Artwork: Tarbosaurus and armored dinosaur. Konstantin Konstantinovich Flyorov, c. 1955. Flyorov, a Russian scientist and museum director, reveled in color above all else. His paintings are among the most dazzling and unusual in the paleoart canon. Copyright: Borrissiak Paleontological Institute RAS. From Paleoart. Visions of the Prehistoric Past (Taschen).
As August hits highs across the land, there’s no greater feeling than to grab a drink and read picture books. Sometimes, there’s nothing more satisfying than the silence of the still image, as we gaze upon paintings and photographs that speak a thousand words in every language at the same time.
Liberated from the relentless onslaught of content that the digital realm creates, art books allow us to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet where we are the captains of our fate. We can stare endlessly at a single image, read or disregard text, flip backwards and forwards following or altering the chronology of the book. Kick back and enjoy Crave’s selection of the hottest new art books releasing this month, showcasing everything from the life on earth when dinosaurs roamed free to the glorious movie posters of classic science fiction films.
It’s Alive! Classic Sci-Fi Movie Posters from the Kirk Hammett Collection
Once upon a time, not that long ago, movie posters were the ultimate form of advertising, taking on extraordinary life and promising a couple of hours of pleasure and thrills. It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Movie Posters from the Kirk Hammett Collection (Skira Rizzoli) showcases one of the world’s premier collections amassed by Metallica’s lead guitarist, who has been obsessed with the magic of moviemaking since the age of six years old.
It’s Alive features the most iconic images ever made, revealing our unquenchable desire to mediate the realms of the unknown, where dark forces come to the light on a quest for dominance—and fail every time. Whether Frankenstein, Dracula, the Werewolf, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, aliens, zombies, or beasts and ghoul s of any kind, It’s Alive lovingly reflects on our rapacious desire to be scared time and again by the boogieman. In conjunction with the book, an exhibition of the same name has just opened at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, and will be on view through November 26, 2017.
For Your Consideration: Los Angeles as Cinematic Mirage
In a world of make believe, reality bends to accommodate illusion and fantasy, enabling us to pretend that we have the power to craft life as we wish it to be, to script our dreams, nightmares, and fantasies. But narratives are just stories, nothing more or less—no matter how much we want them to be true outside our heads.
Playing with the idea of illusions taken to their most irrational extent, Italian photographer Gianluca Galtrucco reflects on the city of Los Angeles and the ways in which it blurs the boundaries between actuality and artifice. In his new book For Your Consideration: Los Angeles as Cinematic Mirage (Hatje Cantz), we enter a world where nothing is as it seems, where we always be sure when we are on set—and when we are off. Galtrucco’s large format photographs are eerily mesmerizing, calling to mind the way in which we rarely reflect on the construction of a film, we simply consume it like babies being spoon-fed.
The Art of Sound: A Visual History for Audiophiles
Could you imagine a world in which the only time we heard music or speech was live in the flesh? Where we couldn’t just pop on our favorite song or catch the latest podcast? It’s almost unthinkable how weird it would be, how desolate life is without a soundscape curated to our tastes, without the ability to hear the world within the confines of our house.
Author Terry Burrows understands just this, and has penned The Art of Sound: A Visual History for Audiophiles (Thames & Hudson), a love letter to the visual elements of technology over the past century. Back before digital reduced the physical elements of sound to the mere broadcast device, sound was a spectacle unto itself. The Art of Sound is an audiophile’s dream, cataloguing everything from recording equipment, playback devices, records, and master tapes to radios, televisions, sound systems, and promotional materials. The book reminds us that progress, while compulsive, is not inherently good if one does not know when to stop—or at least slow down—the wheel.
CUBA by Elliott Erwitt
In 1964, two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt traveled to Cuba on assignment for Newsweek, where he spent a week as the guest of Fidel Castro. For seven days, he traveled the island, documenting the world that he was shown, one that captured the riches and hid the costs of that the Castro regime exacted on the peoples of his native land.
CUBA by Elliott Erwitt (teNeues) showcases the most glorious photographs from Erwitt’s trip, showing us what life was like on the island from the most glorious vantage point. We are taken to student marches, Santeria celebrations, agricultural markets, local bars, ballet classes, beaches and hotels. We see vintage cars when they are new, baseball players in their youth, boxers, cockfighting, and cigars being rolled. Here, Che Guevara is still alive, and the promise of the revolution seems possible. Cuba is a moment in time that affixes the visual elements that would become the universal visual iconography for the island for the next fifty years.
Frank Walter: The Last Universal Man, 1926-2009
The self-styled “7th Prince of the West Indies, Lord of Follies and the Ding-a-Ding Nook” Frank Walter lived as he wished, creating a collection of paintings and sculptures in which he was free to explore any ideas, themes, or subjects that crossed his path. A native of Antigua, Walter’s contributions to twentieth century art have largely been overlooked, until now.
Frank Walter: The Last Universal Man, 1926-2009 by Barbara Paca, Ph.D. (Radius) is a publishing feat, beautifully cataloguing the artist’s work in a manner that is both deeply considered and exquisitely realized. The density of a single work by Walter is so intense that you might be unable to look away, and simply forget to turn the page. A prolific writer whose archive includes some 25,000 pages of text, the book reproduces a carefully edited selection to accompany the artworks, taking the experience to new heights and profound depths. The Last Universal Man is a masterpiece to be savored slowly, again and again.
Paleoart. Visions of the Prehistoric Past
What did the creatures of the prehistoric past look like? It’s a question that has fascinated humankind ever since fossils emerged from the ground, bearing witness to a majesty we have never seen before. In 1830, British scientist Henry De la Beche was the first to give the creatures of the past shape, color, and form, creating the very first work of paleoart and inventing a genre that would take the world by storm.
Now, in celebration, Taschen introduces Paleoart. Visions of the Prehistoric Past by writer Zoë Lescaze and artist Walton Ford, a sumptuous look back at 160 years of art. The book features paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, mosaics, and murals made between 1930 and 1990 that mix science and science fiction with complete and utter glee. Within the genre we see the influence of the larger art world of the times, from Romanticism and Impressionism to Fauvism and Art Nouveau. Paleoart seamlessly combines elements of fine art, science, fantasy, and pop culture to stunning effect, reminding many of us that our first true love was dinosaur books as a kid.
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.