BLOUIN ARTINFO Canada's Top Six Art Books for Spring

(Burnaby Art Gallery)

ARTINFO Canada rounds up the most substantial art reads of the spring season:

“Glamour is Theft: A User’s Guide to General Idea 1969-1978” (D.A.P., $40)


The Art Gallery of York University’s Philip Monk provides a survey of the “pageantry of camp parody” in the work of Canadian collective General Idea, from their early mail art works to the 1977 “destruction” of “The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion.” Following the collective’s strategies, Monk (in his typically abstruse but winking style) mimics the structuralist and semiological language and approach of Roland Barthes in his analysis.

“The Playboy” (Drawn & Quarterly, $16.95)

Chester Brown’s first graphic novel — not to mention the first graphic novel Montreal’s Drawn & Quarterly ever published — is now available in an expanded and even re-formatted soft-cover re-issue. Expect in this early autographical portrait of Brown’s “Playboy” adolescent shame, new lettering and format, re-drawn panels, as well as a new appendices and author notes.

“Seeing and Believing” (Black Dog Publishing, $29.95)

This illustrated overview of Canadian Neo-Conceptualist Luis Jacob focuses on the three recent exhibitions that have affirmed his rising star  — Fonderie Darling’s “Tableaux Vivants,” MOCCA’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” and the McCord Museum’s “The Eye, the Hole, the Picture” — exploring how he’s consistently questioned what lies beneath a picture, and the framing of our encounters with visual art.

“The Last Frontier” (ABC Art Books Canada, $50)

The first monograph of the UK-based Canadian artist Kelly Richardson is a trip through her hyper-real cinematic installations of the last 15 years; post-apocalyptic visions that merge with references like B-movie science fiction, dystopic landscape painting, and wildlife cinematography. Most of the works included stem from her recent mid-career retrospective at Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

“Working as a Drawing” (Burnaby Art Gallery, $48.95)

This process-oriented “bookwork” culls images from the files and archives of Micah Lexier. A “thirty years in the making” project, the publication includes newly-discovered drawings from 1980 to 2012 that reveal the artist’s process and approach.

“Animals with Sharpies” (Drawn & Quarterly, $16.95)

A second petit livre from former Royal Art Lodge founding members Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber, “Animals with Sharpies” brings together a mix of both new and old paintings that explore the absurd, hilarious, twee, and poignant sharpie messages of the animal kingdom.

Click here for a sneak peek of the books.