New at the library

Thanks to the Lake Superior Art Association, the Peter White Public Library was able to buy materials in the area of fine arts. Some of the titles purchased are:

Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams is a photo memoir of an amateur photographer whose work has thrilled the world since its discovery. Seen by only a few during her life, her more than 100,000 photographs were purchased at auction shortly before her death in 2009 when she was no longer able to keep up payments on her storage facility. Known as the People’s Photographer, Maier’s photographs seemed to unmask people, and to see beyond the surface of their skin. The authors used 300 of her photos as a guide to nine journeys during the pivotal days of her life.

Deborah Kass: Before and Happily accompanies a major touring exhibition. More than any artist of the last 30 years, New York City-based painter Deborah Kass has made it her life’s work to position women artists on the great paternal playing field of art history. From her early paintings of the sea pounding rocky shores to her Warhol Project series and her recent text-based works, Kass has quite literally fired the canon, challenged the status quo, and refigured art history. The book features in-depth essays by important figures, including Robert Storr, renowned curator, professor, and onetime subject of a Kass painting, and Griselda Pollock, one of the most important feminist art historians in the field as well as reproductions of her work.

The Civil War and American Art by Eleanor Jones Harvey was published in conjunction with two exhibitions-at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Many artists between 1859 and 1876 found ways to weave the war into works of art that considered the human narrative-the daily experiences of soldiers, slaves, and families left behind. Artists and writers wrestled with the ambiguity and anxiety of the Civil War and used landscape imagery to give voice to their misgivings as well as their hopes for themselves and the nation. The book features extensive quotations from men and women alive during the war years, alongside text by literary figures including Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman, among many others.

For the past 15 years, Dawoud Bey has been making striking, large-scale color portraits of students at high schools across the United States. In Class Pictures he depicts teenagers from a wide economic, social and ethnic spectrum. Bey spends two to three weeks in each school, taking formal portraits of individual students, each made in a classroom during one 45-minute period. At the start of the sitting, each subject writes a brief autobiographical statement. By turns poignant, funny or harrowing, these revealing words are an integral part of the project, and the subject’s statement accompanies each photograph in the book offering these unusually respectful and perceptive portraits that establish Dawoud Bey as one of the best portraitists at work today.

How did Murakami, Nara and Superflat become the dominant artistic vision of the Japan of today? What lies behind their imagery of a childish and decadent society unable to face up to reality? Written by a sociologist with an eye for sharp observation and clear reportage, Before and After Superflat: a Short History of Japanese Contemporary Art by Adrian Favell offers the first comprehensive history in English of the Japanese art world from 1990 up to the tsunami of March 2011, and its struggle to find a voice amidst Japan’s economic decline and China’s economic ascent.

Deborah Butterfield’s transformations of scrap metal and found wood into full-size horses are fantastic! Her sculptures may be the first works to explore the inner lives of horses. Deborah Butterfield by Robert Gordon presents a retrospective look at her work. With an introduction by Jane Smiley, an analysis of her work by John Yay, and poems by Vicki Hearne, this is a collection to savor.

In O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica, San Francisco-based collage artist Jess (1923-2004) used cut-and-paste images and prose from a wide variety of sources, such as newspaper comics and Victorian era line engravings, to tell complex stories about myth, pop culture, and sexuality. By training a chemist, Jess, born Burgess Collins, abandoned science in 1949 after a vivid nuclear nightmare. Art school led to his collage work, which reflects a wry sense of humor and a feverish compulsion for image collecting. His early efforts at carving up Dick Tracy panels became the series, “Tricky Cad,” a multi-part, Dadaist effort that reveals the beginnings of his aesthetic approach. Jess’s “paste-ups” seem both age-old and modern, and a renewed interest in remix culture coincides with the beginning of a traveling exhibition of his work set for 2013 and 2014.

Featuring the world’s most notable, modern-day jewelry designers, The Sourcebook of Contemporary Jewelry Design by Natalio Martin Arroyo is filled with more than 1300 photographs and illustrations that showcase each artist’s unique and diverse style. Readers will have an in-depth look at established and emerging international designers, with stunning visual examples of their jewelry, along with detailed explanations that reveal the inspiration behind their work. This book is a must for anyone interested in jewelry and design.

– Caroline Jordan

Collection Development