Hot Off The Press: July 2021 Publications

Criss-crossing media and disciplines, the two new titles listed below display the breadth of decorative arts publications. A reprint of a 1978 classic rounds out this month’s collection. Images and descriptions are taken from the publisher or distributor websites, linked with each title.

A white book cover with an image of a disco ball below the title.

Materials, Practices, and Politics of Shine in Modern Art and Popular Culture

Shine allures and awakens desire. As a phenomenon of perception shiny things and materials fascinate and tantalize. They are a formative element of material culture, promising luxury, social distinction and the hope of limitless experience and excess. Since the early twentieth century the mass production, dissemination and popularization of synthetic materials that produce heretofore-unknown effects of shine have increased. At the same time, shine is subjectified as “glamor” and made into a token of performative self-empowerment.

The volume illuminates genealogical as well as systematic relationships between material phenomena of shine and cultural-philosophical concepts of appearance, illusion, distraction and glare in bringing together renowned scholars from various disciplines.

A book cover featuring an abstract image with multicolored shapes on a black background.

Jacoba van Heemskerck: Truly Modern

In less than two decades, Jacoba van Heemskerck (1876–1923) created a powerful oeuvre comprising paintings, woodcuts, glassworks, and mosaics. Her expressive subjects, including landscapes, townscapes, and harbor scenes, are characterized by luminosity and transparency, rhythmic compositions of the pictorial space, black contours, and an intensive use of color. After her artistic beginnings in the circle around Mondrian, Jacoba van Heemskerck joined the center of the avant-garde movement emanating from the “Sturm” of Herwarth Walden in Berlin—the gallerist and publisher who made artists like Marc, Kandinsky, and Jawlensky famous. Her creative work resonates with environmental movements today thanks to her understanding of nature and the cosmos as an interconnected whole.

An image of a book cover featuring a black and white image of a face in profile drinking from a cup.

Beyond East and West: Memoirs, Portraits, and Essays

A new edition of the retrospective of the celebrated potter’s most significant writings, including new images from the family archive.

Bernard Leach was as renowned in Japan and the East as in Europe and North America as an artist-craftsman and as a thinker. Known in the ceramic world as the father of British studio pottery, his interpretation of Asian traditions in ceramics and his unique philosophy of life were a lodestar for many potters in the West. Throughout his career, his techniques explored the interplay between Eastern and Western art.

Beyond East and West, first published in 1978, is a retrospective of more than ninety years of Bernard Leach’s long, illustrious life. Featuring some of Leach’s most significant writings and full of amusing, sharply-etched recollections, the essays have been placed in chronological order and annotated by the author for more coherence. The recurrent theme of the meeting of East and West is apparent at all levels—artistic, cultural, social, and political—of Leach’s life and writings. This new edition of a classic text, accompanied by new images from the Leach family archive, gives readers an intimate look at the life of one of the world’s most widely known and respected potters.

If you know of other decorative arts-related titles published in July 2021, please be in touch!

Panel Presentation at the Getty Research Institute Tomorrow

‘Vulcan And Venus’, Beauvais Manufactory, From Series The Loves Of The Gods, After François Boucher

Join the Getty Research Institute for a mid-week, mid-year research presentation tomorrow morning. Centering around the decorative arts in France between the 16th and 19th centuries, the event will feature two presentations by scholars about their ongoing research, followed by a moderated discussion. Making use of the Beauvais tapestry manufactory production registers, Getty Rothschild Fellow Pascal Bertrand take an “archeological approach to the art of tapestry-making” in his presentation on the Venus and Vulcan tapestries from the Loves of the Gods Series woven after François Boucher. Getty Museum Guest Scholar Agnès Bos will present preliminary findings from her investigations into the Order of the Holy Spirit, the most important French Royal Order of knighthood. Bos’ research explores the material culture and decorative arts objects created to give weight and visual drama to the Order’s annual ceremonies. Following the two presentations, Senior Curator Anne-Lise Desmas will moderate a discussion of the ongoing research.

The event will take place over Zoom, beginning at 10:30 AM PST. As this is not a public Getty event, the details of the Zoom meeting will be sent along to the SIG Google Group.

Curator Conversation at the Wharton Esherick Virtual Event Tomorrow

A split image showing a room with wooden furniture on a raised level on the left and a figure wearing glasses and a blue scarf on the right.
Image from the Wharton Esherick Museum website.

The Decorative Arts SIG’s own Beth Goodrich will be discussing materials related to sculptor and furniture maker Wharton Esherick held in the American Craft Council Digital Collections in a free online event hosted by the Wharton Esherick Museum. As noted in the event description, the ACC Digital Collections contain, “thousands of unique images, documents, and media, detailing the history of twentieth-century and contemporary craft in America,” including extensive records related to the renowned craftsman. The conversation will focus on, “Esherick’s 1958-1959 retrospective exhibition The Furniture and Sculpture of Wharton Esherick at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts…as well as his relationships with other craft artists represented in the ACC’s resources, such as Henry Varnum Poor and Ruth Reeves.”

Founded in 1972, the Wharton Esherick Museum comprises several historic buildings in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, including the home and studio of Wharton Esherick. Tomorrow’s talk is part of an ongoing series of Curator Conversations that began last summer. The talk will run from 3:00 to 3:45 pm EST. The event is free, but registration is required. You can register for the event here. Hope to see you there!