A celebration of creativity, perfect holiday books from Doug Flamm of Ursus Books
A MAJOR GIFT-GIVING CONCERN OF MINE, AT LEAST, IS TO BE CERTAIN I DON’T REPEAT A PRESENT! I TRY TO GIVE ART BOOKS TO CLIENTS THAT REFLECT THEIR COLLECTING INTERESTS AND DEEPEN THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF WORKS IN THEIR COLLECTIONS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR AND TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS. THANKS TO THE CALM PROFESSIONALISM AND ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS OF DOUG FLAMM AT URSUS BOOKS, SO FAR SO GOOD! DOUG KNOWS EACH COLLECTOR’S FOCUS AND ALWAYS DIRECTS ME TOWARDS A BEAUTIFUL, ON-TOPIC MONOGRAPH ON AN ARTIST OR TO AN EXHIBITION CATALOGUE OR SURVEY IN AN AREA THAT RESONATES PERFECTLY WITH THEIR INTERESTS. IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO VISIT THEIR INVITING SHOP IN NEW YORK OR TO BROWSE THROUGH THEIR UNIQUE AND EXTENSIVE INVENTORY ON-LINE. http://www.ursusbooks.com/
URSUS IS RENOWNED IN THE BOOK WORLD, NOT ONLY FOR ITS WEALTH OF ART BOOKS, BUT ALSO FOR ITS OUTSTANDING COLLECTION OF IMPORTANT RARE BOOKS, RANGING FROM EARLY PRINTED BOOKS TO MODERN LIVRE DES ARTISTS, WITH A PARTICULAR STRENGTH IN ILLUSTRATED BOOKS OF ART PERIODS FROM THE 15th TO THE 21st CENTURIES, THUS, IN MY VIEW, BRINGING TOGETHER THE UNIQUE WORLD OF ART AND THE WRITTEN WORD. http://www.ursusbooks.com
A RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOK OFFERING A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE DOCUMENTS THIS SUMMER’S EXHIBITION, DAS MEISTERSTUCK (THE MASTERPIECE), AT THE BEAUTIFUL PALLADIAN REFECTORY ON THE ISLAND OF SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE AT THE GIORGIO CINI FOUNDATION OF THE WORK OF GERMAN PHOTOGRAPHER MATTHIAS SCHALLER.
SINCE 2007, SCHALLER HAS BROUGHT TOGETHER PALETTES FROM MAJOR MUSEUMS ACROSS EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING THE LOUVRE, THE MUSEE D’ORSAY AND CENTRE POMPIDOU IN PARIS, THE TATE IN LONDON, ZURICH’S KUNSTHAUS AND THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM IN NEW YORK AS WELL AS PALETTES FROM PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS AND ARTISTS’ ESTATES.
WHAT AN EXTRAORDINARY WAY TO APPRECIATE THE NUANCES OF ARTISTIC MOVEMENTS FROM IMPRESSIONISM TO ABSTRACTION BY STUDYING THE RANGE OF TONALITIES AND BRUSHSTROKES IN THE ARTIST’S PALETTES AND APPROACH THEIR MASTERWORKS FROM THIS VANTAGE POINT!
Boehm, Gottfried. MATTHIAS SCHALLER: Das Meisterstück [The Masterpiece]. 120 pages, including 48 color plates. Folio, boards. Venice, Matthias Schaller, 2015. (#161260) $130.00
This elegantly designed and printed photography book is devoted to an object found in nearly every painter’s studio: the palette. Over the course of nearly eight years, Matthias Schaller sourced and photographed painter’s palettes from some of the most renowned artists of the last two centuries, including Van Gogh, Turner, Constable, Klee, Monet, Picasso, Morandi, Miro, Balthus, Kahlo, Jorn, and Twombly, among others. The palettes were photographed to scale, and they have a visceral presence which evokes the hand that held them. Some immediately resonate with the presence of the artist, others require more thoughtful consideration. They are both objects which are historically meaningful, and images which are beautiful in themselves.
ANOTHER EXCEPTIONAL BOOK DOUG SUGGESTS IS ON THE HISTORY OF BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE, AN EXPERIMENTAL SCHOOL FOUNDED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY BASED ON THE PRINCIPLES OF BALANCING ACADEMICS, ARTS AND PHYSICAL LABOR WITHIN A COMMUNAL SOCIETY. BLACK MOUNTAIN INTRODUCED A UNIQUE CREATIVE ENVIRONMENT TO AMERICA PARTICULARLY CONDUCIVE TO INTERDISCIPLINARY WORK AND CREATIVE INNOVATION.
IN A RECENT NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE, ROBIN POGREBIN DISCUSSES THE SEIMAL SHIFT AT NEW YORK’S MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (AND OTHER PRESTIGIOUS VENUES SUCH AS THE WALKER) AWAY FROM THE TRADITIONAL CATEGORIZATIONS AND DEPARTMENTS (PAINTING, SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY, ETC. ) TOWARDS A CROSS-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH IN CURATING EXHIBITIONS. THE AUCTION HOUSE HAVE LAUNCHED “CROSS-OVER” SALES THAT ARE THEMATIC RATHER THAN BY MOVEMENT SUCH AS CHRISTIE’S WILDLY SUCCESSFUL THEMATIC SALE ON THE NUDE THAT SPANNED WORKS FROM THE 19th TO 21st CENTURY. THEY ADOPTED THE CROSS-CATEGORY APPROACH IN MAY EXHIBITING AND SELLING ALL THE MAJOR WORKS FROM ITS IMPRESSIONIST, MODERN, POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY DEPARTMENTS AT THE SAME TIME. BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE’S INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO THE ARTS IS AN EARLY INFLUENCE AND REFLECTION OF THIS THINKING.
JOSEF ALBERS, FORMERLY OF THE GERMAN BAUHAUS SCHOOL, ESTABLISHED THE CURRICULUM AND INCORPORATED THE BAUHAUS INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO THE ARTS, COMBINING FINE AND DECORATIVE ARTS WITH CRAFT, ARCHITECTURE, THEATER AND MUSIC.
BY THE 1940s, THE FACULTY INCLUDED SOME OF THE GREATEST THINKERS AND ARTISTS OF THE TIME INCLUDING ELAINE AND WILLEM DE KOONING, FRANZ KLINE, BUCKMINSTER FULLER, JOHN CAGE, MERCE CUNNINGHAM AND ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG. ALTHOUGH BLACK MOUNTAIN EXISTED FOR ONLY 23 YEARS, IT LEFT AN INDELIBLE MARK ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN ART AND COUNTERCULTURE.
THIS RICHLY ILLUSTRATED BOOK BY HELEN MOLESWORTH, LEAP BEFORE YOU LOOK: BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE, 1933-1957, DOCUMENTS A PERIOD OF EXTRAORDINARY CREATIVE AND SYNERGY IN THE CREATIVE ARTS. IT DOCUMENTS THE SCHOOL’S INNOVATIVE EDUCATIONAL PLATFORM AND, MOST INTERESTINGLY, THE TRULY REMARKABLE STUDENT AND FACULTY BODY AT BLACK MOUNTAIN THAT INFLUENCED ART IN THE 20th CENTURY AND TO THIS DAY.
Molesworth, Helen. Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, 1933 – 1957. 400 pages, including 318 color and 170 b&w plates. 4to, cloth. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2015. (#160836) $75.00
From the publisher’s catalogue:
“In 1933, John Rice founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina as an experiment in making artistic experience central to learning. Though it operated for only 24 years, this pioneering school played a significant role in fostering avant-garde art, music, dance, and poetry, and an astonishing number of important artists taught or studied there…Leap Before You Look is a singular exploration of this legendary school and of the work of the artists who spent time there. Scholars from a variety of fields contribute original essays about diverse aspects of the College-spanning everything from its farm program to the influence of Bauhaus principles-and about the people and ideas that gave it such a lasting impact”.
AS THE CLOCK IS TICKING LOUDLY TOWARDS CHRISTMAS, NEXT WEEK DOUG FLAMM OF URSUS BOOKS WILL PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS OF A FEW BOOKS THAT FALL UNDER THE “SPARE NO EXPENSE!” OR “TIME IS RUNNING OUT” CATEGORY. WHATEVER THE REASON, THEY WOULD BE EXTREMELY WELL RECEIVED.
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