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On the Shelf | The Best Art Books Out This Spring
Editorial / Lifestyle

On the Shelf | The Best Art Books Out This Spring

16 May 2022

From irreverent graphic novels to essential compendiums of emerging artists, this spring’s hottest book releases have every genre of art covered…

1. Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure©, Rizzoli: £35

Published to accompany the hotly-anticipated New York exhibition of the same name, this deep dive into the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat was penned by his sisters. Both the book and the exhibition allow a tantalising behind-the-scenes glimpse of the East Village art scene’s break-out star, featuring rarely or never displayed works alongside personal photos and artefacts. It’s the perfect gift for fans of the artist who can’t make the trip to the Big Apple to see the show in person.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure© is published by Rizzoli in conjunction with the NYC exhibition of the same name, offering a unique glimpse into the artist’s life story through his family’s lens.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure© is published by Rizzoli in conjunction with the NYC exhibition of the same name, offering a unique glimpse into the artist’s life story through his family’s lens.

Rizzoli

2. Frida Kahlo: Fashion As The Art Of Being, Assouline: £165

Frida Kahlo: Fashion As The Art Of Being
Frida Kahlo: Fashion As The Art Of Being

Frida Kahlo: Fashion As The Art Of Being

Assouline

The preferred publisher of boutique hotels everywhere, Assouline is renowned for its exquisite coffee table books – and this one is no exception. Dedicated to Kahlo’s iconic style and its far-reaching influence on the fashion world, it features self-portraits and photographs of the artist alongside clothes from her wardrobe and modern-day magazine shoots which echo her unique look. With a neon pink, scrapbook-style dust jacket and that reassuringly expensive paper smell, it’s not one to hide away on the bookshelves.

Frida in New York, 1946. Emily Winthrop Miles Fund, 2010.

Frida in New York, 1946. Emily Winthrop Miles Fund, 2010.

© Nickolas Muray Photo Archive. Brooklyn Museum

“I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.”

Frida Khalo

3. Francis Bacon, The Story of his Life, Prestel: £18.99

And now for something completely different: from Toulouse-Lautrec to Yayoi Kusama via Salvador Dali, we all know that artists are some of the most interesting characters out there. This book takes the fascinating story of one of contemporary art’s biggest names, Francis Bacon, and converts it into compelling graphic novel form. Featuring cameos from Henry Moore and Eric Hall among others, and with Cristina Portolano’s engaging illustrations and a smattering of art in-jokes, it’s a tongue-in-cheek account of Bacon’s life and times.

Francis Bacon's studio at 7 Reece Mews, London alongside Cristina Portolano's illustration. In 1998 Bacon's studio was donated to The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. 7,000 objects were carefully packed and transported for the artist's studio to be reconstructed in archaeological detail.
Francis Bacon's studio at 7 Reece Mews, London alongside Cristina Portolano's illustration. In 1998 Bacon's studio was donated to The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. 7,000 objects were carefully packed and transported for the artist's studio to be reconstructed in archaeological detail.

Francis Bacon's studio at 7 Reece Mews, London alongside Cristina Portolano's illustration. In 1998 Bacon's studio was donated to The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. 7,000 objects were carefully packed and transported for the artist's studio to be reconstructed in archaeological detail.

Photograph Perry Ogden / Cristina Portolano & Prestel

4. Prime – Art’s Next Generation, Phaidon, £55

Following the immense success of Phaidon’s Great Women Artists (whose title was a riff on Linda Nochin’s 1971 essay Why have there been no great women artists? and reminded us how far we’ve come in the intervening five decades), the publishing house has produced another much-needed compendium – this time on the best emerging artists of a generation. Documenting 107 artists – all born between 1980 and 1995 – it includes recommendations from curators and gallerists in the same age group. Packed with thought-provoking pieces, it’s great for art lovers and investors alike.

Prime, Art's Next Generation.
Prime, Art's Next Generation.

Prime, Art's Next Generation.

Phaidon

5. Kehinde Wiley: A Portrait of a Young Gentleman, Marquand: £32

You’ll have to wait for next month for this one – but it’s worth it. One of the hottest names in contemporary art, Wiley first used the book title for his portrait of the same name, commissioned by Huntington Art Gallery and displayed late last year. The painting echoes a Gainsborough portrait (Blue Boy) that was acquired by the founders of the collection 100 years ago, and the book goes on to explore the development of portraiture over this time, with works by 18th-century artists including Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Hudson interspersed with Wiley’s own paintings.

Cover of Kehinde Wiley: A Portrait of a Young Gentleman / A Portrait of a Young Gentleman (2021) installation view in the Thornton Portrait Gallery at The Huntington.
Cover of Kehinde Wiley: A Portrait of a Young Gentleman / A Portrait of a Young Gentleman (2021) installation view in the Thornton Portrait Gallery at The Huntington.

Cover of Kehinde Wiley: A Portrait of a Young Gentleman / A Portrait of a Young Gentleman (2021) installation view in the Thornton Portrait Gallery at The Huntington.

Joshua White/The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

Kehinde Wiley’s “Portrait of a Gentleman” at Huntington Library, Arts Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

Kehinde Wiley’s “Portrait of a Gentleman” at Huntington Library, Arts Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

Esteban Lopez, South Pasadenan News

To speak to Hang-Up about works by Basquiat or Kehinde Wiley, please get in touch.

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