Art books worth checking out |

Art books worth checking out

Two catalogs of exhibitions have recently been released and are definitely worth checking out.

First up is “Llyn Foulkes” (Hammer Museum/Delmonico Prestel) by Ali Sobotnick, the catalog of an exhibition organized by the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and currently on view at the New Museum in New York.

Such a retrospective of his work is long overdue. Foulkes, who’s now 79 and whose career covers more than five decades, has long worked on the fringes of the art worlds, both the academic and commercial ones.

The monograph contains reproductions of more than 150 works from early cartoon works through his emotionally charged works of the 1970s ‘80s and ‘90s.

Particularly compelling are his large-scale tableaux that combine his masterly painting techniques with thick, highly worked mounds of modeling paste tom create illusions of depth.

Foulkes has also created musical works, especially those involving what he calls the Machine, a homemade musical combine of horns, cowbells, organ pipes and various percussion instruments, giving a whole new concept to the idea of a one-man band.

The book is a vital survey of the life and career this important and over-looked American original.

Another title worth checking out is “Drawing Surrealism” (L.A. County Museum of Art/Delmonico Books) by Leslie Jones. This exhibition was organized by the LA County Museum and subsequently traveled to the Morgan Library in New York.

The catalog documents the fundamental role drawing played in Surrealism, one of the most important art movements of the twentieth century.

Whether traditional drawing, or the more expansive and inclusive variations on it—such as frottage (making rubbings from a variety of surfaces) or exquisite corpses (the making or a drawing or collage via collective means, each artist not knowing exactly what the previous one(s) have contributed)—a wide range of works is included.

The volume contains reproductions of works by more than 100 artists from well-known artists in the Surrealist movement to little known artists from Japan, Eastern Europe and the Americas.

It also documents how what was previously considered a minor and/or preparatory medium, became a driving force in the Surrealist canon of experimentation and improvisation—drawing, writing, scribbling, thinking about things differently—transforming perceptions of the medium for generations to come.

Kirk Robertson covers the Churchill Arts Council scene.