Artist and photographer, Erik Madigan Heck is renown for his hauntingly beautiful, impeccable imagery and sophisticated creative ideas.

The editor of ‘the world’s most expensive magazine‘, Nomenus Quarterly, and collector of fine art and art books, it makes sense that GrandLife procure the 5 top ‘must-have’ art books from Heck’s genius mind to give to you, for your growing library.

Below are Erik’s detailed breakdowns of the art books that he advocates, and what’s inside them:


1.         Christian Patterson ‘Redheaded Peckerwood’

This book is an exquisitely minimally designed book by the London based book designer Michael Mack, for the artist Christian Patterson. The 2nd edition of this book was recently released by Mack’s own imprint after parting ways with the German powerhouse publisher, Steidl.

The book is quite odd in nature, and as one of the accompanying essays proclaims, “it attempts to do what no other photo book has done before”, in that it recounts and tries to reinvestigate a historical event both literally and simultaneously abstractly through mixing both fact and fiction. Patterson retraces the steps of two serial killers: “Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate who murdered ten people, including Fugate’s family, during a three day killing spree across Nebraska to the point of their capture in Douglas, Wyoming.” (quote from the artist’s site).

The design of the book includes odd facsimile inserts built in between pages, such as old sheets of paper with the killers handwriting, maps, and receipts collected along their journey. The mixture of the hauntingly realistic facsimiles, set against the sparse design aesthetic helps to enhance the sense one gets that we’re reading not only an abstracted art book, but rather an authoritative crime document- reinterpreted through beautiful imagery and design. Redheaded Peckerwood is one of my favorite books as of late.

2.         Martina Hoogland Ivanow ‘Far Too Close’

‘Far Too Close’ is yet another beautifully designed photography book by Michael Mack, for the photographer Martina Hoogland Ivanow. I was unfamiliar with her work until recently, however have since fallen in love with her photographs as I feel there exists some strange connection between Ivanow’s work and my own. The photographs are quiet and haunting in their coldness- images of both families and children, landscapes, and scenes from both south America and eastern Europe. The ambiguity and disassociation from their reality creates an odd tension that I find remarkable in this particular book. I find myself having a true emotional reaction to looking at her photographs, which is so very rare these days – being overwhelmed by imagery.

3.         Tacita Dean ‘Seven Books Grey’

This anthology of Tacita’s work, published by Steidl, is incredible in how it brings together so many of the texts she has written, with accompanying texts by curators and aligns them with many film stills from her long and quiet 16mm films (which are rarely seen by the public).

4.         Farnese de Andrade (monograph) published by Cosac Naify

This artist happens to be one of my favorites. Whilst remaining virtually unknown in the US, he is a Brazilian artist who works with found objects to create sinister sculptures and readymades. This monograph is beautiful in not only its presentation of the artist’s work, but also in its design and typography. The Brazilian publisher Cosac Naify, did an amazing job at summarizing Andrade’s life work in this anthology. It’s a rare publication, and can be hard to find, but if you come across it – I highly recommend purchasing it.

5.         ‘Artist Books in the Modern Era 1870-2000′ (anthology) published by Thames and Hudson

This is my most frequent go to book for inspiration. I bought this book when I was living in Paris almost 10 years ago, and have used it every week since. It categorizes some of the most beautiful hand-made artist books in those years from Matisse to Anselm Kiefer, and everything in between.