For any friend who thinks he or she has read it all about everyone’s favorite bedridden self-portrait
artist, pick up Frida Kahlo: Face to Face by Judy Chicago ($65, Prestel). Chicago, one of the most important feminist artists working today (she calls her own work “monumental” in the Face to Face introduction), explores Kahlo’s work both in relation to the Mexican artist’s tragic biography and on its own as a purely aesthetic experience. Chicago’s personal reflection on Kahlo’s work makes this attractive volume a must for any Kahlo or Chicago fan.
Heart of the Matter
Former Santa Fe resident and celebrity chef David Tanis is at it again. He’s continued what he started in the food-lust vein (2008’s A Platter of Figs is a staple in kitchens across the country) with Heart of the Artichoke ($35, Artisan). Tanis gracefully combines his obsessions with seasonal menus and elegant fare to create a book of easy, simple and fantastic recipes for one, two or four, or an entire banquet table. Foodies and kitchen idiots alike will appreciate Tanis’ minimal-work, maximum-result recipes.
Heart and Sole
Plenty of new Westerners feel they have a bone to pick with cowboy culture. However, no matter what one’s gender, political, ethnic or humane arguments against cowpokes may be, everyone has to admit that cowboys have always had fantastic style. Sole Mates: Cowboy Boots and Art ($34.95, Museum of New Mexico Press) is an exploration of not only the footwear, but the history and culture of cowboys, not to mention the art that has been created in their honor. The book includes analyses of paintings and drawings by artists such as Frederic Remington and Charles M Russell, plus glances at the people who fashion cowboy boots.
If you remember it, you weren’t there. Thankfully, photographer Roberta Price spent seven years living in and touring the communes of the southwestern US, and shot tons of photographic proof that the ’70s actually happened. She managed to cull her collection of 3,000 photos, taken between 1969 and 1977, down to 121, which make up Across the Great Divide: A Photo Chronicle of the Counterculture ($34.95, University of New Mexico Press). The book is a beautiful but unsentimental look at the alternative history of New Mexico and Colorado, and also includes Price’s recollections about her life at Libre, a Colorado commune.
Sharon Niederman, who came to New Mexico in 1981 with absolutely no tolerance for spicy food, has since made a name for herself as a food judge, critic, creator and writer. New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions ($27.95, New Mexico Magazine), Niederman’s 10th book, explores her adopted home state of New Mexico through recipes, local produce, family farms and the endless stories that run behind all of the above. Whether the giftee is a New Mexico newbie who needs to learn the ropes, or a fourth-generation resident who will probably know personally some of the book’s profiled locals, Niederman’s stories and dishes are bound to delight.