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Antonio López Hardcover – October 31, 2011
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That said, Lopez's bio has been covered in extensive detail in other places, so I'll focus here on how this important exhibition catalogue from the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is different from other recent books like Paintings & Sculpture, Drawings, and the MFA Boston's 2008 survey catalogue Antonio Lopez Garcia.
1. The Place to Start: The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza's recent exhibition and catalogue brought together 100 of the artist's important works made throughout his career in all media, and this fact combined with the overall quality and price pint, makes this book a fantastic starting point for learning about the artist. The book is organized thematically--Memory, Madrid, Gran Vía, Trees, Nudes, Characters and Interiors, which is a really useful way to contemplate Lopez's accomplishments. Important works like The Table, Gran Via, and View of Madrid from Torres Blancas are all included, as are less known works like his enormous 2010 sculpture Woman of Coslada
2. The Exhibition Itself: This 2011 Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza exhibition was the largest museum exhibition on the artist since the Reina Sofia's show back, which was mounted in 1993. As an aside, the catalogue for that exhibition has been long out of print (barely available in the US at all) and highly sought after by fans of the artist ($200-$400 on the secondary market). Lopez and his daughter Maria were heavily involved in the execution of both the book and show, and it is clear that this was done with care and precision. The exhibition was a huge success last summer, and according to news reports drew 320,000 visitors, the most of any temporary exhibit ever hosted by the museum.
3. Production quality: This book was produced by the same printer (TF in Madrid, Spain) who has printed the artist's other recent books Paintings and Sculpture and Drawings, and the quality is just as high as those books. He has a close working relationship with the printer, and it shows in the quality of the reproductions. An especially nice feature here is the wonderful jacket with printed flaps, laying over a wonderful natural colored cloth binding.
4. . This Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza vs. the MFA Boston survey catalogue: Although this book is more expensive then the MFA Boston catalogue from 2008 ($60 vs. $24.95), it is a much better investment in my mind for two main reasons. First, it covers significantly more ground. Second, the reproductions are really 100x better. Although they may look ok at first glance, in comparison with the other books or the actual paintings themselves, many of the MFA repros look washed out or unbalanced. Don't get me wrong, I do have a soft spot for the MFA book seeing as it was the first US museum show ever, and it was the first substantial book published for many years. But for those people looking to learn about Lopez, there are now many other options available.
5. This Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza catalogue vs. D.A.P.'s two recent monographs, Paintings and Sculpture and Drawings: The recent D.A.P. published companion volumes are really wonderful book-objects. They have incredible production quality (paper, printing, binding, jackets, etc.) and the overall scope of these projects make them probably the best overall books on the artists. Together they go deep into the artist's complete oeuvre. Although they are not catalogue raisonnes in the strictest sense, they approach the subjects with an extreme depth. The reproductions are large with tons of details. However, at $75 each they are an investment.
The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza's catalogue is a smaller book in terms of trim size and not as lushly produced as the other books (lesser weight paper mainly). The reproductions are generally smaller, without many details. That said it is $15 cheaper, and brings together the best of all three strains of the artist's work together in one volume.
This rather small booklet shares many of his works in every form that he creates. The reproductions are of excellent quality and the essay by Jose M. Faerna adds to the appreciation of the painter's artistry. While this is by no means the definitive volume on this great man of the arts, it is an affordable introduction to the mysteries Antonio López García creates. Grady Harp, December 10