We published our staff picks for best of the season’s coffee-table books recently.
Here’s my recommends for a few choice new arts and culture books, all of which have an Austin connection, not the least of which is UT Press which has a notable reputation for its well-curated list of art and photography books.
And UT Press offers a 33% online discount on most of its titles at all times — not just Cyber Monday.
“As Above, So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society, 1850-1930,” Lynne Adele and Bruce Lee Webb; foreword by David Byrne. UT Press, $60
Perhaps nothing is so peculiarly American than the fraternal societies that by the turn of the 20th century claimed a membership estimated to be 20 percent of the U.S. adult male population. Scholar Lynn Adele and Waxahachie collector Bruce Lee Webb have selected more than 200 objects — costumes, banners, ceremonial regalia — that reveal a rich visual culture rich with esoteric symbols that developed out fraternal societies like the Order of Odd Fellows and the Masons. “There’s an inspiring and wacky solemnity in these organizations,” writes musician David Byrne in his foreword to the book. “High values reinforced through pageantry and performance in an ecumenical social setting — which deep down must also have been a whole lot of fun.”
With its red cloth slipcover, this season’s ultimate art coffee-table book is also the definitive monograph of minimalist master Ellsworth Kelly. The artist’s seven-decade career brilliantly exploring the essence of line, form and color are understood through more than 400 images of his work, along with essays by noted scholars including University of Texas art historian Richard Siff. With a painting-filled pavilion designed by Kelly now destined to join the Blanton Museum of Art, a deep dive into the work of this master American artist is a must.
“Frame: A Retrospective,” Photographs by Mark Cohen; introduction by Jane Livingston. UT Press, $85
The poetics of Mark Cohen’s street photographs come from his singular compositions — the way he uses a photo’s frame to capture stark images, often aggressively closing in on strangers with his camera. A critically acclaimed master, Cohen himself selected the 250 photographs in this new retrospective volume, carefully determining their order to reveal stunning juxtapositions — and an eloquence of vision.
And a few other UT Press recent titles to recommend:
“Twentieth-Century Art of Latin American: Revised and Expanded.“ UT scholar Jacqueline Barnitz wrote a definitive survey on Latin American art in 2001. Now, Barnitz and scholar Patrick Frank have expanded and updated it. With more than 400 images, the book is a must for anyone interested in Latin American art of the last century.
“Eli Reed: A Long Walk Home.” Now on the UT faculty after a 30-year career, Eli Reed was the first African American member of famed photo co-op agency Magnum Photos. With more than 250 images, “A Long Walk Home” is Reed’s first retrospective publication.