Journeys Into Humanity

Craving artistic food for thought? Then look no further.

From the legendary Pyramid club to famed photographers like Jimmy Nelson, these four books explore themes of self-discovery, inner beauty and what it means to be human. Enriched with artwork, writing and thoughtful meditations, each volume promises to be an inspiring read.


 

We Started a Nightclub. Birth of the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge as Told by Those Who Lived It

Published April 4th

What Studio 54 was for disco and pop culture, the Pyramid was for the alternative cultures of downtown NYC. The book is an oral history of the club's rise as the launching pad for countless talented performers, musicians, and artists- told through more than 75 interviews. It begins in 1981 at the last moment in the city’s history when the East Village was considered a dangerous no man’s land. Rents were cheap, AIDS was still unknown, and a new generation of creators broke the mould and went on to make art in an atmosphere of unbridled celebration.

The Pyramid offered a mixture of cultures, from groundbreaking, irreverent theatre and experimental music to “anti-drag” that challenged the norms of gender and sexual binaries. Theme nights and bar dancers, fixtures of the downtown avantgarde, all added to the club’s popularity. At the Pyramid, John Kelly, John Jesurun, Kestutis Nakas, and Ann Magnuson rubbed elbows with They Might be Giants, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 3 Teen Kill 4. Performers like Ethyl Eichelberger, John Sex, Tabboo!, Hapi Phace, and Lady Bunny added their twist on drag with outrageous personas. By offering a home to obscure, genre-defying, and unpolished acts, the Pyramid played a crucial role in shaping the city’s underground cultural scene for decades to come.

John Sex, Tabboo! and Friends, Pyramid Basement by Jim Syme. Courtesy of Damiani Books

Through Her Eyes

Max Vadukul. Published April 4th

Max Vadukul is a British-Indian photographer based in Milan, Italy. Renowned for his monochrome photography, he holds the distinction of being the first photographer of Indian origin to publish in the editions of Paris, Italian, British, and American Vogue. Throughout his career, he’s photographed celebrated figures such as Amy Winehouse, Tilda Swinton, Beyonce, Paul McCartney, Natalie Portman, Tom Hanks, Justine Timberlake, and many more.

Vadukul’s book is an homage to the dazzling complexity of fashion model Ludmilla Voronkina Bozzetti, captured through a kaleidoscope of perspectives and tones. His partnership with the model began after a photographic project in 2021, where the pair met during a shoot for Roberto Cavalli’s Zero collection.

Taken at the timeless Villa Gattoni in Meleti, Lombardy, the book’s photographs immortalise Ludmilla's singular presence. The photographer's vision of his muse is multifaceted: daughter, wife, mother, seductress, working woman. Absorbed and detached, sad and pensive, while being strong, self-confident and successful. Vadukul rejects the artifice of digital retouching, inviting viewers to explore the emotions and narratives behind each photograph, as a universal testimony to the untamed beauty and strength of women.

Ludmilla Voronkina Bozzetti by Max Vadukul. Courtesy of Max Vadukul

Distinguishing Piss from Rain: Writings and Interviews

Glenn Ligon. Published April 30th

This long-awaited volume features over two decades of incisive reflections on race, art and pop culture by Glenn Ligon. Born in the Bronx in 1960, he began as an abstract painter but shifted to text-based works which often incorporate quotes from Black authors. His work can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the MoMA in New York. Ligon's canonical paintings, neons and installations have been delivering a cutting examination of race, history, sexuality and culture in America since his emergence in the late 1980s. His work centres Blackness within the historically white backdrop of the art world and culture writ large.

“Glenn Ligon is among the great artists of our time or any time. Words are among the materials he knows how to wield with irony, wit, multivalence, and directness.” - Wayne Koestenbaum

Distinguishing Piss From Rain Book Cover by Glenn Ligon

Humanity

Jimmy Nelson. Published April 2nd

This photography book delves into Jimmy Nelson’s personal and artistic journey across the world. Its collection of shots by the award-winning photographer discovers the beauty of humanity, and invites readers to reflect on their own identities. His travels are similar to field expeditions, and can last weeks, if not months. For Nelson, travelling is part of his artistic process, and search into what it means to be human.

Observing people, nature and light, Nelson discovers a sense of balance through analogue photography, in the form of giant 10x8 negatives. Through his spectacular shots, Nelson’s journey becomes our journey. The indigenous peoples he photographs (typically portrayed as ethnographic subjects), become protagonists empowered by “unadulterated beauty”.

Humanity by Jimmy Nelson