer investigates major stone-excavation sites around the world. Unlike his recent photos of China, which prioritized peopled spaces of manufacturing, the scenes pictured in Quarries are depopulated. The focus here is on humanity’s ongoing exploitation of the natural world in the interest of constructing the urban world, and how the forces of technological development and globalization serve to accelerate this exploitation. As Michael Mitchell successfully argues, Burtynsky is interested in how the architecture of these holes in the earth represents “inverted skyscrapers,” reminding us that “there’s a big hole somewhere for every stone building on the planet.”

Phaidon

464 pp

$79.95

Buy this book

30,000 Years of Art

30,000 Years of Art.

Phaidon

1072 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

Ethics of Luxury

It has been ten years since Phaidon created a publishing phenomenon with a picture-filled encyclopedia of painting and sculpture entitled The Art Book. This delightful tome is the follow-up and, at more than a thousand generously-sized pages, it runs twice the length of the earlier book. What’s new is that 30,000 Years of Art is a book reenvisioned for the global era—and global markets. In addition to history-of-art stalwarts like Giotto, Rembrandt, Manet, Cézanne and others from the mainstream of Western art, the book delivers a refreshing chronological simultaneity that factors in the art of Asia, Australia and the Americas over the past 30 millennia. Through juxtapositions alone—Chinese brush painting next to Renaissance church art—it opens doors of awareness onto a world of conjoined planetary imagination.

YYZ Books

144 pp

$19.95

Buy this book

Marc Quinn

Ethics of Luxury.

DHC/Art Foundation for Contemporary Art

112 pp

$25.00

Buy this book

A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932

Canada has an intellectual treasure in Randolph, a psychoanalyst with deep ties to the art world. Her latest book takes the form of an extended speculation on the possibility of ethical thinking within the materialdriven “enclaves of luxury” so many Westerners (including the author) inhabit. Coming down hard on advertising culture for its stunting effect on both reason and empathy, Randolph privileges art as an extension of her emphasis on the imagination. What she offers is essentially a challenge: if societies are sustained by a series of “working fictions,” why not simply pick better ones?

Knopf

608 pp

$50.00

Buy this book

CANALETTO IN ENGLAND

As Venice’s pre-eminent 18thcentury view painter, Canaletto is indelibly linked with the Italian island city. However, as this new book details, he had a second career in England. After leaving Venice during the War of the Austrian Succession, Canaletto, in 1746, sought a London studio in order to reconnect with his reliable British collectors. For the next nine years, he treated the Thames, with its bridges and boat traffic, as a northern lagoon landscape, as shown here in impeccable illustrations of his paintings and preparatory wash drawings.

Yale University Press

220 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

SIMON SCHAMA’S POWER OF ART

Simon Schama’s tone of voice as a writer has changed for the worse since gems like Dead Certainties and Landscape and Memory. He is now all speedy prose and mixed metaphors, geared more for television than the printed page. But enough complaining. Schama is a believer in art and the eight essays here—on Caravaggio, Bernini, Turner, Picasso, Rothko and others— delve into art’s special hold on human invention and imagination. Schama’s tendency to dramatize the making of art can seem forced and inappropriate, but usually, by the end of a given chapter, he will hit a nail or two ringingly on the head and make you glad to have read it anyway. The final chapter, on a stubborn, depressed Mark Rothko, proves especially moving.

Viking Canada

448 pp

$60.00

Buy this book

CANDIDA HÖFER: OPERA DE PARIS

The German photographer Candida Höfer’s fascination with cultural monuments has given birth to a new genre: the high-art souvenir book. Her quiet, off-hours views of Paris’s two opera houses and (in another recent book) the Louvre impart something secret and magical to these familiar and well-travelled places, forming a new chapter in her unique, ongoing investigation of the complex meaning of our encounters with history and culture in public spaces.

Schirmer/ Mosel

80 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

DON’T KISS ME: THE ART OF CLAUDE CAHUN AND MARCEL MOORE

The sly, genderbending self-portrait photographs of Claude Cahun (born Lucy Schwob) are part of the Surrealist canon, but this book argues for a broader view of her life and activities, paying overdue attention to her literary projects and making a case for the contributions of her stepsister and lifelong companion and collaborator, Marcel Moore (born Suzanne Malherbe). Also brought to light is the pair’s remarkable Resistance work during the Nazi occupation of the island of Jersey (their home) during the Second World War.

Aperture/Jersey Heritage Trust

240 pp

$50.95

Buy this book

IN SEARCH OF A SOUL: DESIGNING AND REALIZING THE NEW CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM

The new Canadian War Museum, designed by the Toronto architect Raymond Moriyama, opened in Ottawa in May, 2005. In Search of a Soul is Moriyama’s account of its creation and construction. We learn that he was among the Japanese-Canadians interned during the Second World War; that experience is never far from mind as he narrates the project through a set of texts and images that detail the personal and professional challenges of building a monument to honour Canada’s war history. In the end, with its reflective mood and the dramatic tension imparted by Moriyama’s use of material space, the museum stands as a moving tribute to the human costs of war.

Douglas & McIntyre

144 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

FLASH FORWARD 2006

In only a year, the Magenta Foundation has stepped to the forefront of Canadian photography publishing. With a magazine, a coffee-table survey book and now this compact series tracking emerging photographers in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada, there is nothing in the photo world that escapes its gaze. Planned as an annual update, Flash Forward indeed offers some names to watch: the Canadians Jennifer Long and Finn O’Hara, the U.K.’s E. J. Major and Jan von Holleben and the American artist Benjamin Tiven.

Magenta Foundation

160 pp

$25.00

Buy this book

IN CAMERA: FRANCIS BACON

The British artist created his paintings on a foundation of photographs, film stills and mass-media imagery. With access to unpublished archival material from the artist’s estate, Harrison pairs these unique sources with paintings created over the course of Bacon’s career, and the result is their transformation. Each painting now reads not like a single image but like a labyrinth of imagery. From spirit photos to press photographs to homemade snapshots, the often paintsplattered source material begins to seem—via the example of Gerhard Richter’s similar photographic archive, Atlas—almost a vivid, independent practice. One comes away, however, impressed more than ever by Bacon’s powers of invention. The archive of sources is now essential for any comprehensive show of Bacon.

Thames & Hudson

256 pp

$52.00

Buy this book

MUSEUM OF THE MISSING: THE HIGH STAKES OF ART CRIME

The facts about art crime—in the news again after the 2004 theft of Munch’s The Scream—are dismaying, but this book is an eye-opening delight. Houpt, a Globe and Mail columnist, delves into his subject with gusto, from Nazi art looting to the 1990 theft of a dozen masterpieces from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—the landmark modern art heist, one investigators dream about solving. Those used to the polite art world will be riveted by this account of breathtaking audacity (paintings cut from their frames at the Louvre in broad daylight!), dedicated sleuthing and the murky underworld economy in which stolen art circulates.

Key Porter Books

192 pp

$29.95

Buy this book

LORNA SIMPSON

Lorna Simpson’s reputation-making conceptual photo/text works of the 1980s and her more recent, equally enigmatic videos incorporate the black female figure in a way that is mysterious, confrontational and sensual, all the while packing an intellectually rigorous punch. This catalogue of her touring retrospective enlists a high-powered crew of Enwezor, Hilton Als, Thelma Golden and Isaac Julien, the latter joining Simpson for a needed dialogue on how the “lazy thinking” that classifies art by race and gender effectively nixes the possibility of productive critical discussion.

Abrams/American Federation of Arts

158 pp

$63.00

Buy this book

RADICAL GESTURES: FEMINISM AND PERFORMANCE ART IN NORTH AMERICA

In this scholarly but readable book, Jayne Wark reminds us that feminism’s contemporary relevance lies not in its articulation of a universal concept of “woman” but in its being a site for creative discord and union. She argues convincingly that within the body-based performances of the 1960s and 1970s and the theory-heavy work of the 1980s, there existed a diversity of practices that laid the groundwork for contemporary female performance artists to carry out new explorations of the nuanced terrain of feminism and its intersections with race, class and sexuality.

McGill-Queen’s University Press,

304 pp

$32.95

Buy this book

VITAMIN PH: NEW PERSPECTIVES IN PHOTOGRAPHY

Joining the painting focus of Vitamin P and the drawing concerns of Vitamin D is this latest in Phaidon’s series of contemporary-art survey volumes. It covers 121 photographers who have made an international mark over the past five years, including the Vancouver artists Tim Lee and Scott McFarland. The introductory essay by Demos makes a cogent case for photography’s central role in the expanded terrain of contemporary art as well as for the resurgence of documentary photo practice.

Phaidon Press

352 pp

$89.95

Buy this book

EUAN MACDONALD: EVERYTHINGHAPPENSATONCE

Macdonald exhibits constantly around the world and is perhaps only still nominally Canadian, but it is nevertheless gratifying to see such a well-produced monograph devoted to a homegrown contemporary artist at mid-career. The essays theorizing the concept of duration as a focal point of Macdonald’s varied work are heavy going, but do not diminish the immense appeal of his understated, accessible and witty drawings and videos.

Verlag moderne Kunst Nürnberg/ D.A.P

120 pp

$40.00

Buy this book

Yves Klein

Artist, performer and judo instructor, Yves Klein held a mystical belief in art that throws a wrinkle into any understanding of him as a second-generation Dadaist. This comprehensive guide to his work comes with a host of fine illustrations and a set of essays that look at the impact of his short (just seven years) career. Klein launched performance and conceptual art but he also returned art to its beginnings as essential ritual. Berggruen's essay is particularly lucid regarding the devotional aspect of Klein's work and its unrelenting stretching of material and aesthetic boundaries.

Hatje Cantz

240 pp

$60.00

Buy this book

The Lost Painting

In this book, Harr, an award-winning journalist, turns his reporter's techniques on the personalities involved in an early- 1990s effort to identify a misattributed Caravaggio masterpiece. The venerable art-history expert, the enterprising graduate student and the dogged art restorer turned amateur art historian who play the key roles in the story present a lively, multi-faceted image of the art world at work. Caravaggio's life and career are rendered succinctly and anecdotally throughout the book and he functions within it as a troubled muse who motivates a professional milieu very different from his own. As the pages turn, it is fun to imagine the same time and effort going into future research on contemporary art.

Random House

288 pp

$34.95

Buy this book

Surrealism and the Politics of eros, 1938-1968

The uncanny, erotic imagery of the Surrealists has been so frequently reproduced that it has become all too easy to overlook the movement's vital position within the avant-garde. Mahon, a Cambridge art historian, does a remarkably thorough job of reminding us of Surrealism's radical agenda of liberating Eros in an effort to counter bourgeois values, fascism and post-Second World War shock. She places special emphasis on four international Surrealist exhibitions spanning roughly 30 years, stressing the importance of the politics of display and performance in an account that challenges many firmly held conceptions about the movement and decisively attests to Surrealism's continued reach.

Thames & Hudson

240 pp

$75.00

Buy this book

The Vexations of Art: Velázquez and others

The art historian's 1983 book The Art of Describing was a tour de force about 17th-century Dutch painting. Her new book returns to the same terrain, looking at representations of the artist's studio in works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch, with a mind to situating art as a discovery practice akin to science and philosophy. An extensive section on Velázquez's remarkable The Spinners looks at painting's capacity to speak past its own historical time and frame wider issues that provoke contemporary audiences.

Yale University Press

308 pp

$58.95

Buy this book

OLAFUR ELIASSON: Your lighthouse: WORKS WITH LIGHT 1991-2004

Eliasson's The Weather Project has proven to be one of the most memorable installations in Tate Modern's vast Turbine Hall. The 2003 work, just one of 146 projects detailed in this impressive catalogue of the Danish-born artist's 2004 exhibition at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, manipulated lights, mirrors and fog to give the effect of an imposing setting sun within the gallery's entrance. Essays by Holger Broeker, Gijs van Tuyl, Richard Dawkins, Jonathan Crary and Annelie Lütgens trace Eliasson's varied and sublime use of light, placing his practice within the tradition of 20th-century light-and-space art.

Hatje Cantz

192 pp

$60.00

Buy this book

Suspect: Alphabet city 10

The Canadian think tank Alphabet City gets to the heart of post-9/11 existence with this pocket-sized gem focused on the figure of the suspect: an impressive roster of contributors debate suspecthood and the related concepts of surveillance and human rights from perspectives ranging from art and fiction to criminology, philosophy and law. The Toronto symposium that accompanied the book's publication last winter proved how valuable Alphabet City's insistence on interdisciplinarity could ultimately be in enriching and broadening the parameters of humanistic public debate.

MIT Press

352 pp

$18.95

Buy this book

Brian Jungen

Kudos to the Vancouver Art Gallery for initiating and producing the first major survey exhibition of the work of homegrown international art star Brian Jungen (granted, getting scooped by a foreign museum would have been a minor national disgrace). Jungen is a familiar name for art watchers in Canada, but not all of his celebrated recent work was seen in this country prior to this show; assembled, it confirms that the acclaim that follows him is not overstated. This catalogue draws attention to new dimensions of Jungen's art; among its many delights is Cuauhtémoc Medina's nuanced essay, which will stand as the definitive statement on Jungen's much-discussed hybrid Nike-mask sculptures

Vancouver Art Gallery/Douglas & McIntyre

176 pp

$35.00

Buy this book

Norval morrisseau: RETURN TO THE HOUSE OF INVENTION

The National Gallery of Canada's Norval Morrisseau retrospective has generated a heightened interest in his enigmatic, spiritual paintings. Originally published in 1997, this book has been released in a new edition with previously unpublished works by the Ojibwa artist. It is compiled in the form of a catalogue, complete with essays by Robert Houle, Donald C. Robinson, Joseph Weinstein and the artist himself. While the images are centred around the 1990s—a period marking a departure from Morrisseau's earlier uses of complex design and muted tones—the book's commentary sheds light on the deep historical meaning behind his work.

Key Porter

160 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

China: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky

Ancient kingdom and burgeoning industrial behemoth at once, China is still something of an enigma in the West. It is the ideal subject for Burtynsky, who specializes in industrial excess and its human and environmental consequences. A surprise in this unquestionably grand book is Mark Kingwell's brainy essay on the "responsible image," an intense interrogation of the ethics of bravura documentary photography and the question of aestheticized "eco-porn."

Steidl

148 pp

$136.00

Buy this book

Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Biography

Cartier-Bresson took Assouline into his confidence in the last decade of his life; even so, his peculiar, reverent biography of the legendary French photojournalist is long on psychological speculation, short on private detail. A lifelong affinity for painting and drawing made Cartier-Bresson a stickler for composition, but the Second World War galvanized his dedication to witnessing. Decades of exotic, astonishingly wide travels followed as he sought the elusive, Zenlike "decisive moment" in his socio-political reportage.

Thames & Hudson

280 pp

$53

Buy this book

Matisse the Master

Hilary Spurling's intimate tracking of Matisse's life in The Unknown Matisse, the first volume of her biography, has spurred new curatorial approaches to the famed French painter's work. In this second volume she completes the story. Once again, she has made avant-garde art supported by tomes of art history and theory newly objective and personal. We see an influential art brought back to its roots—in its place of origin, the facts of family history and personal experience. In her story of Matisse the man, art-making has never seemed so necessary, conflicted and assured. The book presents a complex picture of what constitutes imagination.

Hamish Hamilton

544 pp

$50.00

Buy this book

The Undiscovered Country

An Artforum reviewer called it a "lousy" show when it opened in L.A., but you have to give Russell Ferguson credit for putting together this survey of non-abstract painting. For Hamlet, the undiscovered country was death, and Ferguson adopts the title as an ironic counter to the "death of painting" foretold by art critics in the 1970s and '80s. The 25 artists in the show and book are testimony to the falsity of their predictions. The art world, and the academic art world in particular, practises periodic aesthetic cleansing on a range of artist practices, representational painting among them. Luc Tuymans, Mamma Andersson, Peter Doig and the others gathered here suggest that maybe they should stop and instead recognize continuing signs of life.

UCLA Hammer Museum

136 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art

You don't even have to be a fan to appreciate how Nixon takes on Louise Bourgeois's uncategorizable place within the canon, arguing that the great French artist's feminist critique of and reworking of surrealism took place via a psychoanalytically informed "habitual inconstancy" that put her at odds with the formalist modernism that (still) underlies art history and criticism. The brilliant observations that Nixon tosses out on almost every page not only enrich our reading of Bourgeois's art, but reaccess psychoanalytic criticism with a gusto that makes the book required reading.

MIT Press/October Books

352 pp

$54.00

Buy this book

The Conspiracy of Art

This timely collection of essays retrieves Jean Baudrillard's ten-year-old attack on contemporary art. Once an art-world theory darling, Baudrillard surprised many with his railings at its vacancy. What was to be done with an art with no secrets left, an art guilty of insider trading with itself, lost to the frenzy of market forces? The embrace of banality had undermined art and made it indistinguishable from the meaninglessness that it once measured and challenged. Such a fraught, panoramic scale of argument is Baudrillard's forte, and in the 20 other short essays, interviews and manifestos included here he proves himself to be as much of a thoughtful iconoclast as ever.

Semiotext(e)/MIT Press

256 pp

$17.75

Buy this book

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Conceptual Forms

Paris's Fondation Cartier does things with style, and this gorgeous book is no exception. The occasion was an exhibition of a very unusual body of work by Hiroshi Sugimoto: a set of dramatic photographs of oddly-shaped 19th-century mathematical and mechanical models. Sugimoto's high-concept installation of the work was designed to bear a relation to Marcel Duchamp's inscrutable The Large Glass. Whether you buy into the witchy symbolism or not, the austere beauty of the photographs is undeniable. Removed from all context, the objects they depict gain totemic power and heroic status as artifacts from a pre-digital age that is not really that far in the past.

Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain

168 pp

$68.00

Buy this book

Takao Tanabe

This is a beautiful book, with comprehensive coverage of Tanabe's art from the early abstracts to the later majestic landscapes as well as essays by Thom, Roald Nasgaard, Nancy Tousley and Jeffrey Spalding. Douglas & McIntyre has clearly taken stock of current standards in international art-book publishing—this is an up-to-date volume with a clean look that adds some publishing style to the mix. Other books are in the pipeline. As a group, they should boost the profile of contemporary Canadian art and engage a younger readership with empty coffee tables to fill.

Douglas & McIntyre/Vancouver Art Gallery/Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

176 pp

$60.00

Buy this book

3 x Abstraction

The conventional history of abstraction boldly and justifiably touts the feats of Malevich and Barnett Newman's awe-inspiring zips. Yet there are more reticent but equally pioneering practices that remain just as relevant to contemporary art. This new catalogue recovers remarkable work by the artists Hilma af Klint and Emma Kunz, and places their oeuvres in dialogue with Agnes Martin's intricate grids. Kunz's healing drawings and af Klint's work, bound up with mysticism and the occult, reveal an underemphasized genealogy that is clearly worth reassessing.

The Drawing Center/Yale University Press

240 pp

$67.50

Buy this book

Peter Fischli/David Weiss

In 1979, the Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss began collaborating on innovative sculptures, videos and photographic works that challenge traditional notions of beauty and order. From images of airports to humorous sausage figures to their classic 1987 film The Way Things Go, their unique and often well-loved installations defy artistic conventions. This book is tagged as the first true monograph on the intriguing and reclusive duo. It reproduces their art beautifully; providing further insight into the minds of the dynamic pair are writings by Beate Söntgen, Robert Fleck, Arthur C. Danto and the artists themselves.

Phaidon Press

160 pp

$59.95

Buy this book

Remote Viewing (invented worlds in recent painting and drawing)

The Whitney maxes out the group-show catalogue formula with this slim, bright volume, which includes expensive-looking studio photographs and special drawing inserts. Its eight artists appear to follow a common recipe: take abstraction's expansiveness, subtract the modernist detachment and add doodly real-world data in the realization of idiosyncratic, trippy universes. Timely writings by Caroline A. Jones and Katy Siegel on painting's unique ability to conjure "a virtual world that has material heft" mitigate a certain sameness among the works.

Whitney Museum of American Art/Harry N. Abrams

136 pp

$63.00

Buy this book

Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth

In an interview reproduced in this wide-ranging book, the artist Anselm Kiefer says, "Art just cannot live on itself. It has to draw on a broader knowledge." For Kiefer, that knowledge is a deep history of symbols that gives his art its archaic but compelling dimension. This catalogue to the touring exhibition soon to arrive in Montreal charts Kiefer's ongoing dialogue with the imaginative polarities of heaven and earth. In his work, stairs, towers, jet planes and winged palettes are rendered in varying materialities of paint, lead and carbon in the creation of a vast, shifting fugue that stands as a record of recurring human hopes and histories—all in all, it makes for a remarkable book.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth/Prestel

184 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

dfg

dfg

dfg

fdg pp

$dfg

Buy this book

Impulse Archaeology

The global ambitions of Toronto's major cultural institutions tend to leave the city chasing its cultural history, particularly its art history, by other means. U of T Press has made a commendable effort to reverse direction by publishing this compendium of Impulse magazine, which closed its doors in 1990. Toronto can now reclaim an important window onto its busy 1980s art scene. As an extension of the artist-run culture that saw the birth of publications like FILE and Image Nation, Impulse, under executive editor Eldon Garnet, was run like a developing art project. In the book's introductory texts, much is made of the magazine's advanced postmodern design. Yet it is the wide-ranging mix of writers that now stands out. What a hothouse of ideas and names! The juxtaposition of international names like Willoughby Sharp and Jean Baudrillard with local contributors such as Brian Boigon and Donna Lypchuk results in an authentic, homegrown kind of globalism.

University of Toronto Press

290 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

Isaacs Seen

For the gang of Snow, Wieland, Markle, Curnoe and friends, the Isaacs Gallery was a social and intellectual crucible for the burgeoning Toronto art scene of the 1960s and 1970s. At the heart of it all was the genial energy of the art dealer Av Isaacs. A quartet of exhibitions last summer devoted to Isaacs came with this "scrapbook" filled with archival photographs of artists making the scene alongside revealing (though nostalgia-filtered) anecdotal recollections by Isaacs and associates. Hard art history it's not, but the book still makes for a hugely entertaining romp through an era.

Hart House, University of Toronto/Art Books Canada

168 pp

$30.00

Buy this book

Max Ernst: A Retrospective

Surrealist art has been the subject of several major retrospectives in recent years: Magritte, de Chirico, Dalí and now the Met's Max Ernst show. Rediscovering the intimate scale of Surrealist art has been a revelation in the context of contemporary art-making. This catalogue ranges widely with essays by Robert Storr, Ludger Derenthal, Pepe Karmel and Thomas Gaehtgens: Storr concentrates on Ernst's groundbreaking collage novels, which are a vivid component of an exemplary survey.

Yale University Press

328 pp

$80.95

Buy this book

The Naked Truth: Klimt, Schiele, Koko-schka and other scandals

The fierce public outrage that greeted the art of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka when it first appeared stands in sharp contrast to their current popularity and status as emblems of fin de siècle Vienna. A fascinating new exhibition and catalogue unearth and contextualize the ruckus, arguing that Viennese modernism emerged through a "radical form of realism" that was constellated around artists' unprecedented preoccupation with truthful and unvarnished (i.e., non-allegorical) depictions of the human body. The aesthetic and socio-historical contours of the scandals that erupted in response form an instructive, still-relevant dialogue about the limits of public display.

Prestel

292 pp

$80.00

Buy this book

The Art of Richard Tuttle

Tuttle came to prominence with the Minimalist movement in the U.S. in the 1960s. Unlike Judd, Andre, LeWitt and other major Minimalist figures, he eschewed the industrial aesthetic in favour of a warm, tactile approach that gave his sculptures a vulnerable, contingent dimension. Through the decades, Tuttle has proved himself a master of working with discarded everyday materials and transforming them into elegant theatres of perception. This catalogue for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's touring show has seen equal innovation and care.

D.A.P./ SFMOMA

388 pp

$80.00

Buy this book

Do It

Obrist has gathered together an inspired variety of international artists and writers in this print version of a previous collaborative exhibition project. Contributors ranging from Yoko Ono to Douglas Coupland tell readers what to do and how to do it in 165 lighthearted written and illustrated mini-project "instructions." Under Obrist's direction, the historical legacies of conceptual art and instructional art are clearly articulated, while troubling categories like agency, intention and authenticity are critically enlivened.

e-flux and Revolver

388 pp

$36.00

Buy this book

The World Of The Saints

Religious iconography occupies a powerful place in human imagination. Central to its mythology are the lives of saints who exemplify the spirit of self-sacrifice, virtue and piety. In The World of the Saints, the art historian Norbert Wolf recounts the stories of 80 saints as seen in some of the world's greatest works of art. From a Dantesque altarpiece depiction of the descent of the damned into hell by Peter Paul Rubens to Max Ernst's Surrealist version of The Temptation of St Anthony, each of the book's illustrations is accompanied by detailed notes on the history and significance of each figure and artwork. Also included is a comprehensive lexicon of Christian saints and an index of symbols.

Prestel

216 pp

$95.00

Buy this book

Perform

Forget the stereotype of bodily fluids and unwelcome displays of artist nudity: performance is everywhere in contemporary art, according to this book, just as likely to be associated with a photograph or a sculpture as the live theatrics we typically think of. It makes sense: just as conceptual art was once genre-bound, but now carries a more inclusive meaning, the authors here push for thinking about the "performative" as a qualifier that is usefully applied to art in any medium that is concerned with shared authorship, role-playing, action, valuing the provisional over the iconic, collisions with everyday life and, yes, the body, as well as being, as one curator puts it, a productive "irritant" within high culture.

Thames & Hudson

208 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

Video Green: Los Angeles Art and the Triumph of Nothingness

Ficto-criticism may be a product of the 1980s, but Chris Kraus's writing is something more, an original expansion of the territory. ...

Semiotext(e)/Active Agents/MIT Press

160 pp

$21.00

Buy this book

The Sixties in Canada

The National Gallery curator Denise Leclerc brings her formidable expertise to the art of the sixties to make a helpful synopsis of the decade that saw contemporary art reinvent itself over and over again. In eight succinct, categorical chapters she covers its exploding parameters, from the return of Dada to the expanding field of painting to the lure of new materials and a new role for photography. The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography curator Pierre Dessureault adds another chapter from his specialist perspective. Together, they have made a reference guide to an era that is now clearly part of history and yet ever-present in the outlines and expectations of contemporary art.

National Gallery of Canada

188 pp

$45.00

Buy this book

House with Pool

Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler's latest film work, House with Pool, tells the triple narrative of a suburban woman, her teenage daughter and a gardener. Set at an aging modernist house, it is an ambiguous story designed to draw out the hidden realities and inevitable decay endemic to both relationships and environments. Produced for a Kunstmuseum Basel exhibition, the catalogue's lush colour stills, storyboards and critical essays provide an excellent sense of the NSCAD-trained duo's visually poetic and finely tuned cinematic sensibilities. The question is, when do we see their Canadian exhibition debut?

Christoph Merian Verlag

160 pp

$65.00

Buy this book

History of Beauty

To trace the ideal of beauty through the ages is a daunting proposition to say the least. But that is exactly what the Italian polymath Umberto Eco has set out to do in his History of Beauty. In a loosely chronological journey from the Greeks to contemporary society, Eco tracks the evolving definition of what is beautiful and details why through the art, science and philosophy of each epoch. The book is packed with photos and timelines that reveal a surprisingly consistent ebb and flow of aesthetic order, but its glaring weakness resides in its exclusively occidental point of view. Nonetheless, it's a serious reconsideration of beauty and that's a start.

Rizzoli

440 pp

$55.00

Buy this book

Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism

This massive addition to the art-historical canon, put together by what the Guardian's Jonathan Jones has half-ironically called "the ultimate team of academic superheroes," has generally been greeted by hard-hitting criticism. To dismiss this book outright is a mistake. It is a comprehensive textbook study dense with facts and photos that, while written from a heavily academic perspective, makes for a solid recap of the last century of art. Keep Eco's History of Beauty handy, though; there is no listing for "beauty" in this book's index.

Thames & Hudson

704 pp

$128.00

Buy this book

Giorgio de Chirico and The Myth of Ariadne

De Chirico had a quick start as an artist. He had barely finished his studies in Germany when he moved to Paris, met Apollinaire and put his philosophical and artistic enthusiasms for Nietzsche and Böcklin to use in an enigmatic series of paintings named for Ariadne, the heroic, celestial and famously abandoned princess of Crete. As she sleeps in the harsh late-afternoon light of an empty city, trains chuff, ships sail, towers rise and clocks keep relentless time. It is a near-perfect poetry of alienation and, as the views shrink and widen from painting to painting, Taylor reminds us that we are seeing not only monuments of modern art but anticipations of the melancholy languor of Italian new-wave cinema.

Merrell

192 pp

$100.00

Buy this book

Dalí

This large and beautiful book is the catalogue to the major Dalí retrospective that opened at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice and recently closed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It makes a case to see Dalí as a pioneer multimedia artist, but it is his paintings that hold one's attention from start to finish. They now stand detached from the artist's overwhelming public persona, and they have gotten better with time. It is curious to note that many of Dalí's most famous paintings are in fact relatively small, some of them even miniatures. It is that intimacy that restores a sense of moment and urgency to the art. The book includes an "encyclopedia" section that is also a storehouse of biographical and cultural information.

Rizzoli

608 pp

$105.00

Buy this book

Giorgio Morandi: the art of Silence

The author studied with Morandi in Bologna in the late 1950s. Her personal experience of the man and the teacher brings a vivid sense of the painter to the opening of the book, especially in her reminiscences of Morandi with his sisters. The rest, however, is a dutiful accounting of a professional career built and sustained over the course of two decades in Mussolini's Fascist Italy. Morandi's still lifes are set into a context of retreat and denial, which at times chips away at their quiet glow. The real surprise in the book is its account of the critical reservation shown the late paintings, work that now seems a triumph of commitment and imagination. Morandi may have narrowed the world to a tabletop, but he made it a place of subtle and infinite variety, apart in every way from the compromised professional world outside.

Yale University Press

288 pp

$87.75

Buy this book

 

Sign up for the free Canadian Art Weekly newsletter

Canadian Art Foundation215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 320 Toronto, Ontario M5T 2C7(416) 368-8854info@canadianart.ca