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Marking time with trendy calendars


It's time to think about time again, as we flip through the 1993 crop of wall calendars -- the gorgeous and the goofy, the exotic and the erotic, the politically correct and the anatomically correct.

What, or who, do you want to stare at for 30 days at a clip? Claudia Schiffer? NFL bods? Aaaah-nuld? Outhouses? Cute cats? New England barns? New England seasons? New England's coastline? Scottish castles? Albert Einstein? Beer bottles?

No problem.

As for trends, artists are as hot as ever, and it looks like another banner year for Monet, Matisse, Georgia O'Keeffe (has anyone else seen one too many of her bawdy flowers?) and Andy Warhol. Painter Keith Haring and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, both of whom died of AIDS, get their due in separate calendars.

An explosion of calendars about African Americans and American Indians confirms that niche publishing is here to stay.

And if you're thinking of buying a calendar for someone who has no hobby, no favorite artist and no cat, nature in all its unblemished "calendar art" glory is always a safe bet, as there are dozens of calendars devoted to America's beauty from sea to shining sea.

Here are a few of the new wall calendars that caught our eye:

* Annie Leibovitz: Photographs (te Neues Publishing, $12.95). Rolling Stone-Vanity Fair photographer Leibovitz's slick, iconographic images helped define the era of celebrity.

* "Henri Matisse: A Retrospective" and "Henri Matisse: Jazz" (te Neues, $12.95 each).

With the spectacular retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, it's the year of Matisse. You can't go wrong with either of these lush calendars. The official "Retrospective" calendar features a fine sampling of Matisse's brilliantly colored paintings; "Jazz" spotlights the innovative cutouts the artist made late in life.

* Ronnie Lott's Hitters: Men of the NFL (Cedco, $11.95).

Tired of sports "action" calendars? Here's a different kind of action. L.A. Raider Ronnie Lott asked some of his closest, hunkiest NFL buddies to pose in their underwear in tasteful, artfully composed black-and-white shots. Hubba-hubba.

* Scream Gems (Landmark, $10.99) and The Best Films on Video (Tide-Mark, $9.95).

"Scream Gems" is a collection of posters from campy horror films of the '50s and '60s that may send you right to the video store. Remember "Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory" and "The Manster: Half Man-Half Monster"?

* Stephen King's Year of Fear (Dutton, $9.95).

An odd collection of book jackets, illustrations, photos and quotes from his scary books that will get the Stephen King lover through the year. But the most frightening image of all is that fixed-stare pose of Mr. King on the front of the calendar, looking like an extra from "The Shining."

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