Books with a cooperative stance offer further insight beyond the cover.
By Michelle F. Solomon
Collaborations are cornerstones of business, sports, and relationships. In the case of books, many times the collaboration is as simple as working together as co-authors, but more intimate are the co-ops where the subject is a collaborator in a different sense — their mere existence creates an alliance for the author. The subject can be a person (real or imagined), a place, or thing. Yet, what all have in common is greatness.
SINATRA: THE PHOTOGRAPHS. (Abrams, $50). Andrew Horick, who has helped research, curate, and edit one of the world’s largest collections of Frank Sinatra photography, compiles the best works by photographers who helped shape the image of Ol’ Blue Eyes. Horick also provides commentary — from the people who knew him best — to illuminate the photographs, including a foreword by Sinatra’s wife, Barbara. The focus of the book are photographs during the years of the Rat Pack and Las Vegas and socializing with the likes of Jack Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
MICHELE BÖNAN, THE GENTLEMAN OF STYLE. ($85, Assouline). Leonardo Ferragamo, the son of luxury-company founder Salvatore Ferragamo, wrote the introduction to the book about renowned Italian architect and interior designer Michel Bönan. Long-time collaborators, the two met when they were both living and working in Florence. They teamed up for a series of hotels in the center of Florence, and the collaboration began. When Bonan wanted to try his hand at the interior design of boats, it was on Ferragamo’s personal 82 RS. In Miami, Bonan outfitted the interiors of South Beach’s Casa Tua hotel, restaurant, and club — in his true Italian style.
HELMUT NEWTON’S SUMO. ($18,000 limited edition includes book-holder designed by Philippe Starck). One of the most influential photographers or all time, this 464-page book is, as the publishers say, titanic in every respect. The selection of more than 450 pictures by Helmut Newton is published for the first time in SUMO. Newton collaborated with his wife, Jane — who worked as a photographer under the alias Alice Springs — on the 66-pound book. The pair enlisted a team of 50 people — writers, editors, photographers, art directors, designers, and book binders — to spend three years capturing the German-American photographer’s body of work. Good luck if you can get your hands on one of these. The most expensive book published to date, one of the copies sold for $430,000 at an auction in Berlin. If you own SUMO, hang onto this work of art.
THE JAMES BOND ARCHIVES. ($200 for two limited-edition art editions, limited to 250 copies). Just as the 24th James Bond film, Spectre, tops box office records, a hefty coffee-table book celebrates the 50th anniversary of the most successful and longest-running film franchise in cinema history. Film historian Paul Duncan, the primary contributor, has looked to other authors to include their views on the classic film icon and the films themselves. The book includes previously unpublished photography and artwork, as well as production memos from filming, to create a treasure trove of collectibles.
AI WEIWEI. ($75, Abrams). Published to coincide with the major exhibition at the Royal Academy in London that runs through December — the largest showing of Ai’s work to date — the volume includes installations and artworks created for the exhibition. The Chinese dissident collaborated on curating most of the exhibition from his studio in Beijing, since it was only in July of this year that he was free to travel again overseas after he was banned from leaving his native China. An interview with the artist by the Royal Academy’s artistic director, Tim Marlow, and contributions from a team of scholars analyze the variety of the multi-faceted and complex 21st-century creative who has become an ambassador of freedom.
GENTLEMAN, START YOUR ENGINES: The Bonhams Guide to Classic Sports & Race Cars. ($70, Gestalten). A compilation that’s a virtual who’s who of some of the finest retro rides, Jared Zaugg teams with the folks at Bonhams, one of the world’s top auction houses, for this insider’s view of some of the finest automobiles in the world. There’s antique Ferraris, Maseratis, Porsches, and more with Zaugg — who used to work at Bonhams in the U.S. — telling inside stories about the high-octane goods. These include the rare and uniquely configured Lamborghini Miura SV Coupe purchased by rock star Rod Stewart and the Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe from 1937 that, after the owner’s death, was rediscovered by his family sitting exactly as he left it nearly a half-century earlier.