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The Best Gift Tips from ArtMag
Wearable art, the Party Survival Kit and the greatest Christmas record of all time – a very personal selection of gifts that are bound to bring people joy on Christmas. The ArtMag team presents their favorite presents.
||Sara Bernshausen, Deutsche Guggenheim
Deutsche Guggenheim Edition No 49: Julie Mehretu: Untitled (Grey Area) For someone very special: Julie Mehretu's print Untitled (Grey Area). The edition has an interesting genesis. While the artist was working on her commissioned work for the Deutsche Guggenheim, two printing plates emerged for a folder supporting the Obama Victory Fund. Artists such as Jasper Johns and John Baldessari also took part in the project. But only one plate was used for the folder, and Julie Mehretu dedicated the second one to the Deutsche Guggenheim as Edition No. 49. It is a dynamic work between figuration and abstraction that was produced by the grand seigneur of printmaking, Gemini G.E.L. With an almost tactile quality, the plate is stunningly beautiful.
Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, until January 6, 2010 €1,400, thereafter €1,900
Thomas Demand Postcard Set
For small budgets: Thomas Demand's postcards accompanying his retrospective at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Some of the motifs in the exhibition appeared as simple postcards in A5 format and, spiced up, make an excellent gift – a world of paper on paper.
€2 per card, Museumsshop Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin
Andrea Bellini: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Gallerists But Were Afraid to Ask
Paperback instead of coffee-table format: For Everything…, Andrea Bellini, Director of the Artissima in Turin, talked with 51 influential gallerists of the young and middle-aged generation about successes, defeats, the crisis and art. An insider's view of the gallery business. Fascinating!
JRP|Ringier Kunstverlag, £7 / $15
The Films of Alexander Calder
Alexander Calder in his element: As a circus director, the sculptor has animals made of wood, wire, fabric and rubber dance – and in the process an old man transforms into a big boy. A wonderful DVD for adults and children alike.
La magie Calder, DVD, Les Films du Paradoxe, Paris, €24
Ostheimer Wooden Toys
Whether it's a crèche, a farm, a lion or a squirrel: there's a Christmas gift for everyone, from decoration buffs to children, at Ostheimer Wooden Toys.
Achim Drucks, ArtMag
Marc Brandenburg Decorative Wall Plate
The Marc Brandenburg editions demonstrate that decorative wall plates are not only something for grandmothers. Two of the self-portraits drawn by the Berlin artist were transferred onto a Rosenthal plate from the series TAC1 designed by Walter Gropius at the end of the 1960s. Even black, gray and white can be truly psychedelic.
Marc Brandenburg, O.T. I & O.T. II, 2007 / 2008, Lumas, €190
Everybody should have at least one white vase – ideally made of matte Biscuit Porcelain. The coolest specimens were produced in the 1960s and 70s, when companies such as Hutschenreuther and Kaiser created vases in amazing shapes and jazzed up their surfaces with Op-Art motifs, clam or ammonite structures, or stylized horse tails. Extremely posh even without flowers.
From flea markets or retro shops
F.C. Gundlach: The Photographic Work
A journey through three decades of German fashion and mentality history. In his fashion photographs, F. C. Gundlach combines reduced forms and cool elegance with original image creations. At the same time, the photographer transports the zeitgeist of the era of the German economic miracle as well as that of the societal upheavals of the 1960s and 70s. The opulent volume contains his best photos of chic ladies, mod girls, as well as a gorgeous young Romy Schneider.
Steidl Verlag, €49,90
The Marchesa Casati – Portraits of a Muse
She was one of the most extravagant women of the 20th century. Marchesa Casati (1881-1957) squandered millions on extravagant parties at her Venetian palazzo, which today houses the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. At night, she strolled through the lagoon city walking leopards on diamond-studded leashes, and she preferred live snakes to necklaces. Gabriele D'Annunzio's lover had portraits taken of her by Augustus John, Man Ray and Cecil Beaton, while Fortuny and Erté created spectacular robes for her. Casati lived according to the motto: "I want to be a living work of art." And she doubtless succeeded. A new illustrated book presents the divine Marchesa.
Abrams Books, $50.00
Lotte Reiniger: The Adventure of Prince Achmed
The first long animated film, made back in 1926, has lost nothing of its appeal today. The poetic beauty of Lotte Reiniger's compelling silhouettes still mesmerizes viewers.
DVD with extensive bonus material, Absolut Medien, approx. €19
Nico: Chelsea Girl
In a deep, cool voice Nico sings songs by Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, John Cale and Lou Reed. Stylish melancholy at its best.
CD, Universal, approx. €8
Britta Färber, Deutsche Bank Art
Ben Lewis: The Great Contemporary Art Bubble The British critic's documentation of the art market boom and its abrupt end is as instructive as it is amusing. His "Art Safaris" are also worth seeing – the way he coaxes Maurizio Cattelan out of his shell is unforgettable.
Via Ben Lewis.tv, £14.99 / $24.00
Martin Liebscher: One for All
A very special coffee-table book: One and the same man in every situation – Liebscher in front of and behind the bar, Liebscher rowing, an entire Liebscher orchestra. Martin Liebscher knows only one motif – himself. The photo artist is simply one for all. His latest work was awarded the German Photo Book Prize. A Collector's Edition is also available.
Hatje Cantz, subscription price: €248, Collector's Edition: €1,600
Gas Lighter Made in China
If James Bond had to buy a gas lighter, he would choose this stylish piece from China. A veritable ready-made – brings oomph to the kitchen and works perfectly!
OK Versand, €12.50
Thomas Bayrle Shirt
It wasn't until 2009 that the rest of the world knew what was already common knowledge in Frankfurt: the city on the river Main is the cradle of German Pop Art. It was here that Peter Roehr and Thomas Bayrle showed how mass-media images could be transformed into terrific, absolutely topical art. If you want to demonstrate this on your own body, simply throw on the Bayrle shirt with the cup pattern from 1968.
Cups Edition / Cups 1968/2008, Texte zur Kunst, €245
Postcard Set from Parkett
A great postcard set was brought out accompanying the Parkett show at the MoMA: a box filled with 170 cards. The postcards picture editions, objects and prints that have been made for the legendary magazine since 1984. A trip through 25 years of contemporary art.
Parkett Collaborations & Editions since 1984, $39
The TV series with "elec-trickery". For those who have had enough of art, Catweazle is just the right thing. The offbeat magician and his toad Touchwood are an unbeatable pair. Very special and freaky. I love it!!!
Network DVD, £37.57
Party Survival Kit
Perfect for the morning after a late night – for New Year's Day at the latest. The Greek cult cosmetic label Korres provided its Party Survival Kit with useful items such as an invigorating shower gel, dermatologically correct eye cream, and lemon chewing gum.
Oliver Koerner von Gustorf, ArtMag
Jacky Klein: Grayson Perry
I adore Grayson Perry! And of course also this first monograph, which finally pays tribute to him as one of today's most important artists. Since he won the Turner Prize in 2003, showing up at the ceremony wearing a babydoll cress with red pumps, Perry has been a media star in Great Britain, but to the general public elsewhere he has been primarily regarded as a quirky transvestite ceramicist. With over 300 illustrations, this volume provides an overview of 25 years of Perry's work, which investigates universal themes, including class affiliation, sex, violence, religions, folklore and occultism. With his autobiographically inspired vases, sculptures, wall hangings and drawings, Perry not only questions the boundaries between academic art and "outsider art", but also social hierarchies. The book is a super-posh, revolutionary adventure. Illuminating!
Thames & Hudson, 39,90 €
Feu de Bois Scented Candle
I didn't like scented candles, until I became acquainted with Feu de Bois. Now I understand all the gallery owners and supermodels who light these candles sitting in their hotel rooms lonely and exhausted. The candles fill the room with the odor of firewood and autumn forests and make you feel as though you have returned home after a long hike. The best present for friends who have everything they need.
Dyptique, approx. €50
Dorothy Iannone: (Ta)Rot Pack
This lovingly designed edition is based on a card game that the American artist Dorothy Iannone created between 1968 and 1969 when she cohabited with Dieter Roth in Germany, France and Iceland. Showing everyday scenes from the life of the artist couple, it illustrates myriad aspects of their relationship. One of the most beautiful declarations of love of the 20th century.
New Museum Store, New York, $50
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays
Alongside Andy Warhol's From A to B and Back Again this is the best life coaching book there is. The American thinker should be read more, in Europe in particular. A perfect gift for people who have to make difficult decisions or who are apprehensive about taking their own path. I especially recommend the essays Circles and Self Reliance.
A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
Wrapping and unwrapping presents is no fun if the appropriate music is lacking. So what is a better pre-Christmas gift than the best Christmas record of all time, by Phil Spector. The album, which came out in 1963, brings together stars such as The Ronettes, Darlene Love and The Crystals. Immersing popular evergreens like Frosty the Snowman and I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus in Spector's typical "wall of sound", it transforms the living room into a sugarcoated Christmas world – ring-a-ling-dong-ding!
CD, Sony Music, 2009, approx. €22
Julia Magnus, Deutsche Bank Art
Emma Magenta: Common Cold Artkerchief
Because no nose should be without a copy of the handkerchief edition during the cold season.
Tate Online Shop, £19,57
Free admittance to 33 selected Frankfurt museums for one year. From dinosaurs in the Senckenberg Museum to dancing rats at the Städel – you can see whatever you want to.
The Cambodian garment for all occasions. It can be used as a head covering, a scarf, a carrying bag or a beach towel. Via Indochine Mermaid
The ultimate shoe, of which many people like to have a second pair in the wardrobe. Especially when individual wishes regarding model, color and laces are heeded.
Chocolate from BITTER & ZART
Because what's more delicious than chocolate? It’s always worth paying a visit to the small Frankfurt chocolate shop BITTER & ZART, which leaves no chocolate wish unfulfilled. And if you need a quick chocolate fix and don’t have time to visit the shop, you can order the products online.
Via BITTER & ZART
Maria Morais, ArtMag
Thomas Eggerer: The Terrors of all Things Liquid
A integral component of my annual Christmas gift research are the editions of Texte zur Kunst (Texts on Art). The inexpensive artist editions include works by artists from Vito Acconci to Heimo Zobernig. This year, I would just as soon put Thomas Eggerer's The Terrors of All Things Liquid (2005) under the Christmas tree for myself. His silkscreen alluding to hippiedom and alternative lifestyles reflects the longing for utopias that arises anew in every generation.
Texte zur Kunst, €245
Ernst H. Gombrich: A Little History of the World
Ernst H. Gombrich's A Little History of the World is an all-time classic of art literature. The lively, image-rich language of this outstanding art historian hugely impressed me back in my student days. I discovered this little masterpiece much too late, a work that with great lightness describes the dawning of new eras with their characteristic personalities in an etermely lively and entertaining way. A must, not only for young readers.
Yale Press $14.95
Sonic Youth Poster
One of my very favorite long-running bands is Sonic Youth. For decades, their music stood out in my small collection of 1980s records. With solid taste and an affinity for art, they always engaged artists to do their record covers that I discovered myself shortly thereafter: Mike Kelley, Raymond Pettibon, Richard Prince. So it is no surprise that this autumn in Berlin my attention was caught by a poster that very tastefully announced a Sonic Youth Concert. Here, too, the New York band splashed out: The designers of the poster stem from the artist and graphic designer pool of the young Galerie Bongout. The poster, which costs only €20, offers you the unique opportunity of giving a rare collector's item of tomorrow as a gift today.
Ellsworth Kelly: Thumbing Through the Folder
In addition to socks and perfume, a good biography also belongs under the Christmas tree. The reminiscences of Ellsworth Kelly that have just been published are a surprise in two respects. First, Kelly, now well over 80, talks in a pleasantly refreshing way about his work and his encounters with teachers and fellow artists, including Max Beckmann or Brancusi. And second, the lovingly prepared overpainted and collaged postcards that accompany the text make this little book a veritable reading adventure.
Verlag Walther König, €24.80