Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Art Books: A+, Five Stars, etc.

I would like to share with you some truly beautiful art books that I have picked up over the last year or two. Every one of these books is absolutely stunning!

Odd Nerdrum-- imagine Rembrandt painting pictures of a dreamlike post-apocalyptic world-- that's what Nerdrum's work makes me think of. Nerdrum just might be the greatest figure painter of our day. I saw several of his paintings at the Naples Museum of Art in Florida-- the exhibit was called New Old Masters (term coined by art critic Donald Kuspit). All I can say is WOW! Click here for more information.

Vincent Desiderio-- one of America's foremost figure painters. Technically masterful, intriguingly allegorical, and often poignant. Desiderio was also represented in the New Old Masters show in Naples. Again, exceptional work. More info here.

Todd Schorr-- one of the high masters of what is known variously as Lowbrow, Contemporary Pop, or Pop Surrealism. Beautiful reproductions, many close-ups and foldouts. Details can be found here.

James Rosenquist-- as far as I am concerned, he is the best of the original Pop artists from the 1960s. Unlike Warhol, who became a parody of himself and whose work has become cliché, Rosenquist has created an amazing body of work that has continued to evolve into the 21st century. This book has a ton of paintings that you have probably never seen, and also features a lot of his preliminary sketches (drawings and collage), as well as many photos of him working in his studios, etc. Details here.

Finally, the de Kooning biography. I have already mentioned this book in an earlier post, but am including it again for anyone who may have missed it the first time around. This one won a Pulitzer Prize-- well deserved. If you have any interest at all in de Kooning or in the development of modern art in America during the second half of the 20th century, read this book-- you won't be disappointed! Extremely enlightening, thoroughly readable, with many art reproductions and photos of de Kooing over the years, in his studios etc. Info here.

I think that the Nerdrum and Desiderio books are no longer available at retail price, but both are well worth shelling out some extra money for. As of this writing, the Rosenquist is still available at retail from the Guggenheim bookstore. Todd Schorr's book is still available at retail, and the price is so low it's insane! The de Kooning is readily available under twenty bucks.

Seriously-- do yourself a major favor and pick up one or more of these wonderful books!

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