ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 10/31/2021

Get into the Spirit — Halloween Inspiration, 2021!

DATE 10/19/2021

‘Metallica: The Black Album in Black & White’ releases worldwide!

DATE 10/16/2021

The first substantial monograph on rising painter Christina Quarles

DATE 10/14/2021

John Dolan to launch 'The Perfect Imperfect: The Wedding Photographs' at Rizzoli Bookstore

DATE 10/14/2021

Take my book, please! ‘A Small Book of Jewish Comedians’ is a new release this week!

DATE 10/12/2021

'Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?' is a new release this week!

DATE 10/11/2021

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day

DATE 10/10/2021

Artbook @ MoMA PS1 and Damiani Books present Michael Stipe and JR in conversation for the virtual launch of 'Michael Stipe'

DATE 10/10/2021

'Witch Hunt' burns bright at Hammer Museum and ICA LA

DATE 10/6/2021

Quilt lovers, rejoice — 'Fabric of a Nation' opens Sunday at MFA Boston!

DATE 10/6/2021

AIGA Presents 'A New Program for Graphic Design' author David Reinfurt

DATE 10/4/2021

In 'Auto Erotica,' flash back to a time when cars were "way, way, more sexy"

DATE 10/3/2021

Join Kristin Bedford and the Los Angeles Lowrider Community for the release of 'Cruise Night' at the Autry Museum of the American West in Griffith Park

DATE 10/2/2021

Gregg Bordowitz & Fred Moten to launch 'Some Styles of Masculinity' at Artbook @ MoMA PS1

DATE 10/1/2021

Book lovers, art historians and design aficionados, rejoice! Lars Müller's Bauhausbücher facsimile series is complete.

DATE 9/30/2021

'Hayao Miyazaki' opens at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures!

DATE 9/29/2021

Marie Tomanova signing 'New York New York' at Dashwood Books

DATE 9/28/2021

'Marie Tomanova: New York New York' is NEW from Hatje Cantz

DATE 9/26/2021

In 'Liquid Reality,' the pioneering video sculpture of Shigeko Kubota

DATE 9/25/2021

'Karen Halverson: Mulholland' is NEW from MW Editions!

DATE 9/25/2021

Karen Halverson to launch 'Mulholland' at Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles Bookstore

DATE 9/23/2021

Stonewall Museum & Archives presents 'Lifelines' artist Eric Rhein and curator Paul Michael Brown in conversation

DATE 9/22/2021

Drink the sunset!

DATE 9/21/2021

A new facsimile edition of the classic Victorian gardening guide, 'The Art and Craft of Garden Making'

DATE 9/18/2021

Cosmic space and transforming creativity in 'Cai Guo-Qiang: Odyssey and Homecoming'

DATE 9/18/2021

Join Artbook | D.A.P. at Shoppe Object Independent Home & Gift Show, NYC!

DATE 9/17/2021

Part reportage, part cookbook, 'Leaked Recipes' is new from JBE Books

DATE 9/14/2021

Mitch Epstein signing at Dashwood Books

DATE 9/14/2021

Dual nature, harmonized shape and color in superb new book on 'Georgia O’Keeffe'

DATE 9/12/2021

'Mitch Epstein: In India' is NEW from Steidl

DATE 9/10/2021

Artful irregularity in 'Landscape Works with Piet Oudolf and LOLA'

DATE 9/9/2021

'Peter Kayafas: Coney Island Waterdance' is NEW from Purple Martin Press!

DATE 9/9/2021

AIGA Presents 'Help Your Self!' author Mieke Gerritzen in conversation with Lee-Sean Huang

DATE 9/7/2021

'Hayao Miyazaki' is new from DelMonico Books and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures!

DATE 9/5/2021

Remembering Freddie Mercury, born OTD 1946

DATE 9/3/2021

Celebrating the 100th Birthday of adventurous American photographer, Ruth Orkin

DATE 9/1/2021

Hispanic History Month Staff Picks, September 2021

DATE 8/31/2021

A remarkable new book on Lee Lozano's drawings, out now from Karma Books, New York

DATE 8/26/2021

Photography and cat lovers, rejoice! Deluxe ‘Masahisa Fukase: Sasuke’ is out now!

DATE 8/25/2021

Peter Kayafas and Sasha Wolf to launch 'Coney Island Waterdance' at Rizzoli Bookstore

DATE 8/22/2021

Some much-needed inspiration in 'Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life'

DATE 8/21/2021

A half-century of impassioned transatlantic painting in 'Frank Bowling: London / New York'

DATE 8/20/2021

'Sneakers Unboxed' is here at last!

DATE 8/18/2021

Behold Fondation Cartier’s gorgeous new Luiz Zerbini monograph, ‘Botanica’

DATE 8/18/2021

Back to School Staff Picks, September 2021

DATE 8/17/2021

In 'Degas: Dance, Politics and Society,' a radical reconception of the artist's sculpture

DATE 8/12/2021

Ellen Harvey's beloved 'New York Beautification Project' is Back in Stock!

DATE 8/10/2021

An important new survey on Allan McCollum

DATE 8/8/2021

We ❤️ Mernet Larsen!

DATE 8/6/2021

The first major survey on octogenarian feminist painter Joan Semmel

DATE 8/5/2021

Get it while it’s hot! Alan Licht’s 592-page interview compendium, ‘Common Tones,’ is new from Blank Forms!


AT FIRST SIGHT

ERIN DUNIGAN | DATE 8/20/2010

Belkis Ayón: Nkame
Captivating Mystery

When I first learned about Belkis Ayón: Nkame in our weekly editorial acquisitions meetings my interest was immediately piqued; and the more I read about the Cuban artist the more I was sucked into the captivating mystery of her work and life. Belkis Ayón committed suicide in 1999 at the age of 32, sending ripples through the art world and shocking family and friends who had detected no outward signs of depression in the successful young artist. Ayón’s sudden death proves to be just as enigmatic as her art.
The artist’s meteoric rise coincided with the harshest years of Cuba's post-Soviet economic crisis. As a result, she developed a practice that made use of the limited materials at her disposal. Ayón was skilled in the art of print-making, lithography, serigraphy and collography, and frequently experimented with the application of paper scraps, sandpaper, gesso and even carborundum to her surfaces. She tended to work in a range of grays, blacks and whites creating vibrant and highly-textured images that all but leap off the picture plane. Though her compositions are aesthetically powerful, the most compelling aspect of Ayón’s work is her macabre subject matter.
Belkis Ayon
In this overwhelming 312-page catalogue raisonné (which includes a DVD companion with additional essays, images and even archival video footage), readers can trace the gradual shift in Ayón’s work from prosaic scenes of city life, portraits and household interiors to her consuming fascination with Afro-Cuban religious iconography, specifically that of the Abakua.
Belkis Ayon
The Abakua are an all-male secret society, a combination of both Christian and African traditions, which first made its appearance in Cuba around 1836. The origins of the brotherhood can be traced back to southern Nigeria and their beliefs were likely brought to Cuba’s port cities by African slaves. The Abakua function as a mutual-aid organization and are known for rituals and ceremonies full of theatricality and drama (such as drumming, dancing and chanting in their own secret language). In their initiation rites members are sworn to secrecy, perhaps explaining why the Abakua have remained hermetic for nearly two centuries and are considered one of the most misunderstood contemporary Afro-Cuban religions.
Belkis Ayon
While Abakuan symbolism plays a predominant, and at times, ominous role in Ayón’s engravings, the artist was also incredibly drawn to the tragic figure of Sikan, a central and recurring character in many of her tableaus. In Abakuan lore the African princess Sikan plays an Eve-like role, wherein she is folds to temptation and is punished for her disobedience. Unlike Eve, Sikan is killed for her indiscretion and her death marks both the beginning of the Abakuan brotherhood, as well as the beginning of the female ban on joining the society.
Belkis Ayon
Ayón’s striking images are dominated by alien-like beings portrayed without facial features, aside from piercing almond-shaped eyes contorted to express their intense emotions. Art historian Cristina Figueroa describes the effect, "These figures can look at you but cannot speak. So you have to interpret what they're trying to say through their eyes." She goes on to postulate that the absence of the mouth in Ayón’s figures illustrates the secrecy of the members of the Abakua. These shadowy spirits are depicted performing ritual acts or simply surrounded by mysterious symbols and iconography. A narrative seems to be present in many cases but shrouded by layers of meaning that cannot easily deciphered. They are both haunting and absolutely enchanting!
Belkis Ayon
The mythology surrounding Belkis Ayón and her art may never truly be understood, but the impact that she left on the world will endure. Since her death the Cuban government has declared a patrimony on her work, prohibiting it from leaving the country. And in the artist’s lifetime her art was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, NY and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among other notable institutions.
Belkis Ayon
Belkis Ayon
Belkis Ayon
Turner publications affirms Ayón’s legacy with this thorough and heartfelt tribute to the artist’s life and work. And it is worth noting that the Project Director for this catalogue is Dr. Katia Ayón (Belkis’s sister) who in the introduction writes: “…Thus it is confirmed that art is, among many things, a sort of life after life, or the most effective weapon to confront death. The reminiscences of a person are something else. Belkis was accustomed to dealing with myths, and her own myth grows between her friends, colleagues and students who loved her… a token of such affection can also be found in these pages.”

Belkis Ayón: Nkame

Belkis Ayón: Nkame

TURNER
Hbk, 9.5 x 12.25 in. / 312 pgs / 400 color / Data CD.



DATE 8/23/2015

Xanti Schawinsky

Xanti Schawinsky

DATE 7/31/2015

Axel Hoedt

Axel Hoedt

DATE 9/11/2014

New York Is ...

New York Is ...

DATE 5/13/2014

Libuse Niklová

Libuse Niklová

ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com