These books contain photographs by the brilliant, award-winning mountain landscape photographer Paul Zizka, of off-beaten-path places in Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, Jasper, Kananaskis, Waterton, and Yoho. Paul has photographed Norway, Svalbard, Nepal, Baffin Island, Greenland, throughout the Caribbean, Hawaii, Niue, French Polynesia, and our landscape. He lives in Banff, Alberta.
Reading Walter Benjamin again many years after reading “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, I am at the same time strangely accumulating readings that seem to correspond to that text, and I am sure writing this I cannot parse it. I was working through William Ivins’ “Prints and Visual Communication”, and some snippets of Günther Anders’ writings (who incidentally was Walter Benjamin’s cousin). I go through these periods when I read heavily, more or less trying to ask a question to myself, without really expecting to arrive at any answer. I was also reading a biography about the great Genevan theologian John Calvin, who is described as a “humanist” in that book, although I convey that with reticence given what that word can conjure up to different people (not to mention how Renaissance humanism differs from whatever that title might mean today).
I received an advance copy of “Intimate Wilderness: Arctic Voices in a Land of Vast Horizons”, and this was last year. The store has since received copies. I was so impressed by the volume. Mr. Hallendy spent fifty years in the Cape Dorset region of Baffin Island, Nunavut, developing deep and rich relationships with the people, and learning their language, customs, history, and culture.
Josef Albers’ effect on past century art cannot be minimized. He was a painter, designer, educator, and though not considered his primary output, a photographer as well. He taught at Black Mountain College, and then later Yale University, and the list of students who worked with him veritably make him the single most influential teaching artist who may have ever lived. In terms of schools, he is often associated with the Bauhaus movement, He began instruction at the Bauhaus school in Weimar in 1920, wanting to enter the schools glass workshop, but was denied by the director of the school, the architect Walter Gropius, who insisted that Albers take preliminary instruction in painting. He made glass-painting studies, and as a result of that work was asked to organize a new glass workshop for the school. From there he made the first works that showed the influence of being paired with the painter Paul Klee, work that showed the strong reliance of organizing work using lattices, frames, crossing lines and grids, so characteristic of the Bauhaus method.
After the fact, it is after the fact that people make an evaluation. So my preamble on the best books of 2016 is less actual than whatever overall impression my list makes, and I don’t want to