Holiday gift guide for books | EW.com

Books

Holiday gift guide for books

Holiday gift guide for books -- ''Frida Kahlo, The Paintings,'' ''Popular Art Deco,'' and ''Lee Friedlander: Nudes'' are some of the titles available in stores now

Frida Kahlo: The Paintings
Hayden Herrera
Through no fault of hers, Frida Kahlo has become a candidate for feminist sainthood. Five documentaries on her life, several exhibits of her paintings, and numerous books and movie projects threaten to engulf her achievements as an artist. This book, with its 83 color illustrations, should restore the emphasis to her work, where it belongs. A

Museum of American Folk and Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists
Chuck and Jan Rosenak
Hold the nostalgia! From Simon Rodia’s famous Watts Towers to the Rev. Howard Finster’s evangelical Paradise Garden, this splendid encyclopedia testifies to the clear-eyed virtues of modern folk art. A+

Bill Traylos: His Art, His Life
Frank Maresca and Roger Ricco
The first black folk artist to command widespread recognition — 30 years after his death, that is — Traylor began drawing on a Montgomery, Ala., sidewalk when he was 85, and was soon discovered by Charles Shannon, the Alabamian who preserved the pictures featured here. A

The American Billboard 100 Years
James Fraser
Pity the poor environmentalists who scorn the brassy billboard’s presence in our landscape. A shameless fan of these outsize posters, James Fraser is not of their number. His lavishly illustrated (166 photos) text, though considerably less vivid than its subject, adequately describes the art, marketing strategy, history, and visceral pleasures of outdoor advertising. A

Popular Art Deco: Depression Era Style and Design
Robert Heide and John Gilman
A smart, picture-heavy book on mass-produced goods from the ’20s and ’30s. Fiestaware, Bakelite radios, streamlined kitchen appliances all bore the stamp of Art Deco and heralded the ”world of tomorrow.” Now that tomorrow is here, these goods originally priced for every pocketbook will cost you only slightly less than all the tea in China. A

Ticket to Paradise: American Movie Theaters and How We Had Fun
John Margolies and Emily Gwathmey
Even if its prose is far too heavy with nostalgia for the days of 10-cent Cokes and uniformed ushers, this valentine to movie palaces has enough color pictures to satisfy avid fans of vernacular architecture. Gorgeous variations on the Bijou, the Roxy, the Granada, the Lux, and the Regent suggest that a taste for ornate ritual and ceremony may be a lot more American than apple pie. A

Lee Friedlander: Nudes
Here’s a photographer who likes women’s bodies just as they are — not airbrushed, idealized, or tarted up. But then Friedlander has always been an exception among photographers — and possibly among men, too, for that matter. His curiosity here is neither prurient, nor vain, nor idle. Like most of his projects, these splendid pictures are the product of many years of work. A