Now is the time to indulge in some of this season’s best coffee table books. With many of the world’s most beloved museums’ doors locked, our hearts ache for the rush that comes from seeing a photo from deep in an archive, a painting fresh from a brush, or a poet’s composition. In lieu of a trip to your favorite gallery, we present to you this compendium, a love letter to your aesthetic side. It’s a wide-ranging list, from lesser-known photographers to fine artists who inhabit the best permanent collections—with something for modernists and formalists alike.
(Rizzoli) by Caitlin Condell and Emily Orr
The first major publication to examine the full span of E. McKnight Kauffer’s career as a pioneering figure in 20th-century advertising, E. McKnight Kauffer: The Artist in Advertising puts Kauffer’s signature marriage of Cubism and Surrealism with commercial products on full display. Including some 300 images of Kauffer’s illustrations, book jackets, and posters, this monograph takes a critical look at the design influence of the Poster King.
(Rizzoli Electa) by Carter Ratcliff and Vincent Katz
A definitive monograph of more than 300 images by artist Alex Katz—whose trademarks include brightly colored and highly stylized flattened forms, simplification of detail, and alla prima paint application—this book charts the development of Katz’s hallmark aesthetic that anticipated the emergence of Pop Art.
(David Zwirner Books) by Yayoi Kusama
Aside from the irresistible blue, orange, and green cover, Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love is a tender and captivating look into the artist’s poetic world. Through an impressive collection of Kusama’s poetry, this iconic tome highlights the importance of words to the artist, whose painting titles are as beguiling as the artworks they accompany.
(David Zwirner Books) by Noah Davis
Published on the occasion of the 2020 exhibition at David Zwirner New York, this book is a comprehensive compendium of the late Noah Davis’s poignant and extraordinary oeuvre.
(Distributed Art Publishers) by Antwaun Sargent, Graham C. Boettcher, Jessica Bell Brown, Connie H. Choi, Anthony Graham, Lauren Haynes, Jamillah James, Thomas J. Lax, Hallie Ringle, Adeze Wilford, Gordon Dearborn Wilkins, Matt Wycoff, and Thelma Golden
Edited by writer Antwaun Sargent, this book is a sweeping survey of Bernard Lumpkin and Carmine Boccuzzi’s collection. Lumpkin and Boccuzzi collect works from contemporary African American artists and have been very outspoken about their vision of inclusivity in museums. With Young, Gifted and Black they hope to shed light on young contemporary artists of African American descent who are focused on interrogating history and identity.
(JRP|Editions) by Maurice Berger and Michael Bank Christoffersen
This stunning 600-page, cloth-bound volume is an incredible look into Kara Walker’s works on paper. Though Walker is perhaps most celebrated for her large-scale installations, this is an in-depth, refreshing turn to more than 700 of her works on paper dating from 1992 to 2020, exploring not only her political engagement but also her continued examination of her own identity as a Black woman and mother.
(Aperture) by Emmanuel Iduma, Arthur Jafa, M. Neelika Jayawardane, Yxta Maya Murray, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Namwali Serpell, Janet Hill Talbert, and Greg Tate
Ming Smith’s photographs dance such a fine line between documentary and art that they fall into their very own category. In this new monograph, a decade of Smith’s prolific photographic studies of jazz, African American communities, and cultural icons hold weight amplified by their gentleness, bringing to light Smith’s expertise.
(Aperture) by Clément Chéroux and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa
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