Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 Holiday Gift Guide for the Art Lover on Your List

I am the proverbial kid at Christmas every time a shipment of art books arrives here at Offramp. Writing about art books and stocking them for the bookstore makes it seem like the holidays year round. I've compiled this list of our best-selling titles hoping some of my enthusiasm rubs off to help you with your holiday shopping. Some are old, some are new, but all are guaranteed to satisfy the art lover on your list.

Not in the holiday spirit yet? Check out this stunning time-lapse video of one of the world's oldest Christmas markets.


Natural Fashion by Hans Silvester

The images are a magical portal to childhood fantasy and play, to a lost world of unfettered, unfiltered imagination and creativity. I found it hard to believe that there weren't stylists and make-up artists off camera staging this fantasy fashion show -- beautiful brown faces and bodies vibrantly painted with abstract motifs in ochre, red, yellow, green and white, and adorned with colorful headdresses of flowers, leaves, pods, mud, fruit and feathers. Click here for more.

Paris: Portrait of a City 

Taschen has had its way with me again. This time it's
Paris: Portrait of a City, a voluptuous oversized volume of photographs of the city of my dreams, a visual feast covering 150 years of Parisian history and culture that put me in a prolonged trance-like state. Glancing at my notebook afterwards, I saw that I had jotted down notes about so many events, artists, writers, photographers, entertainers and architecture that I had almost re-created the index -- that's how rich this book is. Click here for more. 

Joseph Cornell's Manual of Marvels

While rummaging through a second-hand bookstore in Manhattan in the early 1930's, Joseph Cornell came across a French agricultural manual full of black and white engravings and advice for farmers. He bought the volume and over time altered it -- adding collages, origami pockets and drawings, crossing out text to make puns, cutting through pages to reveal hidden images, inserting photos from magazines, hand-coloring images and even making a flip-book of page corners. Click here for more. 

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson

A fascinating look into the machinations of the high-end of the contemporary art world, this book is a real eye-opener. What exactly possesses someone to pay $12 million for a stuffed shark? It's all here, from the personality and ego-fed branding of gallerists, artists and auction houses, to the collectors who blindly follow them, competing for the right to pay millions for work they neither like nor understand. I highly recommend this book as a must-read for artists and art-lovers alike. Click here for more.

The Innocence of Obects by Orhan Pamuk

Nobel prize winning author Orhan Pamuk's 2009 novel about lost love and the obsessive collecting of objects, The Museum of Innocence,
was conceived simultaneously with the idea of creating a bricks-and-mortar museum to house the objects collected while writing and researching the novel. The museum, which opened to the public in Istanbul earlier this year is housed in a modest 19th century house. The Innocence of Objects beautifully catalogs the museum's collection and in Pamuk's own words, tells the story of how the museum came to be. Click here for more. 

Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

As soon as I saw Taschen’s luscious volume
Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo in a museum gift shop, I knew I had to have it. I don't have a big budget for luxury items these days, so I was delighted to find how affordable it was. Released in 2010 as one of Taschen’s 30th birthday “Golden Books,” reprints of luxury books at affordable prices, this volume packs a lot of bang for the buck. Encased in a box depicting a detail of Hiroshige's iconic grey tree limbs and white plum blossoms against an organish-pink sky and fastened with faux ivory toggles, this book is a must-have for art lovers. Click here for more.

Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch

Have you ever wondered where the dark genius of filmmaker David Lynch comes from? Lynch's 2006 book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity gives rare insight into his creative process and how 35 years of Transcendental Meditation have helped him along the way. The book is comprised of 85 short chapters, some as short as a sentence, describing how Lynch captures ideas and turns them into reality through filmmaking, from Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks to Inland Empire. Catching the Big Fish is a charming, easy read and gives us a refresher course in where our own creativity comes from and how to stay connected to it. Click here for more.

Upcoming at Offramp Gallery

Closing Reception & Artist's Talk with Elaine Carhartt & James Griffith
Sunday, December 23, 2-5pm

Offramp Gallery will be closed January & February 2013