Great gifts for art lovers
From magisterial portraits, to wry cartoons, fluffy polar bears to the hottest young prospects within the gallery system, our 2022 art books make for great seasonal gifts
For many art lovers, the thrill of visiting contemporary galleries lies in the shock of the new. So, why not finish off their year with a glimpse of what’s to come, by giving them a copy of Prime. Subtitled Art’s Next Generation, this new title profiles 107 of the most exciting rising stars in the contemporary art world, as chosen by the current generation of curators, critics, academics, gallerists and other experts.
Lavishly illustrated, and covering every continent and medium, the book is both a visual and textual treat for anyone with an interest in today’s art scene, and a solid guide to what's likely to emerge next.
For an equally insightful view into the work of a more mature artist, stretching his capabilities, consider giving a copy of David Byrne’s A History of the World (in Dingbats).
A History of the World (in Dingbats)
A Dingbat, as David Byrne uses the word, is an oddball typographical element, once used in book and magazine printing to both give layout instructions to the printer, and to create a pleasant sense of space on the page.
“These meaningless glyphs eventually morphed into little drawings and icons that are often used to break up imposing and intimidating blocks of text,” explains the author, artist and musician. “A flowerpot, a bird, a cup and saucer, that kind of thing – they’re not usually meant to illustrate specific text content.”
During the pandemic Byrne drew a wide array of dingbats, with the intention of using them in a new web magazine he was working on, but the dingbats had other plans. “As soon as I began to draw I got carried away,” he writes, “they immediately assumed a life of their own.”
The results of that artistic voyage can now be found in Byrne’s new book, A History of the World (in Dingbats). It's charming, sometimes scary, sometimes funny, often enlightening, and reminiscent of the kind of ruminations we all underwent in 2020, while similarly lighting the way ahead.
Harland Miller: In Shadows I Boogie
The art lover in your life will probably be a little more familiar with Harland Miller, the contemporary British art star, and self-styled ‘international lonely guy’.
However, they possibly won’t be quite so well-versed in the wide-ranging body of work covered in our newly updated title Harland Miller: In Shadows I Boogie.
This, his most comprehensive monograph to date, covers the artist’s wry, expressive book-cover-inspired canvases, as well as his wider body of work, which takes in pop, abstract and figurative painting.
With contributions from leading writers such as Michael Bracewell, Martin Herbert and Catherine Ince, as well as texts from Miller himself, the book is a must for collectors, followers of British art, contemporary painting, as well as anyone who’s ever been moved or intrigued by Miller’s painterly one liners.
Those with a passion for great paintings should also consider gifting our single volume Lucian Freud monograph. This compact edition of our earlier, two-volume overview, packs the pictures and biographical high- and low-points of this incredibly important artist’s life into a hardback cover.
Taking us from Freud's work from the 1930s right up until his death in 2011, the book includes hundreds of paintings, drawings, sketches, and etchings - even personal photographs and illustrated private letters, as well insight and commentary from David Dawson, Director of the Lucian Freud Archive, and the acclaimed editor, writer and designer, Mark Holborn.
A couple of decades Freud’s junior, and a world apart in terms of medium, technique and outlook, the American sculptor and visual artist Lynda Benglis has left – and continues to leave – a sizeable imprint on 20th and 21st century art history.
She remains one of the most important living artists today, as readers can gather from our wide-ranging, comprehensive monograph – a new addition to our Contemporary Artist Series.
Our new book takes readers from her native Louisiana, to mid-century NYC, where Benglis gained recognition for creating a groundbreaking body of work that challenged sculpture and painting conventions in a largely male-dominated art world.
With contributions from curator Andrew Bonacina; Bibiana Obler, Associate Professor of Art History at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design; and Nora Lawrence, Artistic Director and Chief Curator at Storm King Art Center in New York, the book is both the perfect present for a follower of Benglis, and anyone with a broader desire to know more about life at the forefront of American creativity.
Ugo Rondinone’s new edition – also one of our new Contemporary Artist Series books – will also delight art lovers. Yet the book (again a definite, fulsome monograph) covers the Swiss-born, New York-based artist’s early years in Europe, as well as his later successes in NYC.
Taking in Rondinone’s thrilling paintings, mind-bending installations, his surprisingly popular, monumental sculptures (one of which Google Maps lists as a tourist attraction), as well as his more modest drawings and text-based works, the book also traces the leitmotif poetic wonderment, and an enduring preoccupation with such universal, cosmic cycles, which imbue this important artist’s work.
That global sense of artistic expression is articulated in a very different way by fellow New York transplant Wangechi Mutu. Anyone with a recipient on their Xmas list interested in art outside the usual gallery disciplines should give this book.
Kenyan-born Mutu's incredible body of work touches on such issues as ecology, sex, myth, magic and politics, as well as all the chaos and harmony that govern the world. Her videos, performances, paintings, sculptures, and collages, often enriched with materials including tea, hair, soil, feathers, and sand, interweave fact with fiction, generating a unique form of myth-making that sets her apart from (but also weaves her into) classical history as well as pop culture.
For a simpler, more sublime, yet no less important take on art-making in the 21st century, give a copy of Nicholas Party. This Swiss-born artist began with graffiti, before developing his hugely well-received style of clean-edged, colour-saturated paintings and drawings of common objects, as well as fantastical scenes, all filled with vibrant, pictorial resonances. Intrigued by the way in which the gallery environment can alter the way we take in art, Party’s monograph features murals and installations, as well as his exquisite stand-alone works.
Our book is the first dedicated to the artist's life and work, and, following critical acclaim and auction-house successes, quickly became a must-have for both dedicated collectors and more general followers of the contemporary art scene. Got someone like that on your gift list? Tick them off now!
Great Women Painters
If they are interested in a rich and varied, telling of the story of painting, they’ll love Great Women Painters. Aside from many recently discovered and newly appreciated works and artists, the book is filled with fascinating facts, vignettes, and insights, and is the perfect present primer for anyone interested in exploring the work of rising stars and lesser-known practitioners overlooked by art history.
Faith Ringgold: American People
Faith Ringgold’s brilliance has burned within the American gallery system for sixty years, yet her true worth was only really recognised in her native New York, with her 2022 major retrospective at the New Museum in Manhattan. Phaidon was proud to publish the catalogue to accompany that show. Know someone who missed it, or perhaps wishes to relive it?
Then order up Faith Ringgold: American People. The book offers the perfect overview of this ground-breaking African-American artist, whose unique methods of visual storytelling have documented and advanced art historical, feminist, and civil-rights movements for more than half a century.
Part commentary on the American experience through the eyes of one particularly astute observer, and part the tale of an extraordinary artistic life, very much lived to the full, Faith Ringgold: American People will delight and intrigue anyone with a passion for justice, modern history, and beautiful art.
For a more fanciful gift, try our Paola Pivi book. This is the first complete survey of this widely adored, fun yet intriguing Italian multimedia artist. The book covers the artist’s best-known work, such as her brightly coloured polar bears, as well as many lesser seen, and previously unpublished works.
Issued in association with Anchorage Museum, Alaska; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; The Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach; (mac) musée d’art contemporain de Marseille; and MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome, and featuring 250 images, and five newly commissioned essays, the book is a treat for anyone who thinks art should make the world a little brighter and less boring.
And for a little more fun try giving someone our Jean Jullien book. From its funny-face cover through to its fulsome index, this comprehensive monograph from the hugely popular French artist, is filled with his joyful, witty paintings, illustrations, collaborations, commercial work, private projects, and much more.
Arranged in three sections – Personal, Collaboration, and Public – this new book covers the artist's capacious career, from his earliest creative partnerships to his progression into painting, while also offering a first-hand look at his process with sketches and never-before-seen works.
As someone who has excelled in the commercial sphere, and found acclaim within the gallery system, the book should please fans of the graphic arts, landscape painting, sharp cartoons and winsome observations on everyday life. There'll be no long faces when they unwrap this. You can find all these and more in our store.