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Art Books

Ming Smith: An Aperture Monograph

With a signature “blurriness,” Smith’s subjects are often difficult to make out or identify, effectively denying the gaze. In doing so, her photographs act as sites of complicated indexicality, in which Black individuals are able to escape the confines of their own visibility.

Maryanne Amacher’s Selected Writings and Interviews

Selected and contextualized by composer Bill Dietz and historical musicologist Amy Cimini, these writings are drawn almost exclusively from previously unpublished archival materials, spanning excerpted scores, correspondence with the artist’s mentor and collaborator John Cage, grant proposals (too frequently, rejected), and notes from her self-guided research. Dramatically expanding the available literature on an influential yet little-known experimental composer and sound artist, this volume offers insight into the realist poetics and technical rigor of the artist’s work.

Nozomi Yamashita’s Photo Zines

Using collaged inkjet printed images, tracing paper, and embroidered beaded felt, the artist creates an object that reads as both amateurish and skillfully crafted—qualities often set at odds. Yamashita elevates these private practices to the public practice of publishing, making space for the concerns and desires of girls and young women.

Bahia Shehab and Haytham Nawar’s A History of Arab Graphic Design

Easily the best introduction to the history of modern Arab visual culture on the market today, this new book lacks the jargon of exhibition catalogues, leans heavily on visual sources, and dismisses some previously held assumptions about Arab art.

Antonia Contro and Elizabeth Bradfield’s Theorem

The words are spare, surrounded by white space, and the artwork—a range of delicate line drawings, colorful paintings, and layered collages—works in tandem with the text to build a world that highlights both aloneness and interdependence. It wrestles with autobiography and the ethics of storytelling, using the tidy, measurable aspects of geometry as a counterpoint for the chaotic, overwhelming details of lived experience.

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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2021

All Issues