CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/27/2021
Featured image—of a late-nineteenth-century Bolognese cologne called Acqua di Felsina—is reproduced from The Handbook of Great Italian Perfumery: Fifty Years of Exceptional Scents, the new release from Silvana. A deluxe celebration of Italy’s unique perfume-making industry, this 360-page volume contains 250 color illustrations, including an anthology of the 100 most celebrated Italian fragrances, as well as a chapter dedicated to perfume production, from initial scent profile to bottle design. Also included is an index of 7,000 perfumes produced in Italy over the past 50 years. Author Marika Vecchiattini writes, “Open, exuberant, sunny, immediate, communicative, sensual, exquisite, sparkling... what makes the fragrances produced for Italian brands recognizable are the same characteristics that make any expression of our civilization sound ‘Italian’: openness, communication, sensuality, love of Beauty, but first and foremost, a vibrant complexity, capable of conveying all the infinite facets of the human soul.”
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/26/2021
On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the Soviet city of Pripyat, broke down. The reactor explosion and radioactive contamination combined to create one of the worst and most horrifying nuclear disasters in history—both in terms of cost and casualties. Today, thirty-five years later, we're commemorating the disaster with these photographs from Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide, the newest addition to FUEL Publishing's series of books on the profound aesthetic and cultural mysteries of the Soviet world. For this project, researcher Darmon Richter went beyond typical disaster tourist hotspots to photograph previously undocumented regions of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where he once worked as a tour guide while making illegal "stalker" forays on the sly. In his Prologue, Richter writes, "Chernobyl today is a place of greenery and life, of branches sagging under overripe fruit, and of wild animals that in the decades of our absence have begun to lose their distrust of humans. Wild foxes will eat bread from the palm of your hand, while all around, symbols of the former regime crumble beneath the burden of flowers, berries and ants. It is a place where the humble might find infinite beauty, where the curious may glimpse nature’s future order in a posthuman world…"
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/25/2021
“Thin Air” (2016) is reproduced from Shara Hughes: Landscapes. Featuring 120 color reproductions, an interview of the artist by Ian Alteveer and a text by Mia Locks, this gorgeous book also happens to be the first in-depth survey of the acclaimed Brooklyn painter. “Despite having produced hundreds of landscape paintings since 2014, Shara Hughes isn’t a landscape painter per se," Locks writes. “These paintings are less concerned with depicting nature than they are with creating intimate, imaginary, and emotionally charged spaces. Hughes isn’t as interested in landscape as a subject as she is in using the genre of landscape painting as a frame for the tensions inherent in the act of painting. These works, no matter how charming or picturesque, are containers for ongoing struggle, and giving form to these conflicts is her way of creating space, literally and figuratively—not for catharsis or externalizing emotion as an end in itself, but for testing compositional strategies. To this end, Hughes’s landscape paintings are models for working with and through consciousness as an artistic process. This is pretty serious work.”
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/23/2021
Featured spreads are from Wicked Arts Assignments: Practising Creativity in Contemporary Arts Education, back in stock from Valiz! Organized around the following themes—Go Public, Narrate, Remix, Explore Nature, Engage, Soul Search, Make Some Noise, Localize, Build & Move, Keep in Time and Hack—this witty, poetic and uninhibited pedagogical goldmine collects approximately 100 arts assignments meant to foster cross-pollination and creative growth across visual arts, performance, theater, music and design practices. “A good assignment makes you smile,” Erik Schrooten explains in a published interview, “because it has something special, is unusual. A strong assignment is also sufficiently restricted to prevent students from drowning in a sea of possibilities. Personally, I like assignments that are made up of a number of consecutive instructions. Step one, step two, step three… You could call them guided assignments. Within the steps you allow total freedom, striking a balance between guidance and openness. As students become more skillful, your assignments can become more open. This means that a student’s personal fascination can become the starting point for an original creation.”
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/22/2021
Today we’re celebrating Earth Day with this photo of Tomás Saraceno’s 2015 “Aerocene 5.2 m,” an aerosolar sculpture that can only be made buoyant by the heat of the sun. It is one work among many in the interdisciplinary Aerocene artistic community (founded and initiated Saraceno in 2015 and located around the world) that seeks to “reactivate a common imaginary for an ethical collaboration with the atmosphere and the environment, in an envisioned era free from borders, free from fossil fuels,” according to Connectedness: An Incomplete Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene, Strandberg Publishing’s fascinating new survey of humanity's impact on the planet. Featuring contributions from Björk, Anders Blok, Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Bill McKibben, Saskia Sassen, Greta Thunberg, Alice Waters and others, this monumental 416-page volume was published to accompany the exhibition at the Danish Pavilion at the 2020 Venice Architectural Biennale.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/20/2021
Featured image is from Leonard Freed: Black in White America, Reel Art Press’s expanded 2021 collection of the noted Magnum photographer’s 1968 civil rights photo-essay. “I believe that there is a special place in the hearts and minds of most serious documentary photographers who, at some point in their careers, want to deliver at least one photographic tome to the world at large that will make prospective viewers appreciate what they have produced,” fellow-Magnum-photographer Eli Reed writes. “Leonard made a habit of continuously delivering over and over again said tomes. This book has continued to carry the weight of excellence and resides in the brain. He has continued to be everywhere in life and this book is a gift to all who still have need of his brilliance. It informs us of the beauty inside the photographs that he captured and sits deeply inside our consciousness. Thomas Merton’s autobiographical The Seven Story Mountain (published 1948) deals not with what happens to a man, but what happens to his soul. Leonard Freed had plenty of soul to spare and it was exposed to the world through his photography, with that being very evident in this wonderful book, Black in White America. When all is said and done, I am moved to say Amen.”
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/20/2021
Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain presents an enlightening conversation between artists Sarah Sze and Anselm Kiefer and philosopher Emanuele Coccia on the occasion of the publication of 'Sarah Sze: Night into Day.' It is a pleasure to listen to such a vivid conversation between creative giants, with Kiefer and Coccia joining from the exhibition at the Fondation Cartier in Paris, while Sze joins remotely from her NYC studio.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/19/2021
Featured photograph, of poet and performance artist John Giorno, is reproduced from Michael Stipe, the third in Damiani’s series of photo-based artist’s books by Stipe. Collecting “portraits” of Stipe’s most beloved, fearless and resilient friends, family and heroes—whether as photographs or rendered as vases by ceramicist Caroline Wallner or book covers by master printer Ruth Lingen—the book also functions as a poem and a surprisingly powerful self-portrait. Whatever form, this is the one book where we can encounter Tilda Swinton, Claude Cahun, Breonna Taylor, Thurgood Marshall, Wolfgang Tillmans, Gus Van Sant, Jonas Mekas, Sophie Calle and Greta Thurnberg in one place, accompanied by a unique QR code that allows the reader to link to descriptions of the process of creating the images and the book.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/17/2021
"Untitled (Fold)" (2013) is reproduced from Tauba Auerbach — S v Z, the ever-more-intriguing catalog for the 16-year survey opening at SFMOMA in Winter 2021. As in all things Tauba, this book is also an experiment, fitting neatly into her practice as an artist's book maker and inveterate question-asker. Beginning with the title—in which the "v" does not stand for "versus," but instead calls upon the mathematic symbol for "and/or"—and extending to the deeply satisfying custom-marbled black-and-white edges of the book block, this is a volume to be reckoned with slowly and with a very open mind. Created by the artist and David Reinfurt, who designed a new typeface based on Auerbach's iconic, back-slanting handwriting, it is filled with material, spatial and temporal ideas, structures, reflections, problems and solutions. For example, in the Folds, Auerbach attempts to conjure nothing less than four-dimensional space. "The Fold paintings are my effort to construct a portal through which to summon—or at least imagine—this inaccessible hyper-spatial territory," they are quoted. "My hope is that if these paintings can successfully efface the boundary between two-and three-dimensionality, then by analogy they imply the possibility of eroding the boundary between three-dimensional space and beyond. Even if it remains physically impossible to experience four-dimensional space, I believe we can use this 'logic' to approach or inhabit it in our minds."
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/16/2021
In 1990, Nam June Paik said, "Merce's dance is a dance without a center, without a focal point, without a story or even sex appeal. It's decentralized, like the canvases of Jasper Johns or Mark Rothko, although it’'s cooler and sparser than Abstract Expressionism. Someday I’d like to film him and his group dancing in a schoolyard, looking down at them from above, on a rooftop, far away. That’s my dream." Reproduced from Merce Cunningham: Common Time, this still is from Merce by Merce by Paik by Charles Atlas, Shigeko Kubota and Paik. Produced in 1978, the video collages manipulated and colorized images of Cunningham dancing with footage of city traffic and a baby's first steps, alongside the subtitle, "Is this dance?"
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/15/2021
Thursday, April 15 at 2PM EST, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain presents artist Sarah Sze in conversation with artist Anselm Kiefer and philosopher Emanuele Coccia for the virtual launch of 'Sarah Sze: Night into Day,' published to accompany Sze's second solo show at the Fondation.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/14/2021
Featured spreads are from Frank Stella’s Stars: A Survey, published to accompany the artist’s current survey of works based on star shapes—from early drawings and lithographs, to paintings of the 1960s, to recent sculptures, wall reliefs and painted objects—at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Gorgeously produced, with tipped-on front and back cover images, thick matte paper and superb reproductions—including exhibition photographs—this compact, action-packed volume is a must-have for any serious contemporary art library. “The star is characterized in this survey as a breakthrough element,” curator Amy Smith-Stewart writes. “From a simple, planar shape to an ornamented, spatial object, its manifestation reveals stylistic continuity amid decisive variation. Stella’s stars personify a built abstraction that is insistently hyperkinetic, unremittingly on the move.”
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/13/2021
Tuesday, April 13 at 2PM EST (7PM BST), the Martin Parr Foundation presents Joel Meyerowitz, speaking on the new, expanded edition of his classic 1983 photobook, 'Wild Flowers'—out now from Damiani Books. Meyerowitz’s presentation will be followed by a discussion with Martin Parr and questions from the audience.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/12/2021
"Smithtown, Long Island" (1968) is reproduced from Joel Meyerowitz: Wild Flowers, Damiani's new, large-format, expanded edition of this 1983 photobook classic. "Whether it is a tattooed rose, a floral bedspread, a lovingly held bouquet or a single bloom in a desert, these photographs singly and together echo our yearning for ritual and the need to connect with beauty," Maggie Barrett writes. "While each of these images immortalizes the given moment, the subject matter reveals the ephemeral, temporary nature of existence. Like all well-tended gardens, Wild Flowers is a book you can wander through over and over again and each time discover something new."
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/11/2021
"Her skin was as soft and tender as a rose petal, and her eyes were as blue as the deep sea, but like all the others she had no feet. Her body ended in a fish tail." The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen & Yayoi Kusama: A Fairy Tale of Infinity and Love Forever combines a new, modernized translation of Andersen's original tale with drawings by celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama—whose work will be on view in dialogue with the natural world April 11–October 31, 2021, at the New York Botanical Gardens. Beautifully produced with an embossed, spot-varnished cover, vellum jacket and exquisite paper and printing, this book has been hard to keep in stock or in print due to high demand and rave reviews in media outlets like the Huffington Post, i-D/Vice, New York Magazine/The Cut and many more.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/8/2021
Featured spreads are from Goodbye Letter, Hunters Point Press's seriously gorgeous new collection of despairing yet playful and ultimately optimistic visual poems, appropriations and word puzzles by Jeremy Sigler. Sometimes addressing sound and language—as in phonemes and musical scores—and other times addressing writing and language—as in keyboard design and codes—Sigler's work in this book is "vintage witty [and] conceptual," in the words of poetry scholar Marjorie Perloff. Some works are deceptively emotional, like one appropriated text explaining the origin of the stethoscope, which operates as love poem (secretly dedicated to Sigler's father, a pediatrician). This is followed by a signature of perforated blank pages meant to be torn out and used to listen to the human heart. Another perforated poem ends the book with half-ironic comedy; it's a tear-out letter addressed to the National Register of Historic Places, nominating Sigler's Brooklyn apartment for landmark status, "ensuring that future readers and enthusiasts have the opportunity to observe where the poet lived, sit at the table where he wrote, recline on the daybed where he napped, and gaze out his window—to, as Sigler once said, 'stand naked in the poet's boots.'"
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/6/2021
Featured spreads are from new release, EECCHHOOEESS, a book we are delighted to have on our list for numerous reasons. One, this is a superb facsimile—clothbound and jacketed, unabridged and more or less identical in design to the original—and we love such careful and respectful reproductions. Two, it brings back into print a book that very few have seen: a 1971 collection of avant-garde, visually kinetic poetry by Umbra member, Norman H. Pritchard. Three, this is the first volume published by DABA, a new press for artist’s books, art and experimental writing founded by the artist Adam Pendleton. And finally, this book draws attention to an important contributor to twentieth-century black history whose work has long been neglected.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/4/2021
Translated as "Do Not Touch Me," Titian's "Noli me Tangere" (1514) depicts Jesus and Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, upon her discovery of him, resurrected, outside the tomb where she had seen him dead and buried prior to the Jewish Sabbath on Good Friday. According to the gospels, when Mary Magdalene first sees Jesus, she mistakes him for a gardener. In The Christian Year in Painting, author John S. Dixon, explains, "John and Peter went away, but Mary stayed weeping. When she looked into the tomb again, she saw two angels who asked why she was weeping. She answered: 'They have taken my Lord away, and I don't know where they have laid him.' As she spoke, she turned and saw Jesus, whom she took for a gardener, and said: 'Sir, if you have carried him off, tell me where you have put him and I will go and take him away.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary!' She answered, 'Rabbuni!' ('Master!'). Jesus said, 'Do not touch me because I have not yet ascended to the throne of the Father.'"
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/3/2021
In celebration of National Poetry Month, we're looking back at The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader, a 2020 critic's pick at Publishers Weekly, Frieze, Design Observer and on the Poetry Foundation website, to name just a few. Published by Siglio and edited by Lucy Ives, it's a bookseller favorite too, collecting poems, experimental prose and previously unpublished work by transdisciplinary writer, artist and thinker Madeline Gins, normally best known for her “Reversible Destiny” architecture, produced in collaboration with her husband, the artist Arakawa. Ives calls "GHOSTING" one of the most intriguing poems in Gins's Trans-P series, drawing parallels with the "schematic, recursive poems the artist Dan Graham was making around the same time, in the late 1960s, with the significant difference that while Graham was engaged in a sort of war of attrition with respect to meaning and context, Gins’s list poems invite infinite additions of meaning and context… Gins does not reduce words to their grammatical functions but rather encourages the reader to discover along with her what words will do, once they have been stripped bare of grammar. This is, after all, the affordance of a list: it provides structure and a kind of time, without resorting to the hierarchies of grammar-based sense. Lists are associative and sometimes freeing, playful. They also cannot help but evoke the deductive logic of a philosophical syllogism, an effect exploited by Gins to produce a sense of possibility and entailment in the poems of Trans-P, something along the lines of, if '-1. ON THE SUBWAY,' then, '1. IMBROGLIO.' In other words, the plot thickens and thickens, line by line, item by item."
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/2/2021
Featured spreads are from The Matrix: Poems 1960–1970, Primary Information and Ugly Duckling Presse’s new facsimile edition of N.H. Pritchard’s classic but rare 224-page paperback collection of concrete poetry, first published by Doubleday in 1970. Fred Moten writes, “Here’s a truth to which the black experiment is especially foregiven: ‘words are ancillary to content.’ The converse is also true, indicating mutual aid and mutual trouble. When words and content get together, there’s enough room in the vast, infinitesimal blur not in between them for poetry to make its dispersive, displacing way. Pritchard loves that non-Euclidean neighborhood. He keeps bullet time there, after hours, in a club, which is an open cell, called The Matrix. Welcome to this ‘huge/entering’ of concrete breath—unprecedented, unsurpassed.”
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/31/2021
Featured spreads are from Media Burn: Ant Farm and the Making of an Image, an in-depth study of the San Francisco conceptual art and architecture practice Ant Farm’s legendary 1975 Media Burn performance, in which a customized Cadillac, “the Phantom Dream Car,” was driven through a wall of burning television sets in a seminal act of consumerist critique. In a souvenir booklet published on the occasion of the July 4, 1975, performance, the members of Ant Farm wrote, “There was born in America during World War II a generation of children who were to be introduced to the new invention, television, at a formative age. This generation, different from those older whose view of reality was catalyzed before television and those younger who never knew a reality without the tube, is the ‘television generation.’ They grew up as the medium itself was growing up. ‘Media Burn’ is a statement from representatives of the ‘television generation.’
At 2:50 today the phantom dream car… will start its engine to begin an historic trip. It will shoot across the Cow Palace parking lot into the just-ignited stack of 50 television sets. At the moment of impact Admirals, RCA’s, G.E.’s, Sylvanas, Zeniths and Hoffmans will fly apart in a cathartic explosion. The car will shoot on through to the other side and, God willing, the two dummies will step out unhurt, free at last from the addiction of television.”
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/30/2021
"Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat," painted in Paris in September/October of 1887, is reproduced from Van Gogh in Provence: Modernizing Tradition, the spectacular, highly gift-worthy survey from Actes Sud. Vividly printed on heavy matte paper, the reproductions in this deluxe monograph show every hair of the painter's brush. "I follow no system of brushwork at all," Van Gogh wrote in Provence. "I hit the canvas with irregular strokes which I leave as they are, impastos, uncovered spots of canvas—corners here and there left inevitably unfinished—reworkings, roughnesses; well, I'm inclined to think that the result is sufficiently worrying and annoying not to please people with preconceived ideas about technique."
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/28/2021
In a 1916 letter to Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe wrote, “The sky was like a wonderful jewel—darkest in the center—light around the edges. I’ve always wanted to touch it—since I was a little girl—and it always seems more wonderful—I’m wanting it more. It makes me feel like such a little girl." This quotation and the 1916/17 painting "No. 22 – Special" are reproduced from Radius Books' superb monograph, Georgia O'Keeffe: Watercolors, a staff pick for Women's History Month, 2021.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/26/2021
Featured spreads are from Siglio Press's classic 320-page compendium of Dorothy Iannone works on paper, You Who Read Me With Passion Now Must Forever Be My Friends—an essential volume on this long-overlooked but deeply influential and liberating artist. Publisher Lisa Pearson has described the book as "a subversive kind of bildungsroman" sequenced according to two editorial criteria. "First, to trace the narrative arc of Iannone's pursuit for ecstatic unity across the universe of her work (and life), and secondly, to offer an opportunity for the reader—who is so often lovingly invoked—to delve into her inimitable, hybrid form of image and text and read an ever-shifting field of autobiography, anecdote, allegory, song, dreamscape and fiction."
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/24/2021
Featured spreads are from Kara Walker: A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be, the astonishing new 600-page collection of drawings from the artist's private archive, published by JRP | Editions to accompany a major Kunstmuseum Basel show opening this summer. "It is hubristic to believe that a saved handwritten memo reading: 'A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be' taped to my wall should be regarded by me as a monument," Walker writes. "I scrawled it in the hope its meaning would become clear to me later. The phrase was initially cartooned onto a long scroll of images and notes from 2012, the entire phrase beginning 'The Sweet Sweet Smell of Success and the Stench of Ingratitude … A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be.” The image that accompanies this
is that of a Black woman, naked, crouched—vomiting on the shoe of an empowered (clothed, pointing, scowling) white man, whose foot is perched on a shoeshine stand. The implication is that this drawing, in its smallness, is a rejection of blind subservience to patriarchal demands that art and artists cater to the market, to the man, to art history, to scale, or to anything not of her own making. I revel in the contradictory pose of the subservient miss, giving 'not what he asked for,' but giving nonetheless. The private drawing satisfies the public urge—a purgative. This phrase is also about the Anti-Art Star who finds more promise in the dark gravitational forces of the Black Hole.
Astronomically a black hole tears apart the known universe; it shakes the foundations of what science can know (and is thus ironically relegated to being 'black') and it is the potential fate of every star in the known heavens. I rediscovered the scroll with this comment fast on the heels of the news about the making of the first recorded image of a black hole—an out of focus capture, but an ultimately fascinating image taken by the Hubble telescope of the distant anomaly. Suddenly the poetic little phrase felt timely, and I rewrote it hastily and taped it to the wall as a reminder that it was ready to come into its own, to do its dark magic, as a title, and as an action."
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/20/2021
Jean-Baptiste Greuze's "Madame Baptiste aîné" (c. 1790) is reproduced from The Sleeve Should Be Illegal: & Other Reflections on Art at the Frick, published to accompany the opening of Frick Madison and containing 61 texts on works in the collection by leading voices in contemporary culture. Of this work, Lena Dunham writes, "'Madame Baptiste aîné' is drawn in 'pastel on cream paper,' a combination that makes it nearly impossible to remember that she has a face. In the Frick’s Handbook of Paintings, the commentary for Greuze’s portrait of the little-known wife of a celebrated male actress (they’re all actresses, darling) tells us that after a promising start on the stage, Madame Baptiste received roles of less and less import. You see, 'She had a terrible fault, which consisted of not allowing to be heard a single verse that she delivered.' … Ten years ago, I went to San Francisco, breaking the $500 limit on my first credit card so I could kiss on the trolley and eat ravioli in bed and snort Adderall off of Nan Goldin books. The boy I was visiting took a Polaroid of me in bed (oatmeal dress, oatmeal skin, greasy hair), and he watched as it developed, saying, 'Look, she’s a Renaissance maid!' I believed him, there in my nightgown. And I believed our love, and my body, would always be this strong and this good and that nobody forgets about strong and good things. I wasn’t right and I wasn’t wrong, but I also imagined people would keep their word and reality wouldn’t be a fight. I would look, every morning, like I had when I was freshly in love and caught on Polaroid. We all know how that goes. Especially Greuze. Especially Madame Baptiste. If I were being drawn in pastels by Greuze, I probably wouldn’t have the heart to interrupt and demand that my features be divisible from each other and my dress just a little less sheer, you know, to reflect the reality of being a working mother. I wouldn’t even say, 'Hey, I’m not that sad, Greuze—lighten up that smile!' I’d just purse my lips and nod my head, and that night, when my husband dragged me onstage… just to prove we were still the dream in action, well I, too, would whisper."
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How did the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. influence Bernard Lumpkin, whose collection forms the basis of the best-selling survey, 'Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists'? The story goes back to Lumpkin's father, Oscar James Lumpkin Jr., pictured here with Sarah Benzaquen, Bernard's mother.
This week, Ridinghouse releases 'The Outwardness of Art: Selected Writings of Adrian Stokes,' the first comprehensive selection of writings by the noted British art theorist known for his synthesis of aesthetics and psychoanalysis. Edited by Thomas Evans, it is the first broad introduction in almost half a century.
We will miss Carolee Schneemann, fearless performance artist, painter, filmmaker, feminist and innate breaker of taboos. She died this week at the age of 79. In memoriam, we present an excerpt from 'Carolee Schneemann: Uncollected Texts,' published by Primary Information.