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Art Photography

PRIME: A Behemoth New Book Surveys A Broad Segment of Millennial Artists Working Today

May 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

Tau Lewis. All images courtesy of Phaidon, shared with permission

Across nearly 450 pages, PRIME: Art’s Next Generation offers a broad and insightful survey of the Millenials defining the future of the art world. As its title suggests, the massive tome is a primer on the innovative, subversive, and category-defying works that are captivating curators and art professionals. The volume is collated based on time period alone, bringing together more than 100 international artists working across mediums who were born between 1980 and 1995—this includes  Jordan Casteel, Tau Lewis (previously), and Firelei Báez (previously)—in a look at what’s emerged from a cultural and creative landscape shaped by the internet and increasing connectivity. PRIME will be released on May 25 and is available for pre-order on Phaidon and Bookshop.

 

Firelei Báez

Amoako Boafo

Buhlebezwe Siwani

Evan Ifekoya

Louia Fratino

Martine Gutierrez

 

 



Photography

A New Book Illuminates the Lives of the Elusive, Pink-Plumed Flamingos in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula

May 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

The fluid that feeds the nestling is called crop milk. Both adults produce this secretion in the upper part of the intestine. All images © Photo © Claudio Contreras Koob and Nature Picture Library, shared with permission

In the Yucatán Peninsula, the rich wetland environment of the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve is one of the most important sites for flamingos. The pink-pigmented birds flock to the area for breeding each year, with officials registering approximately 15,000 nests and 30,000 adults inhabiting the area in 2021 alone.

A biologist by training, photographer Claudio Contreras Koob has spent years visiting the lanky, big-beaked avians in the reserve and documenting their mannerisms and habits, amassing a broad collection of images now compiled in a book published by teNeues Verla in collaboration with the Nature Picture Library. Flamingo contains 132 of Contreras Koob’s shots spanning from aerial views showing the creatures as rosy dots on the green landscape to intimate glimpses of a chick peeking through its mother’s plumage for a feeding—the photographer shares with Inhabitat that the latter image captures the critically important blood-red crop milk, which parents regurgitate to nourish their young.

Both elusive and widely recognized, the birds are increasingly vulnerable due to pollution, the effects of the climate crisis, and human encroachment, and the photos illuminate the potential loss if they’re left unprotected. Contreras Koob describes the collection as “covering all aspects of the flamingo life cycle: feeding, bathing, migration, courtship, life in the colony, chick rearing, etc. to present a portfolio that allows us to understand the complex life that flamingos go through,” a process that required patience and repeated encounters to encapsulate. He explains:

By far the biggest challenge is to be able to get close to them. They live in muddy, slimy wetlands or in some very salty pools, and you just cannot walk to them and expect to take your images. It is easy to scare them, and once one of them enters in panic mode, all others follow suit. By not taking the time, you could create havoc in a colony.

Flamingo is currently available from Bookshop, and you can find more from Contreras Koob on Instagram.

 

To incubate their eggs, flamingos build nesting sites in their colonies. They consist of mud cones that must be constantly maintained so that rising water does not wash away the eggs.

Right: An aerial view of flamingos on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula

“Soon, I see a little white head peek out of the orange plumage. I imagine that this little creature must think the whole planet is orange,” Contreras Koob says.

As they grow, the chicks begin to explore the surroundings of the colony, always under the watchful eye of several adult animals who look after them.

The Celestún estuary is a popular place for flamingos and is near the cenotes, underwater water reservoirs that inject fresh water into the middle of a lagoon as if from a spring.

 

 



Art Design

A Mammoth Three-Volume Book Collection Presents Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Stunning 1:1 Detail

April 26, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images courtesy of Callaway Arts and Entertainment and Scripta Maneant

Millions of tourists stream through the hallowed halls of Vatican City to see one of Western art history’s most treasured artworks: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Gazing up 44 feet from the floor, visitors witness dramatic biblical scenes unfold throughout the monumental painting as it sprawls across the expansive architecture. The only drawback of looking up at such a height is that it’s difficult to discern smaller features and subtleties. The Sistine Chapel, a massive three-volume tome published by Callaway Arts and Entertainment and Italy’s Scripta Maneant, is dedicated to the details and presents up-close 1:1 scale images of the artist’s seminal painting in a limited-edition book.

Reminiscent of the way Michelangelo erected scaffolding to paint the scenes over 500 years ago, over the course of 65 nights, two photographers ascended a 33-foot scaffolding to access close views of the ceiling. The structure was assembled and disassembled every evening to allow tourists to visit during the day. Approximately 270,000 high-resolution images captured the incredible characteristics of movement, contrast, and expression that cannot be seen from ground level.

Printed in Italian and English and limited to 1999 copies by the Vatican—which also stipulated there will be no reprints—only a few English language copies remain, although the price tag is an eye-watering $22,000. The 20-pound set includes additional masterpieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and other Renaissance artists. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Photography

Foliage and Moss Renew Abandoned Sites Around the Globe with Verdant Signs of Life

April 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

A train repair workshop in Hungary. All images © Jonk, shared with permission

Spanning an open-air Taiwanese warehouse to a Cuban theater teeming with vibrant leaves, the sites that Jonathan Jimenez visits are relics of the industries and cultural institutions of the past. The French photographer, who works as Jonk (previously), has cultivated a practice centered on documenting abandoned structures around the globe, many of which have been cloaked in mosses, lush foliage, and even jungle-like vegetation.

In his most recent collection, Jonk visits 35 locations in 25 countries and captures the crumbling roofs, peeling facades, and rusted trains in their midst. He compiles the series in his seventh book titled Urbex Monde, which pairs the largely architectural photos with notes, histories of the sites, and anecdotes from his encounters in a consideration of nature’s enduring ability to reclaim what humans have left behind.

The new volume is available from Arthaud—note that the text is written in French—and you can follow Jonk’s future travels on Instagram.

 

A theater in Abkhazia

A house in Montserrat

A car graveyard in Sweden

A theater in Cuba

A warehouse in Taiwan

An asylum in Italy

A car graveyard in Sweden

A house in Namibia

 

 



Art Design

1,400 Pages of Rembrandt’s Hand Drawings Fill a Wearable Book Bracelet

April 5, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Lyske Gais and Lia Duinker, shared with permission

Lined with gilt edges and secured with a gold clasp, a bracelet by the Amsterdam-based duo of Lyske Gais and Lia Duinker packs a vast art historical collection within the span of a wrist. The pair created a wearable catalog back in 2015 that binds 1,400 pages into a thick book. Its contents contain black-and-white hand illustrations from 303 of Rembrandt’s etchings and drawings, subject matter inspired by its availability in Rijksmuseum’s digital archive. “We liked that it would be something you could wear, have your own collection with you,” they tell Colossal.

Titled “Rembrandt’s Hands and a Lion’s Paw,” the book bracelet uses brocheersteek, a method of traditional cross-stitching, and each page is titled and numbered. An additional index helps navigate the hundreds of illustrations held within the leather covers.

Cooper Hewitt acquired the original work, which also won the Rijksmuseum’s 2015 Rijksstudio Award, and Gais and Duinker followed the design with a necklace in a similar style that features Rembrandt’s dogs. There are a few of the original 10 limited-edition bracelets available on the pair’s site. (via Women’s Art)

 

Photo by Frieda Mellema

Photo by Frieda Mellema

 

 



Art

A New Book Explores the Innovative Sculptures of Abstract Artist El Anatsui

March 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images courtesy of Damiani Publishing, shared with permission

Ghanaian-born Nigeria-based artist El Anatsui is known for sprawling metal sculptures that drape, twist, and fold across expansive surfaces in colorful, undulating patterns. A forthcoming book, El Anatsui: The Reinvention of Sculpture, traces his work and career that has pushed the boundaries of sculpture, starting with the terracotta pieces made in the late 1970s. In the following decade, he transitioned to using wood and began to experiment with scale, layers, color, and pattern. These pieces led to the development of his larger metal works, which are made by manually cutting, twisting, or flattening pieces of aluminum such as bottle caps and then stitching the material together with copper wire, creating enormous, textile-like sculptures.

Published by Damiani, the new 360-page volume is the product of more than three decades of research and collaboration with the artist by scholars Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu, who place Anatsui’s work in the historical context of post-independence Ghana and mid-20th century African modernism in art and writing. Hundreds of color images examine the sculptures in detail, giving the reader an in-depth insight into the artist’s process, how transformation is central to his pieces, and how his approach evolved over time.

El Anatsui: The Reinvention of Sculpture is now available in the U.K. and can be purchased from Damiani. It will be released in late April in the U.S. and is available for pre-order from Bookshop.