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YA Book Club POSTPONED! Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel this Saturday's YA book club meeting. We will reschedule and post it here and on our social media as soon as we can. 

Art & Design Writing

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 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.

ART ON MY MIND: VISUAL POLITIC

ART ON MY MIND: VISUAL POLITIC

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"As erudite and sophisticated as hooks is, she is also eminently readable, even exhilarating." --Booklist

In Art on My Mind, bell hooks, a leading cultural critic, responds to the ongoing dialogues about producing, exhibiting, and criticizing art and aesthetics in an art world increasingly concerned with identity politics. Always concerned with the liberatory black struggle, hooks positions her writings on visual politics within the ever-present question of how art can be an empowering and revolutionary force within the black community.

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.

Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds

Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds

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In Designs for the Pluriverse Arturo Escobar presents a new vision of design theory and practice aimed at channeling design's world-making capacity toward ways of being and doing that are deeply attuned to justice and the Earth. Noting that most design-from consumer goods and digital technologies to built environments-currently serves capitalist ends, Escobar argues for the development of an "autonomous design" that eschews commercial and modernizing aims in favor of more collaborative and placed-based approaches. Such design attends to questions of environment, experience, and politics while focusing on the production of human experience based on the radical interdependence of all beings. Mapping autonomous design's principles to the history of decolonial efforts of indigenous and Afro-descended people in Latin America, Escobar shows how refiguring current design practices could lead to the creation of more just and sustainable social orders.
Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency

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In this remarkable, inspiring collection of essays, acclaimed writer and critic Olivia Laing makes a brilliant case for why art matters, especially in the turbulent political weather of the twenty-first century.

Funny Weather brings together a career's worth of Laing's writing about art and culture, examining their role in our political and emotional lives. She profiles Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O'Keeffe, reads Maggie Nelson and Sally Rooney, writes love letters to David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and explores loneliness and technology, women and alcohol, sex and the body. With characteristic originality and compassion, she celebrates art as a force of resistance and repair, an antidote to a frightening political time.

We're often told that art can't change anything. Laing argues that it can. Art changes how we see the world. It makes plain inequalities and it offers fertile new ways of living.

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.

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, this memoir of one woman's later in life career change is "a smart, funny and compelling case for going after your heart's desires, no matter your age" (Essence).

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?

Bringing to bear incisive insights from two careers, Painter weaves a frank, funny, and often surprising tale of her move from academia to art in this 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).

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.

REGARDING THE PAIN OF OTHERS

REGARDING THE PAIN OF OTHERS

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Twenty-five years after her classic On Photography, Susan Sontag returns to the subject of visual representations of war and violence in our culture today.

How does the spectacle of the sufferings of others (via television or newsprint) affect us? Are viewers inured--or incited--to violence by the depiction of cruelty? In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and the Nazi death camps, to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Israel and Palestine, and New York City on September 11, 2001.

In Regarding the Pain of Others Susan Sontag once again changes the way we think about the uses and meanings of images in our world, and offers an important reflection about how war itself is waged (and understood) in our time.

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

Theory of Colours:

Theory of Colours:

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The wavelength theory of light and color had been firmly established by the time the great German poet published his Theory of Colours in 1810. Nevertheless, Goethe believed that the theory derived from a fundamental error, in which an incidental result was mistaken for a elemental principle. Far from affecting a knowledge of physics, he maintained that such a background would inhibit understanding. The conclusions Goethe draws here rest entirely upon his personal observations.
This volume does not have to be studied to be appreciated. The author's subjective theory of colors permits him to speak persuasively of color harmony and aesthetics. These notions may evoke a positive response on their merits, but even among those who regard them as pure fantasy, the grace and style of Goethe's exposition provide abundant rewards. Although his scientific reasoning on this subject has long since been dismissed, modern readers continue to appreciate the beauty and sweep of Goethe's conjectures regarding the connection between color and philosophical ideas. In addition, he offers insights into early 19th-century beliefs and modes of thought as well as a taste of European life during the Enlightenment.
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.


Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

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An updated version of the classic volume on the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Every book about wabi-sabi is based on the paradigm introduced in the original edition of this book.
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.