Spring Cannot be Cancelled: David Hockney in Normandy by Martin Gayford and David Hockney

“No 187, 11 April 2020” by David Hockney
“No 187, 11 April 2020” by David Hockney © David Hockney

“It’s the most beautiful spring here,” David Hockney told his longtime friend and collaborator, the art critic Martin Gayford, over videocall from his home in La Grande Cour, Normandy, in March 2020. “It’s early. Last year, it was a bit later. It’s spectacular. And I’m getting it down – I’ve just drawn the cherry blossom on a great big tree.” Hockney’s exuberant, neon-toned paintings and drawings – the result of a spring spent in lockdown – form the body of a new book titled Spring Cannot be Cancelled, as well as a show at London’s Royal Academy from 23 May. The book reproduces much of Hockney and Gayford’s email, letter and phone correspondence from recent years, and a selection of the new Normandy drawings and paintings. It follows an extraordinary period of productivity for Hockney. “I’m going to go on until you start to get the deep green of the summer,” he said. (Thames & Hudson, £25) BS


Kaffe Fassett in the Studio: Behind the Scenes with a Master Colourist

Painted cupboards in textile-designer Kaffe Fassett’s living room
Painted cupboards in textile-designer Kaffe Fassett’s living room © Debbie Patterson
Kaffe Fassett in the Studio (Abrams, £30)
Kaffe Fassett in the Studio (Abrams, £30)

This book steps inside the home of octogenarian textile-designer Kaffe Fassett – dubbed the “magician of colour” by Coach’s creative director Stuart Vevers, who worked with him on the label’s autumn/winter 2019 collection. Guiding readers through the American-born, UK-based artist’s rainbow-coloured world, Kaffe Fassett in the Studio offers an in-depth look at his creative output across multiple practices – including needlework, quilting and knitting – as well as a collection of new patterns, needlepoint projects and never-before-seen images of his vibrant London home. “Textile making is just another way to play with colour that is at the same time deeply therapeutic,” says Fassett. “To sit at the end of my studio, surrounded by yarn or piles of fabric, and dream up a new design is what satisfies my soul.” (Abrams, £30) SS


Wild Flowers by Joel Meyerowitz

“The beauty, humour and pathos of the everyday”: a photograph taken in New York in 1966 by Joel Meyerowitz
“The beauty, humour and pathos of the everyday”: a photograph taken in New York in 1966 by Joel Meyerowitz © Joel Meyerowitz
Wild Flowers by Joel Meyerowitz (Damiani, £45)
Wild Flowers by Joel Meyerowitz (Damiani, £45)

Spanning street photography, landscapes, portraits and still-lifes from 1963 to 2020, Wild Flowers brings together photographs from two-time Guggenheim fellow Joel Meyerowitz’s entire career, all tied together with a floral theme. First published back in 1983 to critical acclaim, the book is being re-released in an expanded edition featuring new and previously unseen images. It represents a bold departure from Joel Meyerowitz’s previous two projects, Cape Light, and St Louis & the Arch, both made using a view camera and showing architectural landscapes largely devoid of human presence. By contrast, these flower-strewn images in saturated hues capture the beauty, humour and pathos found in the everyday, from a funeral on a foggy spring day in Venice to a close-up of a man’s tattooed forearms. Moments like that, observes the photographer, are like flowers themselves: “They bloom and they fade.” (Damiani, £45) SS


Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction

Cadaqués, 1932, by Sophie Taeuber-Arp
“Cadaqués”, 1932, by Sophie Taeuber-Arp © SIK-SEA, Zurich/Philipp Hitz
"Aubette 127”, 1927 – Taeuber-Arp’s design for a tea room in Strasbourg’s L’Aubette cultural centre
"Aubette 127”, 1927 – Taeuber-Arp’s design for a tea room in Strasbourg’s L’Aubette cultural centre © M Bertola
Sophie Taeuber-Arp in 1920
Sophie Taeuber-Arp in 1920 © Nic Aluf; Stiftung Arp e.V., Berlin

Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp was a woman of many talents. Through the first half of the 20th century, she worked as an architect, interior designer (most famously on Strasbourg’s minimalist cultural centre L’Aubette), applied-arts teacher, dancer, sculptor, illustrator, magazine editor and painter, and her creative production helped shape the Dada and Abstraction movements. Working among a circle of friends that included Alexander Calder, Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp, Taeuber-Arp designed everything from beadwork bags and buildings to desks and stained-glass windows. Despite her prolific output, she never had a solo exhibition during her lifetime.

This year, a new book and exhibition, both titled Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction, will set the record straight. A touring show of 400 works will move from the Kunstmuseum in Basel to Tate Modern in London – the first ever retrospective of the artist in the UK – and finally to New York’s MoMA. “Much of her work was historically deemed ‘minor’ or proved ephemeral,” observes the curator Anne Umland in the book’s introduction. “Today, her polymathic activities are one of the things that make her feel exceptionally contemporary.” (Museum of Modern Art, £60) BS


Street Portraits by Dawoud Bey

Two Girls from a Marching Band, 1990, by Dawoud Bey, from Street Portraits
Two Girls from a Marching Band, 1990, by Dawoud Bey, from Street Portraits © Courtesy the artist and MACK

American photographer Dawoud Bey received his first camera in 1968, at the age of 15. Since then, he has dedicated his career to capturing black Americans in their daily lives. This new title gathers photographs taken in and around New York and Washington DC between 1988 and 1991. The images capture his subjects in informal settings – a young boy standing against a graffitied wall, nonchalantly eating a pop-ice, or a young couple embracing one other, each gazing into Bey’s lens with an ease that speaks to his empathy and trust with his subjects. Working with both a large-format tripod-mounted camera and Polaroid film, Bey would make an instant print to give to the people he photographed. In poring over this “treasure trove of vibrant and generous black visages”, writes Greg Tate in his accompanying essay, we come across not just the “divergent and many-splendored ‘un-commoners’”, but also those among them who “are extremely self-possessed”. (Mack, £40SS

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