As a coffee table board book for young kids (apple juice table board book?), this is a lovely presentation of 12 faces culled from the work of diverse twentieth- and twenty-first century artists. They range from a terra-cotta smile by Picasso and an abstract, pale oil painting by Paul Klee to an eerie Camarade, by Zhang Xiaogang, and a bold watercolor by Chris Ofili. While the cover claims these are all famous, that’s going to depend on the art world cred of the gift-giving grown-up, but the works are all interesting and well reproduced, one per large square page, framed in white. The catch, though, is that what made the preceding Art for Baby (2009) successful—its recognition of the importance of high-contrast images for developing ocular systems—is completely disregarded here. The last page is a Mylar mirror to encourage interactivity, but facing it is a Chuck Close piece done in his typical style that, presented at such close range, could blur the vision of even the most sophisticated eye. Not very practical overall, but often beautiful works of art aren’t. Preschool. --Andrew Medlar
About the Author
co-founded the Outset Contemporary Art Fund in 2003 and is a patron of the Asia Art Archive. She lives in Hong Kong, China.
The modern artists whose work appears in the book and the frieze include Josef Albers, Patrick Caulfield, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Kazimir Malevich, Paul Morrison, Takashi Murakami, Julian Opie, Bridget Riley, and David Shrigley.