The Artnet.com Bookstore receives a steady stream of new books from art publishers, titles that are often enough news in themselves. What follows is a report on some of the more interesting new publications. Whether you might purchase the books from our bookstore, well, that's up to you.
Catalogue raisonné collectors will recall the pricey, four-volume Edward Hopper set that was first published to accompany the Whitney Museum's major Hopper show in 1980. Re-released in 1985 with a CD-ROM, the reprint did not do much to help the oppressively scholarly look of the huge boxed tome, or mitigate the hefty $750 price tag.
Now, Hopper aficionados who put off buying the book will be glad they did. W.W. Norton has redesigned and split up the hefty set into two handsome, much more manageable volumes: Paintings of Edward Hopper and Watercolors of Edward Hopper. Again produced in association with the Whitney, and with the original notes and annotations by Gail Levin, cost-conscious consumers can now save up their lunch money and buy each $125 volume one at a time. But don't wait too long, since these catalogues raisonné have a tendency to go out of print quickly.
Fans of William Blake's hallucinogenic work can finally retire those old, worn out Dover reprints. Just out from Thames & Hudson is The Complete Illuminated Books by William Blake. As with the new Hopper books, these rare Blake pages were culled from the scarce six-volume Blake Collected Edition, originally published by the William Blake Trust. Assembled under the Trust's supervision, the new book coincides with the largest Blake exhibition ever mounted, organized by the Tate Britain and scheduled to travel to the Metropolitan Museum this March. At a more-than-reasonable $60, the book marks the first time these heady manuscripts have been available in one volume at any price.
German Photo Invasion
Wouldn't just about any photograph look good blown up really big and nicely framed? OK, maybe not. Certainly not as good as the works assembled by Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art Director Jean-Christophe Ammann for the collection of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In XL-Photography: Art Collection Neue Börse, over 200 works by the likes of Candida Höfer, Thomas Struth, Gunther Förg and Thomas Ruff are brought together in one volume for the first time, making it a long-awaited overview of the contemporary photo practice that dictates bigger is better.
Certainly the most acclaimed of the very-big-photo-taking students of Bernd and Hilla Becher is Andreas Gursky, whose major retrospective organized by Peter Galassi opens at the Museum of Modern Art later this month. Given the lack of printed material over the last few years, Gursky fans are no doubt hungry to get their hands on the accompanying MoMA catalogue, the eponymously titled Andreas Gursky, which will be the most complete survey yet released on the artist. At $65, the oversize hardcover is said to feature gorgeous color reproductions that blow away all previous publications.
That Late '60s, Early '70s Show
Given the steady flow of new books on conceptual art over the last few years, the first-time publication of a series of landmark interviews entitled Recording Conceptual Art comes as a major discovery. Eight artists -- including Robert Barry, Stephen Kaltenbach and Douglas Huebler (plus dealer Seth Siegelaub), among other usual suspects -- are all at their dogmatic, brilliant and occasionally pompous best.
The taped interviews were originally conceived of as a "process piece" by Patricia Norvell, a young artist who was at the time a student of Robert Morris. All recorded in 1969, the tapes reflect the conceptual art movement still relatively early in its genesis, and together form a seminal document (despite the absence Joseph Kosuth and Carl Andre, who did not allow their interviews to be included). Until this month's publication by University of California Press, the tapes were never before transcribed due to Norvell's wish to maintain the integrity of the work as oral history.
Also of note and an apt companion volume is Carter Ratcliff's latest undertaking, Out of the Box: The Reinvention of Art, 1965-1975, a highly readable first-hand account of the full range of Post-Minimal moves that flourished during that period. From Body Art to Earthworks to the dematerialized art object, Ratcliff examines the forces that drove art out of the Minimalist box.
Martin, we hardly knew ye
Now available in a limited edition is the last installment of Martin Kippenberger's series of "Hotel" drawings, published by German art-book specialist Walther König. The first two volumes in the series feature the artist's notorious drawings on hotel stationary. The third and final edition, entitled No Drawing No Cry, dispenses with drawing entirely and presents only blank hotel stationary, a tacit record of all the hotels where the artist stayed during his too-short career.
Also on the way from Walther König is Martin Kippenberger in Tirol, a lively photo essay of the wild man and his works, with text by Roberto Ohrt. This is how I will now remember Kippenberger best: carving away at his crucified frog sculptures somewhere in the alps.
The Monograph Question
Everyone in the art-book business wants to know which artists are going to be featured in the Phaidon Contemporary Artist's Series this season." Now, word is out that the spring selections are Dan Graham, Tom Friedman and Raymond Pettibon. All are good choices, especially since the Phaidon books will be the first substantial career surveys in print on all three.
The Friedman monograph, which is scheduled for release within the next few weeks, is stunning, filled with previously unpublished works, an interview by Dennis Cooper and texts by Timothy Leary selected by the artist. The Pettibon book is scheduled for release in April, followed by the Dan Graham volume in May, which promises to be a good overview of this compelling but elusive conceptualist. Kudos to Phaidon for keeping the series price at a low $29.95 per book.
Speaking of Pettibon, the catalogue raisonné of his self-published zines, Raymond Pettibon: The Books 1978-1998, was just released last month, and already the hardcover edition has gone out of print. Too bad, since the paperback might not hold up to what are sure to be numerous obligatory viewings of what are some of the artist's best and most hilarious drawings ever.
At the Frankfurt Book Fair I had the good fortune of attending a signing for the book, at which the author, wearing a magnificently wrinkled oxford shirt and making no eye contact with anyone, obsessively flipped through page after page of the nearly 1,000-page compendium, occasionally adding ingenious notations in red ink. You can bet I let him embellish my copy as much as he wanted.
The Pettibon is probably my favorite monograph at the moment, with the possible exception of Elaine Reichek: At Home and in the World. This little gem of a book presents the artist's embroidered samplers that handsomely recast literary quotations and text-based works by artists such as Jenny Holzer and Lawrence Weiner. Exquisitely designed and produced by the Palais de Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the book is a fitting documentation of a funny, complex and even touching body of work.