If your friends don’t like books, you need new friends. And more books, probably. Here are 12 titles fit for stuffed stockings, stacked coffee tables, fancy nightstands, and eclectic inspiration — from historical photography in fashion and journalism, to the role of typography in protest movements, the marriage of art and philanthropy, feminism behind the lens and at the drawing table, portraits of the private lives of gang members and the beauty of a landscape threatened by war, healing through sketching, enacted social critique, pop up Pop art, the moment in new African art and more.

gift art books

W Magazine: 50 Years/50 Stories (Rizzoli)

W Magazine has given cutting edge, fashion-forward photography, design, and cultural history a home in its pages and on its iconic covers since 1972. Now a glitzy new book gathers 50 favorites featuring talent radiating from both sides of the lens — from Richard Prince working out his appropriation game to Steven Meisel taking the mickey out of advertising tropes — plus zeitgeisty captures of the 70’s party scene and the supermodel canon. rizzolibookstore.com

Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest (Artbook/D.A.P.)

Culling from more than 150 years across a wide range of protest movements in the United States and around the world, Strikethrough gathers signs, posters, and ephemera showcasing the role of graphic design in galvanizing resistance — from Jenny Holzer and Corita Kent, to the Guerrilla Girls, the Paris Commune, the American labor movement, Emory Douglas and the Black Panthers. artbook.com

Magnum Generation(s) Graphic Novel (Magnum Photos)

At the start of the Spanish Civil War, as the threat of fascism was looming everywhere, photographers Robert Capa, David Chim Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gerda Taro, and George Rodger bore witness to history-making events, founding the legendary Magnum Photos agency in 1947. To mark its 75th anniversary, comic book author Jean-David Morvan recreated the agency’s origin story, the personalities of the founders, and the tumultuous times they captured. magnumphotos.com

Women Photograph: What We See (White Lion Publishing)

Since 85% of the world’s photojournalists are men, the vast majority of stories that make into the public discourse and the historical record are told from a male perspective — an implicit bias that badly needs correcting. From documenting major geopolitical events to centering mis- or under-represented voices, this book presents a revised modern history, surveying 50 years through 100 photographs in a collection that elevates women and nonbinary visual storytellers. womenphotograph.com

Robert Yager: Playboys (550BC)

1992 was one of if not the most crime-plagued year in modern Los Angeles history — and for some reason, that’s when British photographer Robert Yager started walking the neighborhoods of central LA, befriending, gaining the trust, and intimately, thoughtfully photographing members of the rather lethal WestSide Playboys 13 gang. The result is an award-winning volume of uncanny environmental portraits and surprisingly emotional narratives. 550bc.com

Yevhen Samuchenko & Lucia Bondar: The Beauty of Ukraine (teNeues) 

A love letter to his homeland by award-winning Ukrainian photographer Yevhen Samuchenko, this poetic masterpiece from the Odessa-born travel and aerial photographer captures more than the landscape’s surreal beauty — the pink waters of Lemurian Lake, castles right out of fairy tales, deep canyons set in verdant wooded expanses, picturesque farmlands and cinematic ports, flower fields alive with color, snowy landscapes of monumental minimalism — in an album that’s both an elegy and a promise. teneues.com

LOVE: A Visual History of the grantLOVE Project (Cameron Books/Abrams)

In the art-based philanthropic experiment that became the grantLOVE project, artist Alexandra Grant partnered with other artists, makers, nonprofits, and more to explore how philanthropy and art can collaborate for best results. Covering the project’s 14 years of paintings, prints, sculptures, textiles, jewelry, and architecture, the book provides a visual meditation on love, community, and empathy in contemporary art and culture. With writings by Roxane Gay, Alma Ruiz, Cassandra Coblentz, and Eman Alami. abramsbooks.com

Laurie Lipton: Drawing (Last Gasp)

A collection of recent, mind-bendingly detailed and enormous pencil and charcoal drawings by Laurie Lipton, lambastes the modern scourges of social media, the capitalism-consumerism death spiral, disinformation, ecological disaster, religious extremism and hypocrisy, tragic isolation, and stupid people with mesmerizing precision and wild invention. Introduction by Richard Speer. lastgasp.com

Sheila Darcey: Sketch by Sketch: A Creative Path to Emotional Healing and Transformation (St. Martin’s Essentials/MacMillan). 

During a difficult time in her life — and frankly, in the whole world — Sheila Darcey found that the simple act of freestyle drawing was a remarkable way to process complex emotions, gain clarity, and find a quiet joy. Her intuitive daily practice developed into a therapeutic tool that she has since shared with thousands of people — even, and especially, folks who don’t identify as artists. Think of it as a surrealist version of morning pages. us.macmillan.com

Andy Warhol: Pop Up Pop Art: The Silver Factory (Poposition Press)

Warhol’s iconic work from the 1960’s was always all about color, exuberance, and shared cultural touchstones — not to mention fun and pure pleasure. So the idea of exploring this dynamic in a 3-D pop up book of Brillo Boxes, Flowers, Campbell’s Soup Cans, Marilyn Monroes, self-portraits, and more is just beyond perfect. With the participation of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and other partners, they put the pop in Pop in the best possible way. popositionpress.com

African Art Now (Chronicle Books)

With profiles of 50 artists, the newest guide to contemporary African art from author and curator Osei Bonsu introduces audiences to a new cohort of artists who reflect on Africa, “as both an idea and an experience.” From renowned talents like  Amoako Boafo, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, and Bronwyn Katz, to up-and-coming artists to watch, this eclectic array of materials and styles delves into the intersection of personal and universal. chroniclebooks.com

Aline Kominsky-Crumb: Love That Bunch (David Zwirner Books)

The late, great artist and writer Aline Kominsky-Crumb died last month, having definitively made her mark. Beginning in the Bay Area’s underground comix scene of the 1960s, her unapologetically raw and raunchy exposure of her private thoughts and deepest insecurities contributed to the complex discourse on feminism and sexuality in the most unforgettable manner — often through the scandalous antics of her loutish, lovable alter-ego Bunch. Collecting comics from the 1970s through its publication in 2018, plus the 30-page story “Dream House” examining her childhood, Love That Bunch (Kominsky-Crumb’s only solo book in print) demonstrates how ahead of her time she truly was. davidzwirnerbooks.com

Aline Kominsky-Crumb: The Bunch’s Power Pak Comics (1977)

































































































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