Best Selling Books in Arts & Literature - Artists, Architects & Photographers

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release date: Oct 17, 2017
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Leonardo da Vinci
The #1 New York Times bestseller

“A powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life...a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it.” —The New Yorker

“Vigorous, insightful.” —The Washington Post

“A masterpiece.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Luminous.” —The Daily Beast

He was history’s most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us?

The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography.

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, made him history’s most creative genius.

His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from having wide-ranging passions. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo’s lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions.

Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance of instilling, both in ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.
release date: Jan 24, 2017
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Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
New York Times and International Bestseller 

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Audible and Amazon

More than 1 million copies sold 
In the spirit of Steve Jobs and Moneyball, Elon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley's most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs--a real-life Tony Stark--and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new "makers."
Elon Musk spotlights the technology and vision of Elon Musk, the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, who sold one of his Internet companies, PayPal, for $1.5 billion. Ashlee Vance captures the full spectacle and arc of the genius's life and work, from his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and flight to the United States to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits.
Vance uses Musk's story to explore one of the pressing questions of our age: can the nation of inventors and creators who led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk--one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history--is a contemporary, visionary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.
Thorough and insightful, Elon Musk
brings to life a technology industry that is rapidly and dramatically changing by examining the life of one of its most powerful and influential titans.
release date: Oct 17, 2017
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Monograph by Chris Ware
A flabbergasting experiment in publishing hubris, Monograph charts the art and literary world's increasing tolerance for the language of the empathetic doodle directly through the work of one of its most esthetically constipated practitioners.
 
For thirty years, writer and artist (i.e. cartoonist) Chris Ware (b. 1967) has been testing the patience of readers and fine art fans with his complicated and difficult-to-comprehend picture stories in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times and other charitable periodicals—to say nothing of challenging the walls of the MCA Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art with his unevocative delineations and diagrams.
 
Arranged chronologically with all thoughtful critical and contemporary discussion common to the art book genre jettisoned in favor of Mr. Ware's unchecked anecdotes and unscrupulous personal asides, the author-as-subject has nonetheless tried as clearly and convivially as possible to provide a contrite, companionable guide to an otherwise unnavigable jumble of product spanning his days as a pale magnet for athletic upperclassmen's' ire up to his contemporary life as a stay-at-home dad and agoraphobic graphic novelist.
 
Shrewdly selected personal photos distract from justifiably little-seen early experiments littered among never-before-seen paintings and sculptures, all padded out with high-quality scans of original artwork publicizing jottings, mistakes, blunders and, especially, Mr. Ware's University juvenilia via which the reader can track a general cultural increase in tolerance for quality's decline since his work first came on "the scene." Expensive, heavy, and fashioned from the finest uncoated paper and soy-based ink, this thigh-crushing book is certain to cut off the circulation of all but the most active of comics boosters.
 
“There’s no writer alive whose work I love more than Chris Ware. The only problem is it takes him ten years to draw these things and then I read them in a day and have to wait another ten years for the next one.”—Zadie Smith
release date: Oct 24, 2017
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Sneakers
"Sneakers overdelivers."GQ

"One of this year's coolest books."Men's Journal

"The definitive story of the sneaker universe."WSJ Magazine

Featuring exclusive interviews with Virgil Abloh (Off-White), Daniel Bailey, Ronnie Fieg (Kith), DJ Clark Kent, Serena Williams, Alexander Wang, Kobe Bryant and many, many others. 

Through honesty, intimacy, intelligence, and swagger, Sneakers amounts to a singular rubber-soled taxonomy, a global group portrait of a culture that’s both personal and public, driven by commitment and curiosity, and sustained by our definitive cast of storytellers, historians, and artists. 

An absolute necessity for design devotees and sneakerheads of all ages! Sneakers is a definitive exploration of the cultural phenomenon of sneakers, now an 85-billion-dollar-a-year industry. This gift-worthy book features 320 pages of photos and interviews with industry gurus, sports legends, and celebrities in a stunning package created by celebrated designer Rodrigo Corral.
 
The book’s carefully-curated list of participants takes readers to the center of the action. Edson Sabajo, owner of Amsterdam’s seminal sneaker boutique, Patta, leads a sneaker hunt that starts in the back-alleys of Philadelphia and ends in the Middle East. Jeff Staple, designer of a pair of sneakers that resells for $6000, recalls the sneaker riot his design kicked off on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 2005. Jim Riswold dishes on making commercials with Michael Jordan. Ronnie Fieg explains the collaborative magic of KITH. Adidas’s Rachel Muscat and Jon Wexler get philosophical about their star collaborator, Kanye West. Nike’s legendary Tinker Hatfield takes a glimpse into the future.  Professional tennis player Serena Williams shares an exclusive reveal. And much, much more. From its arresting cover design and thought-provoking interiors to the unprecedented depth of its first-person accounts, Sneakers is an absolute must-have for sneaker lovers and anyone who is interested in design, creative process, street culture, branding, entrepreneurship, art and fashion.
release date: Oct 18, 2016
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Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life
Reader's Choice Award – Elle Magazine, France

Wall Street Journal's Top 10 Most Anticipated Non-Fiction: Fall Books 2016

Subject of The New York Times documentary "The Forger," winner of a World Press Photo Award and an Emmy Award.

"[An] engrossing literary debut. ... Writing in Adolfo's voice gives this suspenseful narrative candor and immediacy." – Kirkus Reviews

"Every resistance movement had its forgers,​ but few have told their tales. Many, like​ ​Kaminsky, were very young technicians and​ ​chemists when they began their work. Sarah​ ​Kaminsky’s affectionate rendering of her​​ ​father’s life, with all the intricacies of his trade,​ ​is a book not just about a remarkable craftsman,​ ​but a man who strove to save “every life​ ​that​ ​was​ ​in danger​.​” – Times Literary Supplement

Best-selling author Sarah Kaminsky takes readers through her father Adolfo Kaminsky's perilous and clandestine career as a real-life forger for the French Resistance, the FLN, and numerous other freedom movements of the twentieth century. Recruited as a young Jewish teenager for his knowledge of dyes, Kaminsky became the primary forger for the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation of Paris. Then, as a professional photographer, Kaminsky spent the next twenty-five years clandestinely producing thousands of counterfeit documents for immigrants, exiles, underground political operatives, and pacifists across the globe. Kaminsky kept his past cloaked in secrecy well into his eighties, until his daughter convinced him to share the details of the life-threatening work he did on behalf of people fighting for justice and peace throughout the world.
release date: Oct 10, 2017
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Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife
Who was Vivian Maier? Many people know her as the reclusive Chicago nanny who wandered the city for decades, constantly snapping photographs, which were unseen until they were discovered in a seemingly abandoned storage locker. They revealed her to be an inadvertent master of twentieth-century American street photography. Not long after, the news broke that Maier had recently died and had no surviving relatives. Soon the whole world knew about her preternatural work, shooting her to stardom almost overnight.
 
But, as Pamela Bannos reveals in this meticulous and passionate biography, this story of the nanny savant has blinded us to Maier’s true achievements, as well as her intentions. Most important, Bannos argues, Maier was not a nanny who moonlighted as a photographer; she was a photographer who supported herself as a nanny. In Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife, Bannos contrasts Maier’s life with the mythology that strangers—mostly the men who have profited from her work—have created around her absence. Bannos shows that Maier was extremely conscientious about how her work was developed, printed, and cropped, even though she also made a clear choice never to display it. She places Maier’s fierce passion for privacy alongside the recent spread of her work around the world, and she explains Maier’s careful adjustments of photographic technique, while explaining how the photographs have been misconstrued or misidentified. As well, Bannos uncovers new information about Maier’s immediate family, including her difficult brother, Karl—relatives that once had been thought not to exist.
 
This authoritative and engrossing biography shows that the real story of Vivian Maier, a true visionary artist, is even more compelling than the myth.
 
release date: Oct 24, 2017
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Calder: The Conquest of Time: The Early Years: 1898-1940
The first biography of America's greatest twentieth-century sculptor, Alexander Calder: an authoritative and revelatory achievement, based on a wealth of letters and papers never before available, and written by one of our most renowned art critics.

Alexander Calder is one of the most beloved and widely admired artists of the twentieth century. Anybody who has ever set foot in a museum knows him as the inventor of the mobile, America's unique contribution to modern art. But only now, forty years after the artist's death, is the full story of his life being told in this biography, which is based on unprecedented access to Calder's letters and papers as well as scores of interviews. Jed Perl shows us why Calder was--and remains--a barrier breaker, an avant-garde artist with mass appeal.
     This beautifully written, deeply researched book opens with Calder's wonderfully peripatetic upbringing in Philadelphia, California, and New York. Born in 1898 into a family of artists--his father was a well-known sculptor, his mother a painter and a pioneering feminist--Calder went on as an adult to forge important friendships with a who's who of twentieth-century artists, including Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Braque, and Piet Mondrian. We move through Calder's early years studying engineering to his first artistic triumphs in Paris in the late 1920s, and to his emergence as a leader in the international abstract avant-garde. His marriage in 1931 to the free-spirited Louisa James--she was a great-niece of Henry James--is a richly romantic story, related here with a wealth of detail and nuance.
     Calder's life takes on a transatlantic richness, from New York's Greenwich Village in the Roaring Twenties, to the Left Bank of Paris during the Depression, and then back to the United States, where the Calders bought a run-down old farmhouse in western Connecticut. New light is shed on Calder's lifelong interest in dance, theater, and performance, ranging from the Cirque Calder, the theatrical event that became his calling card in bohemian Paris to collaborations with the choreographer Martha Graham and the composer Virgil Thomson. More than 350 illustrations in color and black-and-white--including little-known works and many archival photographs that have never before been seen--further enrich the story.
release date: Nov 02, 2010
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Just Kids

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies.  An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.

release date: Aug 09, 2005
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The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait
Published here in its entirety, Frida Kahlo's amazing illustrated journal documents the last ten years of her turbulent life. This passionate, often surprising, intimate record, kept under lock and key for some forty years in Mexico, reveals many new dimensions in the complex persona of this remarkable Mexican artist.
Covering the years 1944-45, the 170-page journal contains Frida's thoughts, poems, and dreams, and reflects her stormy relationship with her husband, Diego Rivera, Mexico's famous artist. The seventy watercolor illustrations in the journal - some lively sketches, several elegant self-portraits, others complete paintings - offer insights into her creative process, and show her frequently using the journal to work out pictorial ideas for her canvases.
The text entries, written in Frida's round, full script in brightly colored inks, add an almost decorative quality, making the journal as captivating to look at as it is to read. Frida's childhood, her political sensibilities, and her obsession with Diego are all illuminated in witty phrases and haunting images.
Although much has been written recently about this extraordinary woman, Frida Kahlo's art and life continue to fascinate the world. This personal document, published in a complete full-color facsimile edition, will add greatly to the understanding of her unique and powerful vision and her enormous courage in the face of more than thirty-five operations to correct injuries she had sustained in an accident at the age of eighteen. The facsimile is accompanied by an introduction by the world-renowned Mexican man of letters Carlos Fuentes and a complete translation of the diary's text. An essay on the place of the diary in Frida's work and in art history at large, as well as commentaries on the images, is provided by Sarah M. Lowe.
release date: Nov 07, 2017
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American Witness: The Art and Life of Robert Frank
From the author of the acclaimed James Brown biography The One comes the first in-depth biography of renowned photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank, best known for his landmark book The Americans.

As well-known as Robert Frank the photographer is, few can say they really know Robert Frank the man. Born and raised in wartime Switzerland, Frank discovered the power and allure of photography at an early age and quickly learned that the art meant significantly more to him than the money, success, or fame. The art was all, and he intended to spend a lifetime pursuing it.

American Witness is the first comprehensive look at the life of a man who's as mysterious and evasive as he is prolific and gifted. Leaving his rigid Switzerland for the more fluid United States in 1947, Frank found himself at the red-hot social center of bohemian New York in the '50s and '60s, becoming friends with everyone from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Peter Orlovsky to photographer Walker Evans, actor Zero Mostel, painter Willem de Kooning, filmmaker Jonas Mekas, Bob Dylan, writer Rudy Wirlitzer, jazz musicians Ornette Coleman and Charles Mingus, and more. Frank roamed the country with his young family, taking roughly 27,000 photographs and collecting 83 of them into what is still his most famous work: The Americans. His was an America nobody had seen before, and if it was harshly criticized upon publication for its portrait of a divided country, the collection gradually grew to be recognized as a transformative American vision.

And then he turned his back on certain success, giving up photography to reinvent himself as a film and video maker. Frank helped found the American independent cinema of the 1960s and made a legendary film with the Rolling Stones. Today, the nonagenarian is an embodiment of restless creativity and a symbol of what it costs to remain original in America, his life defined by never repeating himself, never being satisfied. American Witness is a portrait of a singular artist and the country that he saw.
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