The Lonely City

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

N 71 .L24 2016

“What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we’re not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens?

When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving fluidly between works and lives – from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks to Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, from Henry Darger’s hoarding to David Wojnarowicz’s AIDS activism – Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed.

Humane, provocative, and deeply moving, The Lonely City is about the spaces between people and the things that draw them together, about sexuality, mortality, and the magical possibilities of art. It’s a celebration of a strange and lovely state, adrift from the larger continent of human experience, but intrinsic to the very act of being alive.”
– publisher description

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Walk Through Walls

Walk Through Walls: A Memoir by Marina Abramović

N 7253 .A27 A2 2016

“In 2010, more than 750,000 people stood in line at Marina Abramović’s MoMA retrospective for the chance to sit across from her and communicate non-verbally in an unprecedented durational performance that lasted more than 700 hours. This celebration of nearly fifty years of groundbreaking performance art demonstrated once again that Marina Abramović is truly a force of nature.

The child of Communist war-hero parents under Tito’s regime in postwar Yugoslavia, she was raised with a relentless work ethic. Even as she was beginning to build an international artistic career, Marina lived at home under her mother’s abusive control, strictly obeying a 10 p.m. curfew. But nothing could quell her insatiable curiosity, her desire to connect with people, or her distinctly Balkan sense of humor – all of which informs her art and her life. The beating heart of Walk Through Walls is an operatic love story – a twelve-year collaboration with fellow performance artist Ulay, much of which was spent penniless in a van traveling across Europe – a relationship that began to unravel and came to a dramatic end atop the Great Wall of China.

Marina’s story, by turns moving, epic, and dryly funny, speaks to an incomparable artistic career that involves pushing her body past the limits of fear, pain, exhaustion, and danger in an uncompromising quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. A remarkable work of performance in its own right, Walk Through Walls is a vivid and powerful rendering of the unparalleled life of an extraordinary artist.”
– publisher description

Design: The Definitive Visual History

Design: The Definitive Visual History by DK Publishing

NK 1175 .D476 2015

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

“With these words, pioneer of design William Morris summed up his philosophy. This dedication to creating works that were both functional and aesthetically pleasing – and that were intended to be used by everyone – laid the foundations of modern design.

Before the Industrial Revolution, the utensils of everyday life were mostly handmade, traditional objects with one purpose in mind – doing their job. Beautiful, lavishly crafted artifacts were the preserve of a wealthy minority, and were usually one of a kind. This changed in the 19th century with the modernization of manufacturing techniques and the arrival of mass production. Suddenly there was a new generation of products, matched by an emerging middle class eager to own affordable goods that worked well, improved their quality of life, and most importantly, were pleasing to look at. Modern design was born.

This book traces the evolution of design from its roots to the present day, from early chairs, pottery, and homewares to cars, graphics, computers, and more. It presents key figures, manufacturers, and objects, illustrating how and why different styles emerged and became popular; it also provides an insight into design movements, showing how each one began, and explaining its distinct philosophy and visual style, from the Arts and Crafts movement to postmodernism and beyond.

Featuring expert analysis, stunning photography, and a huge range of objects both everyday and extraordinary, this book explains what makes truly great design and reveals the hidden story behind the objects all around us.”
– publisher description

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann

TR 140 .M345 A3 2015

“Sally Mann’s luminous photographs of her three young children growing up on a rural Virginia farm and her evocative explorations of the southern landscape and mortality have become icons of modern art. Hold Still makes it clear that the fearlessness and clarity of vision she possesses as an artist are fully in evidence in her writing as well. In this riveting memoir, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann’s abiding concerns – family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South – are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by a colorful cast of characters who came before her.

In researching the book, Mann set out to understand her parents: a strikingly beautiful and emotionally reserved mother and a brilliant, odd-ball country-doctor father who was obsessed with death. She delves into the mystery of her husband Larry’s parents, social climbers from the North whose lives turn out to be far messier and more complicated than they at first appear. And she unravels threads that lead her to uncanny discoveries about generations past, the indelible marks they made on the world, and how these reverberate in her life and work today.

Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs, she finds “a payload of southern gothic: deceit and scandal, alcoholism, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land, abandonments, blow jobs, suicides, hidden addictions. . . racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of a prodigal son, and. . . even bloody murder.”

Through words and pictures, Mann crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own remarkable life.”
– publisher description

Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created MAD and Revolutionized Humor in America

Harvey Kurtzman

Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created MAD and Revolutionized Humor in America by Bill Schelly

PN 6727 .K87 Z87 2015

“Harvey Kurtzman was the original editor, artist and sole writer of Mad – and Mad revolutionized humor in America. But how did Kurtzman invent Mad, and why did he leave it shortly after it burst onto the American scene, becoming one of the greatest publishing successes of the twentieth century?

Historian Bill Schelly answers these questions and more in this biography of one of the world’s most influential and iconoclastic humorists. Schelly traces Kurtzman’s life from his Brooklyn beginnings to his post-Mad years, when his ceaseless creativity produced more innovations, including a 1950s graphic novel and Little Annie Fanny in Playboy. For this book, Schelly conducted new interviews with Kurtzman’s colleagues, friends and family – including Hugh Hefner and Robert Crumb. Schelly also examined Kurtzman’s personal archives, records of his FBI file, and his legal battles with Mad publisher Bill Gaines, revealing new secrets about the man who forever changed the way that millions of Americans look and laugh at the world.”
– publisher description

33 Artists in 3 Acts

33 Artists in 3 Acts

33 Artists in 3 Acts by Sarah Thornton

N 8351 .T49 2014

“The best-selling author of Seven Days in the Art World now tells the story of the artists themselves – how they move through the world, command credibility, and create iconic works.

33 Artists in 3 Acts offers unprecedented access to a dazzling range of artists, from international superstars to unheralded art teachers. Sarah Thornton’s beautifully paced, fly-on-the-wall narratives include visits with Ai Weiwei before and after his imprisonment and Jeff Koons as he woos new customers in London, Frankfurt, and Abu Dhabi. Thornton meets Yayoi Kusama in her studio around the corner from the Tokyo asylum that she calls home. She snoops in Cindy Sherman’s closet, hears about Andrea Fraser’s psychotherapist, and spends quality time with Laurie Simmons, Carroll Dunham, and their daughters Lena and Grace.

Through these intimate scenes, 33 Artists in 3 Acts explores what it means to be a real artist in the real world. Divided into three cinematic “acts” – politics, kinship, and craft – it investigates artists’ psyches, personas, politics, and social networks. Witnessing their crises and triumphs, Thornton turns a wry, analytical eye on their different answers – and non-answers – to the question “What is an artist?”

33 Artists in 3 Acts reveals the habits and attributes of successful artists, offering insight into the way these driven and inventive people play their game. In a time when more and more artists oversee the production of their work, rather than make it themselves, Thornton shows how an artist’s radical vision and personal confidence can create audiences for their work, and examines the elevated role that artists occupy as essential figures in our culture.”
– publisher description

Group f.64

Group f64

Group f.64: Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham and the Community of Artists Who Revolutionized American Photography by Mary Street Alinder

TR 139 .A395 2014

“Group f.64 is perhaps the most famous movement in the history of photography, counting among its members Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Willard Van Dyke, and Edward Weston. Revolutionary in its day, Group f.64 was one of the first modern art movements defined by women and men working as equals. From the San Francisco Bay Area, its influence extended internationally, contributing significantly to the recognition of photography as a fine art.

The group – first identified as such in a 1932 exhibition – was comprised of strongly individualistic artists brought together by a common philosophy and held together in a tangle of dynamic relationships. They shared a conviction that photography must emphasize its unique capabilities – those that distinguished it from other arts – in order to establish the medium’s identity. Their name, f.64, they took from a very small lens aperture used with their large-format cameras, a pinprick that allowed them to capture the greatest possible depth of field in their lustrous, sharply detailed prints. In today’s digital world, these “straight” photography champions are increasingly revered. Mary Street Alinder is especially well positioned to write this first group biography. A former assistant to Ansel Adams, she personally knew most of the artists featured. But just as important, she understands the art.

Featuring close to one hundred photographs by and of its members, including a special sixteen-page insert – Group f.64 details a transformative period in art history with narrative brilliance.”
– publisher description