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 August. You’ll be more productive reading these than refreshing Expedia for last minute beach trips, anyway.
Key Zest, Nieves, $24
Contrary to popular belief, The Beach Bum wasn’t a neon fever dream you had earlier this year after consuming way too many Coronas and banging your head on bongos, but rather a very real dramedy starring Matthew McConaughey as a poet named Moondog who struts around the Florida Keys while doing, well, not much else. Key Zest keeps those groovy vibes going with this collection of Moondog’s poems, which, between its bawdy and hilarious stanzas, are pretty alright, alright, alright.
Alfred Hitchcock: Cinema on the Edge of Nothing, Skira, $40
Because cinephiles always find an excuse to celebrate their favorite filmmakers, Cinema on the Edge of Nothing is your gateway into toasting the Master of Suspense’s 120th birthday—all without having to sweat through 90 minutes of birds pecking at people’s torsos! Mixing some behind-the-scenes photos of his oeuvre (Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo, and more) with unearthed commentary from his carousel of actors, this might be the one Hitchcockian project that won’t give you nightmares. Probably!
Tulum Gypset, Assouline, $85
Everyone and their mother has been travelling to “the Brooklyn of Mexico” over the past few years, and although some people are claiming the town is on its deathbed, who could possibly ask for anything more than sun, surf, and Mayan jungle disco raves? As opposed to focusing on a generic “tourism is great!” angle, Tulum Gypset is all about how it became a spiritual epicenter for the boho crowd, and how that helped blossom into its 2019 incarnation. And the best news? It’s an easy plane ride away, should you ever choose to visit.
The Bouquets of Chenonceau, Rizzoli, $55
Because not everyone can shell out $100 for exotic bouquets at that fancy flower shop feuding with Sofia Coppola, eternal flower porn can instead forever grow in your apartment…on your table…with this book. The Bouquets of Chenonceau (pronunciation pending) hones in on one of the world’s most gorgeous castles for bouquet art, located in central France and run by the maestro Jean-Francois Boucher-Odent. Lillies in the drawing room, tulips in the library? The options, and species (science alert!), are endless.
Helmut Newton: Sumo, Taschen, $150
There’s a solid chance you’d be able to identify a Helmut Newton photograph among other stylized black-and-white snaps, given the ungodly amount of sex appeal that oozes through all of them. On the Vogue payroll for decades, Newton photographed everyone from Catherine Deneuve to Salvador Dalí to Interview’s own Andy Warhol, all of whom are fully on display in this massive monograph chronicling his career. Just prepare to free the nipple.
Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso: Anatomies of Desire, Hauser & Wirth Publishers, $53
Not to overdo the “name a more iconic duo, we’ll wait” meme, but we can’t think of a better use for it than here. Anatomies of Desire leans into celebrating the juxtaposition of these artists and peers—while Bourgeois was famed for her mega-sculptures and installations, Picasso was a jack of all mediums, and they garnered a mutual respect for each other’s talents during all their salon hangs. While the monograph welcomes any “comparative analysis” you may have, the real fun just comes from gazing image to image, seeing how two virtousos thrived at the peak of their careers.