Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Review of "Phaidon Press Winter and Spring 2013 Catalog

Phaidon Press Winter and Spring 2013
As of six months ago I was the book buyer for Book Soup in West Hollywood (Los Angeles).  One of the great joys of that job was getting a publisher's catalog.  To me, it was a new adventure whenever I opened up a catalog.  Phaidon Press, out of the U.K., is truly an international press that focuses on high-end cookbooks, photography, kid's titles, art, cinema, and god everything in-between those subjects!  The press itself has a very distinctive design.  Very minimal, white, and a sense of looking at the world as a contemporary subject matter - even when it covers art history.  But there is vaguely a mid-20th Century feel about the design.  I can picture Phaidon books being part of a John Lautner architectural house.  I am going to go through the catalog, and show what's coming up for the winter and Spring 2013.

There is a new series called "Phaidon Focus" that zeroes on what they consider are modern masters in art.  These books are meant to be an introduction to the artist's work, and edited it for those who probably are not exposed to these figures before, or needed an entrance to their world.  The first batch of artists are Francis Bacon, Anselm Kiefer, Brice Marden, Robert Rauschenberg, David Smith, and of course, Andy Warhol.   The books are hardbacks, around 144 pages, and reasonably priced at $22.95.  For those who collect art books, I think its not necessary to own them.  But if you are new to these artists and this is your first step into their works, then this is perfect for you.    The release date in March 2013.

Without a doubt, one of the great American artists, is Bruce Nauman, and sadly there is not that many books out there on this man.  "Mapping the Studio" promises to be the essential monograph on Nauman.  And what gets my interest is the design work for this book.  It is comprised of 20 loose booklets held together in a hardback case by a rubber band.  This, I suspect, will be a highly collectable item.  I don't know the print-run, but I imagine it will sell-out quickly.  If I was still ordering for the store, I'll get 10 copies. Maybe more.  To reprint this book, I imagine it would take time.   So if you want it (and you should) get it as soon as possible.  Coming out in May 2013.

The book on the left page is "Vitamin D2: New Perspectives in Drawing."  Very much an essential look at contemporary drawing at this moment.  115 artists chosen by a panel of critics and curators -and for an artist a good location and title to be in!  One can endlessly debate and argue why he or she is not in the book, and that is part of the fun for these type of reference books.  Again, its a good introduction and most of the clientele for this book will be collectors, and those who are curious to know what's happening in contemporary art.   The opposite page is "Art and Queer Culture" by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer.   This looks like to be a very interesting anthology of art that is attached to the wonderful and rich world of Queer Culture.  From Francis Bacon (who is endlessly fascinating) to Catherine Opie to newcomers (at least to me) like Lukas Duwenhogger.   I'm very much looking forward to this book!

"Biennials and Beyond: Exhibitions That Made Art History: 1962-2002."  If anything like the first volume that covered the years 1863 to 1959, this is one essential must-have in your art book collection. I don't know what exhibitions they cover in this volume, but it will be detailed information with images of the original exhibits.  I am very very excited about this book!  Coming out in April 2013.  And sorry for the blurry image above.

...And there are more titles in the catalog!  Space and time doesn't allow me to show everything, but this is a very strong season for Phaidon.  We're lucky that we have them around!

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