Botticelli, Phaidon, 150 USD
In the event you can't conjure up a thousand dollars to fly to Florence and visit the Uffizi Gallery, you can easily get your Sandro Botticelli fix right here. This stunning monograph celebrates one of the most influential artists of the entire Renaissance period (even if you don't know him by name, the masterpieces The Birth of Venus or Primavera may ring a few bells when you look at them), complete with large, elegant images and insightful text. You don't have to be an art historian to appreciate the refinement and grace of his work—any coffee table would benefit from this. (You'll also have fun guessing the complex meanings and allegories behind his work.)
Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being, Assouline, 195 USD
Whatever your thoughts on Frida Kahlo's aesthetic might be, the vast influence she's had in fashion, art, beauty, and media since her death is undeniable. This monograph hones in on her effect within the fashion industry and the kaleidoscope of ways her multicultural style has been imbued into today's culture. (For starters, a plethora of labels have cited her as inspiration, including Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, and Kenzo.) By the time you're done reading the text—and browsing through the stunning photos—it becomes clear that Kahlo was a visionary, and her spirit will continue to be interpreted and adapted for many years to come.
somethingtofoodabout: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs, Clarkson Potter, 30 USD
You may know Questlove as the extremely talented co-founder of the Roots, as well as the musical director for The Tonight Show, but were you aware that he also is a major foodie? Don't be deceived, it's not simply because of the taste or Instagram worthiness—it's everything from the art, craft, innovation, and creativity of cuisine. In this book, Questlove travels to culinary hotspots around the United States, where he interviews chefs about the processes behind their craft and provides insight into the current state of food in America. The result will hopefully have you thinking about food as a timeless cultural experience as opposed to a quick "like" on a social media platform.
Louise Fishman, Prestel, 60 USD
Until now, there has not been a proper reflective monograph dedicated to Louise Fishman, which is surprising given the American-born artist is a tour de force in the world of abstract painting, particularly in regards to her large-scale gestural abstractions. Looking back at her decades-spanning career, this monograph honors the septuagenarian artist in the fullest context, including everything from her early years of hard-edged grid paintings to her more recent expressionistic canvases.
Issey Miyake, Taschen, 900 USD
Issey Miyake is a fascinating Japanese fashion designer. His boundary-defying collections never cease to blur the lines between tradition, technology, and function, as well as force us to rethink the concept of clothing altogether. (Remember Steve Jobs' famous black signature turtlenecks? Miyake created them all.) Serving as a definitive history of Miyake's career, this monograph explores his 40-plus years of texture-driven work and technical innovations. If you happen to be traveling to Tokyo soon, the coinciding exhibit at the National Art Center is on view, too.
Alexandra Grant & Keanu Reeves: Shadows, Steidl, 60 USD
The concept of a shadow has long been a source of inspiration for artists (what exactly is it? What does it truly represent?), as evidenced by this collaborative monograph from artist Alexandra Grant and Keanu Reeves (yes, that Keanu Reeves). With Grant capturing Reeves's shadow and silhouette at different angles in dream-like photos, it's made evident that a shadow can function in both a real and symbolic nature, depending on your point of view. Overall, it's an interesting study that sheds light (literally) onto the many manifestations a shadow can have—a projected figure, concealed emotion, or otherwise.