Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) is truly an artist for the twenty-first century. In his sculptures he refashions artefacts and antiques into surprising, sometimes monumental constructions such as Template (2007): hundreds of wooden doors and windows taken from demolished Ming and Qing dynasty temples and arranged into a massive outdoor sculpture. As much as these materials look to the past, they also speak of the present, because never before (and probably never again) have they been available in such abundance. Like his benches carved from centuries-old temple beams, Template is a sly commentary on the speed with which China's building boom is obliterating its past. (When Template collapsed in a rainstorm two weeks after its unveiling at Documenta 12, the artist embraced its demise as a clever artistic twist.) In China today, making art that's critical of current cultural and economic policies is not a particularly safe career move. But Ai's father, the poet Ai Qing, walked a similar path, absorbing European avant-garde styles while studying in 1930s Paris and later standing by them in the face of Communist opposition, a move that eventually led to his exile to the distant provincial town where his son Weiwei came to be born and raised. In the late 1970s Ai Weiwei moved to Beijing, banding together with other pro-democracy artists in a loose collective known as the Stars Group. In 1981, following government retaliation against one of their exhibitions, Ai moved to New York, where he attended art school and lived the life of the bohemian for twelve years, his East Village apartment serving as a base for countless visiting Chinese artists. When his father became ill in 1993 Ai returned to China, settling in Beijing and finally taking up his art career in earnest.
Weiwei's artistic forebears belong primarily to the Western modernist avant-garde (Duchamp and Beuys are particularly relevant). But Ai has equally and increasingly been influenced by modernist architecture and contemporary urban planning, citing the need for an ideal for living in a country where runaway economic development has shown little regard for the everyday life of the individual. In stark contrast to the glass-and-steel high-rises going up around Beijing, the art galleries, ateliers and homes Ai designs are boxy and modest, made from brick and other vernacular materials. Their resolution of Eastern and Western styles is a fitting parallel to his antique readymade sculptures.
At a time when the West is finally discovering Chinese contemporary art, Ai is one of the few to have transcended the label 'Chinese artist'. In part thanks to his gallery Urs Meile (Lucerne and Beijing), Ai has won the support of strong European collectors. His work is increasingly being shown at major venues around the world (Kunsthalle Bern, Kunsthaus Graz, Tate Liverpool) and included in major international exhibitions (the Moscow Biennial, the Guangzhou Triennale, Documenta). A complex, multi-faceted artist, Ai is poised to make a deep impact on contemporary art far beyond China's borders.
In the interview Hans Ulrich Obrist discusses Ai Weiwei's life and motivations, his childhood in a rural province close to the Russian border, his underground political work, his move to New York in the 80s and consequent return to China in the 90s, and his break within the art world.
Karen Smith's survey examines the evolution of Ai Weiwei's work from the early paintings, drawings, and sculptures pieces through his most recent installations and architectural work, including the cotton-made sculpture World Map (Biennale of Sydney, 2006), the wooden doors and windows structure Template (Documenta 12, 2007) and his collaboration with the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron for the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Bernard Fibicher focuses on Working Progress (Fountain of Light) (2007), a site-specific sculpture for Tate Liverpool inspired by Tatlin's Monument to the Third International (1919) and that takes the form of a spectacular chandelier.
The curator who founded MoMA's video program recounts the artists and events that defined the medium's first 50 years.
Since the introduction of portable consumer electronics nearly a half century ago, artists throughout the world have adapted their latest technologies to art-making. In this book, curator Barbara London traces the history of video art as it transformed into the broader field of media art - from analog to digital, small TV monitors to wall-scale projections, and clunky hardware to user-friendly software. In doing so, she reveals how video evolved from fringe status to be seen as one of the foremost art forms of today.
Updated and revised, Art & Queer Culture is a comprehensive and definitive survey of artworks that have constructed, contested, or otherwise responded to alternative forms of sexuality.
Rather than focusing exclusively on artists who self-identify as gay or lesbian, Art & Queer Culture instead traces the shifting possibilities and constraints of sexual identity that have provided visual artists with a rich creative resource over the last 130 years - and it does so in an accessible, authoritative voice, and with a wealth of rarely-seen imagery.
For nearly a century, fashion magazines have provided sophisticated platforms for cutting- edge photography - work that challenges conventions and often reaches far beyond fashion itself. In this book, acclaimed photography critic Vince Aletti has selected 100 significant magazine issues from his expansive personal archive, revealing images by photographers rarely seen outside their original context. With his characteristic élan and featuring stunning images, Aletti has created a fresh, idiosyncratic, and previously unexplored angle on the history of photography.
An updated edition of Shore's groundbreaking book, now with previously unpublished photographs and a new introduction.
Stephen Shore's images from his travels across America in 1972-73 are considered the benchmark for documenting the extraordinary in the ordinary and continue to influence photographers today. The original edition of American Surfaces, published by Phaidon in 2005, brought together 320 photographs sequenced in the order in which they were originally documented. Now, in the age of Instagram and nearly 50 years after Shore embarked on his cross-country journey, this revised and expanded edition will bring this seminal work back into focus.
In the early 1990s, a young Kate Moss posed for her then-boyfriend, Italian photographer Mario Sorrenti. The resulting images catapulted her to fame when Calvin Klein spotted them and found inspiration for the groundbreaking Obsession campaign, which launched Moss to international stardom. Now, for the first time, 50 photographs from that legendary Sorrenti shoot are sumptuously reproduced in tritone and presented in a cloth-covered clamshell box - a stunning photographic portfolio of one of contemporary culture's most iconic figures.
Ellsworth Kelly will forever be remembered as one of the most distinctive and influential artists of our time. This book, the last created in close collaboration with the artist, maps his prolific and diverse oeuvre from the 1940s to his final projects before his death in late 2015. Featuring a newly designed cover, this hardback edition brings Tricia Paik's critically acclaimed volume to a new audience of readers.
- Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015) was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker who became known, post-WWII, as one of the country's premier abstract artists. His work is internationally known, exhibited, awarded, auctioned, and celebrated to this day.
Tricia Paik is director of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in Massachusetts. She was previously curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and has held positions at the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Key Selling Points - Includes all of Kelly's major works and periods, from his early figurative art to his distinctive paintings featuring blocks of single flat and silhouetted shapes, from his prints and drawings to his large-scale outdoor sculptures - A survey text and narrative chronology by Kelly expert Tricia Paik features insights from the artist following in-depth interviews, as well as images, sketches, and other material from his personal archives first published in this book's original format - Features additional short essays by leading art historians, curators, and writers: Robert Storr, Richard Shiff, Gary Garrels, and Gavin Delahunty
A revised and expanded edition of one the most popular titles in the Contemporary Artists Series Born in Lebanon, Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum was exiled to London, where she has lived and worked since the mid-1970s. Through performance, video, sculpture, and installation, she creates architectonic spaces that relate to the body, language, and the condition of exile as well as transforming everyday, domestic objects into things foreign, threatening, and dangerous. Often exquisitely beautiful, Hatoum's works combine states of emotion and longing with the formal simplicity of Minimalism, creating powerful evocations of displacement, denial, and otherness.
It was in 1967 that Italian art critic Germano Celant coined the term Arte Povera (poor art) to describe the work of a generation of young Italian artists. Emerging alongside such international movements as Land Art, Minimalism and Conceptual Art, Arte Povera used simple, "poor" gestures and materials - twigs, metals, glass, fabric, stone, even live animals - to turn away from traditional "high" art.
They explored the relation between art and life as it is made manifest in natural processes or cultural dynamics. First exhibiting together in Italy in the late 1960s, artists Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Emilio Prini and Gilberto Zorio went on to become internationally renowned.
Bridging the natural and the artificial, the urban and the rural, Mediterranean life and Western modernity, Arte Povera's impact still resounds.
Following on from the critical success of Outland and Shadow Chamber, Roger Ballen's previous books published by Phaidon, Boarding House features a new collection of work from this significant photographer.
Boarding House shows an imaginary space of transient residence, of coming and goings, of people sheltering in a strange place they are using for their immediate survival, furnished with objects that are necessarily for an elementary existence as well as mysterious items whose significance is impossible to discern. Remnants function as physical symbols of events that have occurred in this space; broken pieces of a functional reality exist as the leftovers of scenarios that were played out here.
In his introductory essay to the book, veteran photography curator David Travis addresses this new body of work. Having evolved from and developed out of Roger Ballen's previous work, Boarding House differs in that the photographs have become even more formally sophisticated, and the sense of collaboration between the artist and his subjects increasingly evident.
Eugene Richards is one of America's greatest living social documentary photographers. His intense vision and unswerving commitment to documenting the plight of the disadvantaged has produced powerful work on topics such as drug addiction, poverty, the mentally disabled, ageing and the personal consequences of war. The Blue Room is his first colour project, a moving, highly personal project that brings together the themes that encompass all of Richards' work - what he describes as the 'transient nature of things'. The photographs are portraits of the abandoned and forgotten houses of western America in areas such as the plains of Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and the Dakotas. In the early twentieth century, railroads lured settlers west with the promises of homesteads and towns rose across the plains. But in the wake of the Depression and the dust storms of the 1930s the towns faltered then failed. Richards enigmatic photographs of these forgotten homes are a meditation on memory and loss - family photographs stuck on a wall, a wedding dress hanging in a bedroom, snow falling on a bed by an open window, a wild horse standing at an open kitchen window. Richards' contemplative, beautiful photographs inspire us to imagine the lives of the former occupants, and make a quiet statement on the inevitability of the circle of life and death, and the vulnerability of man in the face of shifting economic opportunities and the climate.
Anri Sala's work is often about obscurity - obscurity of images but also of language and experience - which can render it both vexingly subtle and uncomfortably immediate. In the video Ghostgames (2002), translucent crabs scuttle away from a flashlight beam on a dark beach. The horse in time after time (2003) stands beside a busy motorway as headlights from passing cars draw perilously nearer. In other instances, this obscurity can be simply beautiful, like the strobe light reflecting off a reverberating cymbal in Three Minutes (2004) or the game of football played by the children in Missing Landscape (2001).
When Sala confronts the history and current events of his native Albania, he does so with the same subtle immediacy. The video Intervista (1998), for example, is equal parts documentary, memoir and mystery. It depicts Sala's search for the lost sound reel from a historical interview with his mother at the 1977 Albanian Youth Congress. Finally, after enlisting lip-readers to supply the missing dialogue, Sala plays it for his mother, who reacts with shock at the words of her younger self, words not so much her own as the Communist Party's. During the course filming of Intervista, the Albanian economy collapsed, unleashing civil unrest across the country. The film ends with Sala's mother reflecting on her youthful beliefs, now tempered by experience: 'I think we've passed on to you the ability to doubt. Because you must always question the truth.' Working in a range of media - including video, photography and installation - and having been raised in Tirana, educated in Paris and now settled in Berlin, Anri Sala represents a truly contemporary international vision. The impact of his work - featured at the world's top venues and exhibitions, including Manifesta (2000) and the Venice Biennale (1999, 2001 and 2003) - endorses Sala's conviction that art can transcend cultural references without losing any of its specificity nor, indeed, its power.
In the Survey, Mark Godfrey weaves the artist's primary themes - sound and language, absence and presence, repetition - into a celebration of the work's 'inbetweenness'. Hans Ulrich Obrist conducts his most extensive interview to date with Sala, covering the artist's early career, the innovative display features of his recent exhibitions, and his latest - and in some ways most ambitious - project. Liam Gillick's Focus centres on Sala's 2004 film Now I See, a music video of sorts that deftly defies expectations. In the Artist's Choice, two poems by Albanian poet Ervin Hatibi recall the inscrutable immediacy of Sala's own work. Artist's Writings include project notes on several of Anri Sala's key works, the subtitles from his 2004 video Làk-kat and extracts from an ongoing conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist that spans Sala's artistic career.
Bruce Nauman (b. 1941) is one of the most innovative, provocative and influential artists working today. His pioneering explorations of sculpture, performance, sound, video and installations - always questioning the role of the artist - have broken new ground and inspired innumerable artists' careers.
Confronted with what to do in his studio soon after graduating, Nauman had the simple but profound realization that 'If I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art. At this point art became more of an activity and less of a product.' Exploring Nauman's relationship to the place where he creates his strikingly original works, Bruce Nauman: The True Artist retraces back to the artist's youth in Fort Wayne, Indiana, his graduate work at the University of California, Davis, through to the present day. Nauman's continual search for new means and sources of expression have led him to experiment with a very wide variety of medium (photography, performance, sculpture, installations, video, neon sign, and sound) as well as to explore the relationship between words and images. Nauman's apotheosis as one of the world's most highly lauded artists came as he was ranked No. 1 in the world by Artfacts.net in 2006, and he was the sole US representative in the American Pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale.
Peter Plagens, best known to the general public for his work as art critic at Newsweek, has known Nauman for over forty years, and in his own words describes this book as 'about my trying to get at the real truth of Bruce Nauman's work'. They first met in 1970, when their studios were a block apart in Pasadena, California, and they played basketball together every Sunday. Since then Plagens has pursued a real understanding of his friend's art and in this book presents it from his uniquely insightful perspective, including chronicling as it happened the creation of works in Nauman's studio in Galisteo, New Mexico, and the organization, installation and reception of his exhibitions. Throughout, Plagens is a savvy and engaging guide to the work, using his own attempts to puzzle out the meaning of the pieces, and the artist's conversations about them, to offer the reader a vivid, personal and enlightening take on one of the key figures in contemporary art.
Une toute nouvelle série de photographies d'enfants par Nan Goldin, photographe parmi les plus en vue et les plus influentes de notre époque.
Depuis plus de 30 ans, Nan Goldin crée des photographies intimes qui sont autant de récits d'histoires personnelles de relations, d'amitiés, d'identités et de chroniques parlant d'époques diverses et de la fuite du temps.
Présentant de nombreuses oeuvres inédites, cet ouvrage saisit l'énergie, lémotion et le mystère de l'enfance.
On of France's most important contemporary artists, Christian Boltanski came to prominence with major exhibitions at such important international venues at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (1984) and the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, (1990). For his magical installations, Boltanski collects old photos, clothing and personal objects, which are presented as archival artefacts tracing individual lives. His own autobiogaphy is itself presented as fiction, particularly in his early 'mischevious' performative work, which invents a self-identity using found photos. Boltanski often uses everyday documents - passport photographs, school portraits and family albums - to memorialize ordinary people: the unknown children killed in the Holocaust, the citizens of a Swiss town or the employees of a Halifax carpet factory. The spaces he creates, often filled with flickering lights and shadows, lie somewhere between little theatres and churches, generating a sense of hushed wonder and a poignant evocation of loss. Boltanski's work has been presented in museums and public sites all over the world, including the Lyric Theatre, London, where the artist devised the stage sets and lighting for Schubert's Winter Reise in 1996.
Paris-based art historian Didier Semin follows Boltanski's work from the fictional biographies through to recent installations in the context of cultural and art historical developments in post-war France. Boltanski discusses his work and the role of the artist with art historian Tamar Garb, author of Sisters of the Brush (1994) and co-editor of The Jew in the Text (1995). Donald Kuspit, contributing editor to Artforum, focuses on Monument: The Children of Dijon, a work that consists of dozens of eerily lit, anonymous, black and white photographs of children long since lost to adulthood. Boltanski has chosen texts by master postmodern novelist Georges Perec, written in an inventory-like style that mirrors that of the artist. The book also features a selection of Boltanski's own writings, a beguiling and provocative blend of truth and fiction.
Trevor Paglen's art gives visual geography to hidden forces, relentlessly pursuing what he calls the 'unseeable and undocumentable' in contemporary society. Blending photography, installation, investigative journalism, and science, Paglen explores the clandestine activity of government and intelligence agencies, using high- grade equipment to document their movements and reveal their hidden inner workings. This book presents over three decades of Paglen's groundbreaking work, making visible the structures and technologies that impact our lives.
Peter Fischli and David Weiss are Swiss artists who first began working together in the late 1970s. Their sculpture, video and photographic works all generate a unique atmosphere of concentration and relaxed pleasure. The mood of their work ranges from the humorous - a pair of clay figures, for example, titled Mick Jagger and Brian Jones go home satisfied after composig 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' - to the banal - a photographic series devoted to Airports - and even the apparently invisible - their Untitled installation simulating, through minutely detailed polyurethane sculptures, an unfinished exhibition site.
While Fischli and Weiss occupy the international art world's most prestigious levels - representing Switzerland in the 1995 Venice Biennale and returning eight years later to win the Leone d'Oro prize for their slideshow Will Happiness Find Me? - they remain an unpredictable force at the very cutting edge of new art. This is the first true monograph on this extraordinary pair, who have exhibited worldwide and whose solo exhibitions include the Centre Pompidou, Paris (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1988), and Tate Modern, London (2006).
In his Survey, French critic and curator Robert Fleck looks at Fischli and Weiss' ability to resist conventional artistic categories, crossing fluidly between sculpture, installation, photography and the moving image. In the Interview, Swiss critic Beate Sontgen discusses with the artists the notions of sincerity and illusion, and examines the question of how literally viewers are asked to read their work. Noted art critic and leading authority on Fischli and Weiss Professor Arthur C. Danto examines in the Focus the immensely popular The Way Things Go, offering a new perspective on this well known film. For Artists' Choice Fischli and Weiss have chosen a text by Robert Walser on the pleasure of walking that mirrors their own meanderings. Artists' Writings include unpublished scripts from early video works and a 1996 interview with the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija.