Robert Tanitch reviews two Art books
Andy Warhol: Giant Size (Phaidon £29.95). Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was the ultimate showman and one of the most controversial artists in the Pop world. For many of his critics he represented the triumph of publicity over art. Here were rows and rows of repeated images of Campbell soup, Kellogs corn flakes, Elvis, Marilyn, Taylor, Coca-Cola, dollar bills. “I just happen to like ordinary things,” he said. “When I paint them I do not try to make them extraordinary. I just try to paint the ordinary-ordinary.” Pop art was his way of liking things. His sheer industry is mind-boggling. He in fact called his studio The Factory and his entourage included street hustlers and drag queens. He liked porn. Warhol was hailed as the Peter Pan of 1960s decadence and the Fagin of American youth. This scrapbook is a visual biography (over 2,000 illustrations) providing a portfolio of art work, photos, ephemera, letters receipts, family snaps, press cuttings. I cannot imagine a bigger treat for his fans and the price is extremely accessible.
Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip (Phaidon £24.95). Many art lovers would leap at the opportunity to see the pyramids in Egypt, the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and the statue of David in Florence. But how many of these 500 modern works – murals, stained glasses, sculptures, installations – would they actually want to fork out money to see in situ? It is nice therefore to sit at home and be an armchair traveller and be able to look at the whole collection. There is a picture on every page with the address of its location and a brief comment. In many cases the photograph is more than enough. I am, for instance, fascinated by the boutique in the middle of the Texas desert: hermetic sculpture that forever displays Prada’s 2005 collection of shoes and handbags, but I am not going to pack my bags and head for Texas. Time and time again the book is a useful check-up on the art work that is out there and it saves you an awful lot money on travel.