Summer always feels like it's over in a heartbeat, but don't fret, it's not too late... there's still the month of August to finish the books on your summer reading list. Here, we've put together a list of biographies released just this year (2019) that are sure to provide some cultured edutainment while you're laying out pool-side and knocking back the margaritas.
Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art
by Nancy Princenthal (Thames & Hudson)
Over the course of a career that spanned fifty years, Agnes Martin’s austere, serene work anticipated and helped to define Minimalism, even as she battled psychological crises and carved out a solitary existence in the American Southwest. ‘I paint with my back to the world’, she claimed; when she died at ninety-two, in Taos, New Mexico, it is said she had not read a newspaper in half a century.
Here, newly available in paperback, is an account of Martin’s extraordinary life and a critical discussion of her work. Nancy Princenthal tells her story chronologically—from Martin’s birth in Saskatchewan and her early days as an artist, living in derelict Manhattan shipping lofts with Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Ad Reinhardt and other artists as neighbours; to the seven years she stopped painting, just as her career was taking off, and the months she spent roaming the country in a pick-up truck; and her last thirty years, in Taos some of that time, in an adobe house she built with her own hands. Martin did not achieve recognition until she was in her late forties. Her work—pencilled grids on square canvases, washed with pale or neutral colours—at last receives the critical appraisal it deserves. (Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.)
Frida Kahlo: A Biography
by Maria Hess (Lumen)
Jonathan Meese 1970–2023
by Robert Eikmeyer & Doris Mampe (Walther Konig Verlag)
Tracing the transformation of German artist Jonathan Meese (born 1970) into a kind of stage character, this biography draws on archival materials and extensive interviews to create an account of an artist who has incorporated almost all of his childhood artworks into his paintings. (Courtesy of D.A.P. Art Books.)
Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury
by Carolyn Burke (Knopf)