November Book Bag: from Bridget Riley's insightful drawings and a Light and Space trailblazer to critic Robert Storr's latest musings

Our roundup of the latest art publications

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Untitled Study, 1963 Bridget Riley, 2021

Untitled Study, 1963 Bridget Riley, 2021

Bridget Riley, Working Drawings, texts by Lucy Askew and Gene Baro, The Bridget Riley Art Foundation and Thames & Hudson, 296pp, £45.00 (hb)

This volume of drawings by the UK artist Bridget Riley gives insights into her practice via a selection of more than 150 drawings, colour analyses, notations, scale studies, and cartoons. Riley says in the foreword that the studies and working drawings were brought together in response to the “question, spoken or unspoken: How did these paintings come about? And, what is the process that gives rise to them?” Rare works such as childhood sketches, and drawings made during and following her studies at Goldsmiths’ College and the Royal College of Art also feature. Important early works include Study for The Raising of Lazarus (1949-52) and Female Figure in Movement (1949-52).

Sybil & Cyril, Cutting Through Time, Jenny Uglow, Faber & Faber, 416pp, £20.00 (hb)

This biography gives a comprehensive overview of the lives and work of Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews who looked to Vorticism and Futurism in their vibrant depictions of men and machines during the 1920s and 1930s. Uglow looks at the achievements of this pioneering pair known for their “dynamic, modernist linocuts, streamlined, full of movement and brilliant colour, summing up the hectic interwar years”, says a press statement. The pair showed together at their mentor Claude Flight’s The First Exhibition of British Lino-Cuts at the Redfern Gallery in London, and jointly designed posters for the London Passengers Transport Board from 1929 to 1937 (the duo used the composite signature of Andrew Power).

The Empress of Iran, Farah Pahlavi. The Farah Pahlavi Foundation was responsible for thousands of orphans. Personal collection of Farah Pahlavi

1,001 Days: Memoirs of an Empress, Farah Pahlavi, Vanishing Pictures Press, 176pp, £25.00 (hb)

The new publishing house Vanishing Pictures Press has reprinted the memoirs of the Empress of Iran, Farah Pahlavi, which were written in 1976 three years before the Islamic Revolution. The biography gives insights into key episodes such as her plans for the 1977 opening of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art which reopened earlier this year after a two-year renovation. “She broke barriers as Iran’s first crowned female sovereign and the first woman crowned anywhere in the Muslim world. And she was photographed by Andy Warhol in 1976—he turned it into one of his iconic silkscreen portraits,” a press statement says.

Helen Pashgian, Untitled, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin

Helen Pashgian, Spheres and Lenses, essay by John Yau, Radius Books, 172pp, from $65.00 (hb)

Helen Pashgian is an overlooked pioneer and pre-eminent member of the 1960s Light and Space movement in Southern California, who trained as an art historian specialising in the works of Johannes Vermeer. In his introductory essay, John Yau outlines why Pashgian remains “under-recognised”, saying: “Pashgian makes work that is portable and, at times, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. By now we ought to recognise that size should not be equated with ambition, but I am afraid that we still cling to outmoded values regarding monuments and the monumental.” This publication is billed as the first survey of the artist’s sculptures, examining her work in three sections: Spheres, Lenses and Timelines.

Robert Storr: Writings on Art 2006-2021, edited by Francesca Pietropaolo, Heni, 720pp, £35.00 (hb)

The book, the second in a two-volume anthology, brings together 51 texts including articles, essays, reviews, and columns dating from 2006 to the present. Crucially, the volume includes Storr's texts on 45 international artists such as Carrie Mae Weems, David Hammons, Jenny Holzer, Jasper Johns, and Gerhard Richter. Francesca Pietropaolo, the publication editor, says: “These selected pieces, featured in chronological order, represent the most important writings he has produced in this time frame, engaging with multifarious genres.” Storr says: “Most of these essays address art with which I have had problems, the sorting out of which is the true subject of my writing, as well as the source of my pleasure in it.”

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