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Times Critics’ Top Art Books of 2019

GREAT WOMEN ARTISTS’ (Phaidon Press Limited). The middle word of the title is wittily crossed out on the book’s cover and opening page, as if to imply that the gender of those included is irrelevant. Alphabetical order prevails; each artist is given a large color photograph, biographical information and a bit of aesthetic interpretation of the work pictured. One pleasant surprise is the number of female painters working in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. This is a “great,” immensely useful book, though opinions will vary about whether each contemporary artist included qualifies as great or is simply currently visible and marketable. Also, everyone will be able to name artists who should have been included here. (Among mine: Trisha Donnelly, Dona Nelson, Goshka Macuga and Celia Paul.) Send them to Phaidon. Help make the second edition even greater.

‘TARSILA DO AMARAL: CANNIBALIZING MODERNISM’ Edited by Adriano Pedrosa and Fernando Oliva (MASP). In this lavishly illustrated, multivoiced and comprehensive catalog, some dozen curators, critics and writers insistently create more space between the work of this singular and singularly Brazilian artist and the European influences she absorbed in Paris in the early 1920s. Factoring in Tarsila’s upper-class origins (she was always called by her first name) and Brazil’s social turmoil, they approach her work from many angles — topography, primitivism, popular culture and even contemporary performance art — in ways both precise and expansive.

‘THE POCKET: A HIDDEN HISTORY OF WOMEN’S LIVES, 1660-1900’ By Barbara Burman and Ariane FennetauxArticle source:

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