You Won’t Want to Miss These Essential Art Books

From surrealist Leonora Carrington's rare tarot cards to Deanna Templeton's angsty photographs of teenage girls, these art and photography tomes offer some much-needed inspiration and escapism even while many exhibitions around the world remain closed.

Images from Introduction and conversation with Luchita Hurtado, 2021. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

Introduction and conversation with Luchita Hurtado by Hans Ulrich Obrist (Hauser & Wirth)

In December last year, Hauser and Wirth galleries announced the publication of a new book detailing the life of late Venezuelan painter Luchita Hurtado. The eponymous book presents a series of conversations between the artist in the last few years of her life with Serpentine Galleries’ artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist. According to Hauser & Wirth, the pair’s professional relationship had “deepened over time into a true friendship”. These conversations are presented alongside  an extensive collection of never-before-seen archival images—including self-portraits, drawings, personal photographs and more—which work together to trace the artist’s life from its beginnings in Venezuela to New York, Mexico, and finally to California and New Mexico. Her life also provides a snapshot of the who’s-who of 20th cents panting: Hurtado’s many famous pals included Leonora Carrington, Marcel Duchamp, Arshile Gorky, Frida Kahlo, Lee Krasner, Agnes Martin, Robert Motherwell, Man Ray and Mark Rothko,  all of whom are referenced and remembered in the book. (Emily Gosling)

Images from Holy, 2021. Courtesy Powerhouse Books

Holy by Donna Ferrato (Powerhouse Books)

The radical, ferocious power of the image is the driving force behind photojournalist Donna Ferrato’s latest book. Photographs taken throughout her almost five-decade-long career are brought together in Holy, capturing the remarkable ways women survive, endure, and change in a hostile world. Anger, empathy and redemption blister upon the page in black-and-white images that document activists, artists, mothers and survivors of domestic abuse. Ferrato founded a non-profit called Domestic Abuse Awareness, which she ran for over a decade, and in 2014 launched a campaign called I Am Unbeatable, which features women who have left their abusers. In Holy, she goes beyond documentary photography to create a deeply personal portrait of female communities, using bright-red paint and handwritten interventions to introduce her personal, diaristic perspective on each image. (Louise Benson)




What She Said by Deanna Templeton (Mack)

If, like me, you had a rough time as a teenager, this one is for you. Hormones almost emanate from the pages in this new book by the legendary photographer Deanna Templeton which returns to the subject of female adolescence, something Templeton has continued to examine since she was an adolescent herself, documenting her own transition to womanhood. The young girls she photographed across the US, Europe, Australia and Russia reflect Templeton’s own teenage years as much as the experiences of her subjects, looking back at them with the wistful eye of a knowing adult – but the empathy of an equal. The street portraits are interspersed with achingly angsty pages from Templeton’s own diaries from the 1980s which show that even with the passing of time and the changing milieu, there are fundamental things that happen at this age that create the strongest of bonds between us. (Charlotte Jansen)

Images from The Relation Between Us, 2020. Courtesy Narayana Press

The Relation Between Us by Bo Bech (Narayana Press)

The third publication from the renowned Danish chef is a far cry from your average recipe book. Instead, Bo Bech takes you on a visual journey through all manner of food-related adventures from his travels across the globe, promising readers the chance to see the world “through the eyes and mind of a chef”. The result is a wonderful mix of frenetic energy (where wait staff and market stallholders appear as nothing more than passing blurs) and moments of reflection, where an ice box of squid or a freshly butchered carcass becomes a thing of beauty. The real magic, though, is the sense of community and conviviality found in the act of sharing a meal, whether it be on the side of the road, at a friend’s home, or hastily consumed after a long shift in the kitchen. In these times of relative isolation, evidence of these simple pleasures appear more alluring than ever. (Holly Black)


  • 9781527258693_F
  • 9781527258693_E
  • 9781527258693_D
  • Images from The Tarot of Leonora Carrington, 2021. Courtesy Leonora Carrington Estate/ARS



The Tarot of Leonora Carrington by Susan Aberth and Tere Arcq (Fulgur Press)

British-born artist Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) needs little introduction. Best known for her involvement with the Surrealist movement and enduring fascination with all things mystical, she lived in Mexico City for most of her life, and in her otherworldly paintings drew upon the subconscious through powerful symbolism—notably animal figures. It follows that an interest in tarot and the occult was within her field of interest, and the recent discovery of a suite of tarot designs, created by Carrington for the Major Arcana, has now brought this into the light. The delicate cards are a revelation, showcasing Carrington’s distinctive approach and style in a series of iconic images that shimmer with gold and silver leaf. The Tarot of Leonora Carrington is the first book dedicated to this aspect of her work. (Louise Benson)

Images from Weathering Time, 2021. Courtesy Gost

Weathering Time by Nancy Floyd (Gost)

Nancy Floyd has been photographing herself, almost every day, since 1982. Thirty-six years were shot analogue – Floyd would move the camera on a shot if she missed a day, leaving blanks – and then switched to digital. The images she took are arranged satisfying in her book into generic categories: parents, pets, hair, clothes.  At first irreverent, Weathering Time slowly gives way to the years that have passed through the pictures, to what has been gained and lost, to her changing and ageing body, and to the environments that contain it. It is a project so huge (more than 2,500 images) and so simple but devastatingly moving and irrevocably human – an astonishing document of the mortal coil. Weathering Time was awarded the inaugural ICP/Gost First PhotoBook Award and it is out in February with Gost. (Charlotte Jansen)




Cherry Hill: A Childhood Reimagined by Jona Frank (The Monacelli Press)

Artist Jona Frank merges photography with the form of a graphic novel in Cherry Hill: A Childhood Reimagined, a multimedia memoir of Frank’s somewhat stifling suburban upbringing. Starring the inimitable Laura Dern, the 200 carefully staged photographs look to delineate the artist’s growing up with a repressive mother figure and even more repressive expectations by cranking the white picket fence idealism up to 11 and thus rendering such false utopias ridiculous. Using the narrative form and layout more often found in a graphic novel, the book takes similar fanciful turns while showing off Frank’s photographic nous: we see the artist veer into daydreams about Bruce Springsteen as well as enduring more banal day-to-day moments. Above all, the book looks to show the universal through the personal, presenting the struggles of girls grown-up and finding their place in both the family, and in the world. (Emily Gosling)

  • 093_volkamer_citrus_fruits_xl_01114_2011011423_id_1329779
  • 082_volkamer_citrus_fruits_xl_01114_2011011438_id_1329809
  • 279_volkamer_citrus_fruits_xl_01114_2011011320_id_1329659
  • Images from J. C. Volkamer. Citrus Fruits, 2021. Courtesy Taschen

J. C. Volkamer. Citrus Fruits by Iris Lauterbach (Taschen)

This bombastic ode to citrons, lemons and bitter oranges is a large-scale reprint of JC Volkamer’s original 18th-century text, yet the images are so surreal that you would be forgiven for thinking that they were a subversive take on traditional botanical studies. Volkamer was devoted to chronicling these strange new fruits at a time when they were relatively unknown north of the alps. This book serves not only as a meticulous record of different varieties, but the wild imaginings of an artist who sought to pair his favourite citrus with scenes of palatial glamour and dramatic narrative. (Holly Black)

Image from She Is Warm, 2020. Courtesy Libraryman BooksImage from She Is Warm, 2020. Courtesy Libraryman Books
Image from She Is Warm, 2020. Courtesy Libraryman Books

She Is Warm by Iringó Demeter (Libraryman Books)

Artist Iringó Demeter grew up in a tiny village in the heart of Transylvania, where her parents were doctors and she often saw patients treated at home. This early exposure to all kinds of bodies sparked a fascination with the physical form for Demeter, who  went on to study them through the lens of a camera, later moved to London where she studied Fashion Photography. Her microscopic vision brings us right up close, almost to the point of abstraction; her black-and-white images are classical and elegant but at the same time radically new and original, giving us imperfect fleshiness. She Is Warm brings together a selection of recent works, including Demeter’s mother, her mother, and a few close friends of the artist, and “other beautiful women who opened up to me and shared their vulnerable side.” It is a very personal rumination, the title reflecting the warmth of the connection Demeter clearly has with her subjects. (Charlotte Jansen)