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From high-fashion concept portraits to progressive design collaboration, the life and times of visual culture superstars, passionately Californian contemporary photography, quirky sketchbooks of modern life’s charms and foibles, a fresh look at a seminal nature adventure, and an exhibition catalog for a progressive culture icon, with these books, you can’t go wrong whether giving or receiving.

YOSHIKI: XY (Photo by Melanie Pullen)

YOSHIKI: XY. A new high-art photography book featuring rock star and fashion icon YOSHIKI, this full-length XY book and DVD set, which is packaged in a custom cosmetic case, reveals, “a YOSHIKI you have never seen before,” with the famed rock drummer and classical pianist photographed in cutting-edge fashion amidst dreamlike settings, captured by award-winning L.A.-based fine art and editorial photographer Melanie Pullen. (Kodansha) amazon.co.jp

Luchita Hurtado (Hauser & Wirth Publishers)

Luchita Hurtado. Honoring the fascinating life of painter Luchita Hurtado (1920–2020), this is an intimate portrait in her own words and extensive material from her studio’s archive. Hurtado’s story spans from Venezuela to New York, California to New Mexico and follows her friendships with renowned artists and intellectuals – from the Mexican muralists, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray. Available for pre-order November 28, what would have been her 100th birthday. (Hauser & Wirth) hauserwirth.com

Design Commune

Design Commune. Revealing the evolution of an acclaimed design studio rooted in the California aesthetic, ethos, and lifestyle, this book traces the multidisciplinary practice Commune has pursued since its inception in 2004. The work featured highlights all the areas in which Commune engages, including interior design projects for private and commercial spaces, artist collaborations, product designs, packaging, graphics and activism. (Abrams) abramsbooks.com

Janet Milhomme, On a Winters Day, Santa Monica Beach (California Love)

California Love. A passion for California’s heart and soul inspired curator Michael Rababy in this collection of 110 California-based photographers, revealing a shared appreciation for all that makes the west coast state the dreamy place it is. From the photojournalistic to the fantastical, the desert to the sea, the nostalgic to the futuristic, the political to the pleasuredome, the gritty to the glam, their images are as varied stylistically as the state is geographically, and reflect the people, places, and personality that help define California. (Los Angeles Center for Photography/Cali Editions) lacp.bigcartel.com

George Byrne, Post-Truth

George Byrne: Post-Truth. A monograph of work developed by the Australian artist while exploring his new home of Los Angeles, large-scale photographs depict the textures, surfaces and landscapes as abstract assemblage. Byrne celebrates and memorializes the city’s low-slung structures, unique palette, distinctive light, iconic flora and bleached facades. An exhibition of prints from the book is currently on view at domicile on Fountain Ave. georgebyrne.com

Ralph Steadman: A Life In Ink

Ralph Steadman: A Life in Ink. This volume offers the definitive career retrospective on the work of artist Ralph Steadman. Renowned for his collaborations with Hunter S. Thompson and his signature ink-splatter style, Steadman is a prolific artist, illustrator, political cartoonist, album cover designer, and satirist who has been creating art for more than 60 years. For the first time, the artist opened his studio and archives to create a book that encompasses his entire career. (Chronicle) chroniclebooks.com

Brian Rea, Avoid This

Brian Rea: Avoid This. This collection of cheeky behavior and bad ideas from acclaimed artist and illustrator Brian Rea will make you cringe, snicker, and compulsively turn the page for more. Rea’s simple yet poignant scenes depict a version of life so close to our everyday that it’s best to laugh so you don’t cry. Avoid This is made for lovers of black humor, yet the handsome textured hardcover gives only a hint of the dark fancies within. (Princeton Architectural Press) papress.com

American Utopia

David Byrne & Maira Kalman: American Utopia. A joyful collaboration between old friends Byrne and Kalman, designed and edited by Alex Kalman, American Utopia offers readers an antidote to cynicism, bursting with pathos, humanism, and hope – featuring Byrne’s words and lyrics brought to life with more than 150 of Kalman’s colorful paintings, created for the Broadway show/Spike Lee HBO special, and composed of small moments, expressions, and gestures that together offer a portrait of daily life and coexistence. (Bloomsbury) bloomsbury.com

Angela Davis: Seize the Time

Angela Davis: Seize The Time. The exhibition catalogue for a retrospective on Davis’s life that will open at the Oakland Museum in 2021, the project is inspired by a private archive and features contemporary work by artists who acknowledge the continued relevance of Davis’s experience and politics. Profusely illustrated with materials found in the archive, including press coverage, photographs, court sketches, videos, music, writings, correspondence, and Davis’s political writings, the book also features interviews with Angela Davis and Lisbet Tellefsen, the archivist who collected those materials, as well as essays that touch on visibility and invisibility, history, memory, and the iconography of black radical feminism. Sold out online but in stock at EsoWon. (Hirmer) esowonbookstore.com

This Is Not a Gun

This Is Not a Gun. Edited by artist Cara Levine, the book’s second edition gathers contributions from 40 artists, writers, healers, and activists responding to objects that police officers have mistaken for guns during shootings of unarmed civilians. The project opens dialogue to consider how everyday objects, such as a broomstick, bible, keys, iPod, sunglasses or a pack of Skittles are transformed into perceived threat through the lens of racism and power. (Sming Sming Books and Candor Arts) smingsming.com

Cole Sternberg, John Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierras

Cole Sternberg: John Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierras. This is a reissue of Muir’s beloved tome, re-visualized by artist Cole Sternberg in an effort to question, encourage, and inspire naturalists of our times. Considered one of the patron saints of 20th-century environmentalism, Muir’s appeal to modern readers is that he not only explored the American West but fought for its preservation. This version imagines something grander in artist Cole Sternberg’s re-visualization and design. (Hat & Beard) hatandbeard.com

Nancy Baron, Palm Springs Modern Dogs at Home

Palm Springs Modern Dogs at Home. The mid-century aesthetic of the Palm Springs lifestyle is bright and breezy but also requires attention and maintenance, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the pets of Palm Springs are as lovingly groomed and cared for as their surroundings. In these photographs, Nancy Baron puts these four-legged desert residents into the spotlight. (Schiffer) schifferbooks.com

A Cat’s Tale

A Cat’s Tale: A Journey Through Feline History. Since the dawn of civilization, felines have prowled alongside mankind as they expanded their territory and spread the myth of human greatness. And today, cats are peddled on social media as silly creatures here to amuse humans with their antics. But the true history of felines is one of heroism, love, tragedy, sacrifice, and gravitas. Spanning almost every continent and thousands of years, scholar Paul Koudounaris and his cat muse Baba tell the complex story of feline survival through historical portraits in which Baba stars as her feline ancestors, from the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet, to key intellectuals in the Enlightenment, revered heroes from World Wars I and II, and the infamous American tabbies. (Henry Holt & Co.) macmillan.com

A Cat’s Tale: Roman Baba

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