Art books are easy to wrap and will score you points for being athoughtful gift giver who recognizes the creative side in everyone. Hereare three outstanding options to brighten up any bookshelf, published justin time for the holiday season.

TheContact Sheet
Everyone is a photographer these days, and owning a photography book couldhelp Instagrammers feel more legit. Before there was the iPhone “cameraroll” there were these things called contact sheets — all the images froma photo shoot printed on one page. The Contact Sheet reveals thebefore-and-after shots of iconic photographs, like Dorothea Lange’sDepression-era Migrant Mother, and that ubiquitous image of aFrench couple kissing by Robert Doisneau.


Contact sheet for “Le baiser de l’hotel de ville (The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville)” by Robert Doisneau.

The thing about photographs is that you can never assume they’re honest. The Contact Sheet reveals the truth behind some of photography’s best known images.

Milk and Honey: Contemporary Art in California
Sage Vaughn’s luscious dripping color graces the cover of this beautifuland substantial book featuring artists who live in the Golden State. It’strue, California is the land of Milk and Honey, warm and sweet withinspirational landscapes and culture. It’s no wonder so many artists livehere. Among those featured in the book are some of our favorites featuredon KQED Arts: Mel Kadel, Barry McGee, Richard Colman, Andrew Schoultz, andcountless others. This book honors the legacy of its curator and author, awell-loved L.A. artist, who passed away recently. Justin Van Hoy wasa big supporter of his community, and Milk and Honey is one of hismany gifts to the world. He curated an exhibition featuring artists fromthe book, which will open in January, 2013 at Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco.

Cartoon Network’s 20th Anniversary Book
This book arrived in a box that said, “It’s our birthday, so we got you apresent.” Thanks, Cartoon Network! Thanks for dedicating two decades toartist-driven animation and cartoons that are OK for grown-ups to like. Aninternational group of artists are featured in the anniversary book, andwere “personally invited to interpret a Cartoon Network show orcharacter.” Adventure Time, The Powerpuff Girls, andFoster’s Home for Imaginary Friends were among the most popularshows reimagined by the artists, who talk about the cartoons that inspiredthem as budding creatives. This book proves that their early interests inanimation continue to inspire their work, and that Cartoon Network’s castof characters and narratives will influence generations to come.

Bonus: The book’s cover is a nifty fold-out poster. Bummer: We recentlydiscovered that this book was published in an edition of 2500 and notoffered to the public. Win our copy by telling us why you should be thelucky owner of this collectible art book: submissions accepted @KQEDartson Twitter.

Author

Kristin Farr

Kristin Farr is the creator and producer of KQED's Emmy Award-winning web video series, Art School, and she is also a contributing editor for Juxtapoz magazine. Her artwork has been exhibited at galleries around the Bay Area including YBCA, Fifty24SF, Anno Domini and The Bedford Gallery. Her FarrOut art app for iOS was released in 2013. She lives in the East Bay and her favorite color is all of them.

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