World Food Books is a book shop in Melbourne, Australia.
Founded in 2010, World Food Books is a book service dedicated to the presentation of a rotating, hand-selection of quality international art and design journals, artists’ monographs, exhibition catalogues, artists’ editions, collected writings and printed ephemera.
Presenting new titles alongside rare and out-of-print publications spanning the fields of contemporary art, modern art, cultural theory, photography, film, poetry, fiction, fashion, architecture, interior design, typography, illustration, politics and much between, World Food Books wishes to encourage active and thoughtful reading, looking, writing, publishing, and exchanging of art and design press, both contemporary and historical.
As well as our book shop, located in Melbourne's historical Nicholas Building, all of our inventory is available internationally via our online mail-order service. We also have outposts at MUMA (Monash University Museum of Art) and Westspace, both also in Melbourne.
World Food Books semi-regularly co-ordinates "Occasions", a program of exhibits and events at the bookshop and in partnership with other hosts (such as museums and art galleries) that develop out of the activities, relationships and content of the bookshop itself.
World Food Books
The Nicholas Building
Studio 19, Level 3
37 Swanston Street
THURS 11-5 PM
FRI 11-7 PM
SAT 12-4 PM
& OPEN BY APPOINTMENT
MAIL ORDER RUNS EVERY DAY
World Food Books
PO Box 435
Theory / Essay
Architecture / Interior
Graphic Design / Typography
Fiction / Poetry
Film / Video
Sculpture / Installation
Performance / Dance / Theater
Sound / Music
Group Shows / Collections
Illustration / Graphic Art
Ceramics / Glass
Italian Radical Design / Postmodernism
"Various Works 1986 - 1999"
02 February 16 - September 10, 2016
Various works 1986 - 1999, from two houses, from the collections of John Nixon, Sue Cramer, Kerrie Poliness, Peter Haffenden and Phoebe Haffenden.
Including: Geometry of Cakes (various shelves), 1993; Poor People’s Law (black and white plate), 1993; White Absence (glasses, ruler, set square, silver spoon, silver ladel with skin photograph and wooden cubes), 1990-1996; Exploitation of the Dead (grey and red star painting, wooden painting, black spoon with red table, red plate), 1984-1990; Money and Zeros (zero tie, paintings made for friends in Australia (Sue, John, Kerrie), numbers painting), 1991-1992; Words - Slogans (various t-shirts) - “they talk about the death of art...help! someone is trying to kill me”, “my sweet little lamb”, “work is a disease - Karl Marx”; Various artist books, catalogues, monographs, videos; Poster from exhibition Insulting Anarchy; "Circular" Croatian - Australian edition; Artist book by Vlado Martek (Dostoyevsky); more.
Thanks to Mladen Stilinović and Branka Stipančić.
Curated by Nic Tammens
March 26 - April 4, 2015
B.Wurtz works from a basement studio in his home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
This local fact is attested to by the plastic shopping bags and newsprint circulars that appear in his work. As formal objects, they don’t make loud claims about their origins but nonetheless transmit street addresses and places of business from the bottom of this long thin island. Like plenty of artists, Wurtz is affected by what is local and what is consumed. His work is underpinned by this ethic. It often speaks from a neighborhood or reads like the contents of a hamper:
“BLACK PLUMS $1.29 lb.”
“USDA Whole Pork Shoulder Picnic 99c lb.”
“RITE AID Pharmacy, with us it’s personal.”
“H. Brickman & Sons.”
“Sweet Yams 59c lb."
Most of the work in this exhibition was made while the artist was in residence at Dieu Donne, a workshop dedicated to paper craft in Midtown. Here Wurtz fabricated assemblages with paper and objects that are relatively lightweight, with the intention that they would be easily transportable to Australia. This consideration isn’t absolute in Wurtz’s work, but was prescriptive for making the current exhibition light and cheap. Packed in two boxes, these works were sent from a USPS post office on the Lower East Side and delivered to North Melbourne by Australia Post.
Wurtz appears courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York.
Thanks to Rob Halverson, Joshua Petherick, Sari de Mallory, Matt Hinkley, Helen Johnson, Fayen d'Evie, Ask Kilmartin, Lisa Radon, Ellena Savage, Yale Union, and "Elizabeth".
December 15 - January 20, 2014
The presentation of John Nixon's archive offered a rare showcase of this extensive collection of the artist's own publications, catalogues, posters, ephemera, editions and more, from the mid 1980s onwards, alongside a selection of his artworks.
Organized by John Nixon, Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley.
at Minerva, Sydney (curated by Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley)
November 15 - December 20, 2014
Lupo Borgonovo, Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley,
Lewis Fidock, HR Giger, Piero Gilardi, Veit Laurent Kurz,
Cinzia Ruggeri, Michael E. Smith, Lucie Stahl, Daniel Weil, Wols
“...It contained seven objects. The slender fluted bone, surely formed for flight, surely from the wing of some large bird. Three archaic circuitboards, faced with mazes of gold. A smooth white sphere of baked clay. An age-blackened fragment of lace. A fingerlength segment of what she assumed was bone from a human wrist, grayish white, inset smoothly with the silicon shaft of a small instrument that must once have ridden flush with the surface of the skin - but the thing’s face was seared and blackened.”
William Gibson, “Count Zero”, 1986
"Autumn Projects Archive"
Curated by Liza Vasiliou
March 6 - March 15, 2014
World Food Books, in conjunction with the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival 2014, presented the Autumn Projects archive, consisting of a selection of early examples in Australian fashion with a particular interest in collecting designers and labels from the period beginning in the 1980’s, who significantly influenced the discourse of Australian Fashion.
Curated by Liza Vasiliou, the exhibition provided a unique opportunity to view pieces by designers Anthea Crawford, Barbara Vandenberg, Geoff Liddell and labels CR Australia, Covers, Jag along with early experimental collage pieces by Prue Acton and Sally Browne’s ‘Fragments’ collection, suspended throughout the functioning World Food Books shop in Melbourne.
presented by CENTRE FOR STYLE
November 14, 2013
"Hey Blinky, you say chic, I say same"
H.B. Peace is a clothing collaboration between great friends Blake Barns and Hugh Egan Westland. Their pieces explore the divergences between 'character’ and ‘personality’ in garments....etc
Special Thanks to Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley of WFB and Gillian Mears
and a Very Special Thank you to Audrey Thomas Hayes for her shoe collaboration.
Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley
May 10 - June 8, 2013
The first of our occasional exhibitions in the World Food Books office/shop space in Melbourne, "Aesthetic Suicide" presented a body of new and older works together by artists Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley, including videos, prints, a wall work, and publications.
During shop open hours videos played every hour, on the hour.
2008, English / German
Hardcover, 176 pages, 21.5 x 30.5 cm
1st Edition, Out of print title, As New,
Published by Schirn Kunsthalle / Frankfurt
$90.00 - Out of stock
Now out-of-print, this hardcover monograph is entirely dedicated to the exceptional, radical and nearly unknown period of paintings from famed Belgian Surrealist painter René Magritte known as the Période Vache, from 1948. Brand-new copies.
René Magritte numbers not only among the most important, but also among the most popular twentieth-century artists. Often against the grain of the artistic tendencies of his time, the Belgian Surrealist painter developed a unique and unmistakable pictorial language. His work’s continuing crucial influence on later generations of artists and his impact on today’s visual culture are almost without par. Many of his enigmatic and equally hard-to-forget solutions have been reproduced in the millions and become famous icons far beyond the world of art.
However, a fascinating period of the artist’s landmark oeuvre has remained nearly unknown: his so-called Période vache. In 1948, Magritte made a group of paintings and gouaches distinctly different from the rest of his work for his first solo exhibition in Paris. Relying on a new, fast and aggressive style of painting – and particularly inspired by popular sources such as caricatures and comics, but also interspersing his works with stylistic quotations from artists like James Ensor or Henri Matisse – Magritte, within only a few weeks, produced about thirty entirely uncharacteristic works that caused an outrage in Paris. The artist deliberately conceived the exhibition as a provocation of and an assault on the Parisian public. Painting in an unexpectedly crude, playful, and intentionally “bad” manner, he reflected his own work and painting in general. While only sporadically included in most retrospectives of Magritte’s oeuvre, his works from the Période vache will be assembled in the exhibition at the Schirn outside France and Belgium for the first time. Especially against the background of the last thirty years’ art, this concentrated presentation will shed new, surprising light on an extraordinary artist whose work is often mistakenly regarded as far too familiar and easy to grasp.
The fact that Magritte’s first solo presentation in Paris did not take place before 1948 is of crucial relevance for the genesis of his Période vache. Paris was not only the center of the art world, but also the capital of the Surrealist movement, and Magritte, as the central figure of Belgian Surrealism, had been in close contact with the circle around André Breton since the 1920s. Yet, it was not only his attempt to establish himself in the French metropolis that failed after only a three-year stay (1927–1930); even after his international recognition had grown in the 1930s, he was denied an adequate appreciation of his work in Paris. In addition, Magritte came into direct conflict with Paris after the war when his redefinition of Surrealism met with the disapproval of the Surrealist group’s protagonists returning home from exile.
This was the context in which Magritte regarded his invitation to Paris in 1948 less as an overdue chance of success in the French metropolis but rather as an opportunity for taking revenge – for the arrogance of the capital’s art scene and the ossified attitude of a Surrealism that had outlived itself and become far too socially acceptable – by pulling off a surprising coup.
The term “vache” used by Magritte for his new group of works is mostly understood as an ironical allusion to the historical movement of the Fauves, whose exaggerated coloring Magritte’s works parodied as much as their decoratively pleasing character. Yet in French, “vache” does not only mean “cow,” but also as much as “mean” or “nasty”; “vacherie” signifies a mean trick. Thus, the term hints at the aggressive and deliberately crude quality characteristic of the pictures.
Regarding both their motifs and their style, the works of Magritte’s Période vache do not constitute a consistent ensemble but rather present themselves as a patchwork of different pseudo-styles borrowing more or less openly from other artists and drawing on the artist’s own earlier works. These elements are transformed into something comic, trivial, or grotesque by being blended with aspects of popular visual culture. With numerous art historical references – like to James Ensor, whose grotesque physiognomies are given another turn of the screw, to Henri Matisse, whose colorful ornaments are degraded to wallpaper-like décor, or to Joan Miró, who, as we know, was not held in high regard by the artist – Magritte ridicules traditional cultural values and aesthetic norms and distances himself from an art scene lusting for innovation. By presenting motifs taken from his own previous pictures in a new manner of painting, he turned into his own caricaturist, as it were. Contrary to his “classical” works, their cool, precise and realistic approach, and the conceptual consideration behind them, the works of Magritte’s Période vache strike us as colorful, two-dimensional, quickly painted, and radiating an astounding directness and spontaneity.
The exhibition in Paris turned out the expected failure. Not one picture was sold. The press reacted frostily. The public was appalled. The Paris Surrealists kept their distance. Only one of the vache works was exhibited again during Magritte’s lifetime, i.e. until 1967. For exhibition makers as well as art dealers and art historians, this group of works constituted an alien element in an otherwise extraordinarily consistent oeuvre. In addition, it did not fit in with the image of an artist who had, above all, been presented as a pioneer of Pop art and Concept art since the 1960s. It was not before thirty years after their making that these hitherto forgotten works began to be gradually reevaluated and appreciated starting with the “Westkunst” exhibition in Cologne. In the context of the 1980s’ Post-Conceptual painting, the strategies Magritte had relied on for subverting the prevailing standards of painting in the medium itself appeared both exemplary and highly topical. Today, about forty years after Magritte’s death, contemporary artists such as John Currin or Sean Landers often come to understand his oeuvre by making themselves familiar with the works of his Période vache at first. The works’ humor, spontaneous style, and daring bad taste provide an example for a form of painting deriving its momentum from the apparent meaningless of its subjects in order to refute the clichés of today’s world of images. With his manifesto-like protest against all varieties of arrogance and reprimands in the arts, Magritte has become a model for the artist’s triumph over the workings of an art scene that seem to be more overpowering today than they ever were.
Edited by Esther Schlicht and Max Hollein. With a preface by Max Hollein and texts by Michel Draguet, Robert Fleck, Florence Hespel, and Esther Schlicht.