Art & Architecture
Sweeping surveys include two celebrations of Indigenous North American art, a deep dive into Islamic architecture, and more.
Africa and Byzantium
Edited by Andrea Myers Achi (Metropolitan Museum of Art) $65
Ahead of a major exhibit that opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in November, associate curator Achi examines the artistic contributions of Egypt, Ethiopia, Nubia, and other African kingdoms whose interactions with the Byzantine Empire (which centered on the city known today as Istanbul) had a profound impact on the world. More than 170 masterworks of mosaic, pottery, religious manuscripts, sculpture, and more tell a story of vital cultural exchange.
Art Is Art
Edited by Ann Kappes (Chronicle) $35
Kappes is the director of artistic partnerships at Creativity Explored, a nonprofit art studio and gallery in San Francisco’s Mission District that works with neurodiverse and developmentally disabled artists. Vivid pieces in an array of styles and media, including ceramics, fiber arts, and acrylic, oil, and watercolor painting, are organized into evocative themes. To name three: We Could Kiss, and We Could Look at the Moon; Medicine Helps; and Monsters, Pop, Pow.
An Indigenous Present
Edited by Jeffrey Gibson (DelMonico and Big NDN) $75
Multidisciplinary artist Gibson, a member of Choctaw-Cherokee Tribes of Mississippi and a MacArthur fellow, convenes more than 60 contemporary artists, musicians, painters, photographers, writers, and more. His opening essay explains that this is just the beginning. “An Indigenous Present is not meant to be the definitive account on the subject of Native and Indigenous art and artists,” he writes. “There is so much work to be done, so many histories to recount and collect. And most importantly, there are so many emerging artists to nurture and support.”
Eric Broug (Thames & Hudson) $75
Highlights of this visual feast, which spans continents and 1,400 years, include Umayyad Mosque (c. 715 CE) in Damascus, whose pointed arches and other elements are considered watersheds in Islamic design; Leccio, Italy’s kaleidoscopic Castello di Sammezzano, built in the early 16th century and remodeled in the 19th to incorporate elements from the Alhambra, the Taj Majal, and others; and the 21st-century Pepto-pink Masjid Dimaukom in Maguindanao, the Philippines.
The Land Carries Our Ancestors
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, heather ahtone, Joy Harjo, and Shana Bushyhead Condill (Princeton Univ.) $45
This survey accompanies an exhibit of contemporary Native American art at the National Gallery of Art, curated by Smith, a visual artist and a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation. The 50 established and emerging artists include Tlingit artist Preston Singletary, who says in his personal statement, “My work with glass transforms the notion that Native artists are only best when traditional materials are used. It has helped advocate on behalf of all Indigenous people, affirming that we are still here.”
Latin American Artists
The work of more than 300 artists is presented from A (Eduardo Abaroa, an artist and critic born in Mexico City, 1968) to Z (Costa Rica–born sculptor Francisco Zúñiga, who died in 1998). In his introduction, Raphael Fonseca, curator of modern and contemporary Latin American art at the Denver Art Museum, unpacks cultural and political implications of the book’s organization and parameters, setting the tone for a rich, diverse assemblage.
Street Art by Women
Diego López (Hoaki) $39.95
Working in styles and motifs ranging from photorealistic trompe l’oeil to geometric lace reproductions to fanciful dreamscapes and beyond, the 50 female muralists and graffiti artists showcased in this book follow their colorful vocation in Australia, Europe, and North and South America. Mini interviews accompany each artist’s work, and an index at the back of the book lists their Instagram handles.
Artists & Photographers
Monographs depict singular, but not single-minded, visions.
Amy Sherald: The World We Make
Amy Sherald (Hauser & Wirth) $55
Before Sherald shot to fame with her official portrait of first lady Michelle Obama and, later, her commissioned Vanity Fair cover memorializing Breonna Taylor, she was already gaining attention for her signature, innovative use of grisaille, or gray scale, to depict the Black skin tones of her realistic portraiture subjects. Her models hold hands, eat ice cream, gently push back against perceived gender boundaries, and otherwise portray familiar, intimate moments in the artist’s first major monograph.
Greg Murray (Gibbs Smith) $18.99
Murray introduces more than 60 very good boys and girls, all rescue dogs who’ve found their forever homes. The pups’ personalities shine through in their portraits and in interviews with their people: Hippo, a four-year-old pit bull, makes cooing sounds when she’s happy; one-year-old basset hound Beatrix loves to shred cardboard; and Great Dane Maverick, age five, sits on the couch like a human, with his bum on the cushion and front legs on the floor.
Emanuel Hahn (Running Press) $35
Hahn, a self-described “Korean third-culture kid who grew up in many countries,” celebrates how Korean Americans have made their lives and livelihoods in enclaves across the U.S., profiling the proprietors of mom-and-pop businesses that serve as the heartbeat of their communities. Wending mostly through Los Angeles’s Koreatown, with stops in New York’s and districts in Hawaii, New Jersey, and Virginia, Hahn pairs his snapshots with brief essays about each establishment, crafting a vivid portrait of immigrant ingenuity and resilience.
Leonora Carrington: Revelation
Tere Arcq and Carlos Martín (RM and Fundación Mapfre) $65
Independent curators Arcq and Martín consider the life and work of painter and novelist Carrington (1917–2011), who grew up in the U.K., linked up with the surrealists in 1930s France, and spent the majority of her adult life in Mexico. Themes in her work include alchemy and magic, myths and legends, and the Mayan traditions of her adopted country. She brought her feminist beliefs to bear on her art, as in her painting Mujeres conciencia, used in support of women’s causes in Mexico and the U.S.
Peter de Sève (Cernunnos) $40
Over the course of his career, de Sève has illustrated dozens of New Yorker covers with affectionate send-ups of city life—in one, a trench-coated subway commuter awaits his train, and just beneath him, an identically dressed rat does the same—and less city-specific but no less clever vignettes, such as the expectant rabbit parents whose sonogram shows an Easter egg. Those are presented here along with other work from his wide-ranging résumé, which includes a deep catalog of character design art for Disney/Pixar.
Marina Abramovic´: A Visual Biography
Marina Abramovic´ and Katya Tylevich (Laurence King) $100
Arts writer Tylevich delivers a revealing and image-rich biography of conceptual performance artist Abramovic´. Her romantic and creative partnership with German-born artist Ulay receives careful attention, as do the personal and political influences that fed her work, and her demanding art workshops, which entail “five days, no food, no talking... after that, you can do your art.” Juxtaposing images with evocative quotes, Tylevich provides readers with an up-close look at both the life of the artist and the expressive, enigmatic mind behind the art.
Milton Glaser: Pop
Steven Heller, Mirko Ilic´, and Beth Kleber (Monacelli) $65
Graphic design legend Milton Glaser conceived the I Love New York logo in the back of a cab in 1976, at the end of what the book’s authors call his “pop” period, the early ’60s to the mid-’70s. His prodigious output during this era includes the poster for 1967’s Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits album; rainbow-bright covers for Life, New York, and Time magazines; impossibly cool, stylized book jackets; and many other zeitgeist-defining images.
George Lange (Flashpoint) $25.95
Lange reflects on a career spent capturing the “joy at the center of my life.” Many of the photos are gleefully silly, but the standouts rest on a quieter intimacy between photographer and subject. Images are enriched by the author’s discussions of his artistic process, and for some shots, by perspective afforded by time—alongside a carefree photo of Kate Spade painting her toenails bubblegum pink, Lange muses of her 2018 suicide, “Am I blind to the dark side?... But in every life, even lives with incredible sadness, there is also joy.”
Chloe Sherman (Hatje Cantz) $50
San Francisco in the 1990s hosted a thriving lesbian subculture, and photographer Sherman was there to document it. Whether captured in candid shots or mugging for the camera, Sherman’s subjects are a testament to a multifarious community. Musician Lynn Breedlove, in his introductory essay, notes the book’s inclusivity: “What I love about Chloe Sherman’s work is how she has archived our queer and trans, butch, femme, and everything in-between youth, before we even had language for it.”
Doan Ly (Chronicle Chroma) $29.95
Ly’s a.p. bio floral design studio has worked with clients including Kinfolk, Superga, and Yves Saint Laurent. Her book showcases her saturated color art photography, encompassing beauty shots of blooms, tablescapes with jewel-like desserts on offer, and fanciful shots of friends and collaborators, alone and in intimately configured groups. More surreal images include two portraits of seated figures with similar botanical anatomy: a giant anthurium regale leaf for a face and banana bunches for hands.
Nerd up: these books speak to passionate enthusiasms and offbeat interests.
42: The Wildly Improbable Ideas of Douglas Adams
Edited by Kevin Jon Davies (Unbound) $36.95
The archives of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams reveal the humor that endeared him to readers as well as his curious mind and passion for cutting-edge technology, as seen in a memo envisioning e-readers years before they became reality. Full-page scans of documents from throughout Adams’s career showcase poetry, responses to fan mail, half-baked ideas, TV scripts, and even school assignments, such as a fictional biography of “international playboy” Christopher Turquoise.
The Joy of Costco
David and Susan Schwatrz (Hot Dog) $35
The authors are Costco superfans who’ve visited more than 200 of its 850 warehouses in 46 U.S. states and 13 other countries. Their colorful A–Z makes note of unique items (“Australia is the only country we visited with caskets and coffins at a kiosk display”), regional specialties (bulgogi pizza is on the menu in South Korea), and jaw-dropping facts: the chain’s first warehouse in France sold a necklace worth $352,400 on its opening day.
Thurstan Redding (Thames & Hudson) $50
Fashion photographer Redding juxtaposes the fantasy of cosplay with the mundane settings in which he places his subjects—Spider-Man holds a container of milk in a kitchen, his mask hanging from the open fridge door; a trio of Alices in Wonderland wait for the bus. The contrast is intentional: as Indiana Jones (a supermarket worker by day) puts it, cosplaying lets him “escape from my life for a brief moment.
Dave McKean (Dark Horse) $149.99
The rich career of artist Dave McKean is impossible to contain in a mere 608 pages, but this two-volume slipcased set gives it a go. Images from his frequent collaborations with Neil Gaiman are here—the Sandman comics, the children’s book The Wolves in the Walls—as are trippy artwork for Michelin-starred restaurateur Heston Blumenthal (The Big Fat Duck Cookbook and others), concept art for film and theater, album covers, and more. McKean’s confessional, opinionated commentary rounds out the package.
Worlds Beyond Time
Adam Rowe (Abrams) $40
Journalist Rowe spotlights bizarre and breathtaking science fiction cover art from the 1970s and ’80s. Each bite-size chapter focuses on a creator or a motif (space elevators, skull planets, giant worms) and combines crisp reproductions of several works with critique. His sharp wit makes for zippy, fun reading, as when he quips that Dungeons and Dragons artist Clyde Caldwell specialized in “warrior women with more fortitude than clothes.”
One size does not fit all, so our style book suggestions appeal to a variety of interests.
Anita Dolce Vita (Harper) $35
The editor-in-chief of DapperQ, a digital magazine devoted to queer style, brings the publication’s mission of “ungendering fashion” to this celebratory offering. The 40 contributors, whose profiles are grouped under three headings—Visibility, Longing, and Liberation—represent a broad spectrum of gender expressions and ethnicities. One describes his aesthetic as “rugged queer meets leather boy meets gay jock raised by softball lesbians”; another asks, “Is Blackqueernonbinarycore a thing? That’s me.”
Mitchell S. Jackson (Artisan) $40
Jackson, a Pulitzer winner for feature writing, tracks 75 years of NBA style. Digressions consider sneakers (in 1973, Walt Frazier, with the Puma Clyde, “was the first player to score a signature shoe”) and hair (or lack thereof—because of Michael Jordan, “a generation of men knew it was OK to shave their balding domes”), but the focus is on overall sartorial swag: dashiki-clad rookie Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar); Dennis Rodman’s 1990s gender-fluid spotlight stealing; and tunnel walk MVP Russell Westbrook.
Little Guides to Style Collection
Emma Baxter-Wright, Karen Homer, and Laia Farran Graves (Welbeck) $135
The initiated need no introduction to the names on this slipcase-clad hardcover collection; they read like a luxury fashion pantheon: Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent. To quote Miranda Priestly, albeit out of context: That’s all.
Hannah Carlson (Algonquin) $35
Anyone who’s ever uttered the joyful exclamation “and it has pockets!” will understand the worthiness of this subject. Carlson, who teaches dress history and material culture at the Rhode Island School of Design, draws on sources including archival illustrations, runway photography, and scholarly research to trace the utility, evolution, and implications of having a place close at hand for one’s stuff. Futurists including H.G. Wells, she notes, have predicted the obsolescence of pockets—but we think they can stuff it.
Real Clothes, Real Lives
Kiki Smith (Rizzoli Electa) $60
The director of the Smith College Historic Clothing Collection highlights 300 pieces that, she writes, “were made to be worn by real women living real lives.” The garments and accessories span two centuries and are enhanced by historical context. For instance, the contract handed down by the Cabell Country, W.Va., Board of Education in 1915 mandated that teachers “must wear at least two petticoats” and dresses no shorter than two inches above the ankle. (The sartorial has always been political.)
Merry and bright’s all right for some, but these books speak to readers’ dark sides.
Art of the Grimoire
Owen Davies (Yale Univ.) $35
Davies, president of the Folklore Society in the U.K., takes a global, millennia-spanning view of magical texts and occult practices. Evocative images depict amulets, incantation bowls, and all manner of manuscripts. Chinese bamboo slips from the fourth century BCE offer advice on dealing with spirits and demons; the late 16th-century Compendium of Black Magic, purportedly translated from Arabic, includes instructions for writing conjuring characters in dove and raven blood.
A Christmas Bestiary
John Kenn Mortensen and Benni Bødker, trans. from the Danish by Christopher Sand-Iversen (Fantagraphics) $24.99
Illustrator Mortensen and writer Bødker depict the many terrors that plague European Christian traditions, including the Stallo, brain-sucking creatures of Sámi legend; Père Fouettard (“Father Whipper”) of France and Belgium, aka St. Nicholas’s enforcer; and Baba Yaga, who makes a seasonal switch from child-devouring to present-stealing. A one-to-five pinecones graphic ranking indicates the danger level of each, and Bødker offers handy tips for surviving each horror (e.g. “Never go for a whirl with your Yule Goat”).
The Fright Before Christmas
Jeff Belanger, illus. by T. Reed (New Page) $22
Starting from the premise that “the Winter Solstice is a time for fear,” New England Legends podcast cohost Belanger delves into the pagan origins of modern traditions, discusses the original year without a Santa Claus (1647, when the English Parliament banned Christmas celebrations), and depicts the sinister undercurrents of boozy pastimes like wassailing and mummering. The most terrifying is perhaps the Scandinavian Tomte: Belanger draws a connection to parental bane the Elf on a Shelf.
Japanese Yo¯kai and Other Supernatural Beings
Andreas Marks (Tuttle) $29.99
This compendium catalogs 100 creatures from Japanese tradition, illustrating each with vintage woodblock prints, inked handscrolls, more. Some of the entries will be familiar to fans of contemporary manga and anime: Gege Akutami’s Jujutsu Kaisen series, for one, incorporates numerous y¯okai (demons), and Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli oeuvre includes depictions of bakeneko (supernatural cats, My Neighbor Tototoro), yamauba (a mountain hag, Spirited Away), and others.
Bill Watterson and John Kascht (Andrews McMeel) $19.99
The reclusive Watterson, who retired his popular Calvin and Hobbes comic strip in 1995, makes a long-awaited return with what his publisher calls “a fable for grown-ups,”created with caricature artist Kascht. The scant information available before its release includes a tantalizing plot summary: “A long-ago kingdom is afflicted with unexplainable calamities. Hoping to end the torment, the king dispatches his knights to discover the source of the mysterious events. Years later, a single battered knight returns.”
Interiors & Exteriors
Photo-heavy volumes spotlight historic hostelries, music-geek sanctuaries, and idiosyncratic homes.
Margaret and Corey Bienert (Artisan) $35
This paean to the glam and gaudy revels in heart-shaped bathtubs, champagne-glass whirlpools, and other legacies from the Poconos’ heyday as the “honeymoon capital of the world.” The nostalgia and whimsy extend well beyond Pennsylvania borders—to Wisconsin’s Don Q Inn, where vintage barbershop chairs surround a lobby fireplace crafted from a locomotive engine; California’s fairy tale–themed Castle Wood Cottages, whose rooms include costumes to borrow; and beyond.
Max Humphrey with Kathryn O’Shea-Evans, photos by David Tsay and Rob Schanz (Gibbs Smith) $40
“After a day afield,” documentarian Ken Burns writes in the introduction to this inviting survey of 10 National Parks Lodges, “little says ‘Welcome, put up your boots and stay awhile’ as much as riverstone fireplaces and soaring ceilings.” Humphrey brings his interior designer’s eye to details that reflect the century-old properties’ magnificent surroundings—the tapestry-like paintings of Yosemite flora and fauna in the Ahwahnee’s Mural Room, or the numerous archways framing sweeping views from the Inn at Death Valley.
Portland Mitchell (Thames & Hudson) $40
This vibrant tour of the life aquatic offers glimpses into what it’s like to live in a floating house. Profiles of homes and their owners from across the globe showcase the houses’ diversity—some are able to travel, while others are permanently moored—and emphasize eco-friendliness, as with an upcycled shipping container that sits on a concrete pontoon. Cramped quarters these are not: think spiral staircases, roomy galleys, and sunny decks for lounging.
The New Antiquarians
Michael Diaz-Griffith, photos by Brian W. Ferry (Monacelli) $65
Herman Miller who? The young collectors whose 17 homes are showcased here favor Lady Anne Gordon porcelain vegetables, antique Kalamkari textiles, and early 19th-century American and European oil portraits, for starters. Their eclectic acquisitions express diverse personal heritages and wide-ranging interests, pushing back against the hegemony of the midcentury modern aesthetic. If the occasional cabinet of California-sunny Bauer pottery sneaks in, there’s an art deco chest of drawers and a vintage celluloid button collection waiting on the next page.
Tokyo Jazz Joints
Philip Arneill with James Catchpole (Kehrer) $54
The moody photos in this tour of the Japanese capital’s jazz kissa, or listening cafés where vinyl recordings play on high-end audio equipment, are captioned only with names and locations, allowing the reader to sink into the atmosphere. Dimly lit spaces lined with LP-packed shelves are named for luminaries like Basie, Billie, and Bird; a hand-lettered sign at Down Beat touts the John Coltrane tunes that spin from 6–9 p.m.