We've received a handful of notable art books this month at KQED and thought we'd take a moment to share them with you.
Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall, Will Ellsworth-Jones
If you want to know who the real Banksy is, this book is not for you. Reporter Ellsworth-Jones explains on page one that his book "does not attempt to unmask him," but rather uncovers the trajectory of Banksy's path from street art criminal to contemporary art world darling. Written in a conversational, sometimes cheeky tone, the book comes with a photo insert and an amazing array of images, and would definitely be a solid addition to any obsessive Banksy fan's collection.
Bullfight: The Pas de Deux, Ricardo B. Sanchez
It doesn't take much to picture this hefty, full-color photo book on your coffee table, impressing your friends. It is filled with long-exposure photographs of bullfighters waving brightly colored muletas at their beastly opponents, and aims to highlight the dance and precision of movement between matador and bull. The images are all similar, yet striking in different ways. The artistic choice to shoot out-of-focus motion shots results in painterly works subtly representative of the struggle between man and nature: they take turns overpowering each other.
Weiwei-isms, Ai Weiwei edited by Larry Warsh
It's no surprise that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is full of wisdom, and it's only fitting that quotes pulled from his writings, interviews, and tweets would be published in a pocket-sized hardcover gem of a book. The quotes are organized around themes related to government, power, the digital world, and the future. I flipped the book open to: "The Earth is a sphere, there is no East or West." Boom. That's the power of Weiwei.
Thank You Andy Warhol, Catherine Johnson
There is no denying that Andy Warhol busted down art world walls in ways that are still unmatched. I've always thought that if it weren't for him, many people wouldn't be recognized for the kind of art they make today. He paved the way. This new book is filled with images of his art, photographs, sketches, and ephemera (and not the stuff you've already seen a million times). But the visuals are secondary to the amazing stories about him and his influence, written by luminaries such as Bob Colacello, Betsey Johnson, Jeffrey Deitch, Kara Walker, and countless other creative types and people from his life, including a heartfelt account from his nephew. Just when I thought I knew nearly everything about Warhol, this book came out and schooled me. Did you know he practically invented snakeskin sandals? Neither did I. I'll be wrapped up in this one for a while.