Art & Design

January 21, 2016

Emily Ratajkowski and Sterling Ruby Talk About Their Feelings

Rizzoli's latest book 'Feelings: Soft Art' is 212 pages of cosy contemporary art

  • Written by Samira Larouci

Softness can be perceived as weakness and god forbid, uncool, in today’s world. But shouldn’t we be celebrating those who have the confidence to talk openly about their emotions? We don’t mean being a whiny bitch – but our emotions are often the basis of our most profound creative and existential experiences. And this is exactly what Feelings: Soft Art, Rizzoli’s latest book aims to explore.

Emily Ratajkowski

Emily Ratajkowski: Jonas Wood, Dinosaur Pots Still Life, 2014. Oil and acrylic on canvas; 100 x 93 in

It sees an expertly curated list of contributors that ranges from Ty Dolla $ign, Ryan McGinley and John Baldessari to Bernard Tschumi, Emily Ratajkowski, Petra Collins and Sterling Ruby, reflect on what the sensation of “softness” means to them. The result is a dream-like, unfiltered collection of personal essays, poems and intimate splays of emotion from some of today’s biggest cultural influencers, collated in a tactile, tender, felt-bound scrapbook-cum-journal.

Brain/Cloud (With Seascape and Palm Tree), 2009. 
Inkjet print on Hahnemüle photo rag paper using archival inks

JOHN BALDESSARI. Brain/Cloud (With Seascape and Palm Tree), 2009. 
Inkjet print on Hahnemüle photo rag paper using archival inks

In a book packed full of contemporary art that evokes furry, squishy and mushy feelings, we’re most drawn to the clouds, which seem to be a recurring motif with their contributors: Ty Dolla $ign for example, writes a short essay expressing his affinity with Gerhard Richter’s 1970 installation, Cloud, and curator Nick Murphy transcribes a phone call with John Baldessari about his Brain Cloud paintings.

Ryan McGinley

Ryan McGinley. Ass (Hands), 2013. C-print. 60 x 90 in

And it’s also worth mentioning that the publication has magazine-style advertising spreads dotted between the pages, featuring iconic brands chosen for their decade long persuits of softness, like the Canadian furrier Blackglama, and laundry detergent Downy. Feelings is basically 212 pages of total cosiness.

Ty Dolla $ign

Ty Dolla $ign: Gerhard Richter, Cloud, 1970. Oil on Canvas. 78 3/4 x 118 3/8 x 1 1/2 in

‘Feelings: Soft Art’ is published by


Opener image: Emily Ratajkowski


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