Courtesy of David Zwirner Books
Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life
We get it: the sound of weathering the lines for the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s retrospective that’s currently traveling the world sounds intimidating. (Or, as one visitor to its L.A. edition put it, even “harrowing.”) Thankfully, there’s another way to take in some of the work that Kusama, now 89, has produced since joining the avant-garde art scene in the 1950s—though it’s a bit hard to fit all of that, with its styles ranging all the way from pop art to minimalism, in one book. Rather than put together a full-on retrospective, then, the art historian Jenni Sorkin opted to hone in on Kusama’s 2017 exhibition at David Zwirner’s gallery in New York, which the gallery itself rechristened “The Ultimate Instagram Exhibit.” Featuring dozens of paintings from Kusama’s My Eternal Soul series, hundreds of her signature polka dots, and not one, but two of her infinity rooms, it drew 75,000 visitors in total—even with its 60-second viewing limits and six-hour wait times.
Buy now: Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life, $70, davidzwirnerbooks.com.
Balenciaga: Winter 18
Two years into his tenure at Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia enlisted a group of models to encircle a graffitied hill of fake snow in Paris to debut his fall/winter 2018 collection—one striking enough to officially establish both his reputation outside of his own label, Vetements, and his reign over the house, whose legacy now includes perfectly oversized bags and hoodies. With the help of two of his photographer pals, Pierre-Ange Carlotti and Johnny Dufort, Gvasalia has now written a book detailing the collection’s backstory, including his process of experimenting with 3D-printed tailoring and practically monumental feats of layering. (Marc Jacobs has been a particularly vocal fan of the latter; he now refers to outerwear he ordered the day after the show as his “happiest of coats.”)
Buy now: Balenciaga: Winter 18, $95, balenciaga.com.
Somnaya Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness
Zanele Muholi might be the only one who appears in the nearly 100 black-and-white self-portraits featured in their long-awaited monograph, but none would have existed without the countless encounters Muholi has had with individuals over the course of the past decade, which they’ve spent advocating for proper representation of queerness and race. Muholi, who was born in Umlazi at the height of apartheid, now hopes that their portraits inspire others toward activism—or, as they put it, towards using “artistic tools such as cameras as weapons to fight back.”
Buy now: Zanele Muholi: Somnaya Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, $60, aperture.org.