21 Art Books to Give This Holiday
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Art Books Gift Guide

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Photo: Courtesy of DAP

Disco: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Cover Art of Disco Records

By Disco Patrick and Patrick Vogt

No arguments here that disco is invariably an art form — a populist one, at that — and now the folks at Soul Jazz Books are making the case that the album covers of the dance genre are themselves objects of art. With outlandish offerings from major names like Cerrone and Donna Summer interspersed with names forgotten to history, these 2,000 images certainly are defining of the decade known for decadence and techno fantasies.


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Photo: Courtesy of Damiani

Toilet Paper: Calendar 2015

Edited by Maurizio Cattelan, Pierpaolo Ferrari.

The latest machinations on the medium of photography from the surrealist-minded, one-man human magazine: Maurizio Cattelan. More compendium than calendar, it offers images that will be provocative enough to keep it interesting for the entire year.


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Photo: Courtesy of Monacelli Press

Mouse Muse

by Lorna Owen

Art history by way of the mouse — from the ancients to the classics, here are depictions of the lovable rodent through the works of Picasso, Disney, Spiegelman, Hieronymus Bosch, Gustav Klimt, Andy Warhol, Hokusai, André Kertész, Claes Oldenburg, Bruce Nauman, Joseph Beuys, and more.


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Photo: Courtesy of Silvana Editoriale

Eve Arnold

By Simonetta Agnello Hornby and Angela Madesani.

Not enough has been said about the late Eve Arnold, who was the first female member of the Magnum Photo collective, and whose work saturated newspapers and magazines in an era we often associate with the starkest glares of the male gaze. Arnold produced revealing portraits of everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Malcolm X.


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Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli / NYAA / Skira

The Figure: Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture

A deep survey of today’s techniques for drawing the body. Figurative works from artists such as Jenny Saville and Eric Fischl are set alongside that of newer talents, and lengthy pedagogical meditations on how to read and render it. In short, a greatest hits of the body across media.


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Photo: Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

The Buildings and Designs of Andrea Palladio

By Octavio Bertotti Scamozzi

For the architecture buff. This reprint of an original four-volume classic collects Palladio’s serenely proportioned designs into a single English volume for the first time.


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Life of a Mansion

Marcel Breuer’s building may be enjoying a last cigarette, but the lights are back on 17 blocks uptown. The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum has finished a surgical renovation that has transformed one of the most lavish houses ever built in New York. From beginning to end, the book talks about who was raised in which room and where the freight elevator was hid in the most recent renovation.


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Photo: Courtesy of Printed Matter

Untitled, 2014 By Israel Lund 

Israel Lund’s book, Untitled, 2014, presents the artist’s silkscreened creations by mixing in bits of images from Martin Kippenberger or Daniel Buren before reassembling and binding it all. Each copy is unique, with variations of the painter-provocateur’s experimentations.

$80 ($72 for members)

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Photo: Courtesy of New Documents

Window Seat

By Jennilee Marigomen

This collection of quiet Mexican beach landscapes recalls the photography from John Szarkowski’s 1978 MoMA show Mirrors and Windows: American Photography Since 1960. As the photo editor of 01 Magazine, an influential photo magazine with the millennials, Marigomen has been honing a fairly cerebral, always engaging, art-historical-informed perspective.


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Photo: Courtesy of MER. Paper Kunsthalle

Women's Work Is Never Done

By Catherine de Zegher

A feminist compilation by the museum director and curator Catherine de Zegher. The book presents insightful essays on artists like Martha Rosler, Agnes Martin, Eva Hesse, Julie Mehretu, Hilma af Klint, Everlyn Nicodemus, Cecilia Vicuña, Mona Hatoum, and more.


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Photo: Courtesy of Aperture

The Notion of Family By LaToya Ruby Frazier

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s first book is a clear-eyed portrayal of three generations of her family and her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. The disbanding of the town’s only hospital reveals much more than simply what’s going on just outside Pittsburgh. The project is a cross-generational window into economic decline and the legacy of racism through one family’s story.


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Photo: Courtesy of David Zwirner Books

Bridget Riley: The Stripe Paintings 1961–2014

The British painter has a meticulously inventive, quasi-scientific approach to painting that recalls the color-based experiments of Josef Albers; it also translates beautifully into book format. Included here are precise color plates spanning the period of the artist’s first use of stripes in the 1960s all the way to today, complete with a glimpse into her process by way of his scaled studies in gouache on graph paper.


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Photo: Courtesy of Nazraeli Press

Lucas Foglia: Frontcountry

This photographer’s last wide-format photobook was created from years spent along the east coast’s Appalachian Mountains. Moving farther west to the communities of rural Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, and Wyoming — some of the country’s least populated regions — Foglia presents a frontier that feels foreign and familiar in equal measure. The resulting book is a smart, elliptical study of the people and places where daily life still clashes sharply with the wild.


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Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight

Written by Jenni Quilter

United as much by their energy as their formal affinities, the artists and poets of the 1950s pioneering abstract movement famously fought, loved, and lived together. Find out how Frank O’Hara felt by reading his letter to John Ashbery about that thing Jack Kerouac said at the reading the other night.  


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Photo: Courtesy of Thames of Hudson

Manufacturing Processes for Textile and Fashion Design Professionals

By Rob Thompson

An exhaustive reference work for your Brooklyn friend crafting a textile empire: exhaustive information about the life cycle of fiber, yarn, and textiles including more than 70 step-by-step studies revealing to the “maker” how it’s actually made (and, of course, how to recycle).


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Photo: Courtesy of Damiani / Yossi Milo Gallery

Matthew Brandt: Lakes and Reservoirs

Photographer Matthew Brandt found a visual analog to the locavore obsessives who inhabit reclaimed neighborhoods from coast to coast: His landscape photos are developed in the water of the lakes they depict. The impurities become visible as they unbalance the chemistry. The results each time are different technicolor aberrations on otherwise natural landscapes.


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Photo: Courtesy of Paper Monument

The Miraculous By Raphael Rubinstein

This slim volume by Paper Monument is the first single-author book the art press has put out, and it’s more like a parable or an erasure than an encylopedia. In it, Raphael Rubinstein reconsiders certain perceived reputations about the work of artists like Yoko Ono or Marina Abramovic. $16


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