List #9: VISUAL CULTURE
Have a look through this selection of books we are recommending for summer reading and as seasonal gifts. Click through to read our reviews. Use the 'click and collect' function on our website to reserve your copies.
If you don't find what you're looking for here, come and talk to us: we have many other interesting books on our shelves.
Te Hei Tiki by Dougal Austin $60
Of all Maori personal adornments, the human figure pendants known as hei tiki are the most highly prized and culturally iconic. This book showcases photographs of a large selection of hei tiki, most from the taonga Maori collection at Te Papa.
Blooms: Contemporary floral design $80
A survey of work by more than 70 contemporary floral designers who are truly extending the boundaries of their art. Your mouth will drop open.
>> Have a look inside and resist if you can.
One Year Drawn by Pete Bossley $55
As a young architect, Bossley travelled in Europe and the Middle East, drawing the buildings and learning to 'read' them. Bossley looks back on this year, and on the practice of drawing that has become central to his working process.
Louise Bourgeois, An intimate portrait by Jean-François Jaussaud $65
An outstanding collection of photographs of Bourgeois and her Brooklyn Studio and Chelsea house in New York.
>>Now, Now, Louisson.
Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses by Dominic Bradbury $250
Astounding survey of 500 Mid-Century Modern house around the world.
Crafting Aotearoa: A cultural history of making in Aotearoa and the wider Moana by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa Mahina-Tuai and Damian Skinner $85
Records the craft practices of Maori, Pakeha and the peoples of the Pacific.
On the Street by Bill Cunningham $120
Bill Cunningham was a contributor to the New York Times for many decades. He was also an incurable and eccentric chronicler of fashion, tirelessly snapping photos of and writing about interestingly attired celebrities and ordinary New Yorkers he spots on the street. This thoughtfully assembled book is the perfect record of an unparalleled eye.
Mid-Century Living: The Butterfly House collection by Christine Fernyhough $60
An unparalleled collection of kiwiana has been assembled in Fernyhough's extensive bach (where better?).
Olafur Eliasson in Real Life by Mark Godfrey $45
Provides unique insight into the work and the artistic, social and environmental contexts of this exceptional artist.
Art in Book Form $100
A beautifully presented celebration of the history and design possibilities of the physical book, with special consideration of LU Jingren, Stefan Sagmeister and Hubert & Fischer.
>> See some sample pages.
Big Ideas for Small Houses by Catherine Foster $50
An insightful look at a range of small houses around New Zealand, clearly showing design and construction considerations, and floorplans. From the author of Small House Living and several other superb books on New Zealand domestic architecture.
The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922—1968 by William Feaver $43
Feaver begins by conjuring Freud's early childhood: Sigmund Freud's grandson, born into a middle-class Jewish family in Weimar Berlin, escaping Nazi Germany in 1934 before being dropped into successive English public schools. Following Freud through art school, his time in the Navy during the war, his post-war adventures in Paris and Greece, and his return to Soho—consorting with duchesses and violent criminals, out on the town with Greta Garbo and Princess Margaret—Feaver traces a brilliant, difficult young man's coming of age. The first of two volumes, this is an account of a century told through one of its most important artists.
Louise Henderson: From life by Felicity Milburn et al $65
Louise Henderson (1902-1994) worked alongside Rita Angus, John Weeks, Colin McCahon and Milan Mrkusich and developed a bold, colourful and distinctive abstract style. Despite her prominence there has been no comprehensive survey of her work until now.
>>Radio with pictures.
Frances Hodgkins: European journeys edited by Catherine Hammond and Mary Kisler $75
Deeply and splendidly illustrated, this book, which finds parallel expression in a touring exhibition organised by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, focuses on Hodgkins as a traveller across cultures and landscapes: teaching and discovering the cubists in Paris, absorbing the landscape and light of Ibiza and Morocco, and exhibiting with the progressive Seven & Five Society in London.
Finding Frances Hodgkins by Mary Kisler $45
When Frances Hodgkins left New Zealand in 1901, location became a key factor in her determination to succeed as an artist. Curator Mary Kisler follows Hodgkins through England, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Wales to discover the locations in which Hodgkins constantly pushed her exploration of modernism. Well illustrated, too.
Hokusai Manga by Hokusai Katsushika $55
In 1814, Hokusai's sketches were published in a handbook of some 4000 images. It surpassed expectations as a student reference book, and became a bestseller. Here, in a three-volume package, an expansive selection of these works is revealed, presenting all of the themes, motifs and drawing techniques found in Hokusai's art. The caricatures, satirical drawings, multi-panel illustrations and narrative depictions found in the book can clearly be seen as the basis for manga as it is understood today.
Colour: A visual history from Newton to Pantone by Alexandra Loske $60
Traces 400 years of art through scientific discoveries, pigment development and exemplary works.
Colin McCahon: There is only one direction, 1919—1959 by Peter Simpson $75
"New Zealand's foremost artist Colin McCahon is many things to many people: modernist, visionary, environmentalist, shaman, preacher, rustic provincialist, bicultural trailblazer, painter-poet, graffiti artist, teacher, maverick. Peter Simpson's account interrogates as well as accommodates all of these possibilities. Guiding us year by year through the artist's career, he offers a ground-breaking overview of the life's work of a tenacious, brilliant and endlessly fascinating figure." —Gregory O'Brien
"With a generous regard towards his subject, a magisterial command of the material, and scrupulous attention to detail, Peter Simpson has crafted an indispensable work of art-historical scholarship. Colin McCahon: There is Only One Direction draws upon diaries, letters and other contemporary sources to document the artist's life from 1919 until 1959, alongside a magnificent selection of his works, many of which have not been reproduced before. It is a remarkable achievement." —Martin Edmond
McCahon Country by Justin Paton $75
Curator Justin Paton talks us through over 200 works from the full span of McCahon's production, explaining the development of both his themes and his techniques.
>>Come to Peter Simpson's illustrated lecture on Colin McCahon's Nelson years at The Suter: Wednesday 13 November, 6 PM. >>Find out more.
The New Photography: New Zealand's first-generation contemporary photographers edited by Athol McCredie $70
An incisive look at the beginnings of contemporary or art photography in New Zealand. Interviews with Gary Baigent, Richard Collins, John Daley, John Fields, Max Oettli, John B Turner, Len Wesney and Ans Westra, and a superb range of images.
We Are Here: An atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall and Tim Denee $70
This wonderful book will reconfigure your thinking about the country you live in. Each map shows data, from economic inequality to the movement of cats at night, in a completely absorbing way. Very impressive and endlessly fascinating. Interesting essays, too.
A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar $30
After finishing The Return, Matar, seeking solace, travelled to Siena, Italy. Always finding comfort and clarity in art, Matar immersed himself in eight significant works from the Sienese School of painting, which flourished from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries. Artists whom he had admired throughout his life, such as Duccio and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, evoke earlier engagements he has had with works by Caravaggio and Poussin, and the personal experiences that surrounded those moments. Complete with full-colour reproductions of the artworks, A Month in Siena is about what occurred between Matar, those paintings, and the city. That month would be an extraordinary period in Matar's life: an exploration of how art can console and disturb in equal measure.
Eileen Mayo: Nature, art and poetry by Peter Vangiani $35
Eileen Mayo (11 September 1906 – 4 January 1994) was an English-born artist and designer who worked in England, Australia and New Zealand in almost every available medium — drawings, woodcuts, lithographs on stone and tempera, tapestry and silk screening. In addition to being a printmaker, illustrator, calligrapher and muralist, she designed coins, stamps, tapestry and posters, and wrote and illustrated eight books on natural science. She lived in New Zealand from 1962 until her death. The book is beautifully illustrated and produced.
>> Works at Te Papa.
Always Song in the Water: An oceanic sketchbook by Gregory O'Brien $45
Gregory O’Brien takes his metaphorical dinghy to the edges of New Zealand—starting with a road trip to the far North—and then voyages out into the Pacific, to lead us into some under-explored territories of the South Pacific imagination, art and literature. O’Brien uses the work of Janet Frame, Ralph Hotere, Robin White, John Pule, Epeli Hau’ofa and others to see whether we can re-imagine ourselves as an oceanic people on a small island in a big piece of water. O’Brien is invariably good company, and it is a pleasure to share his musings, discoveries and observations is this beautifully produced and illustrated volume.
A Velocity of Being: Letters to young readers edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick $50
A wonderful collection of accounts by outstanding people of how books and reading helped them become who they are. Each letter is accompanied by a full-page illustration from an outstanding book illustrator. Includes contributions from Jane Goodall, Neil Gaiman, Jerome Bruner, Shonda Rhimes, Ursula K. Le Guin, Yo-Yo Ma, Judy Blume, Lena Dunham, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jacqueline Woodson, Marianne Dubuc, Sean Qualls, Oliver Jeffers, Maira Kalman, Mo Willems, Isabelle Arsenault, Chris Ware, Liniers, Shaun Tan, Tomi Ungerer, and Art Spiegelman.
>> Preview on Brain Pickings.
Vitamin T: Threads and textiles in contemporary art by Jenelle Porter $120
A global survey of more than 100 artists, chosen by art-world professionals for their work with threads, stitching, and textiles.
John Scott: Works by David Straight $70
Featuring 25 buildings by this outstanding yet hitherto underdocumented architect, with essays from Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, Hana Scott, Bill McKay and Gregory O'Brien.
Guestbook: Ghost stories by Leanne Shapton $65
A wonderful, beautiful illustrated book in which Shapton demonstrates how memories accumulate and images haunt us, how stories and histories perpetuate themselves through residues that become increasingly firmly lodged in our minds. From the author of the innovative novel Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris: Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry.
“Guestbook reveals Shapton as a ventriloquist, a diviner, a medium, a force, a witness, a goof, and above all, a gift. One of the smartest, most moving, most unexpected books I have read in a very long time.” – Rivka Galchen
Tarkovsky: Films, stills, polaroids and writings by Andrey Tarkovsky $65
Beautifully presented. Includes extracts from Sculpting in Time, and pieces by Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Paul Satre and other on Tarkovsky's particular approach to film-making.
Postcard Stories by Richard von Sturmer $35
Postcard Stories uses the arrangement of a collection of 100 remarkable postcards (all reproduced in slightly more than full colour) as a way of constructing stories in the form of brief sequential texts, often reaching a haiku-like intensity. Lots of slightly sad fun. "Putting a hand-tinted postcard of the Shanghai Gas Co. next to one of the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem creates a certain frisson. Places far removed in space and time suddenly form an unexpected relationship and a story begins."
"At once sweeping and intricate, gorgeous and austere." - Gregory O'Brien
"Original, readable and charming." - Murray Edmond.
>> Read Stella's review.
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