‘The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable’, due in Mid-June from Titan Books/Gallery1988, collects work from the first seven years of Luke Chueh’s career (2003 – 2009). Dailydujour received our review copy today, and I’m pleased to report that the book is an excellent presentation of Luke’ unique brand of painting which offers honest, often self-deprecating realizations of the life that surrounds him through his minimalist animal characters, including his now iconic bear.
Over 192 pages, the new hardcover volume presents Chueh’s artistic output in chronological order with a chapter for each year. While this choice is somewhat unusual, it is perhaps my preferred arrangement as it enhances the reference aspect of the book while allowing one to appreciate the artists’ progression and growth over time. The designers have made strong use of the book’s ample dimensions (9.3” x 12.5”) to present the artwork in a strong fashion. The majority of the paintings are presented one to a page, allowing the viewer to appreciate the art’s emotional impact that would not be possible at a smaller scale. From one prolonged viewing , the quality of the art reproduction is high and devoid of any obvious flaws. In a collector friendly move, each painting or artwork (including custom toys and skateboards) is accompanied with its title and medium on page – eliminating the need to flip to another section for this often sought after information as is the case with many other art books.
While the emphasis of this volume is on the art itself, key paintings are accompanied by Luke’s insights into their creation and significance. As well, the book features impressions of Luke as a person and an artist from those who have worked closely with him including Jensen Karp (Gallery 1988 Co-Founder), Pete Wentz (Fallout Boy), the Madden brothers (Good Charlotte), Patrick Lam (Munky King) and more.
For any Luke Chueh fan or collector, ‘The Art of Luke Chueh: Bearing the Unbearable’ is a must-own volume. It is the definitive compilation of his artwork and paintings from the first seven years of his career. In my opinion, the mission of an art book such as this is to present the artists’ work in an attractive and easy-to-navigate fashion. This book accomplishes this goal quite well. That said, book collectors should note that the all-black backgrounds of the Chapter lead-ins show finger print marks quite noticeably, at least in my review copy. The book should serve equally well as an excellent introduction for those unfamiliar with Luke Chueh’s work, valuable reference material for the knowledgeable collector, and an eye-opening refresher for those familiar with only portions of his career. Finally, at a retail price of $34.95, it’s reasonably priced.