The Best Coffee Table Reading of the Season
Because the holidays are approaching and it’s time to start thinking about great gifts, we’ve rounded up the best art and design titles of the season. The pages in these books are filled with inspiration and feature high up on our wish lists.
photo: Landon Nordeman, from Out of Fashion
The accompanying catalog to Kaws’ major survey exhibition at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which opened this month, covers his evolution from a graffiti artist in Jersey City in the 1980s to now, a major figure on the international art scene, with an equally major breadth of work from paintings, to monumental sculpture and even balloons. All his work, with its unmistakable allusions to Mickey, Sponge Bob, Snoopy and the like, grabs us all and then hits us with a sucker punch of dark emotion.
Like all her documentary photography, Simon’s work is meticulous, complex, beautiful, and most of all subversive. In these pages Simon captures seemingly innocent floral bouquets and reveals their much deeper, darker roots. They’re recreations of arrangements that have borne witness to the most confidential and historically decisive of meetings between countries, politicians and organizations over the years—meetings between Jacques Chirac and Saddam Hussein, for example, or Richard Nixon and the Afghan insurgents the US supported against the Soviet Union. Not only that, but each bouquet is dissected to show that their components don’t flower in the same season and are therefore impossible. As always, heady stuff.
The Louisiana Art Museum in Denmark makes an unusual, though perfectly apt pairing between their national hero Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale and artist Yayoi Kusama’s drawings. The original tale is just as whimsical—and just ask dark—as the artist’s work. A perfect match and a beautiful book to add to your kids’ or your own collection.
Though Wood is known for far more than his intimate portrayals of friend’s rooms, it’s this series that’s really struck a chord. Maybe it’s voyeurism, maybe it’s the colors, or maybe it’s the Matisse-like flatness of the paintings that grabs us. Whatever it is, this is an artist to continue to watch.
We first fell for Clare Rojas as part of a group of young artists now known as the Beautiful Losers (another classic art book, by the way) discovered and supported by the then gallerist Jeffrey Deitch. Back then Rojas work was a play on traditional American folk painting and Outsider Art. In this title that’s due to be published in November, it’s surprising to see this new turn for the artist whose folky style has gone abstract. All that’s left is her use of color and her particular style of line, which, interestingly, doesn’t feel like much of a departure at all.
What started as an assignment for New York Magazine’s The Cut to cover NYFW, became the basis for a major new body of work by the documentary photographer known for his bright photographs and their humorous edge. In these pages, Landon takes us deep into the belly of the beast and shows us fashion in all its hyper, sensational pizzazz and shows us a real, raw close up. There are some great glimpses of André Leon Talley, Grace Coddington and Iris Apfel, along with plenty of strange, humorous moments and the pure, unfiltered spectacle of it all.
Interiors photographer Oberto Gili and writer Marella Caracciolo Chia, travel Italy top to bottom discovering the most exuberant interiors in the country. The thread that runs through the city apartments, palazzo’s and country idyll’s captured in these pages is the owners’ talent for giving spaces with centuries of history their own eccentric twist. Delightfully, the rooms captured in this book are refreshingly asymmetrical, imperfect and filled with stories; From the great Tuscan Villa Salviati to artist Nikki de Saint Phalle’s mirrored cave, to Alessandro Twombly—son of Cy’s— palazzo turned gallery.
A compendium of green spaces and the people who live and work in them, this book covers a lot of ground, from Australia to North Yorkshire, to Amsterdam and LA. The florists, plant collectors, gardeners and horticulturists whose stories populate this book all have a particularly artful and inspired way of displaying and living with plants, and serves as a hearty source of inspiration for anyone looking to bring a little more green into their life.
After the success of Remodelista’s first coffee table book, the editors at sister site Gardenista too have gone and compiled their greatest hits into their own book. The pages inside give you access to some of the most glamorous green spaces from Isabel Marant’s own LA oasis to London interiors maven Rose Uniacke’s artfully designed conservatory, along with solid advice on how to, in true Gardenista style, “steal the look.” Beyond the access to beautiful garden spaces, the editors offer up evergreen advice for DIY projects outdoors and the best sources for garden furniture and tools. It’s a bit of a Garden Design 101.
As the name implies, this is quite literally a picture book, an archive of the antique imagery shop owner and decoupage artist extraordinaire, John Derian has become so famous for. Here are the images he uses in his work, compiled in a striking, oversize edition. Save for an introduction by none other than Ana Wintour and a few words from Derian himself, this is book of few words and an object of deep beauty, like many of the things you find in his singularly charming East Village emporium.
Far from being a portfolio of Garden Designer Luciano Giubbilei’s award winning work around the world, this book takes an almost scrapbook-like look at the designer’s process, and serves as inspiration for artists of any kind. A few years ago, at the height of his career, Giubbilei took an interesting detour and went back to basics, to tend a patch at Great Dixter, the famous Kentish Garden. This book covers Giubbilei’s time and evolution there, showing the gentle turn of the seasons and the profound change in the designer’s own approach, culminating in an award winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2014. The stunning photography in these pages is only as beautiful as the concept of the book itself.
English Houses: Inspirational Interiors from City Apartments to Country Manor Houses by Ben Pentreath
This is architect, interior designer and shop founder Ben Pentreath’s second book on interiors and this time he takes us inside the city and country homes of his most tasteful coterie of friends from Lulu Lytle, owner of Soane, to decorator Veere Greeney, to his own homes with partner Charlie McCormick. The interiors in this book are sprinkled with plenty of antiques, chintz, and classic wallpaper patterns; none are too perfect; and all use bold, bright color to make the decidedly English interiors on these pages absolutely contemporary. Much appreciated at the end of each story are the sourcebook notes on the art, furniture and design ideas on each page. Also much appreciated is Ben Pentreath’s warm and wonderful writing, which he became so famous for years ago on his shop’s blog.
In the pages of this book the #girlboss herself opens up the doors to her empire with a peek into 70’s-style home, shag rugs and all, tributes to her heroines like Siouxsie Sioux and the like, life advice you won’t forget, and interviews with all her most awe-inspiring friends —GP included. With its mix of interviews, interiors and portraits the book takes on a definite scrapbook-like feel, which makes it all the more enticing.