This has been a good week: I’ve gotten three lovely art books in the mail! Luckily I have lots of interesting friends who publish lots of interesting books, who provide me with lots of interesting things to write about.
The first is The Body Beyond, a book of photography by the artist Matthew Stone. The book is like a fairy tale; every time I flip through it I feel like I’m about to cry, wishing the real world was this beautiful. Here’s something that Matthew said in regard to the book that I really like: “Optimism is the vital force that entangles itself with and then shapes the future. I think all art is optimistic… for me optimism is creativity, it’s the force that enables or motivates people to do something rather than nothing.”
The book is a collaboration with Japanese fashion designer Yuima Nakazato. That might seem like a contradiction, since the photographs are all of naked people, but the theme for Nakazato’s Spring/Summer collection is “utopian nudist colony.” Get it? If you want to buy the book, you can do so on Matthew’s website.
The next is Girlcore Magazine, a photography book published by the London based, all-girl collective Girlcore. I’ve written a post about Girlcore before–together they run an online gallery promoting new artists, photographers and illustrators, all of whom are GIRLS. This book is a collection of images from some of the finest artists featured in the Girlcore gallery.
The book was published by Pogo Books and you can buy it from the Girlcore Magazine site. There will be an exhibition at Orange Dot gallery in London to accompany the launch of the book, running from Feb 2nd-27th. The private view is this Thursday. You should go if you’re around!
The third and final book is Jeans, an unbelievably sexy collection of images by the late Swiss photographer, Karlheinz Weinberger. The books was a gift from my lovely friend Piper Marshall at the Swiss Institute in NYC, who published Jeans.
Some background: In the 50s, Karlheinz Weinberger began documenting a generation of Swiss rebels obsessed with American culture. Raw, intimate and sexy, his photographs capture the eternal spirit of youth in revolt. Jeans showcases some of Weinberger’s earliest photography: homoerotic images of men in blue jeans. Denim clad boys are shot candidly in the streets, as well as posed in the Siemens-Albis factory, the industrial warehouse in Zurich where Weinberger worked for over 30 years.
The book is a facsimile of a self-designed portfolio created by Weinberger (1921-2006) in the mid-1950s. Though undeniably stylish, the images in Jeans are far more than a documentation of street style. Jeans were a badge of status and rebellion in post-war Switzerland; their scarcity, as well as the clothing’s close association with American pop culture, identified a working class of Swiss boys and girls dissatisfied with the conservative climate of the day.
These early experiments with documentary photography would inform his later images of ‘the Halbstarke’, a gang of Zurich teens who appropriated the look of the American rebel by making DIY, over-the-top customizations to their jeans and denim jackets, for example wearing huge belt buckles adorned with photos of Elvis and James Dean, and strapping their jeans together with nuts and bolts. Hot, right?