The Year’s Best Art Books
As the year dwindles down, we’re reflecting back on all the art that has been created, compiled, and composed for the world’s viewing. Some of our favorites came in the form of books, because they brought the art straight to us, letting us slip away into a different world just by opening the front cover. Here are ten of the best from this year (and perfect gift ideas, too!):
1. Weiwei-Isms—This tiny beauty is a collection of artist Ai Weiwei’s best short quotes from his twitter feed, articles, and interviews. Inspirational and wise, it’s easy to pick up but hard to put down.
2. The Art Book—Warning: not for lightweights. This features more than 500 works of art, arranged in alphabetical order rather than by artist or genre. It’s a tabletop book that’s sure to interest art buffs everywhere.
3. Artists in Love—Artists are people, too. They have lived, loved, and lost just like the rest of us. This book covers some of art’s most famous couples, satisfying our romantic side.
4. Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade, 1940-1950—Considering how much Rothko’s work sold for at auctions this year, this would be an inexpensive way to welcome one of the greatest 20th century artists into your home.
5. Nostalgia—Czarist Russia is a thing now far in the past, but this collection of vintage-style photography will take viewers back through time. Striking in its images, Nostalgia colors a world that’s previously only been black-and-white to us.
6. Information Graphics—This gem earned a spot on our top ten for its incredible innovativeness. We’ve seen some great infographics over the past few years, and this book brings them all together. Showcasing over 200 projects, this is not only fun to look at, but it’s also quite educational as well.
7. The Kiss: A Celebration of Love in Art—Clearly, we’re romantics. This book has over 100 different takes on the kiss, from centuries-old relief carvings to pop art.
8. This Must Be the Place—If you want a look into another culture, this book will do it. This includes photos from a number of African countries, and offers a glimpse into societies foreign to many of us. Some of the photographs, by Pieter Hugo, are theatrically staged while others have a more photojournalistic look.
9. Abhaya: Burma’s Fearlessness—This strikes our hearts for its simple displays of injustice in Burma. James Mackay took over 300 portraits of previous political prisoners in Burma, each standing in the same stanch: straight and proud, holding their hand in the Buddhist Abhaya Mudra. The names of friends, family members, or other activists still imprisoned are written on each of their hands.
10. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters—A cultural study of the power of videogames is an interesting new perspective we love. With the rise of digital technology and the quality of videos and images in games, art is changing and growing in ways it never has before. Perfect for the geek or techie in your life.