Coffee Table Curator: Warhol, Wes Anderson, and Juergen Teller’s Hordes of Handbags

Published June 14, 2019

Coffee Table Curator is a monthly series showing—no, telling—you which art and culture books to add to your living room repertoire; your remote control and beer-stained coasters will look chic by association. Here’s what we have to recommend for the month of June. Might we recommend hiding inside with them as the temperatures continue to get hot, hot, hot?

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Capri Dolce Vita, Assouline, $85

Tired: Buying a $1,000 flight to Capri on Delta and draining your savings in the name of summer fun. Wired: Shelling out $85 for a book, and putting the remaining funds in a Roth IRA instead. Just because you can’t fit an Italian adventure into your schedule doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give Capri Dolce Vita a glance. The book charts the history of the island from its colonial and cultural (and, yes, jet set) perspectives. It’s a brillante read.

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Wes Anderson & Juman Malouf: Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures, Walther Konig Verlag, $45

Because we’re eagerly awaiting Anderson’s newest cinematic outing—which is described as a “love letter to journalists,” squee!—the auteur and his wife, Juman Malouf, are bringing us some off-screen whimsy in the meantime. Just don’t let the mummy and coffin talk throw you off. A few years ago, the couple made their curatorial debut at Vienna’s Kunsthistoriches Museum, where they narrowed down the museum’s 4.5 million objects to a cool 250 for their exhibit. The result is less twee and more…unorthodox.

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Warhol on Basquiat, Taschen, $60

More like Maestro on Maestro. For the first time ever, both artists’ estates granted a book that traces their unlikely friendship in and out of the art world, which thrived thanks to their status as New York icons. Sure, there may have been some competition between the two, but behind closed doors, they were perhaps the only ones who understood one another. Come for their fascinating history, and stay for hundreds of never-seen photographs of the buds hanging out.

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Juergen Teller: Handbags, Steidl, $125

Consider this the natural successor to Us Weekly’s “What’s In My Bag?” series. Teller, the king of minimalist style, has dedicated his latest monograph to the item he believes he’s photographed the most of everything: Bags, baby! (Don’t tell his Céline models.) “I realized through the 30 years of my career,” he joked in a statement, “I photographed a hell of a lot of handbags within my fashion work. Here they are, the money shots.” We can confirm that not every bag is super fancy. Just most of them.

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Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music, Reel Art Press, $60

Baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials can all agree on one thing: Woodstock will live on for all of eternity, whether we want it to or not. Celebrating 50 (!) years since that infamous weekend, take a muddy stroll through memory lane with this book curated by the festival’s creator and founder, Michael Lang. Consider it a scrapbook of sorts—it has enough photos, historical documents, and even more photos to make it feel like you were actually there. Just minus all the drugs.

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Paul Gauguin’s Intimate Journals, Art / Books, $30

Post-impressionist aficionados need to look no further than Gauguin’s journals to better understand the movement—especially since his musings don’t just follow the “let’s talk about the inspiration behind my work” format. Rather, Gauguin was a low-key gossip hound of his time, who loved blabbing about his Parisian art rivals, why he disliked Van Gogh, and the dozens (and dozens) of women who helped shape his work. Le gasp.