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Art

A Major Exhibition and Monograph, Amy Sherald’s ‘The World We Make’ Shapes a Hopeful Future Through Monumental Portraiture

October 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

“For love, and for country” (2022), oil on linen, 123 x 93 x 2 1/2 inches. All images © Amy Sherald, courtesy of Hauser & Wirth

In her first major exhibition outside of the U.S., artist Amy Sherald (previously) presents a body of work that’s distinctly American. The World We Make, which is now on view, brings Sherald’s signature grisaille portraiture to Hauser & Wirth London. Monumental in scale and primarily rendered on flat, monochromatic backdrops, the oil paintings reference a sense of determined optimism to shape reality. “The works reflect a desire to record life as I see it and as I feel it. My eyes search for people who are and who have the kind of light that provides the present and the future with hope,” the artist says.

Included in the exhibition is a strikingly subversive interpretation of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s black-and-white photo “V-J Day in Times Square,” which shows a Navy sailor dipping and kissing a woman following Japan’s surrender in WWII. In Sherald’s “For love, and for country,” two men dressed in mariner garb embrace in a similar pose, subverting the iconic image of U.S. victory, while illuminating the inequities that Black, gay men in the military face still today.

Questions of masculinity and American identity pervade the show, particularly in works like “A God Blessed Land (Empire of Dirt),” which positions an overall-clad farmer atop a John Deere tractor. This agricultural equipment echoes the themes of freedom and movement in Sherald’s “Deliverance” diptych that features two figures balancing on their dirt bikes as they perilously soar mid-air. “The tractor and motorbike paintings explore different expressions of self-sovereignty in our communities and how these expressions might carry into the future. Vehicles become a literal metaphor here for forward momentum, for movement, and potential movement,” Sherald says.

Hauser & Wirth Publishers has released the artist’s first comprehensive monograph to coincide with The World We Make, which you can see through December 23. Find more from Sherald on Instagram.

 

“To tell her story you must walk in her shoes” (2022), oil on linen, 54 x 43 x 2 1/2 inches

“A God Blessed Land (Empire of Dirt)” (2020), oil on linen, 96 x 130 x 2 1/2 inches

“Deliverance” (2020), oil on linen, 108 x 124 x 2 1/2 inches

“Deliverance” (2020), oil on linen, 108 x 124 x 2 1/2 inches

“Kingdom” (2022), oil on linen, 117 x 92 x 2 1/2 inches

“As soft as she is…” (2022) oil on linen, 54 x 43 x 2 1/2 inches

 

 

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History Illustration Science

Six Centuries, 700 Scientists, 300 Groundbreaking Milestones: A New Book Examines the Invaluable History of Science Illustrations

October 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

Sagittal section of the body of a male; An Atlas of Topographical Anatomy: After Plane Sections of Frozen Bodies, Christian Wilhelm Braune, Philadelphia, 1877 © Courtesy US National Library of Medicine. All images courtesy Taschen

From medicine and biology to chemistry and astronomy, a massive new book published by Taschen chronicles the unparalleled contributions of illustrations to scientific study. Compiling more than 300 distinct charts, renderings, and graphs within its 436 pages, the volume opens with early developments like Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation and Nicolaus Copernicus’s heliocentrism, which positioned the sun at the center of the solar system. It then travels throughout the following six centuries, capturing everything from the use of anesthesia and zoological studies to current-day renderings of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. In addition to the illustrations themselves, the book also details how such visuals continue to impact both the theories and principles that are the foundation for scientific discovery and the general public’s conceptions of how the world works.

Science Illustration. A History of Visual Knowledge from the 15th Century to Today is available now from Taschen and Bookshop.

 

“A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2”, an ultra-high-resolution computer model gives scientists a look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe, Goddard Space Flight Center’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA, 2014. Image © NASA

A slice of the lower part of the root of horseradish cut transversely, An Idea of a Phytological History Propounded, Nehemiah Grew, London, 1673 © ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Rar 6191

Spectra of the stars and nebulae, ‘Spectrum Analysis,’ Henry E. Roscoe, London, 1885. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Libraries, Washington, D.C.

Application of anesthesia, ‘Illustrations of Strange Diseases and Their Surgical Treatments,’ Hanaoka Seishū, 1805, illustrated by Tangetsu. Image courtesy US National Library of Medicine

Montgolfier balloon carrying the Marquis d’Arlandes and M. Pilatre de Rozier, Paris, 1783 © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Tissandier Collection

 

 



Photography Science

Sunlight Illuminates a Full Spectrum of Color As It Filters Through Hummingbird Wings in a New Photo Book

September 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Opal Wings.” All images © Christian Spencer, shared with permission

Poetry in the Sky is a fitting title for a book of the elegant images of Australian photographer Christian Spencer. Slated for release next month, the volume gathers approximately two decades’ worth of birds Spencer encountered during visits to the Atlantic Forest in Brazil and also in Australia, including macaws, emus, and the species he’s perhaps most notable for documenting: the hummingbird.

Taken when the creatures are mid-flight and beating their wings at incredible speeds, Spencer’s striking photos capture sunlight as it filters through their feathers, emitting a full spectrum of color. The opalescent phenomenon is caused by diffraction and transforms their limbs into tiny, ephemeral rainbows.

Poetry in the Sky contains several photos of the prismatic birds—many of which we’ve featured previously on Colossal—in addition to dozens of additional images of avian life. Pre-order a copy from Bookshop, pick up a print,  and find more of Spencer’s work on Instagram.

 

“Stardust”

“Sundance”

“Hummingbird Rain”

“Holy Water”

“3 Amigos”

 

 



Art History Illustration

A 500-Page Book Explores the Japanese Folkloric Tradition of the Supernatural ‘Yōkai’ Entities

September 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of PIE International, shared with permission

Translating to “strange apparition,” the Japanese word yōkai refers to supernatural beings, mutant monsters, and spirits. Mischievous, generous, and sometimes vengeful, the creatures are rooted in folklore and experienced a boom during the Edo period when artists would ascribe inexplicable phenomena to the unearthly characters. Japan’s Miyoshi Mononoke Museum in the Hiroshima Prefecture houses the largest yōkai collection in the world with more than 5,000 works, and a book recently published by PIE International showcases 60 of the most iconic and bizarre pieces from the institution.

Encompassing a range of mediums from painted scrolls and nishiki-e woodblock prints to kimonos and metalworks, Yōkai is a massive volume of 500-plus pages of colorful illustrations, paired with text by author, collector, and curator Koichi Yumoto. The book reproduces rarely seen works by artists like the renowned ukiyo-e printmaker Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, showcasing the pieces in incredible detail and contextualizing their role in the broader tradition and art history.

Yōkai is currently available on Bookshop.

 

 

 



Art Craft History

A New Book Explores the Practices of 38 Black Ceramicists Working Across Generations to Define the Medium

September 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

Morel Doucet, “Skin Congregate on the Eve of Every Mountain” (2019), slip-cast porcelain with decals. Photo by David Gary Lloyd, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Myrtis

Ceramics is both versatile and enduring, allowing for myriad aesthetic sensibilities, degrees of functionality, and the ability to last lifetimes. A new book published by Schiffer Craft gathers the practices of 38 Black Americans who have harnessed the broad potential of clay as they explore various aspects of history, politics, craft, and culture.

Ranging from the colonial east coast and the Harlem Renaissance to the current century, Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists compiles interviews, photos, and short essays into an expansive, diverse survey. In addition to artists working today like Morel Doucet (previously), Chotsani Elaine Dean, and Danielle Carelock, the book also recounts earlier generations who used the medium as a catalyst for their creative practices. Augusta Savage (1892-1962), for example, is known for translating the humanity of her subjects into figurative clay forms. She also went on to found the Savage Studio for Arts and Crafts in 1930s New York and helped secure funding for her students as part of the Works Progress Administration.

The book also recognizes the contributions of nearly 200 ceramicists who were enslaved and working in commercial potteries in Edgefield, South Carolina. Among those is David Drake, who is thought to have produced more than 100,000 stoneware vessels throughout his lifetime.

Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists, written by donald a clark and Chotsani Elaine Dean, is currently available for pre-order on Bookshop.

 

Morel Doucet. Image © David Gary Lloyd

Paul S. Briggs, “Double Cuttle” (2011), stoneware, glaze, 12 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

Chotsani Elaine Dean, “Plantation Sugar Jar: ‘for Chloe Spears’ (1750-1815),” (2019), porcelain and paper clay, 5.5 x 3.5 x 3.75 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

Danielle Carelock, “Foliage Mugs,” earthenware, hand-painted luster overglaze, 2 × 4 inches. Photo courtesy of Saltstone Ceramics

Keith Wallace Smith, “Dream Dancer” (2009), porcelain, terra-cotta, and rope, 21 × 13 × 17 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

 

 



Photography

Historic Photographs in ‘Love Immortal’ Celebrate the Timeless Relationship Between Dogs and Their People

September 8, 2022

Kate Mothes

Images from the book ‘Love Immortal’ by Anthony Cavo, shared with permission. Copyright © 2022 by Anthony Cavo, reprinted courtesy of Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

After the first known photograph was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce from the upstairs window of his home in Burgundy, France, the world became enthralled by the newfound ability to capture their loved ones—and their furry friends—for posterity. Love Immortal, a new book by antique dealer and collector Anthony Cavo, underscores the timeless and universal recognition that, to many, dogs are a fundamental part of the family.

When he was seven years old, the author began trawling New York City neighborhoods with his red wagon on the hunt for treasures. A chip off the old block—his father was also an antique dealer—Cavo grew up with a deep-seated love and appreciation for vintage objects, especially photographs, and for more than fifty years, he has been compiling an incredible catalogue of images, including hundreds of portraits of dogs and their doting owners.

The new volume published by Harper Design features more than 200 photographs made between 1840 and 1930 that span the medium’s technological spectrum, from Daguerrotypes to Ambrotypes, tintypes to cartes de visite, to sepia and black-and-white images. Portraying beloved terriers, retrievers, or hounds as expressive and lively as if they could leap off the table, run out of the frame, or—doing what dogs do best—doze off at any moment. You can find a copy at Bookshop.org. (via PetaPixel)