Berlin is a particularly strong magnet for international street artists and its landscape is filled with artwork and signatures that are inventing new visual codes. But the impressions that these artists leave are inevitably fleeting, as their art falls victim to the city's unrelenting development. Luckily, the book Urban Art Photography serves as a permanent documentation and time capsule of both the creation and evolution of these constantly changing images.
The Stampographer traverses the fantastic, anarchic imagination of Parisian artist Vincent Sardon (born 1970), whose dark, combative sense of humor is infused with Dadaist subversion and Pataphysical play.
Using rubber stamps he designs and manufactures himself, Sardon commandeers a medium often associated with petty and idiotic displays of bureaucratic power, then uses those stamps not to assert authority, but to refuse it. He scours the Parisian landscape as well as the world at large, skewering the power-hungry and the pretentious, reveling in the vulgar and profane.
In The Stampographer, there are insults in multiple languages, sadomasochistic Christmas ornaments, and a miniature Kamasutra with an auto-erotic Jesus. Sardon also wields the stamp as satirical device, deconstructing Warhol portraits into primary colors, turning ink blots into Pollock paint drips, and clarifying just what Yves Klein did with women's bodies. Yet Sardon's razor-sharp wit is tinged with the irony of his exquisite sense of beauty. The stamps are rarely static--they have an animating magic, whether boxers are punching faces out of place or dragonflies seemingly hover over the page.
Sardon's work is provocative in its subject matter as well as in its process and dissemination: he not only stands defiantly outside the art world's modes of commerce but his artworks (the rubber stamps themselves) are actually the means with which anyone can make a work of their own. The Stampographer introduces English-speaking readers to one of the most unusual and original voices in contemporary French culture.
Pop culture and visionary fantasy mix freely in the paintings of this self-taught innovator
Although he has long enjoyed a prominent place in the canon of self-taught artists, the Ohio painter William Lawrence Hawkins (1895-1990) has received less than his fair share of attention in recent times. This monograph--the first in 20 years--introduces Hawkins's exuberant paintings to a wider audience at a time when more and more general museums are recognizing the powerful appeal of America's self-taught artists. Focusing on the artist's most aesthetically successful, confident and characteristic works, it brings special attention to his use of space, his collage practice and his work in series, of which his nine Last Suppers are perhaps the most extensive example.
Drawn from important public and private collections across the United States, William L. Hawkins: An Imaginative Geography includes approximately 50 of Hawkins's most important paintings, both well-known pieces and others rarely seen. All of Hawkins's favorite subjects are covered here, including cityscapes, landscapes, exotic places, animals, current events, historic scenes and religious scenes. Also reproduced are a rarely seen assemblage and a selection from his large oeuvre of drawings.--Alex Mobilio "Hyperallergic"