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Coffee Table Curator: June 2016

The Smiths, Rizzoli, 45 USD

No matter if you're Team Morrissey or Team Johnny Marr, you'll be pleased to hear that this small volume features never-before-published photographs of The Smiths during their seminal years—the mid-1980s. Whether hanging backstage, performing front and center on stage, or goofing off on the road, the mostly black-and-white images provide an intimate look into one of the most popular rock bands in modern history. Photographer Nalinee Darmrong traveled exclusively with the band during this time—specifically, during the Meat Is Murder and The Queen Is Dead tours—making his access unparalleled and enviable.

Stik, Penguin Random House, 40 USD

While guerilla street artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey were becoming household names with their eclectic body of work, a homeless youngster in England was simultaneously also on the rise: Stik. True to his name, the artist gained prominence through pared-down stick figures that feature six monochrome lines and two dots, often on the sides of run-down buildings in London's East End. As the first volume to explore his now-global repertoire, it's clear that Stik's work is more than just expressive dexterity. As he explains: "Perhaps it is the simplicity of these figures, just six lines and two dots, that speaks to people from all walks of life."

Provoke, Steidl, 75 USD

You've probably never heard Provoke, a short-lived Japanese magazine that focused on the complexities of Japanese society and art in the 1960s. But, by dedicating itself to protest photography and critical theory, the magazine exposed how critical—and frankly, unstable—Japan's citizens and government were at the time, particularly in regards to how they handled modern life. As the first book to explore Provoke's history (which is surprisingly only three issues long), original photographs accompany text passages to help us better understand how exactly this innovative movement created a lasting impression in the art world.

Peter Marino: Art Architecture, Phaidon, 125 USD

If a luxury brand—say, Chanel, Dior, or Louis Vuitton—needs a premiere architectural lift, they will most likely call Peter Marino. Beginning in the mid-80s, Marino has become the go-to architect for brand spaces around the world, successfully completing more than 250 commissions (often site-specific) that blur the lines between art and architecture. In this book, each chapter is dedicated to a unique collaboration between Marino and an artist, shedding light into his exceptional creative process through notes, personal stories, and never-before-seen photographs.

Breuer, Phaidon, 150 USD

One of the most popular architects of the 20th century is indisputably Marcel Breuer. The virtuoso Hungarian-born architect and designer dabbled in both the modernist and Bauhaus movements, designing numerous private homes, pieces of furniture, and public buildings throughout his career—easily influencing his successors in the process. This comprehensive monograph examines Breuer's entire career, from his early beginnings in London to his later collaborations with Walter Gropius. It is truly a must-own for all architectural enthusiasts.

Gus Van Sant: Icons, Actes Sud/Cinémathèue Française, 45 USD

Gus Van Sant has had an exceptional career. A filmmaker, painter, photographer, musician, and author, the sexagenarian is perhaps best known for directing his Academy Award-nominated films Good Will Hunting and Milk as well as cult favorites like Mala Noche, Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho. Moving away from his passion for films, though, Gus Van Sant: Icons provides great insight into the artist's extensive work in the fields of photography, painting, and music. The monograph features a slew of original photography by Van Sant (prepare to recognize many famous faces) that are juxtaposed with a wide-ranging conversation between Van Sant and Matthieu Orléans, who curated his current exhibition at the Cinémathèque française in Paris.