Five Art and Design Books for Your Summer Reading List

Wearable art, inspiring photojournalism, and an ode to midcentury-modern design.

design books

Photo by Ashley Soong

Prix Pictet 08: Hope, edited by Stephen Barber and Michael Benson
Since 2008, the coveted Prix Pictet award has recognized photographers for raising awareness of global sustainability issues. The theme for the 2019 competition? Hope. Meet the 12 men and women shortlisted for the honor in this poignant TeNeues collection, where striking images and insightful essays by writers such as Japan’s Naoko Abe provide a much-needed sense of optimism for the future of our planet.

Out 12/15/19, $65, TeNeues.

Off the Wall: American Art to Wear, edited by Dilys E. Blum
Produced in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Off the Wall traces the rise of the wearable art movement, which first sprang to life in the 1960s. Flip through its pages to discover whimsical pieces by dozens of artists, like Joan Steiner’s 1977 Kitchen Vest. Quilted, embroidered, and appliquéd with textiles and found objects, the garment displays an extensive kitchen scene with a working oven door. How’s that for creativity?

Out 12/3/19, $45, Yale University Press.

Atlas of Midcentury Modern Houses, by Dominic Bradbury
This sizable hardcover details hundreds of midcentury-modern houses around the globe, including Massachusetts-based dwellings by such pioneering architects as Hayden Walling, former Harvard Graduate School of Design dean Josep Lluís Sert, and the great Marcel Breuer. Ready to really geek out? The book features notes about each home’s current occupancy and whether its original design has been modified, too.

Out 10/19/19, $150, Phaidon.

Building Character: Transforming Old Homes for Modern Living, by Santoso Budiman and Caleb Skene
For believers in the crucial art of restoring and renovating historical houses, this new Images Publishing volume offers inspiration galore. The book explores 36 homes across 15 countries, focusing on thoughtful design solutions that preserve character while accounting for the demands of 21st-century life (see: the 1915 Marina-style house in California, reconfigured with new, light-filled common areas for a family of five).

Out 1/3/20, $40, Images Publishing.

Vogue on Location: People, Places, Portraits, by Vogue
Achievements in fashion and travel photography blend beautifully in this Abrams text, which chronicles eight decades of Vogue editorials. In addition to stunning images captured in a range of foreign and domestic locales (Franco Rubartelli’s snapshots of a fur-wrapped Veruschka in Arizona’s Painted Desert, for instance), readers can expect first-rate travel writing by literary legends like Truman Capote.

Out 10/29/19, $60, Abrams.