Celebrating Wayne Thiebaud: With Cake (and Ice Cream and More)

“It could be considered further satire to use a conservative technique to attempt subversion. It could also be thought having and eating your cake.”—Donald Judd on Wayne Thiebaud, 1962

Today is Wayne Thiebaud’s birthday. Luckily he’s provided the cake, and ice cream, and so much more to celebrate with . . . in our forthcoming catalogue.

Organized in close cooperation with the artist, Wayne Thiebaud: 1958–1968 examines Thiebaud’s ongoing impact on contemporary art through in-depth analysis of the paintings and drawings made at the launch of his career, at a seminal moment when the art world was redefining itself.

Cover image of catalogue
Wayne Thiebaud: 1958–1968 (Available December 2017)

Published in association with the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis, this is the first study of the emergence of Thiebaud’s mature style and the only museum exhibition to date to delve into a specific period of his production, a time that coincides with the start of his teaching career at University of California at Davis.

The “soft” nature of Thiebaud’s famous subjects, his creamy pies and dripping ice creams, positioned his art as fodder for social-political review on occasion, but rarely for serious historical analysis. Since the beginning of his career Thiebaud reminded critics of his formal interests and his deep affiliation with the history of painting. This exhibition takes as its starting point an understanding of Thiebaud’s painterly language—its historical sources and contemporary affiliations.

“Thiebaud’s masterful ability to transform paint into the substance it depicts is especially powerful in his dessert paintings.”—Rachel Teagle, Founding Director, Manetti Shrem Museum

Detail photo of painting by Wayne Thiebaud
Detail from Wayne Thiebaud: 1958–1968
Photo of internal catalogue spread featuring paintings by Wayne Thiebaud
Detail from Wayne Thiebaud: 1958–1968

“Painting a row of cakes the way they are displayed on a lunch counter suggests some rather obvious notions about conformism, mechanized living, and mass produced culture. In addition there are some surprising things which are present . . . how alone these endless rows can be . . . a kind of lonely togetherness . . . each piece of pie has a heightened loneliness of its very own giving it a uniqueness and specialness in spite of its regimentation. None of us can escape our responsibility however totalitarian or utopian our world may be.”—Wayne Thiebaud

Contributions by Margaretta Lovell, Alexander Nemerov, Francesca Wilmott, and Arielle Hardy include scholarly essays and an illustrated chronology, resulting in a catalogue that is both visually rich and thought-provoking.

The exhibition opens on January 16, 2018.

Save 30% on the exhibition catalogue with online purchase. Enter code 17M6662 at checkout.

Don’t Miss Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest at the Oakland Museum

If you haven’t made it to the Oakland Museum yet this summer, we highly recommend you time your visit before the special long overdue Roy De Forest retrospective closes on August 20th. (Pro tip: don’t miss the Dorothea Lange exhibit while you’re there).

Designed to simulate an adventurous exploration of the artist’s dream-like and often humorous works, instead of chronological order the show is organized by themes such as ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’, ‘Horse of a Different Color’ and ‘Flashback’.

“Immersing yourself in an artwork by De Forest is like going on a treasure hunt.”

Some of the most fun and inspiring features of the show are the ‘Faithful Companions’ presented through audio listening stations that both charm and inform.

One particularly thought-provoking narrative in front of ‘Hans Bricker in the Tropics’ has Ilán Casián-Issenberg, Actor and Fifth Grader, ask the viewer:

“If you were to talk to the Brick Man which language would you use?”

De Forest was an influential American painter and sculptor who was also involved in the Funk art or Nut art movements, a genre made famous by artists in the 1960s in the San Francisco Bay Area, including De Forest, Wayne Thiebaud, William T. Wiley, and Clayton Bailey.

The accompanying catalogue is richly illustrated and was written by curator Susan Landauer, whose appreciation for De Forest dates back to her childhood. A fascinating biography, the book reassesses De Forest’s art-historical position, placing him in a national rather than solely West Coast context. To go deeper into both the exhibition and catalogue, see Hyperallergic‘s review.

“It is a major book, a deeply researched biography of De Forest and an analysis of his art and career.”—The San Francisco Chronicle
“In this thoroughly professional, immaculately organized, and factually overflowing book, the reader is set to be inspired by the adventure that was Roy De Forest.”—New York Journal of Books

This exhibition is particularly kid-friendly and will delight the young and the young at heart. We think the same holds true for the catalogue.

The Polaroid Project: Instantly fun. Forever iconic.

Recently named a notable opening by the New York Times, The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology is on view at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art starting on June 3.

The richly designed catalogue provides a unique perspective on the Polaroid phenomenon—a technology, an art form, a convergence of both—and its enduring cultural legacy.


Through the corporation’s own artist support program, which provided many with materials, Polaroid helped shape the artistic landscape of the late twentieth century. The Polaroid Project showcases not only the myriad and often idiosyncratic approaches taken by such photographers as Dennis Hopper, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ellen Carey, Andrea Wolff, Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, and many more, but also presents a fascinating selection of the technical objects and artifacts that speak to the sheer ingenuity that lay behind the art.


The impressive exhibition displays a variety of image sizes and formats produced over decades of time, and has been organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis/New York/Paris/Lausanne, in collaboration with the MIT Museum, Cambridge, Mass., and the WestLicht Museum for Photography, Vienna. If you are lucky enough to be in the Fort Worth area, don’t miss Ellen Carey‘s artist talk on June 10.

Enter to win a copy of the catalogue via our Goodreads giveaway (through July 1).

Medardo Rosso’s Moment

This post is part of a blog series celebrating the College Art Association annual conference taking place in New York City from February 15–18. Please visit us at Booth 605 if you are attending, and otherwise stay tuned for more content related to our new and forthcoming Art books.

by Sharon Hecker, author of A Moment’s Monument: Medardo Rosso and the International Origins of Modern Sculpture

The sculptor Medardo Rosso (1858–1928) liked to tell people he was born on a train, for he did not feel attached to any single country or national heritage either in his life or his art. Rosso’ sculpture was extraordinary in its anti-monumental and anti-heroic approach, presenting a modern, alienated yet deep feeling for interactions between self and other. His art was also transnational: he refused allegiance to a single culture or artistic heritage, declaring himself a citizen of the world and maker of art without national limits.

Born and raised in Italy, Rosso spent three decades in Paris, where he made highly advanced, experimental sculptures, but struggled as a foreign artist trying to make a name for himself in a city dominated by the overwhelming artistic and personal presence of Rodin. In his time, he was hailed as both the founder of Impressionist sculpture and the forefather of Futurism. Auguste Rodin, Umberto Boccioni, Constantin Brancusi, Alberto Giacometti, and Henry Moore admired his revolutionary ideas. Rosso continues to inspire contemporary artists such as Tony Cragg and movements like Arte Povera, and his sculptures are held in more than one hundred museums and collections around the world. He remains today one of the most original figures in the history of modern art.


A Moment’s Monument is the first historically substantiated, critical account of this innovative sculptor, who also made highly experimental photographs and drawings. I show that as a cosmopolitan, Rosso felt at ease circulating among several communities. He became a key figure in the transition from the traditional forms of sculpture that persisted throughout the nineteenth century to the experimental forms that developed in the twentieth. The radical ways in which he promoted his work by creatively using the newest advances in photography and unorthodox exhibition strategies foreshadowed countless practices that became part of the vocabulary of modern art.

My book reshapes the Franco-centered view of the origin and development of modern sculpture to include the contributions of artists from other nationalities such as Rosso.

I develop an alternative narrative to the one regularly told, in which Rodin plays the role of lone heroic innovator. I offer an original way to comprehend Rosso, negotiating the competing cultural imperatives of nationalism and internationalism that shaped the European art world at the fin de siècle.

bio_pic_10-16Sharon Hecker is an art historian specializing in Italian modern and contemporary art. Based in Los Angeles and Milan, she has published extensively on Medardo Rosso, Lucio Fontana, and Luciano Fabro. Her publications include Medardo Rosso: Second Impressions.

Hecker co-curated an exhibition of Medardo Rosso’s work which is currently on view through May 13, 2017 at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, MO. Watch a video about the show to learn more. It is also reviewed in the Wall Street Journal and The New Criterion

Moment of Creation: Agnes Martin in New York

by Christina Rosenberger, author of Drawing the Line: The Early Work of Agnes Martin

“I had a hundred foot-long-loft,” Agnes Martin recalled, to the envy of more than a few New Yorkers. “It had two skylights and fourteen-foot ceilings with great beams, and at the end of every beam you could see daylight.” Located at 28 South Street, this was the final loft that Martin would inhabit near Coenties Slip before she abruptly gave up painting in 1967. “Windows right across on the river,” Martin continued, noting that the East River was so close that she “could see the expressions on the faces of the sailors.” One wonders what they thought of the artist staring back at them.

Interior page from Drawing the Line: The Early Work of Agnes Martin by Christina Rosenberger (2016)
Water, 1958. Interior page from Drawing the Line: The Early Work of Agnes Martin by Christina Rosenberger (2016, University of California Press)

A highly anticipated retrospective of Martin’s work opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim on today, after earlier presentations at Tate Modern, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This is not the first time that Martin has shown work at the Guggenheim—her art was featured in American Drawings in 1964, and in Lawrence Alloway’s Systematic Painting exhibition two years later. And if a New York venue is a homecoming of sorts for Martin, who lived in the city multiple times from the 1940s through the 1960s, she is still most strongly identified with her time on Coenties Slip.

Indeed, the physical remnants of the Slip are visible in works like The Garden, from 1958, now on view at the Guggenheim. Martin made at least four constructions from found objects in 1958, including Kali, The Garden, The Laws and Water. The constructions incorporate boat spikes, bottle tops, drawer pulls, wires and wooden pegs, and range in size from eleven inches to nearly eight feet high. Seen within the context of a retrospective, they appear anomalous—a momentary investigation of three-dimensional form as Martin refined her aesthetic vision. But like many artists on the Slip, Martin scavenged the docks to find inexpensive materials with which to counter the legacy of Abstract Expressionism. Eschewing large, expensive canvases for materials that were readily available, Martin worked out crucial ideas through the tactile and pictorial qualities of her materials.

And the water—always so important to Martin—became a recurring theme in Martin’s work as well. Night Harbor, a hauntingly beautiful oil painting from 1960, offers eighteen blue-green circles set in a grid against a blue ground, bordered by two brown bands. The circles are ringed with graphite, which catches the light—much as the waves of the ocean do, when hit by the light of a beacon. Describing her own loft on South Street, the fiber artist Lenore Tawney recalled, “At night the boats were like Venetian glass, you know they’d be all lighted up and going along on this water…So there I was right on the river, looking at the river and the boats and the lights of Brooklyn… It was as if New York was at my back.”

Pages from 9780520288249_PRINT-4
Interior page from Drawing the Line: The Early Work of Agnes Martin by Christina Rosenberger (2016)

Martin, famously, painted with her back to the world—a claim that many will interrogate as they view her paintings in the Guggenheim’s rotunda. But what if one left the museum behind, in search of the moment of creation? Take the subway to Broad Street and walk south, to the river.

Don’t miss Christina’s previous post on Agnes Martin. To get a copy of Drawing the Line, visit your local bookstore and select museum stores, or purchase online at IndieBoundAmazonBarnes & Noble, or UC Press (to save 30% on ucpress.edu, enter discount code 16M4197 at checkout).

Christina Bryan Rosenberger is an art historian living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a contributor to Tate Modern’s 2015 exhibition catalogue Agnes Martin and recently wrote on Martin’s 1978 film Gabriel for Artforum. She has taught modern art at the University of New Mexico and has served as Research Coordinator for the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art at the Harvard Art Museums.

#NonstopMetropolis launches at the Queens Museum + Upcoming Events

This week we’re celebrating the launch of Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro’s Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas at the Queens Museum.

For previous posts in this series, see our Nonstop Metropolis archive.

While the Nonstop Metropolis: The Remix exhibition—a multi-faceted project in collaboration with renowned writer, historian, and activist, Rebecca Solnit—has been up at the Queens Museum since Spring 2016, it continues to evolve. This past weekend was the launch event for Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, the culminating volume in a trilogy of atlases. As described by The Village Voice, “…here is Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas to make these streets magic again. Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro’s collection achieves the trifold purpose that all good cartography does — it’s beautiful, it inspires real thought about civic planning, and, most of all, it’s functional.”

The public event included a hands-on map-making workshop facilitated by Queens Museum educators; “Songs of the City,” a unique mix of songs and music referenced in the book; and drop-in readings of essay excerpts and signings by Rebecca Solnit, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Garnette Cadogan, Jonathan Tarleton, and some of the many contributors* in attendance.

Laura Raicovich, President and Executive Director of the Queens Museums, introduces Nonstop Metropolis authors and contributors. (Photo by Pema Domingo-Barker)
Garnette Cadogan, Nonstop Metropolis Editor-at-Large and author of the “Law of Love, Peace and Libertie” essay, appropriately, about Flushing, Queens. (Photo by Mirissa Neff, mirissaneff.com)
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Garnette Cadogan, and Rebecca Solnit in the Panorama of the City of New York, on long-term view at the Queens Museum. (Photo by Mirissa Neff, mirissaneff.com)
Sheerly Avni, author of the ‘My Yiddishe Papa’ essay in Nonstop Metropolis, addresses the crowd. (Photo by Mirissa Neff, mirissaneff.com)

For a live perspective on the event, check out the Queens Museum’s Twitter feed, and artist Peach Tao’s Tumblr telling. (Stay tuned to this space for details on her fab Shaolin creations).


To get a copy of Nonstop Metropolis, visit your local bookstore, or purchase online at IndieBoundAmazonBarnes & Noble, or UC Press (to save 30% on ucpress.edu, enter discount code16M4197 at checkout).

To get it signed by the the authors, upcoming Nonstop Metropolis events include:

Dance RecitalJJ SchapiroNonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas is the final volume in our trilogy of atlases by Rebecca Solnit, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Rebecca Snedeker, and a host of notable contributors. Following the publication of the critically lauded Infinite City (San Francisco) and Unfathomable City (New Orleans), we bring you this homage—and challenge—to the way we know New York City, an exquisitely designed and gorgeously illustrated atlas that excavates the many buried layers of all five boroughs of New York City and parts of New Jersey.

* The full list of contributors to Nonstop Metropolis: Sheerly Avni, Gaiutra Bahadur, Marshall Berman, Joe Boyd, Will Butler, Garnette Cadogan, Thomas J. Campanella, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Teju Cole, Joel Dinerstein, Paul La Farge, Francisco Goldman, Margo Jefferson, Lucy R. Lippard, Barry Lopez, Valeria Luiselli, Suketu Mehta, Emily Raboteau, Molly Roy, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Luc Sante, Heather Smith, Jonathan Tarleton, Astra Taylor, Alexandra T. Vazquez, Christina Zanfagna, plus interviews with Valerie Capers, Peter Coyote, Grandmaster Caz, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Melle Mel, and RZA.

The Uses of Photography exhibition opens this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego


Dawsey cover
The Uses of Photography: Art, Politics, and the Reinvention of a Medium (September 2016)

we had this dream     of truth     the truth of things

maybe in a photograph.

—David Antin

Published in conjunction with an exhibition opening this evening at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The Uses of Photography examines a network of artists whose experiments with photography during the turbulent, transitional period between the late 1960s and early 1980s opened the medium to a profusion of new strategies and subjects. Working within the framework of Conceptual art, artists such as Eleanor Antin, Allan Kaprow, Fred Lonidier, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, and Carrie Mae Weems introduced urgent social issues and themes of everyday life into the seemingly neutral territory of photography, producing works that took on hybrid forms, from books and postcards to video and text-and-image installations.

And, courtesy of our partners at MCASD here’s a behind-the-scenes view of preparators, Nick and Jeremy, installing Fred Lonidier’s GAF Snapshirts.

Exhibition install
Installation of Fred Lonidier (1976), Courtesy of the artist; Michael Benevento, Los Angeles; Essex Street, New York; and Silberkuppe, Berlin.

The exhibition runs through January 2nd, and event programming includes film screenings, panel discussions with the artists, curator talks and more.

To get your own copy of the catalogue, visit the museum, or purchase online at IndieBoundAmazonBarnes & Noble, or UC Press (to save 30% on ucpress.edu, enter discount code16M4197 at checkout).

Avant-Garde Art in Japan and Brazil

Rio de Janeiro’s Paço Imperial is currently hosting an unusual retrospective of Japanese postwar art, ‘The Emergence of The Contemporary: Avant-Garde Art In Japan 1950-1970‘. Curator Pedro Erber is the author of Breaching the Frame: The Rise of Contemporary Art in Brazil and Japan, which similarly examines the uncanny contemporaneous trajectories of the Japanese and Brazilian postwar avant-garde art movements.

The exhibition’s introductory text is below, and Artinfo’s coverage of the exhibition includes an image slideshow as well as an interview with Erber:

BLOUIN ARTINFO spoke with curator Pedro Erber on the eve of the opening to find out more about the existing and underappreciated affinities between the Japanese and Brazilian postwar avant-garde art movements, the fertile yet turbulent situation in Rio in the run-up to the Olympics next month, and the contemporary significance of re-enacting certain seminal performance pieces from 1960s Tokyo as part of this exhibition.

breaching the frame

In the decades that followed the Second World War, Japan was the stage for some of the most radically innovative avant-garde movements of the twentieth century. Visual artists, critics, writers engaged in a common effort to reinvent the place of art in a society that rebuilt itself after the devastation of war and years of cultural censorship under the fascist regime of the Japanese empire.

In 1963, Miyakawa Atsushi, one of the most acute theoreticians of postwar art in Japan, observed that the reach and nature of the transformations taking place in artistic expression was such that the modern paradigm had become obsolete and in its place emerged a new paradigm, which he termed, in almost premonitory fashion, “contemporary art (gendai bijutsu).” Miyakawa’s observation referred not only to Japanese art, which could not be regarded as an isolated phenomenon. Rather, it resonated a general effort to think contemporaneity as the sharing of a common historical time across national, linguistic, and cultural borders.

The Emergence of the Contemporary presents the panorama of avant-garde art in Japan between 1950 and 1970 focusing on artists whose practice and theoretical reflections marked the transition from painting towards three-dimensional space, performance, and conceptual art. The exhibition brings together some of the most representative works of the period, besides documentary photographs, movies and other historical documents. It contextualizes the trajectory of the avant-garde in its dialogue with events that shaped the history of the postwar era, such as the movements against the renewal of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan (ANPO) in 1960 and 1970, the Expo ’70 in Osaka, and the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in particular.

Frustrating desires of exoticism, postwar avant-garde art from Japan reveals deep affinities with the trajectory of the Brazilian avant-garde, from painting to the object-based art and spectator participation. In addition, in the recurrences and resonances between 1964 and 2016, between Olympics past and present, another meaning of the contemporary emerges, in which the radical creativity and the impetus of social intervention of Japan’s postwar avant-garde art echo here and now, suggesting possibilities and limits for present day art.

Through a division more thematic then chronological, the exhibition highlights three moments of avant-garde art in Japan: Politics of Abstraction presents 1950s abstract and its discursive context; Art and Social Engagement approaches the transformations of politically engaged art from social realism to direct action and urban intervention; Matter, Concept, Act focuses on the inflection of political art into philosophical inquiry, the question of matter and dematerialization of art.

Get your own copy of Erber’s book, Breaching the Frame: The Rise of Contemporary Art in Brazil and Japan, online at IndieBoundAmazonBarnes & Noble, or UC Press (to save 30% on ucpress.edu, enter discount code 16M4197 at checkout).

Pedro R. Erber teaches in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University. He holds a Ph.D. in Asian Studies from Cornell University, M.A. in philosophy from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, and B.A. in philosophy from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Erber is the author of Política e verdade no pensamento de Martin Heidegger and articles on intellectual history, art, literature, and aesthetics.

Ed Ruscha and the Great American West opens at the de Young

Ruscha cover image
Ed Ruscha and the Great American West, co-published with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Named as one of five “must-see” exhibits by the Wall Street Journal, ‘Ed Ruscha and the Great American West‘ opens this week at the de Young.

This stunning catalogue, produced in close collaboration with the Ruscha studio, offers the first full exploration of the painter’s lifelong fascination with the romantic concept and modern reality of the evolving American West. Take a virtual trip through some landmark images below (and then get thee to the museum, pronto).


To see more, get your own copy at your local bookstore, or purchase online at FAMSFIndieBoundAmazonBarnes & Noble, or UC Press (to save 30% on ucpress.edu, enter discount code 16M4197 at checkout).

BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE opens at MoMA this weekend

Defying strict classification and transcending the limitations of any single genre, multimedia artist Bruce Conner is being celebrated in an extensive retrospective which opens this weekend at MoMA NY, before coming to the newly-opened San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this Fall (October 29, 2016–January 29, 2017), followed by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain in 2017.

Conner cover image
BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE, co-published with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Referencing the artist’s inimitable and ever-changing methods, the subtitle of the exhibition — IT’S ALL TRUE — was derived from a letter that the artist wrote to his friend and collaborator, Paula Kirkeby, in 2000, listing the many ways he had been characterized in the media (see a portion of the letter in the catalogue frontispiece pictured below).

Conner, who died in 2008 after having lived in the Bay Area for more than fifty years, is not only a seminal figure regionally, but also nationally and beyond. His avant-garde film work remains a touchstone in the international film scene, as well as across a spectrum of contemporary art. The exhibition at SFMOMA will be the most comprehensive view of Conner’s work to date and will include more than 300 works from all media. We are hometown proud to be co-publishing this extraordinary catalogue.

At the recent press preview in New York, MoMA director Glenn Lowry discussed the opening of this unprecedented exhibition with curators Stuart Comer and Laura Hoptman, captured in the video below.

Should you be in one of the three venue cities be sure to see the exhibit, and to get a copy of this impressive catalogue visit your local bookstore, or purchase online at SFMOMAIndieBoundAmazonBarnes & Noble, or UC Press (to save 30% on ucpress.edu, enter discount code 16M4197 at checkout).

You can also enter to win a copy in our Goodreads giveaway through July 7, 2016.