Three very different titles this time, but there’s a thread running between them. First up is A Bigger Message, Martin Gayford’s conversations with David Hockney. It’s comfortably the most insightful and inspiring book I’ve read all year. My copy is littered with sticky tabs marking memorable moments or reminders for future research. Hockney looks, sees—sees—then considers. It’s a patient and rewarding exercise, one that is oft overlooked. Seeing, like breathing, might be second nature to us, yet time and again we all need reminding to do it. Seeing is as crucial to Hockney’s survival as breathing. There’s a lot more to be seen that what you’re merely looking at.
MIT Press and the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe’s snappily titled, reflective doorstop A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine, and the Computer’s Arrival in Art: New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961–1973 is, well, exactly that. Spanning nearly 600 pages with 650 plates, this is the comprehensive documentation of Yugoslavia’s New Tendencies movement during the 1960s, the discovery and practice of “art as visual research,” and the movement’s critical vehicle, bit international magazine. A must for digital historians and Op Art fetishists, it may not make for bedtime reading but as a source of inspiration and learning there is something new to discover in every opening. It really has to be seen to be believed.
Lastly, this installment’s description-not-needed dessert course, if you will, is (the always exceptional) édition PAUMES’s Pâtisseries à Paris. In a (butter glazed) nutshell, paired with PAUME’s wonderful Paris Bouquins, I have the only two guide books I’ll ever need for the City of Light.