I love books. I'm all for the wonderful things the internet can do but a screen just can't compete with the smell of a book, it's weight, the texture of the paper, or an excellent layout.
Here are some of my favorite recent acquisitions:
Jimmy Robert | Vis-à-vis
I've been following Jimmy Robert's work for a bit now, he is so talented. This monograph accompanies the first large-scale US solo exhibition of the Brussels-based artist's work, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Robert works in a range of media--including photography, sculpture, film, video, and collaborative performance--gently breaking down divisions between two and three dimensions, image and object. This catalog is very unique, it is spiral-bound, utilizing multiple paper stocks and size; this volume features the artist's newest work while surveying his oeuvre to date with essays by MCA Curator Naomi Beckwith and art historian Marie de Brugerolle, along with a dialogue between Robert and artist Ian White. PS- Vis-à-vis means face-to-face
Julian Germain | For Every Minute You Are Angry You Lose Sixty Seconds of Happiness
I fell in love with this book at the Portland Bazaar, and purchased it from Ampersand, one of my favorite shops. I love to support Ampersand because they are a small shop that's just doing it right on all fronts. I'm always impressed by their inventory and their curatorial choices. Myles and Carrie are always in for a good chat, always show me something I haven't seen before and I never leave with my hands empty. This book caught my eye right away, I love that cover and the title is just genius. On a series of photographs made over eight years, Julian Germain captured the quiet, contemplative existence of an old man living alone in a small house in a city on the south coast of England. Germain's images are fantastic and the edit has a cinematic quality, seamlessly weaving in scrapbook and album pages with his photographs. I highly recommend it!
Anouk Kruithof | Becoming Blue
I first saw Kruithof's work in an old issue of Foam Magazine and it never left my mind. This is a catalog that accompanied an exhibition in Berlin in 2009. These disturbing portraits are the result of long portrait sessions, which she calls one-to-one performances. She did not work behind the camera but rather around the room, at times performing small physical interventions, prompting irritation or stress. The strange in-between-moments can be seen only through Kruithof's lens, and somehow manage to communicate both a great deal of unease and an unsettling calmness.
Kris Graves | Permanence
There's nothing better than forgetting you ordered something and getting a surprise box at your doorstep. Kris Graves is a great photographer and friend, his work is great and anything I've seen come out from him has always been impeccably designed and produced. I have a huge appreciation for craft and am always very bothered when good image makers throw their work in the trash simply by choosing the wrong frame, a bad font, or amateur presentation. When Kris asked us to back his Kickstarted project to produce a book, I knew it was worth it. Permanence came out beautifully and I thoroughly recommend it!
CINDY SHERMAN - CS - Tokyo, Parco, 1987
I came upon this beauty at a used book store in Chicago a few years back (I know, this is not a "recent" acquisition). This is the lovely catalogue issued in conjunction with a 1987 exhibition of works by Cindy Sherman at the Parco Gallery in Tokyo. It features Untitled photographs executed between 1979 and 1986 accompanied by quotes from the artist as well as a brief transcribed interview between Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons. This is a very rare publication and I paid almost nothing for it, it's one of my favorite books.
Anne Noggle | Silver Lining
This book came to me as a suggestion from a friend. I ordered it and boy was I surprised, I had never heard of Anne Noggle before. She was a pilot and flight instructor in the Women's Air Force and served during WWII. She later went on to get a degree in art history and eventually discovered photography; she pursued photography while acting as the curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 70's. Being a latecomer to photography certainly shows in Noggle's pictures, they have a freedom and honesty that only comes with not knowing the rules, they come with baggage and they are stunningly as complex as a long lived life can be. Noggle said "It was the first time since I'd been grounded that I felt the same excitement that flying always gave me." Without a very specific theme, this book is Noggle's own history, an accumulation of experiences and a record of aging. Noggle's mother, Agnes, appears in many of the 80 black-and-white photographs in this monograph, starting as a healthy-looking woman in her 70s but in subsequent images visibly aging, appearing more frail, undergoing the contraction of life. Noggle also photographs herself (clothed and not) and even records her own facelift in 1975. Most of Noggle's photographs are not easy to look at, she understands the difference between sentiment and sentimentality.
Various Artists | At The Same Time
At about 6x8" this is a little publication with a lot of power. My good friend Steven Beckly was in town a while back and he was kind enough to leave one of these behind for me. This self-published photography book is by six artists: Steven Beckly and Dylan MacNeil (Toronto, Canada), Ted Kerr and Zachary Ayotte (Brooklyn, NY), and Colin Quinn and Oisín Share (Manchester, UK). Drawing and expanding on a variety of photographic traditions, the collaboration explores the nature and development of their romantic relationships from three different parts of the world. Although separated by continents, these artists -who met on Flickr- produced a really beautiful publication that explores one subject through six very unique sets of eyes. The essays by AA Bronson, Paul Mgapi Sepuya, and Sholem Krishtalka are worth it, too. Get it!
Camille Plagia | Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to ‘Star Wars’
This is not a photo book, this is art appreciation 101. Paglia, a well known professor and social critic, takes us on a tour of 29 of her favorite artworks, a list that includes the “Laocoön”; Donatello’s “Mary Magdalene”; Greek temples and paintings by Jacques-Louis David, Monet and Picasso; as well as examples of more recent trends like Pop, Conceptual, Land and Performance Art. I'm well versed in photography and its history, but if we are being honest, you put an egyptian sphinx in front of me and I don't even know what I'm looking at, nor am I interested. This read has been a challenge but I'm on a journey to inform myself and this is a great start. Paglia is sharp and opinionated, and I don't always agree with her on everything, but it's been a very interesting and different read.
Marc Asnin | Uncle Charlie
This book was a gift, also a recommendation from the folks at Ampersand. This book really took my breath away. Marc Asnin has been photographing his Uncle Charlie for eleven years. This is the story of his tattos, his guns, his uneployment, his illness, his poverty, and his drug problems. Asnin's black and white images are tenacious in documenting Charlie’s "life and struggles, but they also chronicle Asnin’s evolving perceptions over the decades, from his boyhood admiration of a man he viewed as his street-savvy, gun-wielding uncle to the reality of an aging man man tormented by mental illness, drug addiction, and strained relationships." (New Yorker) I still need more time with this book.
Torbjørn Rødland | Vanilla Partner
This book was also a gift, recommended by Ampersand. I spent some time with it today. This is a book that is really about the images. This book rejects the linear structure of most thematic photography books. Rødland’s work walks the edges of aesthetic and cultural norms, challenging current grasps of contemporary image-making. Rødland delves into an odd psycho-sexual terrain, merging atmospheric landscapes with skewed, bizarre and often hilarious human subjects. He fetihizes and warps the mundane.