Heavyweight Contenders

'Tis the season for big art books

Erik Tanner for TIME

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

What is it about a book with lots of pictures--preferably one heavy enough to get you hit with an excess-baggage charge at the airport--that screams "gift book"? During the holiday season, these door stoppers call to grownup gift givers the way puppies in pet-store windows call to kids. Except the kids don't want to wrap up the puppies and give them away.

Many of the best of this year's gift books--and all those grouped here--grew out of museum collections or shows. They come with lucid scholarly essays, texts that do more than oooh and aaah over the pictures but don't drag...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!