Staff Picks Category: Art

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant; illustrated by Melissa Sweet []

book-jacket

view/request in library catalog

Horace couldn’t stop drawing. He drew all the time and said, “Pictures just come to my mind…and I tell my heart to go ahead”. Horace never stopped making pictures. Not while working hard every day to provide for his family and not even when he was in the trenches in France during WWI. Of the war, Horace said, it “brought out all the art in me”. He painted war scenes, bible scenes, and what he saw of everyday life. This is an engaging picture book that will introduce children to a great American artist.

Tagged: , ,

Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close []

book-jacket

view/request in library catalog

Chuck Close created this beautiful autobiography complete with pages of mix and match self-portraits and a glossary of art terms. Close realized his love of art when he was very young. As a result of severe dyslexia, Close was labeled “dumb” and he also had a neuromuscular condition which prevented him from being physically active. The talented Close admits dedication to art saved his life. In this book Close talks about his process for creating his massive paintings and prints. To young artists Close says, “ease is the enemy of the artist. Go ahead and get yourself into trouble”

Tagged: , , , ,

The Art of the Steal by Don Argott []

book-jacket

view/request in library catalog

The Art of the Steal is a documentary that addresses the issue of public ownership of artwork. Don Argott’s film focuses on a much heated conflict in the state of Pennsylvania concerning the Barnes Collection and Foundation. Albert Barnes, a wealthy chemist turned art collector, acquired one of the most stunning Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections in the world. He housed this uniquely curated collection along with a school as the Barnes Foundation in Lower Merion, PA. After his death in 1951, it was made clear by his will that the collection would not move nor would any of the work be sold under any circumstances.

Here’s where it gets interesting… Barnes’s wishes were not shared with many of the powerful Philadelphia politicians and society members. As management changed hands, the film highlights political nonsense and a long spiral of undermining of the collection’s owner over a sixty plus year period. Many issues arise in the dealings with the collection of art (now worth an estimated twenty-five billion dollars) and we really don’t have a clear cut understanding of whose interests are actually being served.

The Art of the Steal is a fascinating look into both the political and art worlds.

Tagged: ,

A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford []

book-jacket

view/request in library catalog

Critic Martin Gayford has been interviewing David Hockney for many years and the two have developed a warm friendship that extends past their professional relationship. In A Bigger Message, Gayford collects several conversations with the famed British artist. Discussions range from new technology, photography, stage design, living in different parts of the world, various histories of classical art and Hockney’s own process.

Gayford frames each chapter with a theme that corresponds to the many phases of Hockney’s career. One very interesting segment discusses his attraction to creating work on an iPhone or iPad. The book exhibits several of these small scale works that look very much like detailed watercolors.

These pieces along with massive painted landscapes, stills of video installations and photographs of Hockney at work are weaved in and out of Gayford’s brief biographical information and extensive dialog with the tireless artist. Like many innovative, creative people, he is also very much a student of art. Hockney, and here I’ll sound redundant, is a thoughtful thinker and his meditations on artistic movements, motivation and life are extremely fascinating and inspiring.

Tagged: , , ,

Exit through the Gift Shop []

book-jacket

view/request in library catalog

What starts off somewhat conventionally as a documentary on street art culture and its biggest legend and mystery Banksy, is flipped into an scathing satire of the art world. The film, ostensibly created by and starring Banksy, Shepard Fairey and the ‘amateur documentarian’ Thierry Guetta , is a priceless document/depiction of street art’s journey indoors and its eventual corruption at the hands of those who seek to document, celebrate and endorse it. The films ability to keep the viewer questioning the authenticity and the reliability of the films guide/narrator/director, Thierry, cleverly parallels the art world’s desperate quest to identify Banksy and to own and define his work. In capturing both the rush and excitement of the creation of ‘street art’ and the vacuous dullness of those who seek to commodify and blandly reproduce it, Banksy has created an enthralling portrait of what happens when the lines between art and commerce, public spaces and private property, and documentary and mockumentary are blurred. Highly recommended along with the wonderful and more straightforward “B Movie” which documents much of Banksy’s legendary work.

Tagged: , , ,

Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops For Modernity by Berry Bergdoll and Leah Dickerman []

book-jacket

view/request in library catalog

Bauhaus, a movement of modern art and also the name of the German school for which it originates, celebrates “total design”. Painting, sculpture, furniture construction, fabric design, architecture, woodwork, commercial design, etc. fit under this collective’s umbrella. Bauhaus 1919-1933 is filled with informational and historical text accompanied by images of wonderful pieces by Walter Gropius (the original Bauhaus artistic director), Marcel Breuer, Paul Klee, Alma Buscher and so many more.

Tagged: , ,

Cover Story. Volume Two by Wax Poetics []

book-jacket

view/request in library catalog

Our friends at Wax Poetics Magazine have released a book which compiles the craziest album covers one can possibly imagine. After the introductory pages by David Hollander, we say goodbye to commentary and are left only with high quality images of curated wacky lp covers. This is one of those books where one can flip through endlessly. Some of the images are truly original, inspired works of art, whereas others are just plain and unbridled insanity. Colorful and psychedelic explosions sit along side grinning, mustachioed men on roller skates and “Music For Your Plants”… Better yet, the artwork for the record “Music To Massage Your Mate By” could leave just about anyone in stitches.

Thanks has to go to all of the contributors who collect these treasures at various flea markets, record shops and thrift stores. Weirdos!

Tagged: , , ,