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Jen Bekman's Bookcase

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MAPS

In the early 1990s, celebrated graphic designer Paula Scher (Make It Bigger, 2002) began painting maps of the world as she sees it. The larger her canvases grew, the more expressionistic her geographical visions became. Displaying a powerful command of image and type, Scher brilliantly transformed the surface area of our world. Paintings as tall as twelve feet depict continents, countries, and cities swirling in torrents of information and undulating with colorful layers of hand-painted boundary lines, place-names, and provocative cultural commentary. Collected here for the first time, Paula Scher MAPS presents thirty-nine of Scher's obsessively detailed, highly personal creations.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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A Legacy of Invention

The Los Angeles-based husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames gave shape to the look of America's twentieth century. They witnessed firsthand many of the momentous historical events of the 1900s - including the Depression and World War II - and in their lives and work they represented the era's defining social movements: the shift of the nation's attention from the East Coast to the West Coast, the rise of corporate and industrial America, the global expansion of American culture. The Eameses' wholehearted belief that design could improve people's lives remains their greatest accomplishment, with elegance, wit, and beauty. Published on the occasion of a major exhibition organized by the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., and the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany, the holders of the two richest Eames collections in the world, this volume celebrates that achievement. Includes essay by architect and curator Donald Albrecht, which explores the Eameses' achievements in collaboration with major corporate clients. Architectural designer and critic Joseph Giovannini offers a provocative interpretation of their early careers. A photo essay features newly commissioned photographs of furniture, furniture prototypes, and experimental pieces. Astronomer Alan Lightman, physicist Philip Morrison, and author Phylis Morrison examine the Eameses' fascination with science, especially their ability to communicate its history and principles to the general public through exhibitions, books, and films. Architectural historian Beatriz Colomina situates the Eameses' own house within the context of the American and European architectural avant-garde after World War II. And architectural historian Helene Lipstadt looks at four projects the Eameses designed for the American government, placing their work in international as well as broad political contexts. Together, the essays in this handsome and generously illustrated volume present the Eameses' wide-ranging sensibilities and their immense contributions to the visual language of the twentieth century.

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John Berger’s Classic Text on Art John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the (London) Sunday Times critic commented: "This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures." By now he has.

"Berger has the ability to cut right through the mystification of the professional art critics . . . He is a liberator of images: and once we have allowed the paintings to work on us directly, we are in a much better position to make a meaningful evaluation" —Peter Fuller, Arts Review

"The influence of the series and the book . . . was enormous . . . It opened up for general attention to areas of cultural study that are now commonplace" —Geoff Dyer in Ways of Telling

Winner of the 1972 Booker Prize for his novel, G., John Peter Berger (born November 5th, 1926) is an art critic, painter and author of many novels including A Painter of Our Time, From A to X and Bento’s Sketchbook.

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Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems

Lunch Poems, first published in 1964 by City Lights Books as number nineteen in the Pocket Poets series, is widely considered to be Frank O'Hara's freshest and most accomplished collection of poetry. Edited by the poet in collaboration with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Donald Allen, who had published O'Hara’s poems in his monumental The New American Poetry in 1960, it contains some of the poet’s best known works including "The Day Lady Died," "Ave Maria," and "Poem" [Lana Turner has collapsed!].

This new limited 50th anniversary edition contains a preface by John Ashbery and an editor’s note by City Lights publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, along with facsimile reproductions of a selection of previously unpublished correspondence between Ferlinghetti and O’Hara that shed new light on the preparation of Lunch.

"Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems, the little black dress of American poetry books, redolent of cocktails and cigarettes and theater tickets and phonograph records, turns 50 this year. It seems barely to have aged . . . This is a book worth imbibing again, especially if you live in Manhattan, but really if you're awake and curious anywhere. O’Hara speaks directly across the decades to our hopes and fears and especially our delights; his lines are as intimate as a telephone call. Few books of his era show less age."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times

"City Lights' new reissue of the slim volume includes a clutch of correspondence between O'Hara and Lawrence Ferlinghetti . . . in which the two poets hash out the details of the book's publication: which poems to consider, their order, the dedication, and even the title. 'Do you still like the title Lunch Poems?' O’Hara asks Ferlinghetti. 'I wonder if it doesn't sound too much like an echo of Reality Sandwiches or Meat Science Essays.' 'What the hell,' Ferlinghetti replies, 'so we’ll have to change the name of City Lights to Lunch Counter Press.'"--Nicole Rudick, The Paris Review

"Frank O’Hara's famed collection was first published in 1964, and, to mark the fiftieth anniversary, City Lights is printing a special edition."--The New Yorker

"The volume has never gone out of print, in part because O’Hara expresses himself in the same way modern Americans do: Like many of us, he tries to overcome the absurdity and loneliness of modern life by addressing an audience of anonymous others."--Micah Mattix, The Atlantic

"I hope that everyone will delight in the new edition of Frank's LUNCH POEMS. The correspondence between Lawrence and Frank is great. Frank was just 33 when he wrote to Lawrence in 1959 and 38 when LUNCH POEMS was published! The fact that City Lights kept Frank's LUNCH POEMS in print all these years has been extraordinary, wonderful and a constant comfort. Hurray for independent publishers and independent bookstores. Many thanks always to Lawrence Ferlinghetti and everyone at City Lights."--Maureen O’Hara, sister of Frank O'Hara

"Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems--which has just been reissued in a 50th anniversary hardcover edition--recalls a world of pop art, political and cultural upheaval and (in its own way) a surprising innocence."--David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Between 1963 and 1978, Ed Ruscha produced 18 small artists' books. Usually self-published in small print-runs, these publications have become seminal works in the history of Conceptual art and the photography book. Then & Now is the first artist's book that Ruscha has made since 1978. One of the most famous of Ruscha's books from that early period is Every Building on the Sunset Strip--a famous stretch of real estate along Sunset Boulevard--published in 1966. In July, 1973 he followed the same procedure when he photographed on Hollywood Boulevard. Loading a continuous strip of 30 feet of Ilford FP-4 black & white film into his Nikon F2 and then mounting it on a tripod in the bed of a pickup truck, he drove back and forth across the 12 miles of street shooting both the north and south sides of its entire length. The negatives were developed, contact sheets were made, and the materials placed in storage. 30 years later, in 2003, a digital record of Hollywood Boulevard was created and it served as a reference guide for the traditional film/still documentary of 2004. For this shoot, the same type of camera equipment was used to re-photograph the street on 35mm color-negative film. The resulting material of both shoots--4,500 black & white and 13,000 color images--have been scanned and digitally composed into four panoramics of the complete 12 miles. In Then & Now, the original 1973 northside view is shown along the top of the page and juxtaposed with its 2004 version. The panoramics face each other and they are aligned. The result is what Ruscha refers to as “a piece of history... a very democratic, unemotional look at the world.” Whilst it is a significant historical document which succinctly conflates and renders the passage of time, it is also a project which spans the career of one of the truly original artists of our time and brings his work full circle.

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Alec Soth's America

From Here to There: Alec Soth's America is the first exhibition catalogue to feature the full spectrum of the work of Alec Soth, one of the most interesting voices in contemporary photography, whose compelling images of everyday America form powerful narrative vignettes. Featuring more than 100 of the artist's photographs made over the past 15 years, the book includes new critical essays by exhibition curator Siri Engberg, curator and art historian Britt Salvesen and critic Barry Schwabsky, which offer context on the artist's working process, the photo-historical tradition behind his practice and reflections on his latest series of works. Novelist Geoff Dyer's "Riverrun"--a meditation on Soth's series Sleeping by the Mississippi--and August Kleinzahler's poem "Sleeping It Off in Rapid City" contribute to the thoughtful exploration of this body of work. Also included in the publication is a 48-page artist's book by Soth titled The Loneliest Man in Missouri, a photographic essay with short, diaristic texts capturing the banality and ennui of middle America's suburban fringes, with their corporate office parks, strip clubs and chain restaurants. This full-color publication includes a complete exhibition history, bibliography and interview with the artist by Bartholomew Ryan. Alec Soth was born in 1969 and raised in Minnesota, where he continues to live and work. He has received fellowships from the McKnight Foundation (1999, 2004) and Jerome Foundation (2001), was the recipient of the 2003 Santa Fe Prize for Photography and was short-listed for the highly prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. His first monograph, Sleeping by the Mississippi, was published in 2004 to critical acclaim. Since then Soth has published Niagara (2006), Fashion Magazine (2007), Dog Days, Bogotá (2007) and The Last Days of W (2008). He is a member of Magnum Photos.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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Fraenkel Gallery 30th Anniversary Catalogue

Published to mark the esteemed Fraenkel Gallery's 35th year, The Plot Thickens is an eye-opening expedition through the history of the medium, with approximately 90 wide-ranging photographs by artists as diverse as Diane Arbus, Christian Marclay, Robert Adams, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Mel Bochner, Walker Evans, Sol LeWitt, Lee Friedlander, Alec Soth, Katy Grannan, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Richard Learoyd. In the tradition of Fraenkel Gallery's award-winning anniversary publications from years past (such as Furthermore, 20Twenty and The Eye Club), The Plot Thickens includes a trove of images by unknown photographers, virtually none of which have been reproduced before. Designed by Katy Homans and printed with extraordinary fidelity, The Plot Thickens is a meditation on the inexplicable essence of the medium and an essential new publication for anyone who cares seriously about art and photography..

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The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

The spirited and scholarly #1 New York Times bestseller combines boisterous history with grammar how-to’s to show how important punctuation is in our world—period.

In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss, gravely concerned about our current grammatical state, boldly defends proper punctuation. She proclaims, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. Using examples from literature, history, neighborhood signage, and her own imagination, Truss shows how meaning is shaped by commas and apostrophes, and the hilarious consequences of punctuation gone awry.

Featuring a foreword by Frank McCourt, and interspersed with a lively history of punctuation from the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, Eats, Shoots & Leaves makes a powerful case for the preservation of proper punctuation.

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Illuminance

In 2001, Rinko Kawauchi launched her career with the simultaneous publication of three astonishing photobooks--Utatane, Hanabi and Hanako--firmly establishing herself as one of the most innovative newcomers to contemporary photography, not just in Japan, but across the globe. In the years that followed, she published other notable monographs, including Aila (2004), The Eyes, the Ear (2005) and Semear (2007). And now, ten years after her precipitous entry onto the international stage, Aperture has published Illuminance, the latest volume of Kawauchi's work and the first to be published outside of Japan. Kawauchi's photography has frequently been lauded for its nuanced palette and offhand compositional mastery, as well as its ability to incite wonder via careful attention to tiny gestures and the incidental details of her everyday environment. As Sean O'Hagan, writing in The Guardian in 2006, noted, "there is always some glimmer of hope and humanity, some sense of wonder at work in the rendering of the intimate and fragile." In Illuminance, Kawauchi continues her exploration of the extraordinary in the mundane, drawn to the fundamental cycles of life and the seemingly inadvertent, fractal-like organization of the natural world into formal patterns. Gorgeously produced as a clothbound volume with Japanese binding, this impressive compilation of previously unpublished images--which garnered Kawauchi a nomination for the Deutsche Börse Prize--is proof of her unique sensibility and ongoing appeal to lovers of photography.

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Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?

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Family Business

Mitch Epstein was 48 and living in New York when his mother called him about the fire. On a windy August night in 1999, two 12-year-old boys had broken into a boarded-up apartment building owned by Epstein's father in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and, just for the hell of it, set it ablaze. The fire had spread, engulfing a nineteenth-century Catholic church, then a city block. The $15 million lawsuit brought by the church against the senior Mr. Epstein threatened to unravel his life. Faced with the family crisis, Mitch went home to help, possessed by the question of how his father, once owner of the largest furniture and appliance store in western New England and former Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year in 1970, ended up a character out of an Arthur Miller tragedy. What resulted is Family Business, an epic work about the demise of a Jewish immigrant dynasty. It traces the parallel fall of a New England town from industrial giant to drug-dealing capital. Epstein has combined formally rigorous, large-scale photographs with fluid video clips to re-create his father's universe. The book's four chapters--"store," "property," "town," "home"--include photographs, storyboards, video stills, archival materials and text, resulting in a mixed-media novel that asks how the American Dream failed his father and his generation of men.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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