I’m trying to get into the habit of keeping up on industry news. While it’s certainly a task that everyone in publishing should do I’m sad to say it is not one of my strengths. Too many good romance novels to read instead.
But I’m proud to say that I was reading Publishers Lunch (yes, while enjoying my lunch) and came across some of the coolest book jackets ever. Thought I’d share.
These 21 covers are designed by 21 different artists and authors, Chip Kidd being one, for Vladimir Nabokov’s backlist . Some are better than others – not everyone can be Chip Kidd.
Nabokov died in 1977, leaving behind an unfinished manuscript, The Original of Laura (Dying is Fun). The reason for the redesign of his backlist is due to the unfinished novel being published posthumously. No, an author was not brought in to finish the work. The editor and agent just published what was already written, only about 9,000 words. Keep in mind that Nabokov order the manuscript be destroyed.
But I digress. Nabokov had a fascination with butterflies so each new cover is made to look like a speciman box – complete with pins and paper cutouts. I love it! Here is an example of the cover for Ada, or Ardor. If you want to see more – go to the Wall Street Journal’s slide show.
Finally – a coffee table book that can be used in a practicle manner. Although, really I don’t buy coffee table books for practicality; I buy them because they’re gorgeous. So maybe a better way to put it is “a coffee table book with a hidden use” or something similar.
Takeshi Ishiguro, a Japanese artist/designer, runs his own studio in Tokyo. But he doesn’t create just art – he also focuses on conceptual products as well. In this piece – he combines the two. And yes, this is now available to purchase. :)
The Book of Lights
It’s powered by a low voltage adapter. Go to Unica for more info.
Butterfly, Cara Barer
Cara Barer (I’d be willing to stake a bet that she’s been nicknamed “Care Bear” at some point in her life… do you think she loves it or hates it?) is today’s featured book artist. Perhaps it’s cheating to use her right after Robert The… I found them from the same article from The Quarterly Conversation. But I like her work so much I just couldn’t resist.
Although her website claims she is a photographer (which she certainly is)… She’s a photographer who sculpts books, then takes pictures of them. Her statment shares how she stumbled upon the idea to give these books a new form (she discovered a copy of the Yellow Pages transformed on the street by weather). Her own description (from her statement) says, “With the discarded books that I have acquired, I am attempting to blur the line between objects, sculpture, and photography. This project has become a journey that continues to evolve.”
Please take a look at her site (photos can be found under “Portfolio”). My favorite series is 2006-2007, perhaps because there is more color included. But all of her work is beautiful! Here are a couple of my favorites:
Fairy Tale, Cara Barer
I love the suggestion in the title. What do you see? I see a gateway in a tree to a secret world. Or perhaps a princess’s hair.
Wave and Fog, Cara Barer
Another great title. Did anyone grow up in the foggy northwest? Reminds me of San Fran in the early morning hours.
The Art Crisis
You kill me with your words…
Is what I thought when I saw this picture. The idea that language can be a weapon is nothing new, but here Robert The (click for more images!) gives it a physical manifestation. I love it and I want one.
The carves from books, giving new life to the pages–scorpions and cockroaches crawl out of the spine, airplanes fly from the pages. Although a lot of book art seems to rely, at least slightly, on the title or content of the books, The’s doesn’t seem to. Perhaps others can read into the metaphor of a roach carved from The World of Marcel Duchamp, but if it had been me I might have chosen Kafka’s Metamorphasis for the roach. But maybe that’s just me.
For a lovely essay about The and his art, click here for The Quarterly Conversation.
Anyway, regardless of meaning, the art is superb. Enjoy, and happy Friday! And, just so you know… this one is my favorite. Perhaps because I heart fall so much.
My roommates and I have a blank wall in our apartment that we want to do something with – in fact we have an art project in mind involving books. Nothing too strenuous really, it requires us hanging floating shelves and then arranging hardcovers. I know, but really, it looks fun in the magazine picture.
Well, now I’ve changed my mind – (of course, really what I want to do now is not feasible, so we’ll stick with the original plan) – but if I had lots of space, time and talent (hey, I already have lots of books) – this is what I would do….
The artist, Mike Stilkey uses a number of mediums – vintage paper, record covers, book pages and, as seen above, the books themselves. This picture is only a piece of the entire installation, titled “When the Animals Rebel.” Here’s the link to his website. He’s had a number of exhibitions and I’m hoping he’ll have one in New York – I’ll definitely keep my eye out and let you know if and when he does. Of course, since I like to think that our blog extends far beyond the reaches of New York City I’ll post his other exhibitions as well.
I’m hooked and now my dream of having my own library (think, Beauty and the Beast for those of you who know your Disney) includes something similar to this art.
For your viewing pleasure, and in honor of Banned Book Week (Sept. 26-Oct. 3), some images of banned book art and displays:
Censored Book/Livre Censure'
The above is by Barton Lidice Benes. Click on the image and read how he came up with this idea. Kind of interesting.
Freak Show (that's my title, not theirs)
The above is from last year, a display from Twin Hickory library in Glen Allen, Virginia (via Extreme Craft).
Not especially revolutionary, but I especially like the invitation to reach inside. The above is a display from the media center at The League Academy (Greenville, South Carolina).
And, finally, how’d you like to see this while driving?
Beware of the Book
This is posted by someone named Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, and if you click on the picture above you can read his opinion that the printed book is not dead or dying.
Remember people, no matter how you’re reading, KEEP READING!
Before we continue with this post we would like to say – Thank You For Reading! Yes, for reading in general but also for reading us.
Two of our most popular posts are those that highlight book art – they can be found here and here. So, we’d thought we’d give more of what you like (that’s the way we roll). Starting today we’re kicking off our BOOK ART EXTRAVAGANZA. Once a week, on Fridays, we are going to highlight book art that we like, dislike or is just plain interesting.
If there’s a specific artist or art piece that you feel has to be included (as long as it has books) let us know! And, definitely check back every Friday for some awesome book art.
Brian Dettmer has the honor of being our first official artist highlighted for our Book Art Extravaganza.
Considered a book surgeon, Dettmer uses both knives and surgical tools to recreate various texts. I love how his process is explained – he views his work differently depending on the book. A science text is a dissection, an archaeology tome an excavation. He doesn’t add or alter anything within the book – he seals the pages and then carves away layer by layer, page by page until new compositions and relationships are revealed. Two of my favorite works are below and you can see more here.
I Know You’re In There…
Here’s some more interesting book art, by Nina Katchadourian. She’s an artist in various media (photography, video, sculpture, sound). She created this installment, called “Sorted Books” by carefully arranging books based on their titles. On her site, click on the pictures to see more from the series for each ‘sorting’! My favorite is below. (Via Publishing Perspectives)
A Day at the Beach by Nina Katchadourian
Love your books.
THANK YOU to Cindy P. for posting this on Facebook yesterday. I held off on adding the link here because I love the 26th Story title for their post: Happy Friday Book Lovers!
These images are so beautiful and creative. Who wants to have a book-art party and create our own? Who has ideas?!?
I might take my copy of Fahrenheit 451 and make some paper flames come out of the open pages…