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Treat yo’ bookshelf

Here’s our round-up of top art book picks to add to your library this holiday season!

Holiday books 2021

Image courtesy of AGO

What better way to get to know an artist, an exhibition, a piece of art history or an artwork than through a book? More than just coffee table reads, art books are insightful, eye-opening and intriguing in their own ways. As we approach the holidays and say goodbye to another unprecedented year, we are sharing some of our favourite art book picks to have on your bookshelf. From AGO’s beautifully produced exhibition catalogues to must-read art history books, here’s a curated selection of books that you can now get from shopAGO.

Toronto Graffiti

Toronto Graffiti: The human behind the wall

Toronto Graffiti
Matthew Wong, Blue View

Matthew Wong, Blue View

Matthew Wong
Impressionism in the Age of Industry

Impressionism in the Age of Industry

Impressionism in the Age of Industry
Robert Houle, Red is Beautiful

Robert Houle, Red is Beautiful

Robert Houle
Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything In Dots And Wasn't Sorry

Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything In Dots And Wasn't Sorry

Yayoi Kusama
Fragments of Epic Memory

Fragments of Epic Memory

Fragments of Epic Memory
Flower Diary, In Which Mary Hiester Reid Paints, Travels, Marries & Opens A Door

Flower Diary, In Which Mary Hiester Reid Paints, Travels, Marries & Opens A Door

Flower Diary
Haegue Yang Emergence

Haegue Yang Emergence

Haegue Yang Emergence
Women In Art, 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired The World

Women In Art, 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired The World

Women in Art

Picasso: Painting the Blue Period 

Explore the early career of the modernist master Pablo Picasso with our fall blockbuster exhibition Picasso: Painting the Blue Period on view now until January 16, 2022. Combining art historical research, cutting-edge conservation science and rare masterpieces, it is the first of its kind in Canada. This catalogue walks you through the exhibition and re-examines Picasso’s famous Blue Period paintings, works on paper and sculpture. 

Toronto Graffiti: The human behind the wall 

Meet the faces behind Toronto’s graffiti walls in this rare book documenting the history of the street art practice in this bustling city. With stories, photos and records dating back to the early 1980s, this book is a compilation of 21 artist interviews, 1,000+ full-colour photos, maps, timelines, definition and opinion pieces. A book that is so much more than just décor. 

Matthew Wong: Blue View 

Celebrate acclaimed Chinese-Canadian painter Matthew Wong (1984-2019)’s Blue Series works with this exhibition catalogue featuring more than 60 of Wong’s deeply evocative blue paintings made between 2017 to 2019. Inviting close-looking, Wong’s paintings welcome viewers into a world of imaginary landscapes, brooding interiors and vivid still lifes. With the exhibition on view now until April 18, 2022, this catalogue is a must-see -- inside and outside the Gallery. 

Impressionism in the Age of Industry

The late 19th century saw artists like Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh paint the world around them. This illustrated book  investigates how Impressionist artists engaged and treated the topic of industry in their art. Topics include the role of women in labour, the changing Paris cityscape and demographic shift from rural to urban centers. A must-read for visual art lovers and art historians!  

Robert Houle: Red Is Beautiful 

Look through five decades of artworks by one of the most influential First Nations artists in the  contemporary art world. Blending Western abstraction, postmodernism and conceptualism with First Nations art history and techniques, Robert Houle challenges stereotypes about Indigenous aesthetics and stays independent from trends. On view starting December 3, visit Robert Houle: Red is Beautiful and don’t forget to pick up this exhibition catalogue. Preorder your copy early now. 

Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn’t Sorry

A throwback to our exhibition Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors and love for our infinity mirrored room Let’s Survive Forever, unravel the famed artist’s love for polka dots with this picture book perfect for readers of all ages. Written from Kusama’s point of view, learn about the life story behind her long-standing career as one of the most important contemporary Japanese artists of our time.

Fragments of Epic Memory 

Encounter and uncover the ins and outs of Caribbean visual culture, following emancipation to the present day. Presenting more than 200 historical photographs from AGO’s Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Art and a curation of striking artworks by contemporary transnational artists from the region and its diaspora, this is the first exhibition by the AGO Department of Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora.  Fragments of Epic Memory is on view now until February 21, 2022, and the catalogue that highlights images of the incredible works from the exhibition, along with texts by prominent writers of Caribbean descent, is available for preorders now (expected arrival January 2022). 

Flower Diary: In Which Mary Hiester Reid Paints, Travels, Marries & Opens a Door  

Take a trip through the history of painter Mary Hiester Reid from writer Molly Peacock. Best known for her stunning floral still lifes and landscapes, read about how Hiester Reid fought for her place in the art world and the choices she made to balance her career and family life. Click here for an Art in the Spotlight Zoom session with Molly Peacock about her book.  

Haegue Yang: Emergence 

Check out the multifaceted exhibition catalogue Haegue Yang: Emergence, edited by AGO curator Adelina Vlas and artist Haegue Yang, featuring contributions by Lynne Cooke and Beck Jee-sook. Explore Yang’s works from her solo exhibition at the AGO in 2020, read an array of essays that help contextualize Yang’s artistic career and generate new understandings of her transformative contributions to the field of contemporary art.  

Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World

Discover the stories and achievements of 50 notable women in the arts through bright illustrations and infographics! Covering artists from Frida Kahlo to Nampeyo, learn about female artists working across all mediums and their movements in history, statistics about women’s representation in museums and see their notable artworks

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