The best art & design books of 2016

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 art and design books of the year, voted for by Readings' staff, and displayed in no particular order.

(You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2016 here.)


Art+Climate=Change edited by Guy Abrahams, Kelly Gellatly and Bronwyn Johnson

This is the first book by Climarte, a fascinating new arts organisation that is committed to a broad range of art practise as a way to engage, inform and inspire action on climate change. Documenting a range of exhibitions and projects, the works in Art+Climate=Change are thoughtful, diverse and stimulating.


Living in the Landscape by Anna Johnson and Richard Black

This book is a beautiful production, well illustrated with photographs and site drawings of a seriously wonderful collection of rural homes around Australia and New Zealand. Lucky those who get to live in these homes – but also well done in choosing architects willing to work so beneficially with the natural environment.


The Art of Dinosaur Designs by Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy

A lovely coffee table book devoted to the creative team who saw the potential of resin and created iconic forms, beautiful jewellery and homewares as Dinosaur Designs, magically transforming and evoking the colours of Australia into timeless style and a successful business. Beautiful photographs document the artistry of their pieces.


The Art of the Airport by Stefan Eiselin, Laura Frommberg and Alexander Gutzmer

There is something existentially fascinating about airports – so other, yet by necessity their design must be extremely practical – making them an ultimate architectural challenge. Most would expect a sameness in these vast in-between spaces, yet the twenty-one airports found in this book are unique and beautiful.


Georgia O'Keeffe by Tanya Barson

American artist Georgia O’Keeffe repeatedly denied the comparisons between her paintings and depictions of female sexuality – denials not assisted by the public exhibition of husband Alfred Stieglitz’s nude portraits of her as her career began. The beauty of her work remains undiminished, and time and new scholarship provide a clearer picture of her importance.


Margaret Preston by Lesley Harding

Inspired by a bundle of Margaret Preston’s handwritten recipes found in the National Gallery of Australia’s collection, this charming book reveals intimate and fascinating details of the artist’s life. Interspersed with glimpses, notes and illustrations of the domesticity that was Preston’s frequent inspiration, this book complements the monograph by Deborah Edwards.


Plant by Phaidon

This is a stunning collection of works, ancient and modern, celebrating the beauty of plants. From ancient manuscripts to Renaissance herbals, botanic illustration to modern macro photography, images are juxtaposed to cross-reference cultural, historical or scientific information – delightful.


New Deal Photography by Peter Walther

The photographic documentation of Depression-era America, which forms the extensive Farm Security Administration archive in the Library of Congress, was undertaken by a group of talented photographers between 1935 and 1943. Iconic images such as Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, and Gordon Parks’ American Gothic are among this terrific, representative selection.


Brett Whiteley by Ashleigh Wilson

Brett Whiteley returned to Australia to fame and acclaim after time spent in London and New York. His personal life, most notably his battle with heroin addiction, was never far from the headlines, and gossip abounded. This new book is an engrossing look at the life, artistic development and person behind the enfant terrible of the spotlight.


Unfinished by Kelly Baum et al

This beautifully produced book on the concept of unfinishedness may be one of the most interesting illustrated art books to have been published in the last several years. Unfinished looks at art from the Renaissance through to the present day, and considers multiple perspectives in fifteen essays and five artist interviews.

Brett Whiteley: Art, Life And The Other Thing

Brett Whiteley: Art, Life And The Other Thing

Ashleigh Wilson

$49.99Buy now

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