A selection of fascinating art books coming out this spring.
Photo: Courtesy of the publishers

7 Must-Have Art Books Launching This Spring

From new monographs on Park Seo-Bo, Paola Pivi, and Antony Gormley to a celebration of the hottest names in contemporary art right now, these titles are the perfect addition to any art lover’s library

Park Seo-Bo: Ecriture. Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

1. Park Seo-Bo (Rizzoli)

Considered the godfather of Korean modern art, Park Seo-Bo is credited as being the founder of the Dansaekhwa movement that emerged in Korea in the mid-1970s. Born in ’31 in Yecheon, Gyeongbuk, Park’s generation was deeply affected by the Korean War that divided the country, a fact that would affect his poignant and spiritual approach to artmaking throughout the rest of his life. After experimenting with Western abstraction, particularly the style of Art Informel during some years spent in Paris, the artist would soon develop own unique style that drew from the Korean tradition of calligraphy and touched on elements of Taoist and Buddhist philosophy.

Park Seo-Bo, Air Color. Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

His “Eciture” paintings are his most famous—a series he began in the late ’60s. These works comprise repeated pencil lines incised into the painting’s monochrome surface, free from any sense of gesture. Executed in a single sitting, before the paint has time to dry, the works capture a sense of immediacy and finality. This beautiful new tome celebrates the trajectory of these “Eciture” masterworks, revealing the artist’s mastery of color, shape, and texture throughout his career, from the early days through to his later experiments with hanji (a traditional Korean handmade mulberry paper) that he would add to the surface. Available April 26. 

Paola Pivi. Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon

2. Paola Pivi (Phaidon)

While life-sized, brightly-hued, feathered polar bears might spring to mind when one thinks of Paola Pivi, the Italian artist has created work across a diverse variety of media in her 27-year career. This striking 400-page book, created in close collaboration with the artist, is the first complete survey of her practice, revealing her whimsical approach to sculpture, video, photography, performance, and installation. With more than 250 images, the title comprises her most iconic and groundbreaking works, staged in museums and galleries around the world, including previously unpublished pieces. Adding further insight are five newly commissioned essays by leading voices in the art world.

Paola Pivi, Covid Jokes, 2021 Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon

Highlights include her 2012 Public Art Fund Project where a Piper Seneca airplane was lifted on its wingtips and installed to constantly rotate forward; World Record (2019) an immersive installation where visitors could crawl between two mattresses at MAXXI in Rome, and 25,000 Covid Jokes (It’s not a joke) 2021, which included jokes about COVID-19 collected from the internet from more than 60 countries, pictured above. Pivi is also having a moment in 2022 with two major projects in the U.S. The first is a commission on New York’s High Line, opening in April. Next is a major solo exhibition “Paola Pivi: I Want It All,” on view from April 22 through August 15, 2022, at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Available April 13 

Women Painting Women. Photo: Courtesy of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas and Delmonico/D.A.P

3. Women Painting Women (Delmonico/D.A.P)

The 50th anniversary of the seminal 1971 essay by critic Linda Nochlin “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” prompted Andrea Karnes, chief curator of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas, to revisit the text. Opening on May 15, her new exhibition, “Women Painting Women,” takes the essay as its guiding force, presenting the work of 46 female and femme-identifying portraitists whose work has been divided into four main themes: “The Body,” “Nature Personified,” “Color as Portrait,” and “Selfhood.” Among the major artists included are Alice Neel, Jenny Saville, Sylvia Sleigh, and Lisa Yuskavage, along with a slew of trailblazing new talents like Jordan Casteel, Somaya Critchlow, and Apolonia Sokol.

Hope Gangloff, Queen Jane Approximately, 2011. Photo: Courtesy of the museum and Delmonico/D.A.P

Exploring the female gaze, the exhibition and book reveal how artists use portraits of women as a way to tell new stories outside of male interpretations. The book has been edited by the curator Andrea Karnes and includes a preface by Marla Price and text by Emma Amos and Faith Ringgold.

Antony Gormley. Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

4. Antony Gormley (Rizzoli)

Antony Gormley’s definitive monograph by Martin Caiger-Smith, which was released in 2017, received much acclaim for its comprehensive overview of one of the most important sculptors of his generation. This spring, a new edition is being released in an expanded and updated format, plus a more accessible price point. Like the original, the tome spans the entirety of Gormley’s career, from his earliest sketches to his most famous installations. Best known for the major public works that most visibly represent his innovative approach to sculpture, Gormley is a prolific artist who has renegotiated the tension between the individual and the universal.

An installation view of Antony Gormely's exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2019. Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

Inside, readers will find images that range from childhood photographs to his recent installations, including his major exhibition in 2019 at the Royal Academy in London, pictured above. They will also get fascinating insight into the working process behind such acclaimed masterpieces as Angel of the North, located on a panoramic hilltop by the A1, it is considered the largest angle sculpture in the world to Another Place, which features 100 life-size cast-iron figures that dotted the Crosby Beach in Merseyside, England. Available April 19. 

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Photo: Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

5. The Hirshhorn Museum Collection

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden opened on October 1, 1974, and has since become one of the country’s most beloved institutions, with an impression that reaches far beyond Washington itself. While it began with the personal collection of American financier Joseph Hirshhorn, the institution has evolved to encompass an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. In the almost 50 years since first opening its doors, the museum–under the auspices of the larger Smithsonian Institution—has forwarded its mission as the national museum of modern art. It now strives to represent a broader and more inclusive narrative than that of the founding collection.

Nicole Eisenman, Luck Lines, 2018. Photo: Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

This ambitious new book contains nearly 200 entries on individual artists, artworks, and the richness and strengths of the museum’s collection, and it would make a wonderful resource for anyone interested in modern and contemporary art. Beautifully illustrated with some 500 full-color and black-and-white images, there are also a selection of essays and new scholarship on topics ranging from the museum’s collection history and its future. Architecture lovers can also learn more about the museum’s unique circular building and garden. Available May 2022 

Prime: Art's Next Generation. Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

6. Prime (Phaidon)

Who is making the most exciting art today? That was the question that was posed to a group of the world’s leading museum directors, chief curators, art critics, and collectors including Rujeko Hockley from the Whitney Museum of American Art; Legacy Russell from the The Kitchen; and Antwaun Sargent from Gagosian Gallery. The result is Prime, a new book from Phaidon featuring more than 100 of the most distinctive and innovative young artists, all born between 1980 and ’95.

Lina Lapelytė, Sun & Sea (Marina), 2019. Photo: Andrej Vasilenko. Courtesy of Phaidon.

Inside the colorful, jam-packed book, there are a diverse array of artists using a variety of materials from 41 countries. Many are working with traditional mediums like painting, drawing, and sculpture, while others are using new languages and breaking new ground. Available May 25 

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossroads. Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

7. Jean Michel Basquiat: Crossroads (Rizzoli)

There is perhaps no artist buzzier than Jean-Michel Basquiat right now. After a slew of red-hot auction sales, exhibitions, and biopics, the latest launch is a new book by Lee Jaffe, a cross-disciplinary visual artist, musician, and poet. Jaffe took photos of his friend when they were traveling abroad in the 1983, and the resulting images are documented here on the pages, offering readers a new, personal insight into the late artist the person.

An image of Basquiat taken by Lee Jaffe. Photo: Lee Jaffe. Courtesy of Rizzoli

“For me, watching him (Jean) paint reminded me of the times I would sit and play harmonica while Bob Marley, with his acoustic guitar, would be writing songs that were eventually to become classics,” Jaffe writes in the book. “With Jean and Bob, it seemed like they were channeling inspiration coming from an otherworldly place.” In a special homage to their friendship, the book showcases intimate images of their creative journey, from the artist smiling on a train to Kyoto and behind-the-scenes documentation of Basquiat creating artwork in St. Moritz  Available April 19 

Cover: A selection of fascinating art books coming out this spring.
Photo: Courtesy of the publishers


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