TASCHEN Brings John, Yoko, and the Rolling Stonesto Art Basel in Hong Kong

Three weeks before John Lennon was fatally shot outside The Dakota, he and Yoko Ono were photographed in Central Park by the Japanese photographer Kishin Shinoyama. A new book, the latest in TASCHEN’s series of Collector’s Editions, showcases the now-famous images. 

  • Kishin Shinoyama. John Lennon & Yoko Ono. Double Fantasy. Josh Baker. Hardcover volume in clamshell box, cloth-bound, 12.3 x 17.3 in., 174 pages 157/10× 114/5in39.9 × 30 cm. Edition of 125. Courtesy TASCHEN.

“I did not try to step into their private life,” Shinoyama says of that autumn afternoon. “I tried to not interfere and capture his tender and gentle personality silently, so that I could shoot him in a very natural way, so that you couldn’t imagine that we had never met before.” The year was 1980—the same year, incidentally, that Benedikt Taschen founded TASCHEN Books as a publishing house for  art, anthropology, and aphrodisia. Kishin Shinoyama. John Lennon & Yoko Ono. Double Fantasy (2015), released last month, is an intriguing addition to the brand’s line of Collector’s Editions—many of which go on view this week at Art Basel in Hong Kong.

In contrast to Shinoyama’s quiet documentation of marital bliss in the park is another new and much talked-about title, the 500-page tome The Rolling Stones (2014). The SUMO-sized book is a journey though rare archives and produced in collaboration with the band, is a limited edition with only 1,150 copies in print—each signed by the band members and with a foreword by Bill Clinton. 

“We were lucky enough to work with some of the greatest photographers in the world who captured many magical moments of our career,” said Mick Jagger of the volume, which was released in December 2014. Keith Richards adds, “this book isn’t just rock ‘n’ roll, it’s a roller coaster through fifty years of memory lane!”

Like other TASCHEN titles—particularly the collector’s editions dedicated to the life and work of legends like Darren Almond, Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino, and Ai Weiwei—the two newest books are instant classics that, like any good piece of artwork, only gain value over time. 

  • Helmut Newton, Benedikt Taschen and SUMO on its table designed by Philippe Starck, Cologne, July 7, 1999. Photo: Alice Springs. Courtesy TASCHEN.

And like a painter or sculptor opening the doors to his atelier, TASCHEN shows the process of the books’ production in a series of behind-the-scenes videos. Of course, you know you’re looking at an exceptional book from the moment you lay eyes on one of these thoughtfully produced titles. The Ai Weiwei edition, for example, is hardcover and clothbound, then wrapped in a silk scarf: a fittingly unexpected presentation for a controversial symbol of China whom ArtReview magazine named “the most powerful artist in the world.”


Bridget Gleeson

TASCHEN’s Collector’s Editions are on view at Art Basel Hong Kong, Mar. 15 – 17, 2015.

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