Tag Archives: Thames & Hudson

Anne Frank was right: Paper has more patience than people, and “An Anthology of Decorated Papers” stuns

Papercrafting has just gotten more elegant, more exciting and much richer and more dignified with the stunning An Anthology of Decorated Papers  (Thames & Hudson, $60). P.J.M. Marks, P. J. M. Marks, curator of bookbindings at the British Library,  has pulled together a collection of gorgeously reproduced decorated papers, along with a thoughtful and carefully researched history of this often-overlooked art.book cover

Rich in ornamentation, decorated papers have been in use for centuries—as wrappers and endpapers for books, as the backing for playing cards, and even as linings for chests and cases.

Yet despite the many contexts in which they can be found, they often go unnoticed. The remarkable new book An Anthology of Decorated Papers not only showcases several hundred of the best and most exquisite examples of decorated paper, but also provides a fascinating introduction to its history, traditions and techniques.

“Decorated papers have been produced worldwide for centuries,” Marks writes in the introduction to the book. From rudimentary paper in the Chinese court in 105 AD to block printing in China and Japan in the ninth and seventeenth centuries, respectively, to pre-industrial European decorated papers in Germany, France and Italy, to the impact of decorated papers, including Benjamin Franklin’s introduction of bank notes printed marbled paper to counter fraud, Marks examines the many paths and uses of decorated paper throughout history, including in art, bookbinding, and stationery.

Drawing on the Olga Hirsch collection at the British Library, one of the largest and most diverse collections of decorated papers in the world, this beautifully produced anthology will both delight and inspire designers, bibliophiles, and anyone with a love of pattern and decoration.

 

Art appreciation made easy: “Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art?” paints a winner

Can’t tell your ass from a Kandisky?

No worries. Young art professionals Kyung An and Jessica Cerasi knows contemporary art can be baffling, but they have found an answer.  And those answers, cutting straight to the questions that matter, can be found in Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art? (Thames & Hudson, $16.95). The book offers concise and pointed insights into today’s art scene. It’s an easy-to-navigate A-to-Z guide examines (among other topics) how artists are propelled to stardom, explains what curators do, challenges our understanding of artistic skill and demystifies the art market.Image result

The authors’ entertaining and thought-provoking explanations draw on key artworks, artists and events from around the globe, including how the lights going on and off won the Turner Prize, what makes the likes of Marina Abramović and Ai Weiwei such great artists and why Kanye West would trade his Grammys to be one.

Packed with behind-the-scenes knowledge, written in plain language and fully cross-referenced, Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art? is the perfect gallery companion both for those totally new to the scene and seasoned exhibition-goers.

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Eight-legged horses, serpents and cosmic wolves: Welcome to “The Norse Myths”

Gods and goddesses; mighty heroes and indomitable women; dragons, serpents and cosmic wolves; the great World-Tree, inhabited by magical and monstrous creatures . . . .

The new Lucas or Spielberg film? Hardly. These are Norse myths, and they speak to us as vibrantly today as when they were told in Viking halls centuries ago. Originating in ancient Scandinavia and Iceland, they were recorded in sagas and poems, and in the (less approving) accounts of medieval Christian writers. Archaeology also gives us tantalizing depictions of Viking ships, eight-legged horses, and titanic battles on runestones, metalwork and carvings. Sounds Greek to you?  Through The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes (Thames & Hudson, $24.95), literature scholar Carolyne Larrington brings us vivid new translations from the Old Norse, and we meet the inhabitants of this rich mythological cosmos face to face. The book is an exhilarating introduction to the vivid, violent, boisterous world of the Norse myths and their cultural legacy—from Tolkien to Game of Thrones.

Beginning with an account of the Norse myths’ origins and survival, The Norse Myths continues by introducing the principal gods and goddesses—Óṍinn (Odin), Loki, Þórr (Thor), Freyja, Heimdallr and the rest—before examining the gods’ powerful adversaries, the giants of ice and fire. According to the Norse creation myths, the world was born, and continued, in violence; two chapters are devoted to the (mis)adventures of the men and women of heroic legend and their sometimes unsettling conceptions of heroism and sacrifice. The last chapter is, fittingly, dedicated to ragnarök—the final conflict in which most of the gods will die and the world come to an end, with a hint at the possibility of rebirth.

The book offers fresh retellings of the vivid, often funny, almost always bloodthirsty tales of the Norse gods and heroes, and a satisfying exploration of their meaning and significance, past and present. The old stories have found new life in the work of Wagner, William Morris and J.R.R. Tolkien, and even in the reimagining of the fimbulvetr, or “Mighty Winter,” in Game of Thrones. And the 102 illustrations are an extra treat!

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best Non-Fiction Books (Part Two)

In When Broadway Went to Hollywood (Oxford University Press, $29.95) Ethan Mordden directs his unmistakable wit and whimsy to these challenging questions and more, charting the volatile and galvanizing influence of Broadway on Hollywood (and vice versa) throughout the twentieth century. Along the way, he takes us behind the scenes of the great Hollywood musicals you’ve seen and loved, as well as some of the outrageous flops you probably haven’t. The first book to tell the story of how Broadway affected the Hollywood musical, When Broadway Goes to Hollywood is sure to thrill theatre buffs and movie lovers alike.

When JFK and Jackie took the White House in 1961, Jackie appointed famed designer and family friend Oleg Cassini, as her personal “Secretary of Style.” From classic pillbox hats to casually elegant daywear and A-line and empire dresses, Cassini created an enduring look for the stylish her, and the First Lady became a fashion muse for the ages. Jackie and Cassini: A Fashion Love Affair by [Marino, Lauren]Meanwhile, women across the country enthusiastically copied her look; one that endures today and that transformed Jackie into one of the most beloved style icons of all time. Jackie and Cassini showcases the fashions and details the collaborations of an extraordinary teaming of designer and muse.

The cat’s meow . . . of sorts. Gain a deeper understanding of your canine friends through these in-depth breed profiles that showcase how working dogs think. From familiar breeds like the Border Collie, Corgi, and Dachshund to the lesser-known Akbash, Puli, and Hovawart, Janet Vorwald Dohner describes 93 breeds of livestock guardian dogs, herding dogs, terriers, and traditional multipurpose farm dogs, highlighting the tasks each dog is best suited for and describing its physical characteristics and temperament. Farm Dogs: A Comprehensive Breed Guide to 93 Guardians, Herders, Terriers, and Other Canine Working Partners (Storey Publishing, $26.95) also offers an accessible history of how humans bred dogs to become our partners in work and beyond, providing a thorough introduction to these highly intelligent, independent and energetic breeds. Purr-fect!

This Way Madness Lies (Thames & Hudson, $45) is a thought-provoking exploration of the history of madness and its treatment as seen through the lens of its proverbial home: Bethlem Royal Hospital, London, popularly known as Bedlam. Mike Jay’s book charts the evolution of the asylum through four incarnations: The eighteenth-century madhouse, the nineteenth century asylum, the twentieth-century mental hospital, and the post-asylum modern day, when mental health has become the concern of the wider community. Moving and sometimes provocative illustrations sourced from the Wellcome Trust’s exceptional collection and the Bethlem Royal Hospital’s archive highlight the trajectory of each successive era of institution. Each chapter concludes with a selection of revealing and captivating artwork created by some of the inmates of the institutions of that era.

Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam, a 12-story-high concrete structure just fifty miles north of Los Angeles, suddenly collapsed, releasing a devastating flood that roared 53 miles to the Pacific Ocean, destroying everything in its path. What caused this unexpected catastrophe, and why are the facts largely missing from history books? With research gathered over more than two decades, award-winning writer and filmmaker Jon Wilkman revisits the deluge that claimed nearly 500 lives in Floodpath: The Deadliest Man-Made Disaster of 20th-Century America and the Making of Modern Los Angeles (Bloomsbury, $28). Driven by eyewitness accounts and combining urban history, technological detective story, and life-and-death drama, Floodpath grippingly reanimates the reality behind noir fictions such as the film Chinatown.

Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings. What if it were true? And if so, what if there were clues left behind? Each week, hundreds of thousands of viewers tune in to the wildly popular Ancient Aliens television series to seek insight into those very questions and to become part of a thrilling, probing exploration of the mysteries at the heart of world civilizations. Ancient Aliens: The Official Companion Book (HarperElixir, $29.99) takes readers even deeper into the mysteries that have made the show a pop culture phenomenon. Filled with exciting insights and behind-the scenes stories from the show’s creators and leading experts in ancient alien theory, the book explores the key questions at the heart of the series: Who were they? Why did they come? What did they leave behind? Where did they go? Will they return? A perfect companion: The first official adult coloring book that ties into the hit series, brimming with 40 detailed illustrations of ancient artifacts, awe-inspiring archaeological locations and cultural phenomena, Ancient Aliens: The Coloring Book (HarperElixir, $9.99) immerses both the show’s fans and coloring enthusiasts in the wonder of these enigmas.

In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London’s Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens’ panic reached a fever pitch. With vivid historical detail and novelistic flair, Skip Hollandsworth brings this terrifying saga to life in the sweeping The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer. (Henry Holt, $30).

Ask any fashioniosta, and she (he?) will always remind you all it takes is the right accessory to pull off a great look. And if that accessory happens to be handmade by you? All the better! In  Melissa Leapman’s Designer Crochet Accessories, the author shows you how to make more than 25 fresh and beautiful crocheted accessories for women. From winter warmers like cozy hats and scarves that make a statement to all-season wardrobe builders such as one-of-a-kind jewelry, colorful handbags, and stunning shawls. The projects include something for crocheters of all levels, from beginners to intermediate and advanced knitters. Crafters of all skill levels will find a a project to keep their fingers busy. Each project offers easy-to-follow instructions, stitch diagrams using international symbols, and a clear photo to illustrate the finished piece.

Although many will remember the stirring adventures of “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion from the Walt Disney television series of the late ’50s and the fictionalized Marion character played by Mel Gibson in the 2000 film The Patriot, the real man bore little resemblance to either of those caricatures. But his exploits were no less heroic as he succeeded, against all odds, in repeatedly foiling the highly trained, better-equipped forces arrayed against him. In The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution (Da Capo Press, $26.99), we meet many colorful characters from the Revolution.  In  this first major biography of Marion in more than 40 years, John Oller compiles striking evidence and brings together much recent learning to provide a fresh look both at Marion, the man, and how he helped save the American Revolution.

 Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary (W.W. Norton, $27.95)  tells the exhilarating story of the four-month campaign that changed American politics forever. In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt came out of retirement to challenge his close friend and handpicked successor, William Howard Taft, for the Republican Party nomination. To overcome the power of the incumbent, TR seized on the idea of presidential primaries, telling bosses everywhere to “Let the People Rule.” The cheers and jeers of rowdy supporters and detractors echo from Geoffrey Cowan’s pages as he explores TR’s fight-to-the-finish battle to win popular support. Using a trove of newly discovered documents, Cowan takes readers inside the colorful, dramatic, and often mean-spirited campaign, describing the political machinations and intrigue and painting indelible portraits of its larger-than-life characters. But Cowan also exposes the more unsavory parts of TR’s campaign: seamy backroom deals, bribes made in TR’s name during the Republican Convention, and then the shocking political calculation that led TR to ban any black delegates from the Deep South from his new “Bull Moose Party.”

They are the band that created metal music . . . and they have defined it for more than four decades. Black Sabbath’s career spans 11 different line-ups and 19 studio albums in addition to the 28 solo albums of the original four members. In The Complete History of Black Sabbath: What Evil Lurks (Race Point Publishing, $35), Joel McIver explores the complete history of Sabbath, from the precursor bands to the release of the holy trinity of heavy metal . . .  “Black Sabbath” (the song) on Black Sabbath (the album) by Black Sabbath (the band) to the present. With more than 150 photos, a gatefold family tree tracing the development of the band, a complete discography, and a foreword by Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn, this is where evil (and entertainment) lurks.

As an American student living abroad, Jennifer L. Scott found a Parisian mentor in her host mother, Madame Chic, who instructed her in the fine art of living. Now, Jennifer shares her lessons in the box set The Madam Chic Collection (Simon & Schuster, $55), including Lessons from Madame Chic, At Home with Madame Chic, and Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic. Based on what she learned from Madame Chic, Jennifer explains how to cultivate old-fashioned sophistication while living an active, modern life, teaching us to take pleasure in everyday routines, to dress presentably, perform household tasks with cheer, and how to conduct oneself both in public and in private.

 

“Hip Hop Raised Me” is the soundtrack chronicling 40 years of music culture

It might be a bit too corny to announce the event with a “Hip Hop Hooray”. Then again, ears of corn may be ringing with “Hip Hop Hooray,” a song by the hip hop group Naughty By Nature. Mark your calendars: Coming November 15 from Thames & Hudson is Hip Hop Raised Me, the definitive book on 40 years of the music culture,  its the essence, experience and energy, that revolutionized the world.  FYI:  The word “hip hop” is, like most music genres, not capitalized nor hyphenated.hip-hop-raised-me-611x784

Written by DJ Semtex, host of the UK’s top hip hop show on BBC Radio 1Xtra, this unique volume traces the characteristics and influence of hip hop, from its origins in the early ’70s, through its breakthrough into the mainstream and the advent of gangsta rap in the late ’80s, to the impact of contemporary artists and the global industry that is hip hop today. Semtex’s encyclopedic knowledge of the genre and his personal relationships with many of the most significant names in hip hop lends the book authority and the ultimate insider’s perspective.

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Grandmaster Flash

From its origins in the block parties of da Bronx in the ’70s to its status today as a global multi-billion dollar industry, from the voice of disaffected urban America to a President-electing powerbase, from Grandmaster Flash to Jay-Z, hip hop is nothing less than a phenomenon. Not just the most important musical genre of the past four decades, hip hop has transcended its origins to impact on every aspect of 21st century culture: Today Dr. Dre is at the vanguard of the music industry’s digital revolution, Kanye West is courted by the fashion industry and makes front page news, while Kendrick Lamar maintains hip hop’s legacy as a voice for the voiceless (today for the Ferguson riots generation) in the seething socio-political commentary contained within his lyrics.

Organized thematically, Hip Hop Raised Me features the many extensive interviews DJ Semtex has conducted from the ’90s to today, conveying the authentic voices of a huge roster of artists including Eminem, the Wu-Tang Clan,Jay-Z, Public Enemy, Kanye West, Nas, 50 Cent, Nicky Minaj, Pharrell, Odd Future, Drake and many, many more. Numerous infographic treatments track the four pillars of hip hop–MCing, Turntableism, B-boying, Graffiti–as well as the genre’s many fashion trends. These sit alongside specially commissioned photography of hip hop ephemera and vinyl, as well as contact sheets, outtakes and glory shots from key photographers in the movement. The depth and breadth of the book is visually matched by the rich and plentiful illustrations to make this the complete hip hop survey.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY / NO MERCHANDISING Mandatory Credit: Photo by Brian J Ritchie/Hotsauce/REX/Shutterstock (4453302ce) Kanye West 'The Jonathan Ross Show' TV Programme, London, Britain. - 28 Feb 2015
Kanye West

The publication of Hip Hop Raised Me coincides with multiple key dates in hip hop history–40 years since Grandmaster Flash broke out of da Bronx; 30 years since the release of the Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill”; and 20 years since the release of Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt.” To mark these occasions and celebrate the publication of this landmark volume, DJ Semtex will host an incredible concert in London this October with a multi-generational line up of hip hop artists appearing on the same UK bill for the first time. Featuring some of the biggest names in the Hip Hop game, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

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DJ Semtex

October also sees the release of “Hip Hop Raised Me,” the soundtrack. Released by Sony Music and selected by DJ Semtex, this multi-artist album will reflect the breadth and scope of the book and feature only the most ground-breaking, epoch-making tracks of the genre.

Ahead of the book’s publication, DJ Semtex has launched the Hip Hop Raised Me podcast, a weekly series of conversations with some of the most creative people in hip hop culture. Download and subscribe to future episodes of the podcast @ itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/hip-hop-raised-me/

Yes, we can say “Hip Hop Hooray”!