The best new art books for autumn
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Young Poland: The Polish Arts and Crafts Movement, 1890-1918
Edited by Julia Griffin and Andrzej Szczerski; Lund Humphries in association with William Morris Gallery and National Museum in Kraków, £40
In the 1890s, Poland was emerging from nearly a century of division and partition between Russia, Austria and Prussia. The search for an aesthetic identity ensued, birthing an Arts and Crafts movement that historians now compare with the English equivalent (spearheaded by William Morris). This book makes the case for this parallel, through 250 sumptuous illustrations of ceramics, textiles, paper cuttings, stained glass, book arts and Christmas decorations.
Anni & Josef Albers: Equal and Unequal
Nicholas Fox Weber; Phaidon, £100
Anni and Josef Albers, one of the great 20th-century creative couples, never actually collaborated in their work, with the great exception of their annual Christmas card and Easter eggs. But this volume – the first to be fully dedicated to the couple – traces their relationship through rarely seen photographs, collages, paintings and weavings, which form a visual biography of the duo.
Andy Warhol. Love, Sex, and Desire
Michael Dayton Hermann; Taschen, £75
For an artist known for his loud, vivid screen- prints, there’s something surprising about the tenderness and delicacy of Andy Warhol’s line drawings, gathered together here for the first time. The book looks in particular at his images of male subjects, which are often sexually charged. Works are punctuated with poems by James Baldwin, Thom Gunn and Allen Ginsberg, giving a gentle, introspective atmosphere.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly in League with the Night
By Isabella Maidment, Andrea Schlieker, Elizabeth Alexander and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye; £25
British artist and writer Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s paintings might appear, at first glance, to be traditional portraits. However, these are not faithful representations of black people, but rather imaginary figures conjured up by the artist. Her fictitious subjects occupy timeless worlds: at ballet classes; drinking champagne or cups of tea. “There are ideas about how a black body should be, should move, what blackness means,” she says of the decision to paint from her imagination. “I can divorce the work from that expectation of reality and refer to a different reality.” In this new title, produced to accompany a survey of her work opening at Tate Britain on 18 November, almost 80 of her rich, psychologically complex works are presented.
Peter Hauser; Sturm & Drang, £44
“My photographs aim to provoke a scrutiny of the environment we are living in,” says Peter Hauser. Shot close-up on black-and-white negative film, Angst addresses modern anxieties: climate change, consumption and capitalism. It’s bound in PVC film, representing the “ultimate contradiction between the surface and what lies beneath”.
Open Studio: Do-It-Yourself Art Projects by Contemporary Artists
Sharon Coplan Hurowitz and Amanda Benchley; Phaidon, £59.95
What goes on in the studios of The Haas Brothers, KAWS, Marina Abramović and John Currin? Open Studio captures these creative forces in the act of making an original project designed for readers to recreate at home. Featuring pull-out templates and other supplies, the title guides you through the processes of each artist’s singular project.
Cy Twombly: Making Past Present
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, £50
Photographs of Cy Twombly’s home in Rome, with its baroque golden chairs and severe-looking marble busts, reveal that the artist, known for his modernist, abstract expressionist paintings, was in fact fascinated by antiquity. This obsession forms the subject of a new book on his work, Cy Twombly: Making Past Present, which places the artist’s paintings, drawings and sculptures alongside classical works, including some from his own collection, and essays from writers such as Anne Carson and Brooke Holmes.
National Anthem: America’s Queer Rodeo
Luke Gilford; Damiani, £50
The International Gay Rodeo Association is the little-known organising body for the LGBTQI+ cowboy and cowgirl communities in North America. Based out of rural Colorado, it arranges educational programmes and competitions and teaches athletic skills, care for animals and self-confidence to the community. Photographer Luke Gilford, himself the son of a professional bull rider, spent three years documenting the scene. The resulting book is a glorious, poetic celebration of this singular subculture.
Perfect Strangers: New York City Street Photographs
Joel Meyerowitz and Melissa O’Shaughnessy; Aperture, £35
“Now, cities everywhere have been emptied of street life,” writes photographer Joel Meyerowitz of the new title Perfect Strangers: New York City Street Photographs, the debut monograph from Melissa O’Shaughnessy. This book serves to capture what life looked like on the streets of New York before the pandemic hit: a heady bustle of families, tourists, businesspeople and shoppers.
The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Illusion of an Everlasting Summer
Alessandra Sanguinetti; Mack Books, £55
In 2003, New York-born and Buenos Aires-raised photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti published a photographic study of two cousins living in rural Argentina, as they grew from young girls into adolescents. In this new book, Sanguinetti returns to the same pair, this time exploring their journey from teenagers to young adults, through romance, pregnancy and motherhood. It’s at once a chronicle of the passage of time and an ode to the timelessness of female companionship.
Amy Sillman: Faux Pas, Selected Writings and Drawings
After 8 Books, €20
Best known for her large-scale gestural paintings, Amy Sillman has her illustrations and essays foregrounded in this title. Cartoons, drawings and portraits sit alongside written pieces ranging from queer readings of abstract expressionism to the role of the body in making art. Says Sillman: it’s about that “moment of tension between the ideal and the real, where what’s supposed to happen goes awry… That tension is what abstraction is partly about: the subject no longer entirely in control of the plot”.
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