Published by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers. By Richard Barnett.
The Sick Rose is a visual tour through the golden age of medical illustration. The nineteenth century experienced an explosion of epidemics such as cholera and diphtheria, driven by industrialization, urbanization and poor hygiene. In this pre-color-photography era, accurate images were relied upon to teach students and aid diagnosis. The best examples, featured here, are remarkable pieces of art that attempted to elucidate the mysteries of the body, and the successive onset of each affliction. Bizarre and captivating images, including close-up details and revealing cross-sections, make all too clear the fascinations of both doctors and artists of the time. Barnett illuminates the fears and obsessions of a society gripped by disease, yet slowly coming to understand and combat it. The age also saw the acceptance of vaccination and the germ theory, and notable diagrams that transformed public health, such as John Snow’s cholera map and Florence Nightingale’s pioneering histograms, are included and explained. Organized by disease, The Sick Rose ranges from little-known ailments now all but forgotten to the epidemics that shaped the modern age. It is a fascinating Wunderkammer of a book that will enthrall artists, students, designers, scientists and the incurably curious everywhere.
Published by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers. By Joanna Ebenstein.
Of all the artifacts from the history of medicine, the Anatomical Venus—with its heady mixture of beauty, eroticism and death—is the most seductive. These life-sized dissectible wax women reclining on moth-eaten velvet cushions—with glass eyes, strings of pearls, and golden tiaras crowning their real human hair—were created in eighteenth-century Florence as the centerpiece of the first truly public science museum. Conceived as a means to teach human anatomy, the Venus also tacitly communicated the relationship between the human body and a divinely created cosmos; between art and science, nature and mankind. Today, she both intrigues and confounds, troubling our neat categorical divides between life and death, body and soul, effigy and pedagogy, entertainment and education, kitsch and art. The first book of its kind, The Anatomical Venus, by Morbid Anatomy Museum cofounder Joanna Ebenstein, features over 250 images—many never before published—gathered by its author from around the world. Its extensively researched text explores the Anatomical Venus within her historical and cultural context in order to reveal the shifting attitudes toward death and the body that today render such spectacles strange. It reflects on connections between death and wax, the tradition of life-sized simulacra and preserved beautiful women, the phenomenon of women in glass boxes in fairground displays, and ideas of the ecstatic, the sublime and the uncanny. Joanna Ebenstein is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, writer, lecturer and graphic designer. She originated the Morbid Anatomy blog and website, and is cofounder (with Tracy Hurley Martin) and creative director of the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York. She is coauthor of Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy, with Dr. Pat Morris; coeditor of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology, with Colin Dickey; and acted as curatorial consultant to Wellcome Collection’s Exquisite Bodies exhibition in 2009. She has also worked with such institutions as the New York Academy of Medicine, the Dittrick Museum and the Vrolik Museum.
Published by Reel Art Press. By Christopher Frayling.
Frankenstein lives! 200 years of the book, the movies and the monster in pop culture and beyond
On New Year’s Day 1818, Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was first published in an anonymous three-volume edition of 500 copies. Some thought the book was too radical in its implications; a few found the central theme intriguing; no-one predicted its success.
Since then, there have been many, many adaptations—120 films alone, at the last count—on screen, stage, in novels, comics and graphic novels, in advertisements and even on cereal packets. From a Regency nightmare, Frankenstein became a cuddly childhood companion—thoroughly munstered, so to speak. The story has been interpreted as a feminist allegory of birthing, an ecological reading of mother earth, an attack on masculinist science, the origin of science fiction, an example of “female gothic,” a reaction to the rise of the industrial proletariat and much else besides. Frankenstein lives! The F word has been applied, since the 1950s, to test-tube babies, heart transplants, prosthetics, robotics, cosmetic surgery, genetic engineering, genetically modified crops and numerous other public anxieties arising from scientific research. Today, Frankenstein has taken over from Adam and Eve as the creation myth for the age of genetic engineering.
This book, celebrating the 200th birthday of Frankenstein, traces the journey of Shelley’s Frankenstein from limited-edition literature into the bloodstream of contemporary culture. With text by renowned Gothic scholar Sir Christopher Frayling, it includes new research on the novel’s origins; a facsimile reprint of the earliest-known manuscript version of the creation scene; visual material on adaptations for the stage, in magazines, on playbills, in prints and in book publications of the 19th century; visual essays on many of the film versions and their inspirations in the history of art; and Frankenstein in popular culture—on posters, advertisements, packaging, in comics and graphic novels.
Published by Damiani. Edited with introduction by Meredith Mowder. Text by Klaus Biesenbach, Gavin Brown, Jeffrey Deitch, Warren Fischer, Casey Spooner.
Founded by artists Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner in 1998, Fischerspooner began as a philosophical provocation that sought to explore the expressive potential located in the gap between popular entertainment and art. Soon swelling from a duo to an army of dancers, stylists, photographers and musicians, the group has activated a variety of spaces such as traditional concert halls, nightclubs, construction sites, parades, art galleries and museums. Their Brechtian theatrics lay bare the potential honesty of spectacle and device by not only revealing their inner workings but also celebrating them. Fischerspooner ultimately proposes that artifice and surface can be recombined to create a new concept of authenticity--a “new truth.” This kaleidoscopic monograph provides unprecedented insight into the first five years of the Fischerspooner project. From a debut performance in a New York City Starbucks, to a blitz of the international art world, to more mainstream visibility via a major label recording contract, New Truth chronicles Fischerspooner’s quest to profoundly upend the boundaries of art, music and performance. Invested in liminal spaces and the in-between, Fischerspooner also captures a unique millennial moment that seemed to prophesy a future where the avant-garde could be translated into a vernacular of pure joy.
Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner met at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and formed Fischerspooner in New York in 1998. As an art pop performance project, Fischerspooner’s practice involves music, dance, fashion, film and photography. They have released three full-length music albums, #1 (2001), Odyssey (2005) and Entertainment (2009).
Throughout her career, Cindy Sherman (born 1954) has been interested in exposing the darker sides of human nature, noticeable both in her selection of subject matter (fairytales, disasters, sex, horror, surrealism) and in her disquieting interpretations of well-established photographic genres, such as film stills, fashion photography and society portraiture. Delving relentlessly into the more grotesque extremes of delusion, vanity and self-image, Sherman probes deeply into the masks and distractions we all employ to set apart our public and our private personae, and challenges us to consider how bizarre and unconvincing our attempts at projecting a semblance of normality can be. Attracting a certain degree of notoriety, intense and ongoing public interest as well as extensive critical acclaim, Sherman’s works continue to challenge and intrigue in equal measure. This richly illustrated publication deploys a selection of works from across her career to highlight and acknowledge these particular aspects of her art. These images are accompanied by more recent work, as well as essays from well-known authors, filmmakers and artists who likewise deal with the grotesque, the uncanny and the extraordinary in their practice.
Published by Kerber. Edited by Silke Opitz, Holger Saupe.
The young Finnish figurative painter Mari Sunna tends to depict grotesque or fragile figures--strange, fearful, governed by the unconscious, but other times joyful or exuberant. This volume accompanies her first solo exhibition, in Germany.
Published by MFA Publications. Text by Stephanie Loeb Stepanek, Frederick Ilchman, Janis A. Tomlinson, Clifford S. Ackley, Jane E. Braun, Manuela B. Mena Marqués, Gudrun Maurer, Elisabetta Polidori, Sue W. Reed, Benjamin Weiss, Juliet Wilson-Bareau.
Francisco Goya has been widely celebrated as the most important Spanish artist of the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the last of the old masters and the first of the moderns, and an astute observer of the human condition in all its complexity. The many-layered and shifting meanings of his work have made him one of the most studied artists in the world. Few, however, have made the ambitious attempt to explore his work as a painter, printmaker and draftsman across media and the timeline of his life. This book does just that, presenting a comprehensive and integrated view of Goya's most important paintings, prints, and drawings through the themes and imagery that continually challenged or preoccupied the artist. They reveal how he strove relentlessly to understand and describe human behavior and emotional states, even at their most orderly or disorderly extremes, in elegant and incisive portraits, dramatic and monumental history paintings, and series of prints and drawings of a satirical, disturbing and surreal nature. Derived from the research for the largest Goya art exhibition in North America in a quarter-century, this book takes a fresh look at one of the greatest artists in history by examining the fertile territory between the two poles that defined the range of his boundlessly creative personality.
Francisco José Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) was born in Fuendetodos, Aragón, in the northeast of Spain. Goya was court painter to the Spanish Crown, and famously documented the Peninsular War (1807–1814) between France and Spain in his harrowing Disasters of War series. An important bridge to the modernist era, Goya's oeuvre provided a crucial precedent for artists such as Manet, Picasso and Francis Bacon.
Published by Steidl. Contributions by Heike Geissler.
It is carnival time in south-western Germany, and on the streets of Endingen and Sachsenheim, Kissleg and Singen, Wilfingen and Triberg, the elaborate costumes of the Swabian-Alemannic tradition are broken out for the parades. In this volume, eschewing the clichés and conventions of carnival iconography, the fashion and portrait photographer Axel Hoedt depicts the carnival revelers and their costumes posed in front of bright backgrounds, in a forest or in front of buildings, mingling classic studio shots, Polaroid snapshots and still life images.
Published by JRP|Ringier. Edited with text by Tom Eccles, Maja Hoffmann, Beatrix Ruf. Text by Jordan Bear, Karen Beckman, Branden Joseph, Fred Nadis, Stephanie O'Rourke, Jim Steinmeyer, Chris Turner, et al.
Now in an English-only edition published for two parallel exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art and Bard College, Imponderable features highlights from the incredible magic and occult collection of New York–based artist Tony Oursler (born 1957). Since the late 1990s, Oursler has been amassing a vast personal archive of objects and ephemera relating to magic, the paranormal, film, television, phantasmagoria, pseudoscience and technology. For Oursler, the archive functions as an open visual resource, historical inquiry and—most intriguingly—a family history. One of the collection’s many digressions records the friendship between the artist’s grandfather Charles Fulton Oursler (a famous early 20th-century author and publisher) and magician and escapologist Harry Houdini, and a historic interaction with Arthur Conan Doyle, who, beyond his Sherlock Holmes series, was an important advocate for spiritualism and the paranormal.
This beautifully produced publication features up to 1,500 objects from Oursler’s collection, including photographs, prints, historic manuscripts, rare books, letters and objects. Additional topics include stage magic, thought photography, demonology, cryptozoology, optics, mesmerism, automatic writing, hypnotism, fairies, cults, the occult, color theory and UFOs. Thirteen essays by renowned art historians, science specialists and international scholars provide a deep insight into this unique material.