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Ryan Trecartin’s Yet
A spread from Ryan Trecartin’s new book Yet – made of 100 images from his Snapchat, Instagram and phone photosCourtesy of UCCA/Koenig Books, edited by Karen Marta and Brian Roettinger

The art books to run out and buy this month

Dazed contributor Benjamin Huseby goes green-thumbed, grumpy drivers are caught in Hackney, and sex and psychedelia team up in a new tome

Art books have many uses. Propping open doors or lifting computer monitors. Making you look intelligent in a sexy way when leaning conveniently on the table next to your bed. Or of course, as they were meant to be – tomes for inspiration and exploration that make you a better human being. Here are ten art tomes to get this month.

WEEDS & ALIENS – AN UNNATURAL HISTORY OF PLANTS

Berlin-based photographer Benjamin Huseby’s debut book, published by Torpedo Press, is an ode to ecology. His emphasis is on weeds and ignored plants he has found between his home and studio – a miniature exploration of the urban habitat. These delicate, nuanced works feel like an edgy, city version of David Attenborough’s fascination with the epic nature of the globe.

DRIVERS IN THE 1980s

Chris Dorley-Brown’s photos of grumpy drivers in Hackney in 1987, caught in traffic due to the privatisation of Rolls Royce, have been brought together in the latest book from Hoxton Mini Press, which specialises in tomes about east London. The result is an addictive dose of social commentary, with a welcome extra dash of perms and Ford Cortinas. Okay, so this one’s out in April, but take this as the ultimate heads up!

WE HAVE NEVER BEEN NEO-LIBERAL

So Zero Books doesn’t strictly do art books, but the home of well-argued essays is putting out the most influential titles about artists. A good crop is out this month, but We Have Never Been Neo-Liberal: A Manifesto for Doomed Youth is a good place to start – it’s a call to arms for a new generation to resist the concept of interest and debt.

MARTIN KIPPENBERGER: DU KOMMST AUCH NOCH IN MODE

The late, great provocateur Martin Kippenberger loved a good exhibition poster, and always considered these artworks in their own right (sometimes for shows that never even happened). Steidl brings them all together in this book and wow, they are good. Visual porn for graphics and art fans alike.

AKADEMIE X

As the price of education keeps rising (and DIY art schools continue to present intelligent alternatives to the MFA conveyor belt), Phaidon is publishing a brilliant tome with artists like Miranda July and Olafur Eliasson who all present tips, lessons and practical advice on making art. And it’s a lot cheaper than a student loan.

THE PSYCHEDELIC SEX BOOK

This book is a combination of two of the best things in the world – sex and psychedelia. Focusing on the hippy influence on men’s magazines between 1967 and 1972, there are lot of drugs, orgies and black light sexual positions in here. Mags like Groovie (what a title) juggled LSD and porn with hilarious and brilliant results. Published by the kings of smut, Taschen.

RYAN TRECARTIN: YET

The acid screech of Trecartin’s video installations is transformed into book form for his first artist book, made up of 100 images from his Snapchat, Instagram and phone photos. Published by UCCA and Koenig Books, this is going to be one of those collectable gems that everyone will want a dose of. Expect a lot more digital documentation in print form in future. 

GERMAN POP

The USA has always hogged the pop-art limelight. Britain rightfully claimed the trend started in the UK. Now it’s Germany’s turn to highlight their incredible, smart and accessible take on the movement. Artists such as Sigmar Polke, Thomas Bayrle and Uwe Lausen all feature among the 140 works in this brilliant book.

NECROPASTORAL

Joyelle McSweeney’s book on art theory and ‘ecopoetics’ should be a nice off-centre art book for those who like an essay. Writers from Georges Bataille to Wilfred Owen (a combination hard to imagine) are examined in this interesting tome, which the ever-reliable Dennis Cooper bigged up on his DCs blog.

A PEOPLE ON THE COVER

Glenn Ligon’s artist book, published by Ridinghouse, sounds incredible. A documentation of black people on 50 American book covers, it will feature graphic design, typeface and image from books by Toni Morrison, Norman Mailer and James Baldwin among others. An exciting warm-up to his Nottingham Contemporary and Tate Liverpool solo shows.