This year's Book Expo America -- the preeminent trade book fair in the U.S. -- was held in Chicago at the McCormick Place convention center, June 1-3, 2001. As always, the fair boasted a great selection of new art titles, and more than a few eye-popping photo books. Note that some of the books listed below won't be available for several months, but they may be ordered in advance (often at considerable discount) from the Artnet.com bookstore.
Women art stars continue to pack the art bookshelves with a number of unique new monographs and books derived from their artistic projects. Two are from British sculptor Rachel Whiteread, who has been commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum to make a pair of casts of the negative space of her new home and studio in London for exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin in October (with subsequent appearances in New York and Bilbao). The eponymously titled Rachel Whiteread (Abrams, 170 pp., $60) is scheduled for release in October.
Also due next fall is Whiteread's first artist's book, titled Rachel's Book (Booth-Clibborn Editions, 256 pp., $125). This text-free tome features tactile, decoratively embossed and cutout pages over photographic interiors and details, a good print evocation of Whiteread's trademark style. Like Damien Hirst's seminal "anti-monograph," I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life..., Whiteread's book can be expected to go out of print just as quickly, considering its small print run.
Two new books are due out from Swiss art sensation Pipilotti Rist, her first in English. The latest volume in Phaidon's insightful Contemporary Artists series, Pipilotti Rist (160 pp., $35) features 120 color illustrations plus an interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist and essays by feminist theorist Peggy Phelan and U. of Zurich prof Elizabeth Bronfen. The second title, Pipilotti Rist: Apricots along the Streets (Scalo, 224 pp., $34.95), is described by the artist as a "classical artist's book" that she would love to get from her twin sister, who exists only in her dreams.
Jenny Holzer's new book Xenon ($40) at first appears to be a standard volume of her simple trademark "truisms." On closer inspection, however, the text turns out to be pictures of a series of monumental light projections onto outdoor surfaces, including snow-covered slopes. The cover image is a photo of one of the works from some distance and at an angle, revealing the method but not the words.
The fall publishing schedule includes a couple of quirky new titles on Yayoi Kusama. The first, Yayoi Kusama (Presses du Réel, $41) is a large hardcover packed with full-page glossy photos of a stylish Kusama and friends cavorting in her wacky installations. For a trip down memory lane, where the Japanese performance artist was a pioneer of the Happening-cum-Love-In, Kusama Presents an Orgy of Nudity, Love, Sex & Beauty (RP, $10) is a very cool oversized newspaper-format oddity.
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The backbone of the fine-art publishing biz is museum exhibition catalogues, and the forthcoming catalogue Eva Hesse (Yale, 320 pp., $65) for the Eva Hesse exhibition that opens next February at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (coming to the Whitney Museum in Nov. 2002) promises to be one of the hot titles. Editor of the book and curator of the show is Elisabeth Sussman, who started work on the project when she was still on the staff of the Whitney (she's now freelance).
The Dream of the Audience (University of California, 224 pp., $40) is the catalogue for a touring exhibition of work by Korean American filmmaker and writer Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, who came of age in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and was murdered in 1982 in New York City. The catalogue features essays by Constance M. Lewallen, curator at the Berkeley Art Museum, where the show opens in September (it subsequently appears at the Bronx Museum and the Henry Art Gallery, among other venues), and by Whitney Museum curator Lawrence Rinder and filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha. U. Cal is also publishing a reprint edition of Cha's pivotal text Dictee.
There are many notable photo books coming up from the big art and photo publishers. Most welcome of all is the new close collaboration between Roy DeCarava and Phaidon Press to realize his vision of jazz in The Sound I Saw (208 pp., $75). DeCarava wrote and designed a prototype of the book in the early 1960s, but has only now found a willing publisher. The timing is good, since everything else on this leading black photographer is out of print.
Zurich-based photography publisher Edition Stemmle celebrated the opening of its New York office with an extensive presentation at the Book Expo. My favorite selection was Torero: Matadors of Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Spain by Ruven Afanador. The young bullfighters pose with natural grace and theatricality in opulent costume (nice tights!). Another standout is the fashion styling from Thái-Công Quàch, who persuaded 25 prominent photographers to take pictures of his aged parents in the newest creations from the world's best-known fashion houses.
Apparently, Taschen has such a big name in the publishing world that it can do without the walk-in traffic from the Book Expo convention floor. Instead of manning a booth, Taschen gave exclusive previews at the Presidential Suite of the Ritz Carlton. Top of the list is the numbered and signed limited edition on Nobuyoshi Araki (600 pp., $1,250). There has not been a monograph lately from this prolific, explicit Japanese photographer, and this oversized production gets you right up close.
For a look at contemporary Japanese avant-garde style, there's Hair Style Tokyo ($18), a picture book (with minimal text in Japanese) full of back-of-head portraits, and Fruits (Phaidon, 272 pp., $29.95), a collection of photos of cute Tokyo teens in high street fashion collected from the magazine of the same name.