The best art & design books of 2015
Here are our top ten art and design books of the year, voted for by Readings staff. Displayed in no particular order.
The Social Studio by Grace McQuiltern
This book documents the vibrant social enterprise of The Social Studio in Collingwood. Through fashion, food, art and community the Studio unites distinct cultures in a celebration of knowledge, skill and diversity. The book includes a mix of artworks, fashion photography, food, interviews and portraits of more than 50 of Melbourne’s most dynamic artists, designers, stylists and musicians, covering the Studio’s evolution from 2009.
In this lovely book you will find homes from all over the world that are inspiring and practical. You’ll find the Walden 7 Apartments near Barcelona, classic modern in Cape Town, a dream rural retreat, and the best of suburbia. Included are pointers to designers, architects and artisans who can help make your dream home in the best possible way.
Fiona Hall: Wrong Way Time edited by Linda Michael
One of Australia’s most interesting artists, Fiona Hall was this year’s representative at the Venice Biennale and the first artist to exhibit in the new Australian Pavilion, designed by Denton Corker Marshall. The catalogue includes beautiful images of work from her installation and essays by Linda Michael and David Hansen, and an interview with the Tjanpi Desert Weavers on their collaboration with Hall.
Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency by Hal Foster
Bad New Days examines the evolution of art and criticism in Western Europe and North America over the last 25 years, exploring their dynamic relation to the general condition of emergency instilled by neo-liberalism and the war on terror. Foster focuses on a group of artists with a continued engagement to the above and related themes, and presents his ideas with clarity and erudition.
Mongrel Rapture: The Architecture of Ashton Raggatt Mcdougall is the first major monograph on Ashton Raggatt McDougall, one of the most significant architectural practices in Australia. ARM’s architecture draws from a diverse territory of inspiration, including Michelangelo and Robert Venturi, computer programming and biblical verse. An exquisitely designed publication: ranting, funny, and reflective in turn, this book radically rethinks what an architecture publication can be.
The Craft Companion by Ramona Barry and Rebecca Jobson
Do the golden hands on the cover refer to the excellent craft magazine of the 1970’s, or alchemical gold? Let’s say both as this fantastic volume is so comprehensive and contains the ingredients for some magic. It covers over thirty crafts and for each a directory of techniques, a great project and a selection of outstanding contemporary artists for inspiration.
The Law of Closure by Daniel Boyd
This beautifully produced book covers the complete works to date of Sydney-based artist Daniel Boyd. Boyd’s Aboriginal and Vanuatuan heritage and his explorations into history and history painting float evocatively into his art. Informed by investigations into museum collections and the way history is taught, his engagement with the post-colonial is both powerful and subtle – addressing what isn’t known.
This is the best value for money if you want to be an artist, know what it’s like to be one, or are one and occasionally need some clarification/help/are curious about other artists. Thirty-six artists of differing backgrounds, approaches and disciplines share their wisdom, experience, knowledge, philosophies, skills and great recommended reading lists. Each artist’s work is generously and indicatively illustrated.
Design and Violence by Paola Antonelli and Jamer Hunt
Each year, with luck, there will be a book that inspires by making it possible to look at the world differently. Design and Violence began as a pioneering curatorial experiment at MOMA, and it examines the ways in which violence manifests in the post-9/11 landscape – from the Global Financial Crisis to child soldiers, and on to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
The Flowers by Lisa Cooper
Impassioned, informed and personal, The Flowers is for all who stop and smell the roses, or forage for a bouquet when the fancy takes. Lisa Cooper, who holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Fine Arts and has a commercial flower business, introduces us to her love of flowers – from the growers to the final arrangements – in this beautiful and interesting book.