Nude men : from 1800 to the present day: edited by Tobias G. Natter and Elisabeth Leopold

Hirmer, 2012

Hirmer, 2012

This is the catalogue to a groundbreaking exhibition held at the Leopold Museum in Vienna in 2012/13 which shifted the artworld’s traditional focus on the female nude across to the male nude; out from the shadows. The appreciation, and indeed exploitation, of the nude male figure over recent years could I suppose be put down to the rise of feminist, queer and post-modern studies, all of which should take a bow, but maybe equally significant has been the discovery of its commercial potential to sell just about anything to a visually ravenous and sexually liberated public. The male nude has always had a presence in art, and the fascinating images and essays here seek to explain its ever changing profile and standing, both within the artworld as well as the wider community which, ultimately, always leads the charge.

John Wayne : the legend and the man : an exclusive look inside Duke’s archive: Foreword by Martin Scorsese

PowerHouse Books, 2012

PowerHouse Books, 2012

Not known for his nude scenes, John Wayne (aka. Duke) has held his ground as one of America’s most beloved, and villified, national icons. An undoubtedly fine actor (Martin Scorsese refers to him as “a genuinely great actor”), Wayne’s professional persona as the cowboy/soldier archetype, and his often flatfooted meddling in the political sphere, continues to divide the world almost equally between those who love him and those who can’t bear the sight of him. This loving pictorial tribute drawn from the Wayne family archive clearly comes from the former, and includes hundreds of images from both his public and private life. If you want an at times blistering account of Wayne’s life and politics, written by someone who appears to love and hate him at the same time, then John Wayne’s America : the politics of celebrity by Garry Wills is the book for you.

Simon & Schuster, 1997

Simon & Schuster, 1997

 

Sydney moderns : art for a new world: edited by Deborah Edwards and Denise Mimmocchi

Art Gallery of NSW, 2013

Art Gallery of NSW, 2013

I always find art from the inter-war years of the 20th century peculiarly interesting, battered by the Great War, still wrestling itself free from the 19th century, and yet full of exuberance and optimism for the new machine-age then taking hold. This remarkable survey from the Art Gallery of New South Wales brings this exuberant era roaring back to life, showcasing great artists working in a great city creating great art. What more do you need?

John Singer Sargent Watercolors:  Erica E. Hirshler and Teresa A. Carbone

Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2013

Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2013

 

I couldn’t resist sneaking this one in. Many of us are perhaps more familiar with Sargent’s glorious portraits and oil paintings, but he clearly also loved painting with watercolours, and as this lovely book demonstrates he achieved a vibrancy and almost snapshot sense of the moment that is quite breathtaking.

 

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