10 New Books: From Dandies to Terrorist Logotypes
A slew of new books on art, architecture and design are coming out this August, September and October. These include a new printing of the sold-out, behind-the-scenes photo book on the epic film saga “The Godfather”, which was first published in 2008. And in terms of younger readers, a book about a pigeon that acquaints the reader with examples of great contemporary architecture will nip your Christmas shopping in the bud.
Monocle Guide to Better Living Publisher: Gestalten September, 2013
Monocle is one of the most successful magazines of the last decade to have gained its reader's trust with qualitative journalism and a great aesthetic sense; for a large part of its world-wide readership, it serves as a beacon for achieving a modern-day lifestyle.
This September, the very first Monocle book – a guide to even better living – will be published under the wing of Gestalten. Bound in canary-yellow, it will be a compilation of articles, essays, guides and reports that have been previously published in the magazine. Monocle was founded by Tyler Brûlé, who started out as a war correspondent and later became the first editor in chief of the lifestyle magazine Wallpaper. As the editors of Monocle Guide to Better Living say themselves, this book is not about future fashion trends, nor about tomorrow's stars. Rather, it is about excellent existing examples found in many spheres of life, and which can serve as suggestions; for instance: how to build a good school; what makes up a city that is well suited for life and which one would want to call “home”; what a dream home that you would never want to leave look like, and so on. Those itching to restock their bookshelves this autumn will, most likely, start with this book.
I Am Dandy. The Return of the Elegant Gentleman Publisher: Gestalten August, 2013
Being a real “dandy” is not, as of yet, a fashion statement that has wormed its way into closets the world over. It is also not a subculture like, say, hipsters are. Having met with several dozen “modern-day gentlemen”, Brooklyn photographer Rose Callahan came to the conclusion that taking on the lifestyle of a true dandy is a very individualistic choice, and that each person has his own reasons for doing it. The stylish Berlin publishing house Gestalten is coming out with a book this August that will contain the above-mentioned photographs, as well as the work of dandy-researcher Nathaniel Adams; the book is a true reincarnation of this style phenomenon, as seen in 57 portraits of its practitioners. Taking into account the cult status of “The Great Gatsby”, this book should sell like hot cakes!
Art Now! Vol. 4 Publisher: Taschen 2013
Although one can find almost everything with the internet search engine Google, nothing can yet replace a good anthology. Taschen's “Art Now!” has lived to see its fourth installment, with American artist Cindy Sherman on the cover of the latest issue; her solo show can currently be seen at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, and will then move on to Stockholm's Moderna Museet. “Art Now!” is an excellent guide to the contemporary art of a set time period – that is, if you wish to know who are the artists that the art world is talking about these days. The volume contains more than 100 artists from A to Z, both rising stars and established names. Taking into account the current East-Asian boom, this region also has many pages that have been devoted to it: essays, interviews with curators, and a guide to must-see art spots in Asia's metropolises. This book is a “must-have”.
The Godfather Family Album Publisher: Taschen September, 2013 (a reissue of the 2008 edition)
For those who take advantage of various life situations to tirelessly cite lines from Francis Ford Coppola's three part epic film saga “The Godfather”, September is a holy month. For that is when the reissue of 2008's sold-out book – with the morally appropriate according-to-Italian-values title of “The Godfather Family Album”, will again see the light of day. In it you'll find essays, interviews, and more than 400 black and white and color photographs from both the film and behind-the-scenes. All photos were taken by Steve Schapiro (who's work has been featured in VanityFair, Life, etc.), and made from his original negatives. “I'll make him an offer he can't refuse,” says it all.
Architecture According to Pigeons Publisher: Phaidon October, 2013
Phaidon publishing house has bestowed a wonderful role upon a pigeon – to acquaint children with the most beautiful examples of modern-day architecture. Even though it will only come out at the end of October, the book can pre-ordered now – and then at least one Christmas gift will be crossed off of your shopping list.
Feeling Beauty. The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience Publisher: MIT Press 2013
This is a book that encourages a different kind of discussion about aesthetic experience – from the viewpoint of neuroscience. What goes on in our heads when we see something beautiful? Why is it that individual works, expressed in completely different ways, are able to evoke similar emotions? Author G. Gabrielle Starr is a professor at New York University, and believes that aesthetic experience is based on a special piece of neural “architecture” in our brains – a conglomeration that includes memory, imagination, language, emotions and sensory ability. It is this brain architecture's flexibility and ability to create links between separate parts in the brain that allows us to both create new works of art and to look at the world with different eyes. “Feeling Beauty”, published by MIT Press, has been available since July.
This August, Taschen publishers came out with the two-volume compilation “100 Contemporary Fashion Designers”, which, like their anthologies devoted to contemporary art, is the definitive 21st century nerve – bound in a beautiful cover. To avoid having to list all of the designers covered in the book, just think of any big-name designer, and most likely, he or she is in here. The book's editor is Terry Jones, who began his career in the 1970s as creative director at both Vanity Fair and Vogue UK; today he heads his self-founded publication, i-D magazine, regularly puts together books on fashion, and organizes shows.
Art as Therapy (Alain de Botton, John Armstrong) Publisher: Phaidon October, 2013
In preparation for the coming winter, it would be a good idea to pre-order Phaidon's forthcoming book, “Art as Therapy”; set for release in October, it is the latest work by philosopher Alain de Botton, who's books always sell quickly. This newest book was written together with art philosophy historian John Armstrong, who poses a very straightforward question: “What is art for?” Containing 150 excellent examples of visual art, architecture and design, the book's objective is to educate the reader about the fact that art and people cannot exist without one another. The lively text gives clever and smart suggestions on how art can be an aid in relationship issues, how it can make us happy, and how it can even help us come to terms with death.
Masterpieces of American Modernism. From the Vilcek Collection Publisher: Merrell 2013
The unending interest in modernism as a personal mindset and life philosophy, as opposed to just a historical style, is what brought this book – which contains 20 American modernists and the works that they created between the end of the 19th century and the 1970s – to life. As can be seen in the diverseness of styles and techniques in the featured artworks, it is a certain mindset, not style, that links the selected artists. Here you'll find cubists, expressionists and abstractionists, and names like Georgia O'Keeffe, Ralston Crawford and Arthur Dove. The book also happens to be the first catalog of the New York-based Vilcek Fund. The Vilceks, a biomedicine scientist and an art historian who emigrated to the USA from the former Czechoslovakia, are famous philanthropists who have focused on highlighting the contributions of other immigrants to American art and science. This aspect is also accented in the book, in which it is pointed out that eight of the iconic American artists featured were born elsewhere. On a side note, it is a well-known fact that Mikhail Barishnikov, a former Rigan, is one of the many illustrious supporters of the Vilceks.
Branding Terror. The Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations Publisher: Merrell 2013
Quite possibly, this is the world's first publication in which insurgent groups and terrorist organizations have been studied in the context of their graphic identity and visual communication methods. The flags and logotypes of more than sixty known marginal and illegal organizations can be grouped together in the way that they use a code language and system of semantics that is recognizable, and that has been, in a certain way, accepted. However, until now, no one has deconstructed this method of communication to such a degree by analyzing its graphic components (symbols, color, fonts). Next to each case is a short, but intriguing, overview of the dangerous organization in question (e.g., Al-Queda, the IRA, the Tamil Tigers, etc.), including its ideology, leaders, method of operation, and history of activities.