Creative Time: The Book, by Anne Pasternak, introduction by Lucy Lippard, edited by Ruth Peltason. Princeton Architectural Press. Over the past three decades, Creative Time has sponsored more than 300 public art projects in New York City. I know that I have encountered a few over the years. The 42nd Street Project (1993) that put art onto all the shuttered storefronts between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. I attended at least one Art at the Anchorage production held in the cavernous spaces beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Then there was the Fischli Weiss Cat Drinking Milk that played high above Times Square on the Panasonic LED screen. And probably more. This book contains a detailed chronology, interviews with present and past directors, and essays by artists, critics, and curators. Anyone who has ever tread the tricky paths of public art on their home turf will especially enjoy a conversation between Anne Pasternak of Creative Time, Tom Eccles, past director of the Public Art Fund of New York, and Tom Finkelpearl, director from 1990 – 1996 of New York City's Percent for Art Program. The freewheeling Eccles, who is now at Bard College, rakes Finkelpearl over the coals for the bureaucratic, PC nature of the publicly funded Percent for Art Program, but Finkelpearl comes off as an admirable, beleaguered public official who was making the most of what he had been handed. There are lots of pictures.
The Geometry of Hope: Latin American Abstract Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection. Edited by Gabriel Perez-Barreiro. Blanton Museum of Art. Distributed by DAP. (No link available.) This is the catalog to the exhibition that has recently closed at the Blanton Museum in Austin. (It opens in September at the Grey Art Gallery in New York City.) It's an excellent catalog to an great exhibition. The show was organized around movements that originated in six centers for Latin American art. One of them, by the way, is Paris. The catalog gives historical overviews of each city and the movements that began there, and then, rather than picturing every work in the exhibition, offers detailed essays of 47 pieces. The historical portions are lively. You get good social commentary and reports of fervent artists writing their manifestos, falling out with one another, and in the process producing some of the most innovative abstract art of the 20th century. And the catalog entries themselves are refreshingly jargon-free.
Monochromes: From Malevich to the Present. Barbara Rose. University of California Press. I am a sucker for monochromatic painting and I have been waiting for a book like this to come around. It is the catalog to a 2004 exhibition at the Reina Sofia in Madrid. Rose contributes an extensive historical and analytical essay, but the best part of the book is the anthology of writings from 26 artists. There are lots of illustrations but monochrome paintings are particularly resistant to reproduction.