Much of the human world, both inner and outer, is explored through art. Werner Herzog's recent documentary about cave art in France made the case beautifully. And any preview of a season's art book offerings—either books of art or about artists—does as well. This particular season is full of big books on big artists, as well as probing titles about artists who themselves probed the interiors of themselves or others.
A new study of the enigmatic Diane Arbus—who continues to fascinate—is coming from Will Todd Schultz. Although the title is still tentative, according to the publisher, An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus explores the mysteries of this revered photographer, informed in part by the recent release of some of Arbus's writing as well as by interviews with her psychotherapist. The work of another photographer, and, like Arbus, a suicide, is amply on display in Francesca Woodman, a "definitive monograph" from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The book contains 110 pages of plates surrounded by essays on of Woodman's work and continuing influence.
Perhaps there is no more iconic artist than Vincent Van Gogh, whose brilliant paintings and tormented life have come to define the tortured artist. Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, whose biography of another brilliant icon, Jackson Pollock, was a bestseller and prize winner, take the measure of the great Dutch post-impressionist in Van Gogh: A Life.
The career of Willem de Kooning, the great Dutch-American abstract expressionist, is surveyed in the handsome De Kooning: A Retrospective, coming from the Museum of Modern Art, with an essay by the distinguished John Elderfield.
The man considered perhaps the world's most important painter, Gerhard Richter, whose work has taken many different turns, is looked at in full in Gerhard Richter: Panorama, in a Tate effort led by Tate director Nicholas Serota.
Of course, the creation of artistic reputation is not the work of the artist alone. In The Art Prophets, Richard Polsky recognizes the most influential "tastemakers"—artists, of course, but also their dealers, who changed the course of art.
There are no longer critics who are tastemakers in quite the sense that Clement Greenberg once was. But with the recent death of Leo Steinberg, perhaps the most influential living critic is Rosalind Krauss. In Under Blue Cup, Krauss explores memory and art making, her own memory having been challenged by a recent aneurysm.
Since the field is wide open for tastemakers these days—hello, Mr. Saatchi—why not bad boy novelist Will Self and the good Dave Eggers, who praise the work of David Shrigley, a British graphic artist. What the Hell Are You Doing?: The Essential David Shrigley should expand his reputation in the States.
Speaking of the States and things iconic, consider Nevada. Neon Nevada is, according to the publisher Globe Pequot, "a stirring ode to a fading tradition and a celebration of a unique modern art."
Lastly, all the above and more may be contained in some fashion in Phaidon's ambitious The Art Museum, a virtual museum of world art contained in a book. Many are likely to visit this one, a bargain at $200.
PW's Top 10 Art & Architecture
An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus
William Todd Schultz. Bloomsbury, Aug.
Corey Keller, Julia Bryan-Wilson, and Jennifer Blessing. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Nov.
Van Gogh: The Life
Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. Random House, Oct.
De Kooning: A Retrospective
Jim Coddington et al., intro. essay by John Elderfield. Museum of Modern Art, Sept.
Gerhard Richter: Panorama
Nicholas Serota et al. Tate, Oct.
The Art Prophets: The Artists, Dealers, and Tastemakers Who Shook the Art World
Richard Polsky. Other Press, Oct.
Under Blue Cup
Rosalind E. Krauss. MIT Press, Nov.
What the Hell Are You Doing?: The Essential David Shrigley
David Shrigley. Norton, Oct.
Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan. Globe Pequot, Oct.
The Art Museum
Phaidon Press editors. Phaidon, Sept.
Susan Hiller by Ann Gallagher (Sept., hardcover, $37.95, ISBN 978-1-85437-888-0). A survey of the work of Hiller, one of the most influential artists of her generation, written by the head of collections at the Tate in London. Moving fluidly between film, audio, video, and projection, Hiller's large-scale installations have had a huge impact on British art. Accompanies a major exhibition of her work.
Norman Rockwell's Spirit of America by Norman Rockwell (Oct., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-4197-0065-1) presents an original collection celebrating classic Rockwell art along with poems, stories, recipes, and songs, including selections from Mark Twain, O. Henry, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Miró by Iria Candela (Sept., paper, $10.95, ISBN 978-1-85437-941-2). This survey of the artist's life and career explores the complex roots and the artist's darker side.
Wolf Kahn by Justin Spring, Karen Wilkin, and Louis Finkelstein (Sept., hardcover, $55, ISBN 978-0-8109-9790-5). An updated edition of the definitive monograph on Wolf Kahn brings the original survey of the painter's career up-to-date, covering the past 15 years of his works and including a new essay on these late works by Wilkin.
An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus by William Todd Schultz (Aug., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-60819-519-0). On the 40th anniversary of Arbus's death, this is a new psychological portrait that Kathryn Harrison has called "the book Arbus's legions of admirers have long waited for: a vivisection of her psyche that allows us—the voyeurs she made of us—to understand her stark, accusatory vision."
Copper Canyon Press
(dist. by Consortium)
Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom by Sung Po-Jen, trans. by Red Pine (Nov., paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-55659-378-9). First published in 1238 C.E., Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom is considered the world's earliest known printed art book. This bilingual edition contains the 100 woodblock prints from that original edition. "[The book} helps artists develop the aptitude for seeing the inner essence of various natural phenomena," wrote the Shambhala Sun.
Douglas & McIntyre
Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven by Ross King (Oct., paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-55365-882-5) traces the artistic development of Tom Thomson and the future members of the Group of Seven—Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley—over a dozen years. The group came to define landscape painting in Canada during the 1920s.
(dist. by Rizzoli)
Anish Kapoor by Homi Bhaba and Jean de Loisy (Sept., hardcover, $55, ISBN 978-20802-0083-9). This new retrospective monograph, produced in collaboration with British-born Kapoor, famous for his mirrored public sculpture in London, Chicago, and Jerusalem, claims to be the most comprehensive to date.
Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945–1980 by Rebecca Peabody, Andrew Perchuk, and Glenn Phillips (Sept., $59.95, ISBN 978-1-60606-072-8). This lavishly illustrated history of the vibrant and diverse postwar art scene in Los Angeles is the first in-depth scholarly survey of the region's art, including considerations of John Baldessari, Judy Chicago, Robert Irwin, Mike Kelley, and Allan Kaprow, among others.
D. GILES/The Phillips
(dist. by ACC)
Master Paintings from the Phillips Collection by Bob Hughes, Elizabeth E Rathbone, and Susan Behrends (Dec., hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-1-904832-92-8). A new, comprehensive survey of the collection of the first American museum of modern art, located in Washington, D.C., highlights 108 masterworks from the Phillips permanent collection.
Globe Pequot Press
Neon Nevada by Peter Laufer and Sheila Swan (Oct.,$16.95, ISBN 978-0-7627-7068-7). These colorful images of cartoon cowboys, cowgirls, women bathing in martini glasses illuminate an aspect of Americana—the neon sign—that has been largely neglected by art historians, in a (literally) glowing celebration of illuminated art in the world's neon capital.
(dist. by Sterling)
Andy Warhol Treasures: The Illustrated Story of Andy Warhol's Life and Work by Geralyn Huxley and Matt Wrbican (Oct., hardcover, $50, ISBN 978-1-84796-024-5). Warhol, who died in 1987, famously said that in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. But his own fame only continues to grow, as does his influence on art and culture. This illustrated biography by a curator and archivist, respectively, at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa., includes more than 20 items of facsimile memorabilia.
The Contemporary Art Book by Charlotte Bonham Carter and David Hodge (Sept., hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-1-84796-005-4) offers a "Who's Who" of contemporary art, with biographies and assessments of 200 of the world's most influential artists, from acknowledged masters like Lucian Freud, Louise Bourgeois, and Jasper Johns to younger stars like Matthew Barney, Damien Hirst, and Tracey Emin.
Treasures of Dalí by Montse Aguer (Oct., hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-1-84796-023-8). Published in collaboration with the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, The Treasures of Dalí offers unparalleled access to the life and work of one of the 20th century's most controversial artists; includes letters, postcards, extracts from Dalí's journals and notebooks, and manuscript extracts.
(Dist. by SCB)
Georgia O'Keeffe's Hawai'i by Patricia Jennings Campbell, intro. by Maria Ausherman and Jennifer Saville (Oct., paper, $20, ISBN 978-0-9821656-4-5). In 1939, O'Keeffe visited Hawai'i and painted the islands' tropical plants and landscapes, capturing the essence of their beauty. While she was on Maui, 12-year-old Patricia Jennings was O'Keeffe's guide and companion, showing the great artist the lush valleys and hills of the islands.
(dist. by Rizzoli)
ILLUMInations: 54th International Art Exhibition La Biennale Di Venezia: La Biennale di Venezia by Bice Curiger (Aug., paper, $90, ISBN 978-8831708203). The Swiss-born curator Curiger was named director of the 2011 Venice Biennale. In this lavishly illustrated volume. Curiger articulates her vision of the monumental show taking place this summer.
Lucio Fontana: Between Utopia and Kitsch by Anthony White (Nov., hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-262-01592-9). A new view of Fontana showing how the artist combined modernist aesthetics with outmoded forms of kitsch.
Under Blue Cup by Rosalind E. Krauss (Nov., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-262-01613-1). A personal journey leads a celebrated critic to discover "knights of the medium," contemporary artists who battle the aesthetic meaninglessness of the postmedium condition.
Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings by Judith F. Rodenbeck (Oct., hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-262-01620-9) examines "happenings," the experiential and experimental art form born in the 1960s that continues to shape participatory art today. Rodenbeck teaches art history at Sarah Lawrence College.
Beuys Voice by Lucrezia De Domizio Durini (Oct., hardcover, $125, ISBN 978-88-3708567-4). May 12, 2011, marked the 90th anniversary of Joseph Beuys's birth (1921–1986), one of the key figures in the artistic scenario of the last century. The Kunsthaus in Zurich pays tribute to the German master by staging an important international event that forms an integral part of the exhibition.
Museum of Modern Art
(dist. by D.A.P.)
De Kooning: A Retrospective by Jim Coddington, Jennifer Field, Delphine Hulsinga, Susan Lake, intro. essay by John Elderfield, curator emeritus at MOMA (Sept., hardcover, $75, ISBN 978-0-87070-797-1). Published in conjunction with the first large-scale, multimedium, posthumous retrospective of de Kooning's career, this publication offers an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate the development of the artist's work as it unfolded over nearly seven decades.
Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art by Leah Dickerman and Anna Indych-Lopez (Nov., hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-87070-817-6). In 1931, Rivera was the subject of the Museum of Modern Art's second one-person exhibition, which set new attendance records in its five-week run. The museum brought Rivera to New York six weeks before the show's opening and gave him on-site studio space. He produced five murals and, shortly thereafter, another three. Panels are reproduced here, and the authors contextualize international muralism.
What the Hell Are You Doing?: The Essential David Shrigley by David Shrigley (Oct., hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-393-08247-0). Dave Eggers called Shrigley, the British artist who composed full-page illustrations combining drawing, comics, photography, and sculpture, "probably the funniest gallery-type artist who ever lived." Will Self pens an enthusiastic introduction.
Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon (Sept., hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-393-08149-7) is, in the tradition of John Richardson's Picasso, a commanding new biography of the Italian master's tumultuous life and mysterious death. PW called this "a rare tour-de-force."
The Art Prophets: The Artists, Dealers, and Tastemakers Who Shook the Art World by Richard Polsky (Oct., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-59051-406-1). The author of I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon)) gives "visionaries," including gallerists such as Virginia Dwan and Tony Shafrazi, due credit in the development of contemporary art forms and public taste in the late 20th century.
Oxford Univ. Press
Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon by Martin Kemp (Nov., hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-19-958111-5) examines many types of visual icons—from the crucifixion to Che Guevara—and their impact on art, culture, and commerce, by the author of The Oxford History of Western Art.
The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sís (Oct., hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-59420-306-0). The celebrated children's book author and illustrator, Sís creates his first book for adults, an adaptation of the classic 12th-century Sufi epic poem, "The Conference of the Birds."
(dist. by HBG)
The Art Museum by Phaidon Press editors (Sept., hardcover, $200, ISBN 978-0-7148-5652-0). This virtual art museum in a book features 1,000 oversized pages and 2,700 works of art. Ten years in the making by a global team of specialists, the book walks readers through the color-coded halls of an imaginary museum featuring artworks from all the world's visual cultures.
Defining Contemporary Art: 25 Years in 200 Pivotal Artworks by Suzanne Cotter, Daniel Birnbaum, and Cornelia H. Butler (Nov., hardcover, $75, ISBN 978-0-7148-6209-5). Provides an analytic look at the history of art in the past 25 years through a selection of the 200 most important art works selected by a panel of distinguished curators.
(dist. by IPG)
Banksy Locations & Tours, Volume 2: A Collection of Graffiti Locations and Photographs from Around the U.K. by Martin Bull (Sept., paper, $20, ISBN 978-1-60486-330-7) offers a roundup of the past five years of "guerrilla artist" Banksy's work, from Bull, a photographer and fan.
Artistic San Francisco by James A. Ganz (Sept., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-7649-5989-9). More than 50 artworks from the mid–19th century to the present, all from the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, celebrating the sites and experiences of the city through the eyes of artists.
Princeton Univ. Press
The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha by Hal Foster (Nov., hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-15138-0) is a major new take on Pop art from esteemed critic Hal Foster.
Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (Oct., hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-0-375-50748-9). More than a decade in the writing, this is the first definitive biography of one of the world's most popular artists by the authors of the Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Jackson Pollock.
On Ugliness by Umberto Eco (Oct., paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-8478-3723-6). In the mold of his History of Beauty, Eco's On Ugliness is an exploration of the monstrous in visual culture and the arts.
Flogging a Dead Horse: The Life and Works of Jake and Dinos Chapman by Jake Chapman and Dinos Chapman (Sept., hardcover, $85, ISBN 978-0-8478-3478-5) collects 20 years of work by two iconoclastic and subversive contemporary British artists.
Richard Prince: American Prayer by Robert Rubin, Marie Minssieux-Chamonard, and John McWhinnie (Sept., paper, $65, ISBN 978-0-8478-3649-9) provides a look into Prince's private library and his influences, published on the occasion of an exhibition of the artist's work at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.
Will Cotton: Paintings and Works on Paper by Toby Kamps with an essay by Francine Prose (Oct., hardcover, $60, ISBN 978-0-8478-3667-3) is the first monograph on the popular New York–based artist, best known for his large-scale portraits of female nudes in dreamlike landscapes composed of sweets like fondant frostings, peppermint sticks, and marshmallows.
Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column by Tracey Emin (Sept., hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-8478-5807-1). An illustrated anthology of the artist's popular, personal columns that ran in the Independent between 2005 and 2009.
Peter Doig by Richard Shiff and Catherine Lampert (Oct., hardcover, $150, ISBN 978-0-8478-3473-0). A comprehensive monograph on Turner Prize–nominated artist Doig.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Francesca Woodman by Corey Keller, Julia Bryan-Wilson, and Jennifer Blessing (Nov., hardcover, $49.95, ISBN 978-1-935202-66-0). In 1972, the 13-year-old Woodman made a black-and-white photograph of herself sitting at the far end of a sofa in her home in Boulder, Colo. She went on to have a meteoric career as a photographer, with herself as the subject, till her suicide at 22. A recent documentary about Woodman and her artist parents has revived interest in her work and tragic life.
(dist. by Rizzoli)
Picasso, Miró, Dalí: Angry Young Men: The Birth of the Modern by Eugenio Carmona ( Oct., hardcover, $55, ISBN 978-88-5720978-4). The birth of the modern as seen through 60 stunning early works by three of the greatest artists of all time.
Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein by Valerie Cassel Oliver, Eric C. Shiner, Bill Arning, Russell Feguson, and Douglas Crimp (Oct., hardcover, $65, ISBN 978-0-8478-3727-4) is the first comprehensive survey of Moffett's investigations into art history, paint, and form.
(dist. by Abrams)
Gerhard Richter: Panorama by Nicholas Serota et al. ( Oct., hardcover, $65, ISBN 978-1-935202-71-4). Where previous monographs have focused on a single genre within Richter's vast output, this illustrated survey encompasses his entire oeuvre and features an interview of the German artist conducted by Serota, the director of the Tate in London.
Thames & Hudson
A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford (Oct., hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-500-23887-5). A self-portrait of this major artist is told through a wide-ranging series of interviews and conversations with Gayford.
Univ. of California Press
Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface by Robin Lee Clark (Sept., hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-520-27060-2). In 1960s and '70s Los Angeles, artists intrigued by questions of perception used light to create situations that heightened viewers' sensory awareness. This book explores and documents traits of phenomenologically engaged work and traces its ongoing influence on current generations of artists.
Yale Univ. Press
The Artist and the Warrior: From Assyria to Guernica by Theodore K. Rabb (Nov., $45, ISBN 978-0-300-12637-2). How have artists across the millennia responded to warfare? In this wide-ranging book, Rabb blends military history and the history of art to search for the answers.
Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine by Constance C. McPhee and Nadine M Orenstein (Oct.,$45, ISBN 978-0-300-17581-3). From Leonardo's drawings of grotesque heads to contemporary prints lampooning American politicians, the Metropolitan Museum has a vast and largely unknown collection of caricatures and satirical works. This handsome volume offers 160 examples dating from about 1500 to the present.