We wanted to finish our book week with several shorter reviews in order to give you a wider range of books to peruse while in quarantine, or at least furnish our take on them.
It seems that in the current state of the world, books based on the many cancelled exhibitions take on a new importance, providing a glimpse into what sadly many of us are missing out on due to museum closures.
Reflection (Self-portrait), 1985. Oil on canvas, 55.9 x 55.3 cm. Private collection, on loan to the Irish Museum of Modern Art Self-portrait, c. 1956. Oil on canvas, 61 x 61 cm. Private collection Lucian Freud is undoubtedly one of great artists of the 20th Century. He was a master of portraiture, and along with the…
If you wanted to visit Paris before mid-January this year, you’ll find no better reason than the new Francis Bacon exhibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
From Richard Serra’s New York City hat trick this autumn at Gagosian, I have only seen the Chelsea sculpture shows, Reverse Curve and Forged Rounds (Triptychs and Diptychs are up at Madison Ave).
In 2015, Damiani published a book of seascape photography the prolific Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto.
The art world has its own trends and fashions that come and go. Artists and art movements get discovered and rediscovered, sometimes with a nudge from powerful art collectors who first stock up on the art and then make bank once they help popularize it.
Paolo Roversi is one of those photographers that tends to frustrate you not because he is bad, but because he is do damn good. Roversi has been responsible for some of the most iconic imagery from Comme des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto, and more than a few memorable portraits and fashion editorials. Along with Sarah Moon and Deborah Turbeville, he has managed to make fashion photography transporting, taking you to a place that’s quieter, more contemplative, more intimate. The frustration comes from the lack of avenues to experience his sensual, touching work. There are few books that capture his output, and there are few exhibits. In 2005, when I was just starting to write and I scarcely new his work I had a chance to review his Studio book, published by Steidl. I passed on it, and I still kick myself for it. You can now get it on Amazon, for $600.
The photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is inextricably woven into the fabric of the New-York-Before-It-Sucked (that is the ‘70s and the ‘80s) cultural mythology. He’s always been that for the art circle, and he’s become that for a wider circle after Just Kids, a Patti Smith’s memoir about their friendship wildly popular amongst those who weren’t there. For fashion people, Raf Simons most recently popularized the name by devoting an entire collection to Mapplethorpe’s work.
Unapologetically gay, unapologetically promiscuous, unapologetically bohemian, Mapplethorpe was indeed a fixture on the New York cultural circuit, hanging out at Max’s Kansas City, rooming with Patti Smith, circling the requisite Warhol circle, and so on – the stuff of legend to be sure.
This year the ever savvy Guggenheim is capitalizing on the legend by holding a year-long two-part exhibit on Mapplethorpe, called Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now. The show is timely, as the LGBTQ rights continues to be a hot-button topic that attracts millennials. Why not attract them to a museum to see the granddaddy of it all? Because Mapplethorpe remains supremely important when it comes to highlighting the gay scene in New York. And not only highlighting it, but sticking it in the face of America. Contrary to the title, I find nothing implicit in the tensions Mapplethorpe put on display with his work.
My relationship to Warhol’s art has been full of tension. I used to hate it – the obviousness of it, the surface, the refusal to say something serious.