Monday, 23 December 2013

Lahd Gallery Picks its Top 3 art books from 2013

If you type art at Christmas or the art of Christmas or Christmas art into Google the results are fascinating. You will turn over a cornucopia of delights ranging from original art works, framed nostalgic Christmas cards, a few posts about making Christmas wreaths and party food and the odd nativity scene.

Lahd Gallery just wanted to pose the question: ‘Are we so overpowered by the glitzy, twinkling sparkle of the consumerist version of the Christian festival that we can no longer focus on the true meaning of religious art?’  Perhaps that’s something to discuss over Christmas lunch. Or are the iconic images associated with this time of year so seared into our collective consciousness that we don’t actually need another blog post about it? Now that depends on your perspective, of course. 

However, Lahd Gallery thought it was appropriate to bring some Christmas cheer your way and propose just three great art books published in 2013!

 This is done in the vain hope, that some kind person might buy us one of these splendid titles for Christmas, and realign one’s intellectual perspective after the usual seasonal onslaught. After all, reason takes quite an assault over this festive period. You know, that feeling having overdone the festive treats when lying on the sofa watching endless reruns of ancient comedy shows no longer holds any appeal.

So, to start with, what art books would make fabulous Christmas presents or things for which one might exchange book/ gift tokens?

Lahd Gallery’s Top 3 Art Books of 2013

1. If you want to be cheerful (we were being ironic) you might wish to try Michael Petry’s spectacular tome, Nature Morte that is published by Thames & Hudson. The premise of the book is to offer a provocative and ‘richly visual’ exploration of the still life discipline, which plays such an important part in western art.

180 contemporary artists make their way into this collection and the author has put the book together under the traditional still life concerns: Flora, Food; The houses we live in and what we call home; Fauna and most interesting to Lahd Gallery is the section called ‘Death’. The whole concept of memento mori – or reminder of death, has been re-worked by a new generations of artists and it’s thought-provoking for a society which rarely mentions death without euphemisms. 

The book includes work by Cy Twombly, Marc Quinn, David Hockney, Gary Hume, Damien Hurst, Saara Ekstrom and Sophie Calle among others. This is worth splashing out on if you want to prompt some lively conversations about the symbolism of the Still Life.

2.The other title, which is also provocative, but in a very different way is Derek Jarman’s Sketchbooks, also published by Thames & Hudson. Oh what a joy it is to leaf through these gorgeous facsimiles. It is a privilege to see what one of our most interesting artists, film makers and gardeners in the twentieth century collected and held dear. This is like a peek into his mind: what inspired, what was kept, noted and preserved. Drawings and sketches, pressed flowers and clippings from the news all contribute to a pertinent portrait of a fascinating man. Of particular interest was the £10 note stuck into the journal which represents his fee for directing a film – priceless in every way. This kind of book is always highly attractive to practitioners who are greedy for insights into the creative process.

3.The last in Lahd Gallery’s  tryptich of Christmas book ideas has to be Breakfast with Lucian by George Grieg and published by Jonathan Cape. This very intimate biography of the painter Lucian Freud and you can’t help but be pulled into its prose. This book sheds light on so many aspects of a man who was a Titan in one sense and appeared to have feet of clay in another. Whether you are interested in aesthetic questions or fascinated by the gossip that surrounded Freud like a haze of summer flies, this volume will answer your questions. This is a no holds barred kind of book and if you have an interest in art should be on everyone’s Christmas list.

We wish you season’s felicitations and look forward to 2014 where we bring you more contemporary art from the MENASA region. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

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