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Bound and Flogged: human rights, "hidden" children, and Alain de Botton on why art is really good for you

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BEST "UNFINISHED" PHOTOBOOK OF THE WEEK: Hidden Identities

Hidden Identities Unfinished documents part of an ongoing project with Hope and Homes for Children, an international charity that works to prevent the breakdown of families and to ensure children grow up in a loving environment. The charity’s cofounder, Mark Cook, invited London-based photographer Yvonne De Rosa to meet some of the Bosnian and Romanian orphans he was working with in his attempt to transition them from “hidden identities” to respected and recognized human beings. Her photographs powerfully communicate the strength of character these children have developed: their sense of personal pride, community spirit and human kindness. 

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BEST DESIGN MONOGRAPH BOOK OF THE WEEK: Shiro Kuramata

Against the backdrop of Japan’s turbulent history from the 30s to 90s, Deyan Sudjic, director of the design museum in London, tells the story of Shiro Kuramata’s life. A truly exceptional designer of furniture and interiors, many of Kuramata’s prized, poetic and unique pieces are still collected by the MoMA and the V&A. Presented in two volumes with a specially designed acrylic slipcase, this monograph features all of Kuramata’s work in never-before-published photographs and drawings.

 

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BEST POLITICAL PORTRAITS BOOK OF THE WEEK: Justice

Known for her character studies of persons both in and out of the public eye, Mariana Cook’s latest collection introduces us to some of the women and men who are the faces of the human rights revolution. Cook traveled the world to photograph and interview her subjects, and the accompanying texts—some written by the subjects themselves—share their insights into the nature and importance of human rights. Among them former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the 39th American President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. Through them we are reminded of the power of a single individual to transform the world.  

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BEST ART CRITICISM BOOK OF THE WEEK: Art as Therapy

A new collaboration between Alain de Botton, and philosophical art historian John Armstrong, asks the question ‘What is art for?’ Packed with 150 examples of outstanding art, architecture and design, Art as Therapy seeks to help us develop a deeper understanding of art and of ourselves in equal measure—chapters on Love, Nature, Money and Politics show how art helps with common difficulties like finding happiness, and coming to terms with mortality.

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BEST ARCHITECTURAL MONOGRAPH OF THE WEEK: Eduardo Souto de Moura

This definitive monograph of the acclaimed, prolific Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura features 100 projects completed over 35 years, including his best known projects such as the stadium in Braga, Portugal and the Paula Rego Museum, near Lisbon. Also included are texts by the 2011 Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner himself, providing an invaluable insight into his creative process. 

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