Category Archives: Art & Design

New: Surf Book

Surf Book (cover)The SVA library has added Surf Book to its collection, a selection of images and text created by photographer Michael Halsband (SVA 1980) in collaboration with surfer and surf advocate Joel Tudor. Over the course of five years they traveled between surf communities around the world documenting key figures—including the waves, leis and landscapes—of contemporary surf culture. The collection of portraits is accompanied with text by Tudor describing the influence each has had on him and the culture at large. In the publisher’s description, Halsband likens the development of this project as kindred to touring with the Rolling Stones:

Having graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 1980, he became the official photographer for the Rolling Stones’ “Tattoo You” tour. He became a friend and confidante of both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who counted on him to relay the vibe of their program… This “surf journey,” as Halsband calls it, “has been life changing. If I put in some hierarchy, I’d say without hesitation that it’s been as interesting as touring with the Stones.”

You can find Surf Book on the new book shelf at the Main Library. For more photobooks on surf culture, you can also check out Surf Site Tin Type by Joni Sternbach, a collection of contemporary portraits created using the traditional tintype method, and A Golden Age: Surfing’s Revolutionary 1960s and ’70s by John Witzig.

Photograph by Michael Halsband.

Photograph by Michael Halsband.

New Books: Art Communities

NYSThe SVA library recently added two new books that focus on two different but sympathetic mid-twentieth century art movements: the New York School and Black Mountain College. Although only one of the two operated as an actual school (Black Mountain 1933-1957), both embraced interdisciplinary approaches to art-making within communities and often through collaboration. Poetry, painting, dance, music—all mediums were tantamount and all were called upon to explore the lived experience of a post-World War II society. Both movements are known not only for their associated visual artists, but also their notable poets.

New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight by Jenni Quilter is comprised of 320 fully-illustrated pages of rare ephemera, film stills, photographs, interviews, recollections, poetry, paintings, and more. To turn its pages is to take a tour through a carefully selected archive of highlights from this charged and generative time. Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Philip Guston, John Ashbery, Alice Notley, Frank O’Hara, and Anne Waldman are just a few of the many artists included in this new publication.

BMCLeap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 features over 50 essays on this pioneering experiment in education. Located outside of Asheville in rural North Carolina, Black Mountain College put the creative process at the center of all learning. Today the list of students is as impressive as the list of instructors—artists and poets like Cy Twombly, Robert Creeley, Ruth Asawa, Elaine de Kooning, and Robert Rauschenberg studied with teachers like Josef and Anni Albers, Charles Olson, John Cage, M. C. Richards, Merce Cunningham, and Willem de Kooning. (De Kooning being just one example of Black Mountain’s direct overlap with the New York School.) The education experience was reciprocal: instructors also learned from students, creative collaborations developed between them, and many students even went on to teach at the school. Each essay in Look Before You Leap focuses on a different element of the whole: students, instructors, campus life, learning, from topics like “The Formation of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company” to “Building Autonomy, Creating Community: The Farm and Work Program at Black Mountain College” and “Textures of the South: Roland Hayes and Integration at Black Mountain College.”

Find both these titles on the new book shelf in the SVA Main Library!

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (a birthday picture for Hermine), 1952. Solar print, 28x22 inches.

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (a birthday picture for Hermine), 1952. Solar print, 28×22 inches. From Look Before You Leap: Black Mountain College, p. 315.


Philip Guston and Bill Berkson, Negative, 1973. From New York School: Painters & Poets, p. 270.

Philip Guston and Bill Berkson, Negative, 1973. From New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight, p. 270.

2016 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

AF_Mark_2.svgThe third annual Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon will happen in NYC on Saturday, March 5th. The all-day event is one of nearly 150 that will take place worldwide. This initiative aims to generate coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia and encourage female editorship. In 2015, over 1500 participants at more than 75 events around the world created nearly 400 new pages and edited 500 existing articles. The event is open to the public and everyone is welcome to participate.

The day will include a panel discussion, tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian, ongoing editing support, reference materials, childcare, and refreshments. The organizers advise participants to bring a laptop, power cord, and ideas for entries. (They also encourage the “editing-averse” to stop by to show their support!)

What: 2016 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
When: Saturday, March 5th – Panel at 10am, Editing from 11am-5pm
Where: Education and Research Building at The Museum of Modern Art, 4 West 54 Street

Capacity is limited so participants will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis. RSVP to attend and to register for childcare on their Event Brite page. Questions? Email

New Books: Film & Cinema

Hanan al-cinema coverHanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image explores 25 years of film and video works from the Arabic-speaking world. Highlighting filmmaking trends in dialogue with global cinema movements, as well as strategies singular to the circumstances of Arab countries, author Laura U. Marks examines this relatively recent history by breaking it down by themes and artists. Chapters focus on topics like nomadism, politics, and archives; and feature artists like Hala Elkoussey, Hassan Kahn, and Mounir Fatmi. Anthony Downey, the Editor-in-Chief of Ibraaz (a publication focused on visual culture in North Africa and the Middle East) describes the book as a “readily accessible, acutely observed, and carefully historicized account of a complex field of study that already feels seminal in its impact and insights.”

Covered in time and historyCovered in Time and History surveys the filmic works of Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta. In her short life, Mendieta worked across a spectrum of mediums (drawing, sculpture, photography, performance) and this new catalogue concentrates on her film practice between 1971 and 1981. The book includes color stills from twenty-one newly preserved Super 8 films, accompanied by related photographs, drawings, and stills from the of artist’s 104 filmworks. It also includes Mendieta’s first published comprehensive filmography, and original essays by John Perreault, Michael Rush, Rachel Weiss, Lynn Lukkas, Raquel Cecilia Mendieta, and Laura Wertheim Joseph.

The SVA library also has two DVDs of Ana Mendieta’s work: both Ana Mendieta: Fuego De Tierra and Selected Works are on reserve at the circulation desk for viewing in the library. You can find many other books on the artist, like Earth Body: Sculpture and Performance, 1972-1985, in our catalog.

Un Sedicesimo on Display

A new display of magazine covers from Un Sedicesimo is up in the library by the single service restrooms.


Un Sedicesimo is a typographical measure: a 16 page binding, but it is also a bimonthly magazine about design.  Rather, it doesn’t talk about design, it makes design. Each 16 page issue has a different author/desinger that presents a finished project, without analysis or debate. Un Sedicesimo will be a different magazine each time, from the headline to the colophon. It will become a sort of gallery on paper, which proposes a new personal exhibition every two months, six times a year.

Find Un Sedicesimo in our periodical stacks, under S.

New Book: The Chinese Photobook

chinese photobookThe SVA library recently added The Chinese Photobook: From the 1900s to the Present to our collection. Edited by Martin Parr and WassinkLundgren, the book was published by Aperture and accompanied by an exhibition of the same name.

Accomplished photographer and avid photobook collector Martin Parr first encountered the vast terrain of Chinese photobooks while researching The Photobook: A History, a cornerstone survey of the medium. At a secondhand book market in Shanghai, he came across a number of impressive and unfamiliar photobooks that revealed the deficit of Western accessibility to this rich history of art and culture. Language barriers prevented Parr from deeper inquiry at the time.

Some years later he returned to that same market, only this time with Ruben Lundgren, one half of the Beijing- and London-based Dutch photographer team WassinkLundgren. Lundgren was studying photography at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and shared Parr’s interest in Chinese photobooks. Equipped with Lundgren’s increasing knowledge of Mandarin, the two began amassing the collection of books that served as the foundation of this new publication. From the publisher’s description,

“In the last decade there has been a major reappraisal of the role and status of the photobook within the history of photography. Revisionist histories have added enormously to our understanding of the medium’s culture, particularly in places that are often marginalized, such as Latin America and Africa. However, until now, only three Chinese photobooks have made it onto historians’ short lists…[this] selection of books includes key volumes published as early as 1900, as well as contemporary volumes by emerging Chinese photographers. Each featured photobook offers a new perspective on the complicated history of China from the twentieth century onward.”

The Chinese Photobook features over 1,000 color images and includes accompanying texts and individual title descriptions by Gu Zheng, Raymond Lum, Ruben Lundgren, Stephanie H. Tung and Gerry Badger.

latin american photobooksMentioned earlier in this post, the SVA library also has the first volume of The Photobook: A History, as well as another Aperture photobook survey The Latin American Photobook, edited by Horacio Fernandez. The Latin American Photobook features 150 books from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela.

Aside from being a photobook collector and advocate, Martin Parr has published over thirty books of his own photography. We have quite a few at the library, including a reproduction of his first book Bad Weather, as well as the frequently referenced Common Sense and The Non-Conformists.

martin parr bad weather 1

New Books: Agnes Martin

The SVA library recently added two new books on the American abstract painter Agnes Martin (1912-2004). Written by SVA faculty member Nancy Princenthal, Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art, is the first full-length biography devoted to exploring Martin’s extraordinary life of creative determination, psychological perseverance, and elected solitude. Known primarily for her paintings, Martin was also a writer, poet, and one-time filmmaker. (Her only film, Gabriel, explores the natural landscape by following a young boy going for a walk.) The biography contains 38 illustrations, including film stills, portraits, and a selection of paintings that span her entire career. It was recently shortlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for excellence in the art of biography. From the publisher’s description,

agnes martinOver the course of a career that spanned fifty years, Agnes Martin’s austere, serene work anticipated and helped to define Minimalism, even as she battled psychological crises and carved out a solitary existence in the American Southwest. Martin identified with the Abstract Expressionists but her commitment to linear geometry caused her to be associated in turn with Minimalist, feminist, and even outsider artists. She moved through some of the liveliest art communities of her time while maintaining a legendary reserve. “I paint with my back to the world,” she says both at the beginning and at the conclusion of a documentary filmed when she was in her late eighties. When she died at ninety-two, in Taos, New Mexico, it is said she had not read a newspaper in half a century.

The SVA library also has the aforementioned documentary, Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World, made in 2002 by Mary Lance.

The second of the two new books, Agnes Martin, was recently published by D.A.P./Tate and touted as the first comprehensive monograph on the artist’s career. Created as an accompaniment to the critically-acclaimed touring retrospective, the New York Times Book Review called the new release, “indispensable.” From the publisher’s description,

agnes-martin-2This groundbreaking survey provides an overview of Martin’s career, from lesser-known early experimental works through her striped and gridded grey paintings and use of color in various formats, to a group of her final pieces that reintroduce bold forms. A selection of drawings and watercolors is also included. With essays by leading scholars that give a context for Martin’s work—her life, relationship with other artists, the influence of South-Asian philosophy—alongside focused shorter pieces on particular paintings, this beautifully designed volume is the definitive publication on her oeuvre.

The library has many other books on Agnes Martin in the collection, including Agnes Martin: The Nineties and Beyond and Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances to name just a few. And if reading about her work isn’t enough, you can make a pilgrimage upstate to Dia:Beacon and visit the significant collection of Martin’s paintings that are on display there.