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Art & Design Writing

ABSTRACT ART

ABSTRACT ART

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Since the early years of the twentieth century, Western abstract art has fascinated, outraged, and bewildered audiences. Its path to acceptance within the artistic mainstream was slow. This revised edition traces the origins and evolution of abstract art, placing it in broad cultural context.

Well-respected scholar Anna Moszynska examines the pioneering work of Hilma af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, and Piet Mondrian alongside the Russian Constructivists, the De Stijl group, and the Bauhaus artists, contrasting European geometric abstraction in the 1930s and '40s with the emphasis on personal expression after World War II. Op, kinetic, and minimal art of the postwar period is discussed and illustrated in detail, and new chapters bring the account up to date, exploring the crisis in abstraction of the 1980s and its revival--in paint, fabric, sculpture, and installation--in recent decades.

The first edition of Abstract Art, published in 1990, was acclaimed by reviewers. Revised with extensive updates, this book includes new chapters on recent trends and offers fully global coverage of art produced in North and South America, Europe, China, Korea, and the Middle East. Now in full color and comprehensively revised, it will serve as the best introduction to abstract art for a new generation.

ART AS THERAPY

ART AS THERAPY

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Two authorities on popular culture reveal the ways in which art can enhance mood and enrich lives - now available in paperback

This passionate, thought-provoking, often funny, and always-accessible book proposes a new way of looking at art, suggesting that it can be useful, relevant, and therapeutic. Through practical examples, the world-renowned authors argue that certain great works of art have clues as to how to manage the tensions and confusions of modern life. Chapters on love, nature, money, and politics show how art can help with many common difficulties, from forging good relationships to coming to terms with mortality.

ART LOVERS GT FLORENCE

ART LOVERS GT FLORENCE

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No city but Florence contains such an intense concentration of art produced in such a short span of time. The sheer number and proximity of works of painting, sculpture, and architecture in Florence can be so overwhelming that Florentine hospitals treat hundreds of visitors each year for symptoms brought on by trying to see them all, an illness famously identified with the French author Stendhal.

While most guidebooks offer only brief descriptions of a large number of works, with little discussion of the historical background, Judith Testa gives a fresh perspective on the rich and brilliant art of the Florentine Renaissance in An Art Lover's Guide to Florence. Concentrating on a number of the greatest works, by such masters as Botticelli and Michelangelo, Testa explains each piece in terms of what it meant to the people who produced it and for whom they made it, deftly treating the complex interplay of politics, sex, and religion that were involved in the creation of those works.

With Testa as a guide, armchair travelers and tourists alike will delight in the fascinating world of Florentine art and history.

ART OF CRUELTY: A RECKONING

ART OF CRUELTY: A RECKONING

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Writing in the tradition of Susan Sontag and Elaine Scarry, Maggie Nelson has emerged as one of our foremost cultural critics with this landmark work about representations of cruelty and violence in art. From Sylvia Plath's poetry to Francis Bacon's paintings, from the Saw franchise to Yoko Ono's performance art, Nelson's nuanced exploration across the artistic landscape ultimately offers a model of how one might balance strong ethical convictions with an equally strong appreciation for work that tests the limits of taste, taboo, and permissibility.

BOOM

BOOM

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The meteoric rise of the largest unregulated financial market in the world-for contemporary art-is driven by a few passionate, guileful, and very hard-nosed dealers. They can make and break careers and fortunes.

The contemporary art market is an international juggernaut, throwing off multimillion-dollar deals as wealthy buyers move from fair to fair, auction to auction, party to glittering party. But none of it would happen without the dealers-the tastemakers who back emerging artists and steer them to success, often to see them picked off by a rival.

Dealers operate within a private world of handshake agreements, negotiating for the highest commissions. Michael Shnayerson, a longtime contributing editor to Vanity Fair, writes the first ever definitive history of their activities. He has spoken to all of today's so-called mega dealers-Larry Gagosian, David Zwirner, Arne and Marc Glimcher, and Iwan Wirth-along with dozens of other dealers-from Irving Blum to Gavin Brown-who worked with the greatest artists of their times: Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, and more.

This kaleidoscopic history begins in the mid-1940s in genteel poverty with a scattering of galleries in midtown Manhattan, takes us through the ramshackle 1950s studios of Coenties Slip, the hipster locations in SoHo and Chelsea, London's Bond Street, and across the terraces of Art Basel until today. Now, dealers and auctioneers are seeking the first billion-dollar painting. It hasn't happened yet, but they are confident they can push the price there soon.

CALDER THE CONQUEST OF SPACE

CALDER THE CONQUEST OF SPACE

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The concluding volume to the first biography of one of the most important, influential, and beloved twentieth-century sculptors, and one of the greatest artists in the cultural history of America--is a vividly written, illuminating account of his triumphant later years.

The second and final volume of this magnificent biography begins during World War II, when Calder--known to all as Sandy--and his wife, Louisa, opened their home to a stream of artists and writers in exile from Europe. In the postwar decades, they divided their time between the United States and France, as Calder made his first monumental public sculptures and received blockbuster commissions that included Expo '67 in Montreal and the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Jed Perl makes clear how Calder's radical sculptural imagination shaped the minimalist and kinetic art movements that emerged in the 1960s. And we see, as well, that through everything--their ever-expanding friendships with artists and writers of all stripes; working to end the war in Vietnam; hosting riotous dance parties at their Connecticut home; seeing the "mobile," Calder's essential artistic invention, find its way into Webster's dictionary--Calder and Louisa remained the risk-taking, singularly bohemian couple they had been since first meeting at the end of the Roaring Twenties. The biography ends with Calder's death in 1976 at the age of seventy-eight--only weeks after an encyclopedic retrospective of his work opened at the Whitney Museum in New York--but leaves us with a new, clearer understanding of his legacy, both as an artist and a man.

CALDER THE CONQUEST OF TIME

CALDER THE CONQUEST OF TIME

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The first biography of America's greatest twentieth-century sculptor, Alexander Calder: an authoritative and revelatory achievement, based on a wealth of letters and papers never before available, and written by one of our most renowned art critics.

Alexander Calder is one of the most beloved and widely admired artists of the twentieth century. Anybody who has ever set foot in a museum knows him as the inventor of the mobile, America's unique contribution to modern art. But only now, forty years after the artist's death, is the full story of his life being told in this biography, which is based on unprecedented access to Calder's letters and papers as well as scores of interviews. Jed Perl shows us why Calder was--and remains--a barrier breaker, an avant-garde artist with mass appeal.
This beautifully written, deeply researched book opens with Calder's wonderfully peripatetic upbringing in Philadelphia, California, and New York. Born in 1898 into a family of artists--his father was a well-known sculptor, his mother a painter and a pioneering feminist--Calder went on as an adult to forge important friendships with a who's who of twentieth-century artists, including Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Braque, and Piet Mondrian. We move through Calder's early years studying engineering to his first artistic triumphs in Paris in the late 1920s, and to his emergence as a leader in the international abstract avant-garde. His marriage in 1931 to the free-spirited Louisa James--she was a great-niece of Henry James--is a richly romantic story, related here with a wealth of detail and nuance.
Calder's life takes on a transatlantic richness, from New York's Greenwich Village in the Roaring Twenties, to the Left Bank of Paris during the Depression, and then back to the United States, where the Calders bought a run-down old farmhouse in western Connecticut. New light is shed on Calder's lifelong interest in dance, theater, and performance, ranging from the Cirque Calder, the theatrical event that became his calling card in bohemian Paris to collaborations with the choreographer Martha Graham and the composer Virgil Thomson. More than 350 illustrations in color and black-and-white--including little-known works and many archival photographs that have never before been seen--further enrich the story.

CONTEMP AFRICAN ART

CONTEMP AFRICAN ART

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Contemporary African art has grown out of the diverse histories and cultural heritage of the African continent and its diaspora. It is not characterized by one particular style, technique, or theme, but by a bricolage-like attitude toward art making, incorporating and building upon the structures from which older, pre- colonial and colonial genres were made.

In this revised and updated edition of Contemporary African Art, Sidney Littlefield Kasfir examines the major themes, developments, and accomplishments in African art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Organized thematically, the book includes new chapters on the history of African photography and the growth of the global art market, alongside significant discussions of patronage, mediation, artistic training, and national and diaspora identities.

Generously illustrated throughout, including work by artists such as El Anatsui, Yinka Shonibare, William Kentridge, and Ibrahim El-Salahi, the book draws on interviews with many contemporary artists and art world professionals. Contemporary African Art is a fascinating, comprehensive survey of art from the African continent and its global diaspora.

FRIDA A TO Z: THE LIFE OF AN I

FRIDA A TO Z: THE LIFE OF AN I

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An illustrated A to Z celebrating the unparalleled impact of the artistic phenomenon that is Frida Kahlo.

This intricately illustrated and fastidiously researched book unpacks the life of Frida Kahlo, who herself was larger than life. From growing up in Coyoacán, Mexico City, in her family home, where she embraced sports--including wrestling--to overcome her childhood ill health; her school days as one of very few women attending Mexico City's renowned National Preparatory School (where she met Diego Rivera), and the tragic accident that would leave her with a lifetime of pain and artistic ambition.

Track Frida's rise as one of Mexico's most important and celebrated artists, her friendships with European surrealists, the sensation caused by her first exhibition in New York, her contribution to popular culture, and the unparalleled phenomenon that is Frida Kahlo. This book looks at the life, art, collaborations, friendships, politics, beauty, and agony surrounding one of the twentiethth century's most distinctive and important artistic voices--all in a brilliantly illustrated A to Z format.

GOLDEN THREAD

GOLDEN THREAD

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From colorful 30,000-year-old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to the Indian calicoes that sparked the Industrial Revolution, The Golden Thread weaves an illuminating story of human ingenuity. Design journalist Kassia St. Clair guides us through the technological advancements and cultural customs that would redefi ne human civilization--from the fabric that allowed mankind to achieve extraordinary things (traverse the oceans and shatter athletic records) and survive in unlikely places (outer space and the South Pole). She peoples her story with a motley cast of characters, including Xiling, the ancient Chinese empress credited with inventing silk, to Richard the Lionhearted and Bing Crosby. Offering insights into the economic and social dimensions of clothmaking--and countering the enduring, often demeaning, association of textiles as "merely women's work"--The Golden Thread offers an alternative guide to our past, present, and future.

HOT COLD HEAVY LIGHT 100 ART W

HOT COLD HEAVY LIGHT 100 ART W

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Hot Cold Heavy Light collects 100 writings--some long, some short--that taken together forma group portrait of many of the world's most significant and interesting artists. From Pablo Picasso to Cindy Sherman, Old Masters to contemporary masters, paintings to comix, and saints to charlatans, Schjeldahl ranges widely through the diverse and confusing art world, an expert guide to a dazzling scene. No other writer enhances the reader's experience of art in precise, jargon-free prose as Schjeldahl does. His reviews are more essay than criticism, and he offers engaging and informative accounts of artists and their work. For more than three decades, he has written about art with Emersonian openness and clarity. A fresh perspective, an unexpected connection, a lucid gloss on a big idea awaits the reader on every page of this big, absorbing, buzzing book.
IN PRAISE OF SHADOWS

IN PRAISE OF SHADOWS

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An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of laquerware under candlelight and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure.
LIFE W/PICASSO

LIFE W/PICASSO

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Françoise Gilot's candid memoir remains the most revealing portrait of Picasso written, and gives fascinating insight into the intense and creative life shared by two modern artists.

Françoise Gilot was in her early twenties when she met the sixty-one-year-old Pablo Picasso in 1943. Brought up in a well-to-do upper-middle-class family, who had sent her to Cambridge and the Sorbonne and hoped that she would go into law, the young woman defied their wishes and set her sights on being an artist. Her introduction to Picasso led to a friendship, a love affair, and a relationship of ten years, during which Gilot gave birth to Picasso's two children, Paloma and Claude. Gilot was one of Picasso's muses; she was also very much her own woman, determined to make herself into the remarkable painter she did indeed become.

Life with Picasso is an indispensable record of his thinking about art, as well as an often very funny account of his relationships with other artists and with dealers and hangers-on. It is also about Françoise Gilot. This is a brilliant self-portrait of a young woman of enormous talent and exacting intelligence figuring out who she wants to be.

MOVEMENTS IN ART SINCE 1945

MOVEMENTS IN ART SINCE 1945

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Revised and redesigned for the first time since 2001, this standard introduction to visual art in the postwar era examines the movements, trends, and artists from abstract expressionism to the present day.

Writing with exceptional clarity and a strong sense of narrative, Edward Lucie- Smith demystifies the work of dozens of artists and reveals how the art world has interacted with social, political, and environmental concerns. This book includes detailed coverage of major developments within the artistic community, such as pop art, conceptual and performance work, neo-expressionism, and minimalist art across the globe, including Asia, Africa, and Latin America. A new chapter on art since 2000 includes discussions of work by Banksy and Ai Weiwei, as well as recent trends in art from Russia and Eastern Europe.

Featuring nearly 300 images of key artworks that range from graffiti from 1980s New York to contemporary painting from China, this updated edition of Movements in Art Since 1945 is as global in its reach as art has become in the twenty-first century.

Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement

Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement

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Five women revolutionize the modern art world in postwar America in this "gratifying, generous, and lush" true story from a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist (Jennifer Szalai, New York Times).

Set amid the most turbulent social and political period of modern times, Ninth Street Women is the impassioned, wild, sometimes tragic, always exhilarating chronicle of five women who dared to enter the male-dominated world of twentieth-century abstract painting -- not as muses but as artists. From their cold-water lofts, where they worked, drank, fought, and loved, these pioneers burst open the door to the art world for themselves and countless others to come.

Gutsy and indomitable, Lee Krasner was a hell-raising leader among artists long before she became part of the modern art world's first celebrity couple by marrying Jackson Pollock. Elaine de Kooning, whose brilliant mind and peerless charm made her the emotional center of the New York School, used her work and words to build a bridge between the avant-garde and a public that scorned abstract art as a hoax. Grace Hartigan fearlessly abandoned life as a New Jersey housewife and mother to achieve stardom as one of the boldest painters of her generation. Joan Mitchell, whose notoriously tough exterior shielded a vulnerable artist within, escaped a privileged but emotionally damaging Chicago childhood to translate her fierce vision into magnificent canvases. And Helen Frankenthaler, the beautiful daughter of a prominent New York family, chose the difficult path of the creative life.

Her gamble paid off: At twenty-three she created a work so original it launched a new school of painting. These women changed American art and society, tearing up the prevailing social code and replacing it with a doctrine of liberation. In Ninth Street Women, acclaimed author Mary Gabriel tells a remarkable and inspiring story of the power of art and artists in shaping not just postwar America but the future.

OLD IN ART SCHOOL

OLD IN ART SCHOOL

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A Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobigraphy

"A smart, funny and compelling case for going after your heart's desires, no matter your age." --Essence

"Old in Art School is a glorious achievement―bighearted and critical, insightful and entertaining. This book is a cup of courage for everyone who wants to change their lives." ―Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage

Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school--in her sixties--to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves, even as she comes to understand how they may be undervalued; and struggles with the unstable balance between the pursuit of art and the inevitable, sometimes painful demands of a life fully lived.

How are women and artists seen and judged by their age, looks, and race? What does it mean when someone says, "You will never be an artist"? Who defines what "An Artist" is and all that goes with such an identity, and how are these ideas tied to our shared conceptions of beauty, value, and difference?

Old in Art School is Nell Painter's ongoing exploration of those crucial questions. Bringing to bear incisive insights from two careers, Painter weaves a frank, funny, and often surprising tale of her move from academia to art.

ON BEAUTY & BEING JUST

ON BEAUTY & BEING JUST

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Have we become beauty-blind? For two decades or more in the humanities, various political arguments have been put forward against beauty: that it distracts us from more important issues; that it is the handmaiden of privilege; and that it masks political interests. In On Beauty and Being Just Elaine Scarry not only defends beauty from the political arguments against it but also argues that beauty does indeed press us toward a greater concern for justice. Taking inspiration from writers and thinkers as diverse as Homer, Plato, Marcel Proust, Simone Weil, and Iris Murdoch as well as her own experiences, Scarry offers up an elegant, passionate manifesto for the revival of beauty in our intellectual work as well as our homes, museums, and classrooms.


Scarry argues that our responses to beauty are perceptual events of profound significance for the individual and for society. Presenting us with a rare and exceptional opportunity to witness fairness, beauty assists us in our attention to justice. The beautiful object renders fairness, an abstract concept, concrete by making it directly available to our sensory perceptions. With its direct appeal to the senses, beauty stops us, transfixes us, fills us with a surfeit of aliveness. In so doing, it takes the individual away from the center of his or her self-preoccupation and thus prompts a distribution of attention outward toward others and, ultimately, she contends, toward ethical fairness.


Scarry, author of the landmark The Body in Pain and one of our bravest and most creative thinkers, offers us here philosophical critique written with clarity and conviction as well as a passionate plea that we change the way we think about beauty.

SECRET LIVES OF COLOR

SECRET LIVES OF COLOR

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One of USA Today's "100 Books to Read While Stuck at Home During the Coronavirus Crisis"

A dazzling gift, the unforgettable, unknown history of colors and the vivid stories behind them in a beautiful multi-colored volume.

"Beautifully written . . . Full of anecdotes and fascinating research, this elegant compendium has all the answers." --NPR, Best Books of 2017

The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes, and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso's blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history.

In this book, Kassia St. Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colors and where they come from (whether Van Gogh's chrome yellow sunflowers or punk's fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilization. Across fashion and politics, art and war, the secret lives of color tell the vivid story of our culture.

"This passionate and majestic compedium will leave you bathed in the gorgeous optics of light." --Elle

WABI-SABI

WABI-SABI

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Twenty-plus years after the initial publication of Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, Leonard Koren is back with further insights into this seminal aesthetic paradigm. An important book for art and design theorists, and other thoughtful creators.


WAYS OF SEEING

WAYS OF SEEING

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John Berger's seminal text on how to look at art

John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the Sunday Times critic commented: "This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures." By now he has.

"The influence of the series and the book . . . was enormous . . . It opened up for general attention to areas of cultural study that are now commonplace." --Geoff Dyer

"Berger has the ability to cut right through the mystification of the professional art critics . . . He is a liberator of images: and once we have allowed the paintings to work on us directly, we are in a much better position to make a meaningful evaluation." --Peter Fuller, Arts Review
WHOS AFRAID OF CONTEMP ART

WHOS AFRAID OF CONTEMP ART

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What is contemporary art? What makes it contemporary? Who is it for? And why is it so expensive?

From museums and the art market to biennials and the next big thing, Who's Afraid of Contemporary Art? offers concise and pointed insights into today's art scene, decoding "artspeak," explaining what curators do, demystifying conceptual art, exploring emerging art markets, and more. In this easy-to-navigate A to Z guide, the authors' playful explanations draw on key artworks, artists, and events from around the globe, including how the lights going on and off won the Turner Prize, what makes the likes of Marina Abramovic´ and Ai Weiwei such great artists, and why Kanye West would trade his Grammys to be one.

Packed with behind-the-scenes information and delightfully free from jargon, this paperback edition of Who's Afraid of Contemporary Art? is the perfect gallery companion and the go-to guide for when the next big thing leaves you stumped.