Sign of the times: The three headlining art books of the season are as much about commerce as they are about art.

  • Cynthia Saltzman’s Old Masters, New World examines the acquisition of art by western oligarchs;
  • Jonathan Lopez‘s The Man Who Made Vermeers looks at a master-forger seduced by the Nazis and by the opportunity to fake-for-a-buck;
  • Edward Dolnick takes on the same topic in The Forger’s Spell, which Peter Schjeldahl says in the New Yorker is just a lesser version of the Lopez book. (Incidentally: Gawker noticed that the NYTimes seems to be, er, incestuously boosting Dolnick.)
  • IrwinWeschler2.jpgThe Saltzman book is pretty directly about the market and the other two less so. But I think there’s a pretty common theme running through a lot of art-related journalism and publishing: The zeitgeist is about the market first, and art last. If the art world decides that’s an unfortunate focus, it’s going to have to do something to change it.

    University press to the rescue: The University of California press is releasing an updated version of Lawrence Weschler’s classic book on Robert Irwin, complete with a new cover picture that seems to be from Irwin’s recent MCASD exhibition. [via] The hardcover will retail for $50 (!), but you can pre-order the paperback for under $17. (Also from UC Press: A quarter-century of Weschler’s conversations with David Hockney.)

    From Tyler Green’s Modern Art Notes