Category Archives: Art

Christmas Presents for the Hard-To-Buy-For (#htbf)

So, the big red man is on his way and you’re wondering what you’re meant to wrap and pop under the tree? There’s no need to worry, we have your back. In fact, we have found six great books for the Hard-To-Buy-For people in your life that they would happily unwrap no matter what they normally read. 

Pop on some festive music, grab yourself a Christmas tipple and get ready to cross those hard-to-buy-for gifts off your list. 

Books for the hard-to-buy-for Her

Mirka Mora: A Life Making Art by Sabine Cotte

This beautiful book provides a unique insight into one of Melbourne’s most beloved personalities. Revealing an unseen side of Mirka through both her materials and practice, this intimate portrait shares her complex and truly innovative techniques, which until now have not been studied. Detailing the artist’s breadth of practice, her idiosyncratic processes and blend of traditional methods and modern creativity, this book shows how Mirka’s various modes of making art connected deep emotions, stories of displacement and loss with major movements of the twentieth century. From Holocaust survivor to Melbourne cultural icon, Mirka expressed the intensity of her personal life through artworks that embodied feminism, the craft movement as well as community art policies of the 1980s. With privileged access to the artist and her studio, Sabine Cotte offers a new perspective on this extraordinary woman, illuminating Mirka’s significance as one of Australia’s most compelling, creative and prolific artists.

Olive Cotton by Helen Ennis

This is a landmark biography of a singular and important Australian photographer which is beautifully written and deeply moving. Olive Cotton was one of Australia’s pioneering modernist photographers, whose significant talent was recognised as equal to her first husband, the famous photographer Max Dupain. Together, Olive and Max were an Australian version of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera or Ray and Charles Eames, and the photographic work they produced in the 1930s and early 1940s was bold, distinctive and quintessentially Australian. But in the mid-1940s Olive divorced Max, leaving Sydney to live with her second husband, Ross McInerney, and raise their two children in a tent on a farm near Cowra – later moving to a cottage that had no running water, electricity or telephone for many years. Famously quiet, yet stubbornly determined, Olive continued her photography despite these challenges and the lack of a dark room. But away from the public eye, her work was almost forgotten until a landmark exhibition in Sydney in 1985 shot her back to fame, followed by a major retrospective at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2000, ensuring her reputation as one of the country’s greatest photographers. Intriguing, moving and powerful, this is Olive’s story, but it is also a compelling story of women and creativity – and about what it means for an artist to try to balance the competing demands of their art, work, marriage, children and family.

Books for the hard-to-buy-for Him

Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James

The first volume of Clive James’ autobiography begins “I was born in 1939. The other big event of that year was the outbreak of the Second World War, but for the moment, that did not affect me.” 

In the first installment of Clive James’s memoirs, we meet the young Clive, dressed in short trousers, and wrestling with the demands of school, various relatives and the occasional snake, in the suburbs of post-war Sydney. His adventures are hilarious, his recounting of them even more so, in this, the book that started it all. 

Word of the Dog by Megan Anderson

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend. So why not give him the gift of a little canine humour. 

What can we learn from the gentle art of listening? With affection and wit, artist and writer Megan Anderson has assembled characters from the dog world to put a canine face on human observations – those things that occupy our thoughts, and delight, move or perplex us. By imagining dogs as the bearers of candid human thoughts, Word of Dog offers a glimpse into the beauty of the everyday, a joy for readers of all breeds and temperaments.

Books for the hard-to-buy-for Teen

The Book Of Dust by Philip Pullman

Surely a hard-to-buy-for teen is a fan of His Dark Materials which has been taking over our TV screens. 

Malcolm Polstead’s Oxford life has been one of routine, ordinary even. He is happiest playing with his daemon, Asta, in their canoe, La Belle Sauvage. But now as the rain builds, the world around Malcolm and Asta is, it seems, set to become increasingly far from ordinary.Finding himself linked to a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua, Malcolm is forced to undertake the challenge of his life and to make a dangerous journey that will change him and Lyra forever . . .

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

This is the intoxicating and bloodthirsty finale to the New York Times bestselling The Folk of the Air series (depending on the teen, you may need to buy book one and two first, or get the whole trilogy). After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watching reality television, and doing odd jobs, including squaring up to a cannibalistic faerie. When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking a favour, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal. When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world. 

Enjoy!

Monday Inspo

They say that play is the highest form of research…so what are you waiting for? Time to get your coloured pencils out and scribble your way through this mornings meetings! Or Lego…maybe pop a bowl of it in the middle of your boardroom table and see what you can create. Did you know you could buy Lego through Booko? Oh yes you read that right! Stick around and we’ll show you how on Thursday’s blog.

The best books exploring Art in 2019…(so far).

Art can be an intimidating and mind boggling form of expression as an artist attempts to take us on a journey and share their view of society with us. While some people can stand in front of a painting on the wall and stare in wonder and awe, others crumple their brow in complete confusion. 

Today we are sharing some of the best new titles on the market that attempt to uncover the secrets of the art world.  So settle in, make yourself a cup of tea, and prepare to broaden your understanding of the mysterious world of art.

Civilization: The Way We Live Now by William A. Ewing, Holly Roussell

We hurtle together into the future at ever-increasing speed – or so it seems to the collective psyche. Every day and every hour, human civilisation expands, evolves and mutates. While we frequently lapse into celebrating the individual at the expense of the group, in science and art, at work and at play, at home and in transit, we increasingly live the collective life. Civilization shows how contemporary photography, notably art photography, is fascinated by, and attempts to decode and communicate, the way we live today. This landmark publication is accompanied by an internationally touring exhibition produced by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography – a global cultural event for a global subject. Civilization is presented through eight thematic chapters, each led by breathtaking imagery and accompanied by essays, quotes, commentaries and captions to provide a deeper understanding of its theme. Visually epic and ambitiously popular in approach, it will reach out beyond the boundaries of the photography world to connect with audiences worldwide.

Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Colour by David Coles

Did you know that the Egyptians created the first synthetic colour; or that the noblest purple comes from a predatory sea snail? Throughout history, artist pigments have been made from deadly metals, poisonous minerals, urine, cow dung, and even crushed insects. From grinding down beetles and burning animal bones to alchemy and serendipity, Chromatopia reveals the origin stories of over 50 of history’s most extraordinary pigments. Spanning the ancient world to modern leaps in technology, this is a book for the artist, the history buff, the science lover and the design fanatic.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up by Claire Wilcox, Circe Henestrosa

In 1954, following her death, Frida Kahlo’s possessions were locked away in the Casa Azul in Mexico City, her lifelong home. Half a century later, her collection of clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and other personal items was rediscovered. Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up offers a fresh perspective on the life story of this extraordinary artist, whose charisma and entirely individual way of dressing made her one of the most photographed women of her time. Specially-commissioned photographs show her distinctive Mexican outfits alongside her self-portraits, an unprecedented pairing that is enriched by iconic images taken in her lifetime.

Tate: Colour A Visual History by Alexandra Loske

Prepare to unravel the rainbow with this amazing colour history and discover the story of colour through the significant scientific discoveries and key artist’s works over 400 years. From Isaac Newton’s investigations through to Olafur Eliasson’s experiential creations, this stunning book documents the fascinating story of colour with an extraordinary collection of original colour material that includes charts, wheels, artists’ palettes, swatches and schemes.

“In 1704, the scientist Isaac Newton published OPTICKS, the result of many years of researching light and colour. By splitting white light, Newton identified the visible range of colours, or the rainbow spectrum. In OPTICKS, he built a colour system around his findings, and he visualised this system in a circular shape, making it one of the first printed colour wheels. The influence of Newton and his followers, combined with the invention of many new pigments as well as watercolours in moist cake form, had made painting with colour an exciting occupation not just for serious artists but also for a much wider audience. The colour revolution had begun.”

Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding, Kendrah Morgan

They entertained Mick Jagger. They have connections to Albert Einstein and Ned Kelly. Their local admirers are a who’s who of artists, writers, film makers, politicians and celebrities. The impact of Mirka and Georges Mora on Australian food culture and the art scene has been remarkable. Arriving from Paris in 1951, these bon vivants brought colour and flavour to local society and the culinary landscape. Their apartment in Melbourne’s centre became a hub for the bohemian set, and their cafes and restaurants brimmed with food, sex and art. Mirka’s distinctive paintings and drawings were a vital part of this heady mix. Launched in the year of Mirka’s 90th birthday, Mirka & Georges- A Culinary Affair gloriously illustrates the Moras’ extraordinary story. With classic French recipes from the couple’s eateries and home kitchen, photographs from family albums and from inside Mirka’s studio, as well as Mirka’s vibrant artworks, the inimitable personalities of these epicurean pioneers leap out of these pages.

Pattern Design by Elizabeth Wilhide

Throughout history, patterns have come in countless permutations of motif, colour-way and scale. Yet what all have in common is the regularity of repetition, that insistent rhythm that animates a flat surface with a sense of movement and vitality and gives it depth. Evident in the arrangement of petals on a flower head, the branching growth of stems and vines, the spirals of a seashell – pattern is inherent in the natural world that surrounds us. Powerful and transformative, pattern has an irrepressible joie de vivre. With more than 1,500 illustrations of patterns from all ages and cultures, Pattern Design is a visual feast. This comprehensive compendium is arranged thematically according to type, with chapters on Flora, Fauna, Pictorial, Geometric and Abstract designs. These broad categories are supplemented by in-depth features highlighting the work of key designers from the rich history of pattern-making – such as William Morris, Sonia Delaunay, Charles and Ray Eames, Lucienne Day and Orla Kiely – along with sections detailing the characteristic motifs of key period styles from Baroque to Art Deco.

Enjoy!

Taking Imagination Seriously

This is a must watch for all of those looking for creative inspiration. Janet Echelman found her true voice as an artist when her paints went missing — which forced her to look to an unorthodox new art material. Now she makes billowing, flowing, building-sized sculpture with a surprisingly geeky edge. A transporting 10 minutes of pure creativity.

 

The Best Books Celebrating Art in 2018

The world of art can be a little intimidating, polarising, exciting and even sometimes a tad bizarre. The idea of walking into an art gallery to have a little look around may seem like the perfect day to some and yet like stepping into Alice’s wonderland for others. There are so many styles and while we think the best way to determine one that resonates with you is to spend time in a gallery looking at all genres, the second best would be to leaf through a book. Here’s a few of our favourites that have been released this year. 

 

Pharmacy London by Damien Hirst

In 2005 Damien Hirst began photographing every pharmacy in the Greater London area. Shooting both the individual pharmacists behind their counters and the exterior views of the city’s 1,856 chemists, he took over a decade to complete the project. The images are brought together in their entirety in this extraordinary ten-volume artist’s book. Hirst’s career-long obsession with the minimalist aesthetics employed by pharmaceutical companies—the cool colours and simple geometric forms—first manifested in his series of Medicine Cabinets, conceived in 1988 while still at Goldsmiths College. For his 1992 installation Pharmacy, Hirst recreated an entire chemist within the gallery space, stating: “[Pharmacy] is like a contemporary museum. In a hundred years it will look like an old apothecary.”

 

 

When Artists Curate : Contemporary Art and the Exhibition as Medium by Alison Green

An increasing proportion of exhibitions are curated by artists rather than professional curators. In this ground-breaking book Alison Green provides the first critical history of visual artists curating exhibitions. The artist emerges as someone who carries a special responsibility for critiquing art’s institutions, brings considerable creativity to the craft of making exhibitions and, through experimentation, has changed the way exhibitions are understood to be authored and experienced. But the book also establishes a curious ubiquity to the artist-curated exhibition. Rather than being exceptional or rare, artists curate all the time and in all kinds of places: in galleries and in museums, in studios, in borrowed spaces such as shopfronts or industrial buildings, in front rooms and front windows, in zoos or concert halls, on streets and in nature. Seen from the perspective of artists, showing is a part of making art. Once this idea is understood, the history of art starts to look very different. 

 

 

MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art by Juliet Samantha Friedman

Since opening to the public in 1929, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has amassed one of the most significant collections of modern and contemporary art in the world. The major exhibition MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art, presented at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, provides a unique survey of more than 200 iconic works in the MoMA collection.

This beautifully illustrated publication features insightful essays by curators Samantha Friedman (MoMA), Juliet Kinchin (MoMA) and Miranda Wallace (NGV), which together consider 130 years of radical artistic innovation. MoMA at NGV sheds light on art, design and architecture from the late nineteenth century to the present day, as well as on the many forces that have shaped the art world throughout this period.

 

 

Super Group by Richard Prince

While Richard Prince (born 1949) is most often discussed for his strategies as an appropriation artist—from the Marlboro cowboys in the 1980s to the Instagram portraits today—it is his own work as a painter that stands at the center of his approach: starting with paintings of jokes and cartoons, following up with, among other things, nurses and cowboys taken from the covers of dime novels, and freewheeling riffs on Picasso and de Kooning.

For his extensive new series Super Group, Prince uses objects loaded with meaning: the inner sleeves of vinyl records, which he collages on canvas and then overpaints with band names, abstract washes and funny figures. Richard Prince: Super Group presents 51 works in this new series, engaging with the question of how we define ourselves by our choices of objects, images and music.

 

 

Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future by Tracey Bashkoff

When Swedish artist Hilma af Klint died in 1944 at the age of 81, she left behind more than 1,000 paintings and works on paper that she had kept largely private during her lifetime. Believing the world was not yet ready for her art, she stipulated that it should remain unseen for another 20 years. But only in recent decades has the public had a chance to reckon with af Klint’s radically abstract painting practice, one which predates the work of Vasily Kandinsky and other artists widely considered trailblazers of modernist abstraction. Her boldly colourful works, many of them large-scale, reflect an ambitious, spiritually informed attempt to chart an invisible, totalising world order through a synthesis of natural and geometric forms, textual elements and esoteric symbolism.

 

 

Fashion Drive by Christoph Becker

In the modern age of fast fashion, this book provides an overview of clothing in art and subversive moments in fashion through painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and film. Fashion Drive looks at how artists have reacted to such creations as slashed clothing, codpieces, the crinoline and the dinner jacket. Fashion is often considered an expression of longing and an instrument for mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion and this book takes an interesting peak into this often amusing world.

 

 

 

Enjoy!