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Coffee Table Curator, September 2014

Philipp Keel: Splash, Steidl, 65USD

Swiss-born artist and writer Keel is known for his successful forays into visual art, photography, and film. This new volume of his work focuses on his color-intensive photographs from the past decade, with the recurring theme concentrating on all forms of aquatics (both above and below the water) through distortion and reduction. While the result of the photographs may appear unprompted to the untrained eye, Keel actually meticulously plans and experiments with potential images in his darkroom, mixing forms and tones to ensure the result appears abstract and beautifully detailed. 


Matisse Cut-Outs, Taschen, 69.99USD

In the event you didn't make it to the Tate Modern to see Henri Matisse's mesmerizing cut-out creations this past year (fear not, the exhibition is arriving at the MoMA in mid-October) this massive volume of his minimalist abstract masterpieces is just for you. Towards the end of his extensive and influential career, Matisse turned to creating these cut-outs when his health was ailing, as he was no longer able to paint for long periods of time. What ensued was the creation of a new and bold 20th-century art technique, the gouaches decoupées—deceptively simple cut-outs that playfully carved into bright color and somehow achieved a sculptural quality. 


John Severson's SURF, Damiani/PUKA PUKA, 45USD

Severson, the proclaimed king of the surf industry, is a man of many talents. Best known for founding Surfer magazine in 1960, he's a writer, editor, publisher, photographer, filmmaker, and artist, hailing from the sandy beaches of San Clemente. He was arguably the first person to celebrate and revolutionize the art of surfing, establishing it as a strong pop culture phenomenon to be reckoned with. This monograph acts as a visual survey and chronicles the history of surf culture, beginning in California and Hawaii, before eventually branching out as an international spectacle. Cowabunga, dude!


Lita Albuquerque: Stellar Axis, Skira Rizzoli, 85USD

Best known for her work in the Land Art movement, this first monograph of Albuquerque's vast oeuvre presents her contributions to ephemeral (and public) installations, sculptures, and paintings. Never shy to explore remote places in the world—such as the South Pole, Death Valley, and the badlands of South Dakota—the California-born Albuquerque has developed a unique visual style that brings the harsh realities of time and space down to a comprehensible human scale. Her work begs the question: what is our place in the seemingly limitless and immeasurable universe? 


XXL Art: When Artists Think Big, Prestel, 35USD

Whether in the country, desert, city streets, or even a conventional gallery, no setting is off-limits for oversized, "extra large" art. Thinking outside the constraints of the "standard" sizes of art, well-known artists (such as Anish Kapoor, Christo, and David Cerny, to name a few) created massive-scale works for public consumption that truly embody the vast powers of art, surprising viewers by the sheer scale of size and beauty. If anything, it teaches us to look up from our beloved smartphones and enjoy the splendor of the world around us—you never know what we'll come across. 


Vitamin 3-D: New Perspectives in Sculpture and Installation, Phaidon, 49.95USD

Tracking and surveying the current global developments in sculpture and installation, this book zeroes in on current artists who are conceptualizing and creating unique and boundary-pushing creations in these two mediums. With 117 new and established artists represented, the possibilities of sculptures and installations are seemingly limitless, with striking photos showing the relationship between the works and the world at large. Whether you fancy readymades, busts, or even site-specific artworks, there'll be something to pique your interest.