Monday, August 31, 2009

Merz to Emigre and Beyond. Progressive Magazine Design of the Twentieth Century.

Merz to Emigre and Beyond.
Progressive Magazine Design of the Twentieth Century. Edited with text by Steven Heller. Phaidon, London, 2002. 240 pp., 250 color and 100 black-and-white illustrations, 9¾x11½".

"Merz to Emigre and Beyond is a historical survey of avant-garde cultural and political magazines and newspapers from the early twentieth century to the present day.

The book features a unique selection of international publications from Europe and the USA - including, Merz (1920s), View (1940s), East Village Other (1960s), Punk (1970s), Raw (1980s) and Emigre (1990s).

The design of these magazines, often raucous and undisciplined, was as ground-breaking as the ideas they disseminated. Many were linked with controversial art, literary and political movements such as Dada, Surrealism, Modernism, the New Left and Deconstruction. They contain the work of many leading experimental artists and designers of their time - from Kurt Schwitters and El Lissitzky in the 1920s and 30s, to Art Spiegelman and Rudy Vanderland in the 1980s and 90s.

Steven Heller is a Senior Art Director at the New York Times and co-chair of the MFA/Design Program of the School of Visual Arts in New York. A respected authority in the design world, he has written and co-authored numerous publications, including Paul Rand, also published by Phaidon."

Looking at the description of this book it could very possibly be the perfect book as conjured up in my head (I'm absolutely passionate about book and magazines covers, as well as Dada, Surrealism and Modernism. The typography and graphic design of the 1920s and 30s I - to this day - still find the most constantly inspiring and exciting).

This book can of course never measure up to my ultimate idea of it, but I'm still pretty excited about this publication from the ever-reliable Phaidon Press.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Journey Into 1920s German Expressionism.

The Journey Into 1920s German Expressionism. Photographs by Kitai Kazuo. Tosei-Sha, Tokyo, 2008. 72pp., numerous black & white illustrations., 7¾x10½".

"These are the photographs taken when the autor went to Germany in 1979 and 1980 for the series of the magazine "ASAHI CAMERA".

He took photographs paying attention to beauty of form without paying attention to the construction itself and design.

This photograph group is the work which tried a new expression in his lifework. We can find out Kazuo Kitai's new world from these photographs."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Staffan Larsson x book covers.

Book covers by Staffan Larsson - found via pocko people.

"Staffan Larsson was born in Sweden in 1980. He graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in 2006 and has ever since been overwhelmed with joy and gratitude, trying to put ideas, dreams and memories on to paper.

He now lives and works in Berlin. Clients: Hodder & Stoughton, Random House, Mercedes, The Independent, Time Out, John Brown Publishing, Fuse TV."

See more of Staffan Larsson's work over at pocko people.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Black and white and graphic

Image from pocko people.

"McFaul Studio - specialising in illustration, print design, brand creation, art direction and innovative ideas, they provide unrivalled support and direction during a project from that first initial idea to its implementation and beyond

...on any material, any surface and any media."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Bento Bestiary.

The Bento Bestiary. By Ben Newman and Scott James Donaldson. Nobrow Small Press, 2009. 32pp., colour illustrations, 148x210mm. Limited edition of 100. Found via Pocko People.

"Bristol-based illustrator Ben Newman's collaboration with Scott James Donaldson, 'The Bento Bestiary' recounts the many facets of the age old Japanese Yokai pantheon.

Hand printed in 3 colours on Munken FSC assured paper, 'The Bento Bestiary' is nothing less than a sumptuous visual treat.

Limited to an edition of only 100 signed and numbered copies, it is sure to be lapped up in a jiffy, so grab one now while you still can."

"Nobrow Small Press is all about screenprinting. We have a fully equipped screenprint studio on our premises and work with many different artists, illustrators and designers to create beautifully crafted books and prints.

Our editions are extremely limited, we never do more than 100 of anything. Everything we produce is signed and numbered by the artist and embossed with the Nobrow Small Press seal."

I wasn't familiar with Ben Newman and Scott James Donaldson, nor Nobrow Small Press so this is a double treat for me.

The colours, shapes and use of the space on the pages is absolutely wonderful - such a treat!

I very much look forward to follow Nobrow Small Press and the other work that comes out of their screenprinting studio.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Wake. Photographs by Adam Jeppesen. Steidl Dangin, Gottingen, 2008. 48 pp., 27 color illustrations, 6½x8".

"Danish documentary filmmaker and photographer Adam Jeppesen’s Wake was assembled over a period of several months in the backwoods of Finland.

Rather than fall prey to Nordic melancholy while in seclusion, Jeppesen constructed a poetic, dreamlike sequence from his archive of past images that, in its arrangement, reflects the emotional and aesthetic clarity afforded by solitude.

Composed of personal work made while traveling on assignment for the past seven years, this monograph is a personal psychological study. As the title suggests, the images in this volume inhabit the liminal space between darkness and twilight, the torpid state between sleeping and waking. The specificity of people, places and things gives way to light, color and texture.

This series is infused with a quiet drama, an impression that something just out of reach lies below the surface of each image."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Fog Will Clear, The Snow Will Melt.

The Fog Will Clear, The Snow Will Melt. Photographs by Einar Hansen. Essay by Angus Carlyle, Conversation between Angus Carlyle and Einar Hansen. Einar Hansen, Norway, 2008. 106 pp., 39 color illustrations., 9¾x6¾".

'If you look at other images, it is not going to be dark all the time, the fog will clear, the snow will melt, the sunlight is going to shift across the floor, empty spaces will be occupied and later left...'

A Certain Kind Of Monotone - conversation between Angus Carlyle and Einar Hansen.

A magical, magical book title - and beautifully put together book.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Edward S. Curtis.

Edward S. Curtis. Photographs by Edward S. Curtis. Text by Dr. Hans Christian Adam. Taschen, Los Angeles, 2004. 240 pp., 7¾x9½".

"For over thirty years, photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) traveled the length and breadth of North America, seeking to record in words and images the traditional life of its vanishing indigenous inhabitants. Like a man possessed, he strove to realize his life’s work, which culminated in the publication of his encyclopedia “The North American Indian.”

In the end, this monumental work comprised twenty textual volumes and twenty portfolios with over 2000 illustrations. No other photographer has created a larger oeuvre on this theme, and it is Curtis, more than any other, who has crucially molded our conception of Native Americans.

This book shows the photographer’s most impressive pictures and vividly details his journey through life, which led him not only into the prairies but also into the film studios of Hollywood."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sibusiso Mbhele and his Fish Helicopter.

Sibusiso Mbhele and his Fish Helicopter. Work by Sibusiso Mbhele. Text by William Sloan and Koto Bolofo. powerHouse Books, New York, 2002. 186 pp., 120 color illustrations, 11x14¼".

"Sibusiso Mbhele and his Fish Helicopter is a cinematic look at the life and work of a visionary South African outsider artist who Sparked the jealousy, wrath, and ultimate rejection of his own community with his wondrous creations of Scrap metal flying machines.

Based on his eponymous film originally Screened in 2000 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Koto Bolofo's first monograph documents a young talented South African sculptor forced to flee his rural home-a full-sized, hand-built metal facsimile of a helicopter that created an odd Sight against a background of traditional thatched huts in his African village.

Self-taught, Mbhele earned his living creating Scrap metal sculptures of planes, cars, and bicycles from wire, car wrecks, oil tin drums, and other recycled materials. After making the headlines of the local newspapers, Mbhele's neighbors, jealous of his recognition and success, destroyed his creations and his beloved helicopter home. They had him jailed, and though he was later released, the tension and threat of further trouble was enough to make Mbhele take flight from his precious helicopter haven and head for the Security of the city and the unknown.

Koto Bolofo was born in South Africa and until 1992 lived in exile in Europe as a political refugee. A top fashion and commercial photographer, Bolofo's portrait work has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Interview, GQ, Vogue, and Marie Claire, among others.

In addition to 'Sibusiso Mbhele and His Fish Helicopter,' Bolofo has written, produced, and directed four other films shown at international film festivals over the past decade. He has exhibited his work in galleries in London and Paris, as well as at the Louvre. Bolofo currently resides in France.

William Sloan is the Head of the Circulating Film and Video Library at The Museum of Modern Art, NY. "

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sawdust Mountain.

Sawdust Mountain. Photographs by Eirik Johnson. Text by Tess Gallagher, Elizabeth Brown. Poem by David Guterson. Aperture, 2009. 144 pp., 70 color illustrations, 11x11".

"A culmination of four years of photographing throughout Oregon, Washington and Northern California, Sawdust Mountain focuses on the tenuous relationship between industries reliant upon natural resources and the communities they support.

Timber and salmon are the bedrock of a regional Northwest identity, but the environmental impact of these declining industries has been increasingly at odds with the contemporary ideal of sustainability. In this, his second book, Johnson reveals a landscape imbued with an uncertain future-no longer the region of boomtowns built upon the riches of massive old-growth forests.

Johnson, a Seattle native, describes his photographs as, a melancholy love letter of sorts, my own personal ramblings...' Through this poetic approach, Sawdust Mountain records a region affected by historic economic complexities and, by extension, one aspect of our fraught relationship with the environment in the twenty-first century."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Working from Memory.

Working from Memory. Collected Stories. Photographs and text by William Christenberry. Edited by Susanne Lange. Steidl, Gottingen, 2008. 112 pp., 50 color illustrations, 9x10".

"Working from Memory is a collection of stories by the renowned photographer, painter and sculptor William Christenberry.

Based on conversations with author and critic Susanne Lange, these stories elaborate the artist’s memories of the Deep South, in whose rich literary tradition they are steeped.

In a lyrical but lucid prose, they set personal experience against the backdrop of important political and cultural moments in the southern states, endowing that landscape with a vividness that will be familiar to fans of the artist’s photography. Christenberry’s own photographs accompany these tales."

See more images from this book here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Jack Pierson.

Jack Pierson. Photographs by Jack Pierson. Introduction by Jack Pierson. Text by Enrique Juncosa, Wayne Koestenbaum, Rachael Thomas, Richard D. Marshall. Charta/Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2008. 436 pp., 384 color and 21 black & white illustrations., 6¾x9½".

"This publication - at once a daybook, a survey (it accompanies the artist's first exhibition in Ireland) and an artist's book - collects eight previous publications on the American artist Jack Pierson, several of which are long out of print.

Pierson was among the first photographers to print pages with the imagery bleeding out of its usual white frame, and to deploy a bleached-out and overexposed style of photography that connotes a longing for a recent but already dimming past, littered with the props and players of yesterday's parties. By small increments, an emotional tone builds that is both warmly homoerotic and unabashedly wistful.

All of these books were designed by the artist and are here reproduced in their original size and in chronological order."

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Lighter. Photographs by Wolfgang Tillmans. Text by Julie Ault, Daniel Birnbaum, Joachim Jaeger. Hatje Cantz, 2008. 400 pp., 210 color illustrations., 10x11¾".

"Since winning the Turner Prize in 2000 for his 1990s oeuvre of portraits and snapshots, German-born photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has increasingly gravitated towards the abstract and material-specific properties of his medium.

Following Blushes, the Freischwimmer series and the monochromatic Silver series, his most recent abstract works - of which the creased and folded Lighter series is perhaps the most significant - treat the photograph, and especially photographic paper itself, no longer as a reproductive medium, but as a material object.

In Tillmans’ 'paper drop' photographs, the paper’s physical folds and curves are photographed to produce geometric, tactile compositions. Other works oscillate more elusively between photograph and object, always thriving in the interplay.

'For me, the abstract picture is already objective because it’s a concrete object and represents itself,' Tillmans observes; 'the paper on which the picture is printed is for me an object, there is no separating the picture from that which carries it. That’s why I like to show photographs sometimes framed and sometimes not, just taped to the wall.'

These most recent works are gathered for the first time in this book. Lighter also includes an extensive section of installation views - taken by Tillmans himself - that offers the reader a direct experience of the artist’s visual cosmos as presented in recent exhibitions, including his last retrospective, which was seen at various major venues in the United States."

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Grand Lady of the Lace.

The Grand Lady of the Lace. By Katy Horan. gouache on paper, 2009. Found via Julia Rothman's twitter.

Wonderful, layered piece in paper (gouache on paper) by this Texas native, Brooklyn-living artist.

See more of Katy Horan's work (including works on paper and works on wood) here, where you can also visit her shop or blog.

Friday, August 07, 2009

John Hughes 1950-2009.

John Hughes (image: APC)

"John Hughes, Jr. (February 18, 1950-August 6, 2009) was an American film director, producer and writer.

He made some of the most successful comedy films of the 1980s and 1990s.
His first directorial effort, Sixteen Candles, won almost unanimous praise when it was released in 1984, due in no small part to its more realistic depiction of middle-class high school life, which stood in stark contrast to the Porky's-inspired comedies being made at the time.

It was also the first in a string of efforts set in or around high school, including 'The Breakfast Club', 'Pretty in Pink', 'Weird Science' and 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'.

To avoid being pigeonholed as a maker of teen comedies, Hughes branched out in 1987, directing 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles' starring Steve Martin and John Candy."

"He also wrote screenplays using his pseudonym, Edmond Dantès (protagonist of Alexandre Dumas, père's novel The Count of Monte Cristo).

In 1994, Hughes retired from the public eye and moved to Wisconsin, rarely granting or giving interviews or photographs to the media save a select few interviews in 1999 to promote the soundtrack album to Reach the Rock, an independent film he wrote. The album was compiled by Hughes' son, John Hughes III, and released on his son's Chicago-based record label, Hefty Records. He also recorded an audio commentary for the 1999 DVD release of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. A photograph of him visiting his son on the set of his son's film in 2001 was the last photo taken of him in public."

John Hughes has had a an enormous impact on the language of film and been a source of inspiration to many film makers, perhaps most notably the director Wes Anderson.

Hughes died in Manhattan on August 6th 2009 apparently from a heart attack.

Read more from the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Library of Dust.

Library of Dust. Photographs by David Maisel. Essays by Geoff Manaugh, Terry Toedtemeier and Michael Roth. Chronicle Books, 2008. 108 pp., illustrated throughout, 13,25x17".

"Esteemed photographer David Maisel has created a somber and beautiful series of images depicting canisters containing the cremated remains of the unclaimed dead from an Oregon psychiatric hospital.

Dating back as far as the nineteenth century, these canisters have undergone chemical reactions, causing extravagant blooms of brilliant white, green, and blue corrosion, revealing unexpected beauty in the most unlikely of places.

This stately volume is both a quietly astonishing body of fine art from a preeminent contemporary photographer, and an exceptionally poignant monument to the unknown deceased."

This is a little bit gruesome and I find the premises a little bit questionable as far as the disrespect shown to the deceased and their families.

Bearing this in mind I do however find the result absolutely breath-taking, and a poignant record of weathering and the changing of times.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Collective Memory.

Collective Memory. Photographs by Doug Keyes. Decode Books, Seattle, 2008. 64 pp., 31 color illustrations., 8x11".

"Doug Keyes's photographs investigate the ways that knowledge stacks upon itself over time, leaving an impression or 'collective memory.'

In his first monograph, Collective Memory, Keyes’s luminous color images of books literally reveal - and sometimes conceal - this stacking by capturing through multiple exposure the experience of reading the book. The resulting single image is a condensed document of the experience, the ideas contained within, and the physical identity of the book itself.

The books Keyes chooses to photograph - from art books and works of fiction, to poetry books and books on scientific theory - hold personal meaning or remembrance for him and become sites to revisit.

Keyes's photographs in fact make visible the pleasure of leafing through a text and the memory of that experience."

I think this is an absolutely spectacular idea, but I'm not so sure about the execution. However certainly an idea and process to think about in your own work though.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Transfigurations. Photographs by Michael Lundgren. Radius Books, 2008. 64 pp., 40 duotone illustrations., 14x11".

"Historically, landscape photography was used as a means of documenting geographic and scientific exploration. Later it transitioned into a way to record nature and the spectacle of human progress.

Rarely has it been employed more abstractly to convey an atavistic or ecstatic experience as it is in the new work of Michael Lundgren.

This volume collects the Phoenix-based photographer's images of the Sonoran desert, which he has been shooting since 2003.

Using the desert's constant flux to his advantage, Lundgren records the shifting effects of light and atmosphere to create stunning black-and-white images. These photographs express a lust for the primitive, and they reinvigorate the realm of landscape photography with notions of the sublime.

Lundgren elaborates in his statement, 'The landscape is only discernible because of the presence of what is fundamentally absent. Myth and metaphor remain unfixed, open.'

This volume includes a text by the acclaimed critic, historian and best-selling author, Rebecca Solnit, as well as an afterword by the noted scholar and professor William Jenkins, who curated the influential 1975 New Topographics exhibition."

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Nina Simone: I want a little sugar in my bowl.

I want a little sugar in my bowl. With Nina Simone. (Link to clip via Elsa Billgren's blog).

"Eunice Kathleen Waymon, better known by her stage name Nina Simone /ˈniːnə sɨˈmoʊn/ (February 21, 1933 - April 21, 2003), was a Grammy Award-nominated American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger and civil rights activist.

Although she disliked being categorized, Simone is generally classified as a jazz musician. Simone originally aspired to become a classical pianist, but her work covers an eclectic variety of musical styles besides her classical basis, such as jazz, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop music.

Her vocal style is characterized by intense passion, a loose vibrato, and a slightly androgynous timbre, in part due to her unusually low vocal range which veered between the alto and tenor ranges (occasionally even reaching baritone lows).

Also known as The High Priestess of Soul, she paid great attention to the musical expression of emotions. Within one album or concert she could fluctuate between exuberant happiness and tragic melancholy. These fluctuations also characterized her own personality and personal life, worsened by bipolar disorder with which she was diagnosed during the mid-1960s, but was kept secret until 2004 after her death.

Simone recorded over 40 live and studio albums, the greatest body of her work being released between 1958 (when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue) and 1974.

Songs she is best known for include "My Baby Just Cares for Me", "I Put a Spell on You", "Four Women", "I Loves You Porgy", "Feeling Good", "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", "Sinnerman", "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", "Ain't Got No/I Got Life" and "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl".

Her music and message made a strong and lasting impact on culture, illustrated by the numerous contemporary artists who cite her as an important influence (among them Mary J. Blige, Elkie Brooks, Alicia Keys, Jeff Buckley, John Legend, Lauryn Hill and Peter Gabriel)."