[Distributed Books]: Flowers and Mushrooms
Edited by Toni Stooss
Published by Hirmer Publishers • Distributed by the University of Chicago Press
|Publication date: February 28, 2014||256 pages • 130 color plates • 9 x 11|
|Cloth $49.95 • ISBN-13: 978-3-7774-2154-4|
Robert Mapplethorpe’s Calla Lily. Andy Warhol’s familiar pop-art panels filled with poppies. David LaChapelle’s overblown baroque bouquets that upend the conventions of still-life composition. We’re accustomed to flowers and mushrooms as seemingly trite decorative motifs, but they have also long been explored as complex subjects by some of the most radical and inventive contemporary artists.
Flowers and Mushrooms takes readers inside the rich and diverse symbolism of its eponymous subjects. Flowers have at times stood for freshness and fertility, transience and death. In addition to its ubiquitous and much-maligned image as a hallucinogen, the mushroom has throughout history signified health and life and served as an important symbol within religious ritual. In recent years though, flowers and mushrooms have become a focus in contemporary art, with artists manipulating the many clichés that surround them and adapting their representation to produce new and unexpected layers of meaning, from social criticism to feminism and the conceptual framework of the erotic. Among the leading “plant portraitists” are the Swiss duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss, whose series of forty photographs epitomize the potential to shed new light on familiar objects by presenting them in unusual context. In addition to Fischli and Weiss, Flowers and Mushrooms includes photographs, paintings, and installations by Karl Blossfeldt, Imogen Cunningham, Nathalie Djurberg, David LaChapelle, Robert Mapplethorpe, Shirana Shahbazi, and Andy Warhol, among many others, as well as critical texts by leading art historians.
Toni Stooss is an art historian and director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.
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