Recommended reading – Matisse at Tate Modern

Here is the first in a new series of posts called Recommended reading, which offers a curated list of Thames & Hudson titles relevant to selected cultural events. In the first instalment, we focus on Tate Modern’s new exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, which opens today.

Henri Matisse Jazz

Matisse Jazz

Jazz is regarded as one of Matisse’s greatest achievements. By 1947, Matisse – in his seventies and suffering poor health – much preferred the simple, fluid act of cutting forms from painted paper to drawing or painting. Matisse Jazz shows the cut-outs in their full glory, counterpointed by Matisse’s own notes in ‘rough’ form, written with a paintbrush in looping letters. Available for £250.00 from the Thames & Hudson website.

World of Art: Matisse


For the perfect concise overview of Henri Matisse, read our World of Art title Matisse, a richly illustrated study in which Lawrence Gowing takes us through Matisse’s career, assessing his influence on the art that has followed him and looking closely at Matisse’s own achievements. Gowing’s detailed discussion of individual works reveals the subtlety and complexity of this great master. Available for £8.95 from the Thames & Hudson website

Paris Between the Wars

For an overview of the Parisian cultural and intellectual boom of the 20s and 30s, try Paris Between the Wars. Packed with evocative illustrations, this book is a vibrant kaleidoscope of the city of light at its dazzling peak. Available for £28.00 from the Thames & Hudson website.

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is on at Tate Modern from 17 April – 7 September 2014. Watch a trailer below:

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Wally Olins CBE 1930 – 2014

From Wally’s editor and friend Jamie Camplin: ‘Wally was the human voice of brands for well over a generation. Algorithms out; passion and judgment in: the best way to make the future.’

From Wally’s agency, Saffron Consultants: ‘With immense sadness we announce the passing of our Chairman Wally Olins, who died on the 14th April after a short illness.

Anyone who ever met Wally will remember him well and those of us who knew him well will remember him forever. A man who lived four lifetimes in one, he was insatiably curious, infectiously charming and occasionally infuriatingly impatient!

A genuine pioneer, Wally was one of the leading individuals that helped carve out the business of branding – he would always say he did it ‘with colleagues’ but those of us that were lucky enough to have been his colleagues know that this is only partly true.

Oddly for a man who was so defined by his prolific talent, he will perhaps be remembered most for his incredible generosity and optimism. Whether advising a young student looking for advice on getting ahead in branding or advising presidents on ways to enhance their nation’s brand, Wally was always willing to give more than he expected to receive.

Incredibly, at 83 Wally was still able to manage to go out on a high with the release of his latest book ‘Brand New, published by Thames & Hudson’ only last week. Full of his characteristic wit, insight and humanity it’s arguably his best yet.
We miss him tremendously. And will continue to be inspired by him every day.’

Here is our interview with Wally discussing his latest publication Brand New:

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Thomas Girst – The Duchamp Dictionary

To mark this week’s release of The Duchamp Dictionary, here is a brief Q&A with author Thomas Girst. Read on to find out what motivated Thomas to write the book and his hopes
for the future of Duchamp appreciation.

The Duchamp Dictionary

Why have you written this book now?

Duchamp is so much more layered, wiser, and funnier than what much academic writing and art world small talk may have you believe. The book is there to enable everyone to navigate through his life and work in the most entertaining and enthralling way possible. This is an art-historical and spellbinding page-turner like never before.

The Duchamp Dictionary

How should people interact with the book?

Any way they like. The book exists solely through its reader. They are at complete liberty to enter Duchamp’s universe via more than 200 entries. Everybody chooses his or her own path through the book. This is what makes it so exciting.

The Duchamp Dictionary

What was your motivation for writing The Duchamp Dictionary?

Everybody has a mission on this planet. Duchamp stays alive through those that write about and exhibit him. He is a great and highly intelligent presence. One learns a lot about life by delving into his universe. So I wanted to pass on my own enthusiasm for Duchamp and give as many people as possible the opportunity to experience his life and work the way I have.

The Duchamp Dictionary

Finally, how did you become a writer?

Through perpetual curiosity, endless enthusiasm for the world and hard work.

The Duchamp DictionaryThe Duchamp Dictionary explores Marcel Duchamp’s life and work in more than 200 alphabetical entries – from alchemy and anatomy to Warhol and windows, via the Bicycle Wheel, chess and the fourth dimension.

Available for £16.95 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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Understanding menswear design

In this introduction to his new book The Fashion Resource Book: Men, fashion lecturer Robert Leach highlights the importance of historical research in designing menswear.

pages from The Fashion Resource Book: Men

‘Men’s fashion operates within a much tighter framework than womenswear; there are, generally, no huge concepts or particularly Avant Garde silhouettes; it is much more rooted in reality. The majority of menswear design is inspired by core references: those of sportswear, military uniform and tailoring.

pages from The Fashion Resource Book: Men

Menswear could be said to be made up of archetypal garments- the bomber jacket, the peacoat, the trench coat, the field jacket, the duffle coat etc., whilst womenswear for the main part, isn’t – barring, perhaps, the little black dress. Each of these archetypal garments is discussed in depth in the book; both the history and the way modern designers play with the DNA of the garments.

pages from The Fashion Resource Book: Men

Men’s jackets, coats, trousers, shirts and waistcoats of today would be recognisable to our forebears, whereas a lot of womenswear would be entirely alien. The suit, as we know it today, came into being In the late 18th century, when Beau Brummel, renowned dandy and friend of royalty, led the trend for matching coats and trousers. By the time of the Industrial Revolution the men in the Western world were almost always in black suits with white starched shirts and stiff collars. Social standing in dress disappeared to a degree, although the initiated could easily discern the difference between rich and poor by the cut and the cloth of their respective suits.

pages from The Fashion Resource Book: Men

Small detail changes drive menswear forward, but authenticity is key. Contemporary Menswear design is driven by obsession to detail, reinvention and subversion of the traditional, and sensitive attention to fabrication, scale and proportion. As well as the authenticity of detailing, function is also often tantamount in menswear design.’

The Fashion Resource Book: MenA comprehensive guide to the process of visual research for men’s fashion design, it shows today’s designers how helpful and relevant the history of clothing and fashion is to their work. The book provides practical guidance in formulating innovative ideas.

Available for £18.95 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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The five most important exhibitions you’ve (probably) never heard of

As museums around the UK celebrate Twitter’s #MuseumWeek, Jens Hoffman sheds light on five relatively unknown exhibitions from the last twenty years that have had a major impact on the art world and the practice of curating.

This Is The Show Exhibition 1994

Maria Roosen, Bed, installation, 1994. Courtesy SMAK, photo Dirk Pauwels

This is the Show and the Show is Many Things

This is the Show and the Show is Many Things was a 1994 exhibition curated by Bart de Baere at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent, Belgium. The intention was to present a series of ongoing ‘conversations’ among 13 artists. The art in the exhibition consisted of physical works, ephemeral interventions, and installations, all unified into a single exhibition that intentionally did not distinguish any one artist’s individual work from the rest. Artists continued to contribute to the exhibition over the two months of its run, and thus the exhibition was constantly in flux. This is the Show and the Show is Many Things inspired a sense of confusion, bewilderment, and mystification.

Jason Rhoades, P.I.G. (Piece in Ghent), 1994

Jason Rhoades, P.I.G. (Piece in Ghent), 1994. Image courtesy the Estate of Jason Rhoades, SMAK, Hauser & Wirth, and David Zwirner. Photo by Dirk Pauwels


The 1999 exhibition Laboratorium, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Barbara Vanderlinden, was an interdisciplinary project that involved collaborations between artists and scientists in Antwerp, Belgium. The resulting show, presented at the Provinciaal Museum voor Fotografie in Antwerp, offered visitors an overview of laboratory concepts and an installation of images, texts, and objects in the space, where the organizers had set up offices for themselves as a kind of curatorial laboratory. At workstations in the exhibition space, visitors could carry out experiments of their own. Various other workstations were dispersed throughout the city, mostly in abandoned office buildings.

Bruno Latour, Theatre of Proof, 1999

Bruno Latour, Theatre of Proof, 1999. Image courtesy Armin Linke, the artist, and Air de Paris, Paris. Photo by Armin Linke

Places with a Past

Places with a Past: New Site-Specific Art in Charleston was an exhibition curated by Mary Jane Jacob that took place at a number of public sites throughout Charleston, South Carolina, in 1991. These kinds of public urban exhibitions were already occurring frequently in Europe (such as Sculpture Projects Münster), but Places with a Past was the first of its type in the United States, moving into new territory not only with its site-specific character but also with its ambition to participate in broad sociopolitical discourses, which the European exhibitions did not do.

David Hammon, America Street, 1991

David Hammon, America Street, 1991. Image courtesy L&M Arts, Venice, CA, the artist, and Spoleto Festival USA. Photo by John McWilliams

In a Different Light

What exactly is a lesbian or gay aesthetic sensibility? The 1995 exhibition In a Different Light at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum attempted to visualize an answer, acknowledging all along that that answer would be extraordinarily elusive and fluid. Curated by Lawrence Rinder with the artist Nayland Blake, the show included a wide range of artworks in multiple media produced over the preceding seven decades; in total there were more than 120 artists presenting over 200 works. It was the first attempt by a major museum to thematize an exhibition around how queer culture has been manifested in 20th-century American art.

In a Different Light

Installation view. Image courtesy University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Cocido y Crudo

Cocido y Crudo (‘The Raw and the Cooked’) was curated by Dan Cameron at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid in 1995. It included a total of 55 artists from 20 different countries working in a diverse range of media, including video, photography, painting, and performance-based work. The show’s title referenced the seminal book by the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss about the shared structural elements of myths throughout the world. Inspired by Lévi-Strauss’s mission to discover similarities and universalities across cultures, Cocido y Crudo attempted to frame its diverse works as simultaneously local and universal – their shared qualities transcending the specificities of the individual artists’ identities, sexual preferences, and socioeconomic origins.

Wim Delvoye, Madrid, 1994.

Wim Delvoye, Madrid, 1994. Image courtesy Studio Wim Delvoye, Javier Campano and Dan Cameron

Show TimeShow Time, by Jens Hoffman, is the first book to explore the radical shifts that have taken place in the practice of curating contemporary art over the last twenty years.
Available for £29.95 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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Sergio Larrain: Vagabond Photographer shortlisted for prestigious award

We’re delighted to announce that our book Sergio Larrain: Vagabond Photographer has been shortlisted for the 2014 Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards.

Sergio Larrian

Established in 1985 and in partnership with the World Photography Organisation for the fourth consecutive year, the KKF Book Awards are the United Kingdom’s leading prizes for photography and moving image books. The winners, who will be revealed at the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony on 30 April, will share a £10,000 prize.

This year’s shortlisted books will also be included as part of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House from 1-18 May.

The judges also recognised and highly commended Twentieth-Century Color Photographs: Identification and Care.

The shortlist has been announced on the World Photography Organisation’s website.

Sergio LarrainSergio Larrain published only four books during his lifetime, and a complete monograph of his work has never previously been put together. This book fills that space with a selection of more than 200 photographs from throughout his career, alongside a selection of letters, drawings and handwritten texts that reflect Larrain’s compassionate vision of the world.

Available for £65.00 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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Richard III in court – Mike Pitts

Last week Mike Pitts, author of Digging For Richard III (to be published in May 2014), spent one and a half days at the Royal Courts of Justice covering the judicial review of the reburial of Richard III’s remains – here is an extract from his website.


It is 10.30.

‘Court rises.’

The three judges enter from the back. We all stand and bow, and then we sit, except one. Olivier begins.

He introduces the parties and proposes a summary of their positions, ‘I hope fairly’. The Plantagenet Alliance believes the licence issued by the Ministry of Justice, under which Richard III’s remains were excavated, was inadequate to the job. In such exceptional circumstances, there should have been a consultation about where the remains were to be reburied. Instead, the Secretary of State simply left the decision to Leicester University.

But almost at once, Lady Justice Hallett, flanked by her male colleagues, interrupts. She seeks clarification about the nature of the consultation the Alliance proposes.

‘We have never suggested’, says Mr Clarke, ‘and we do not suggest, a come-one come-all… that would be absurd.’

Her Lady Justice persists. Who would be consulted? English Heritage? Various churches? Distant relatives? Any other groups?

Mr Clarke refers to tab 53, bundle 12, process document October 2012, council documents… Do you say modern culture community? interjects her Lady Justice. Leicester? Are you asking for a public consultation?

Yes, says Mr Clarke… but differently weighted. Someone ‘writing in green ink from Australia’ would carry very little weight; York, Leicester, maybe more weight.

‘What form of consultation do you have in mind?’

Mr Clarke suggests something on a website.

‘What exactly are you saying?’

He continues to appear evasive. The Secretary of State for Justice did not inform himself before the decision about reburial, he replies. One way to do that is a public consultation. We are asking for the right to be consulted.

What, asks her Lady Justice, might be the consequences if you are successful? Would the licence be quashed? Or is it the failure to revisit that concerns you?

‘Substantially the latter’, says Mr Clarke.

Already, I’m puzzled. If Mr Clarke’s famed eloquence has yet to win the trust of her Lady Justice, what is Matthew Howarth thinking, sitting motionless and expressionless behind his barristers, his chin in his left hand? ‘The alliance’s lawyers will argue on Thursday,’ said his firm’s press release issued ahead of the hearing, that ‘the failure to adopt appropriate consultation was unlawful and amounted to breaches by the ministry, university and city council which should cause the licence’s terms to be quashed.’ Quashed: the word used by her Lady Justice, but now apparently largely dismissed by Mr Clarke. Was the release a ploy to confuse the enemy? Has the Alliance changed its tack? Or are barrister and solicitor not in full communication?

Read the full article on Mike Pitt’s website.

Digging For Richard IIIDigging for Richard III is the page-turning story of how his grave was found, the people behind the discovery and what it tells us. It is the first complete narrative of a project that blended passion, science, luck and detection.

Available in May for £18.95 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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The question of Richard III’s remains

Today the judicial review into the reburial of King Richard III, whose remains were discovered in a car park in Leicester in 2012, will begin at the High Court in London – catch up here. Mike Pitts, author of our upcoming book Digging For Richard III, shares some of his thoughts on the issue in this extract from an article on his website.

Leicester car park


There seems to lie behind the debate a sense that if someone can claim to have ‘found’ Richard, they can determine the fate of his remains. That cannot be right. We should all be able to agree on this. As some critics of the Leicester team, and of plans to bury Richard’s remains in Leicester, have said, ‘finders are not keepers’. In English and Welsh law, there is no property in the human corpse. On this basis, nobody owns the king’s remains – or the right to say what should happen to them. Who ‘found’ them is a relatively trivial matter.


No one can claim special powers over ancient human remains beyond the law and publicly agreed principles. No individual had authority to ‘sanction’ (or otherwise control) research on Richard’s remains, or to be nominated as ‘custodian’. And as the university argued in a bizarre twist late last year, Leicester City Council did not have control of Richard’s remains simply because they were found in its car park.

Leicester visit attraction


What makes Richard III’s genome – the DNA that defined him, not just the little bit that identified him – of particular interest is the fact that we know who he was. Because of this, thanks to genealogical records, we can trace living people with precisely identifiable relationships to him – of whom there are potentially millions, more or less close – whose DNA can also be sequenced. That means, for the first time, it will be possible to see how genes have evolved over several generations, and, to a certain extent, to be able to consider those changes in the contexts of personal lives and wider society. That is an extraordinary thing, with unknown but possibly significant value to our understanding of modern health and diseases, and wider issues of evolution.

Read the full article on Mike Pitt’s website.

Digging For Richard IIIDigging for Richard III is the page-turning story of how his grave was found, the people behind the discovery and what it tells us. It is the first complete narrative of a project that blended passion, science, luck and detection.

Available in May for £18.95 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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VIDEO: Roger Ballen’s Asylum of the Birds – full clip

After much anticipation, Roger Ballen’s film for Asylum of the Birds is now online! Directed by Ben Crossman, the film documents a journey to the core of darkness as Ballen enters his unforgettable world as never seen on film before. It is timeless, psychologically powerful, and masterfully composed.

More information can be found at

Asylum of the BirdsAsylum of the Birds is the much-awaited new monograph from Roger Ballen, one of the most revered and original image-makers of today. This new body of work extends the artistic trajectory charted across Roger Ballen’s three previous books – Outland, Shadow Chamber and Boarding House. Available for £32.00 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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Creating Derek Jarman’s Sketchbooks

As part of the #Jarman2014 celebrations, Thames & Hudson’s Senior Production Controller Ginny Liggitt will join the authors of Derek Jarman’s Sketchbooks for a panel discussion about the production the book. Read about some of Ginny’s key experiences below.

Example of the translucent quality of Derek Jarman's sketchbooks

Ginny Liggitt: ‘For me there were two aspects of the production process that I found particularly interesting. To capture every possible detail of Derek Jarman’s beautifully decorated sketchbooks, we decided to team up with the repro house, who have specialist portable photographic equipment in the form of a high end medium format camera with a digital back.

Together, we spent a couple of days at the BFI Archive in Berkhamsted, where most of Derek Jarman’s sketchbooks are expertly preserved for future generations. Supported by a bespoke frame, the camera was hooked up to a colour-calibrated monitor, which allowed us to assess the images there and then and reshoot if necessary. The benefit of working this way meant that the amount of subsequent repro work was minimal. The camera had an incredibly sensitive focus and the image files contained a huge amount of information, resulting in beautifully sharp pictures that captured the finesse of Jarman’s handwriting and even the subtle, translucent quality of many of the pages (see example above).

Creating the cover of the deluxe edition of Derek Jarman’s Sketchbooks was also an interesting and challenging job. The brief required that the cover mimic the blue cloth and gold leaf artwork Derek created on his My Blue Heaven sketchbook. Originally we wanted it blocked in gold foil, but blocking proved to be too crude a method to reproduce the subtleties of the gold square, and applying gold leaf by hand would have been prohibitively costly. We also couldn’t print it directly onto the cloth because gold ink would never be shiny enough; we needed something that would work with the real cloth cover of the book.

Derek Jarman's My Blue Heaven sketchbook

In the end we found the best solution was to reproduce the artwork separately and set it into a debossed recess on the case. The repro house took an image of the original cover artwork and cleverly separated out the layers, allowing us greater accuracy in the reproduction. We then had to source an appropriate gold paper whose colour and brilliance was true to the original artwork. After a good deal of experimentation and a few compromises (this technique prevented us from reproducing the coarse edges around the original artwork), we found the resulting effect impressive and authentic. All in a day’s work for a production controller!’

Derek Jarman's Sketchbooks deluxe edition

Join Ginny Liggitt, Stephen Farthing and Ed Webb-Ingall at Waterstones Piccadilly for a free talk (booking strongly advised) on 6 March at 7pm.

Derek Jarman's SketchbooksThere are few more complete examples of an artist’s record of their own life than the intimately detailed and beautifully produced books that Derek Jarman created throughout his career. This book collates the best of Jarman’s sketchbooks to reveal his film-making process in more depth than ever before.

Available for £28.00 from the Thames & Hudson website.

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