Posted inArt

Photographs Turn New York City into a Stage for Humanity

Like so many people who come to New York, part of what attracted me was the spectacle of the city itself. I wanted to wander streets thick with history and creative currents, to watch and become part of the human drama just outside my door. That also describes my experience of Susan Wides’s stunning new project All the Worlds, a series of nine sensuous, panoramic photographs that capture the fluid beauty of New York City’s theatrum mundi. It is on these stages that Wides sees our very human need to align with the poetry of our collective spirits and to reclaim our humanity in the face of co-opting consumerist and political forces.

Posted inBooks

The Subconscious Landscape of the Printed Book

As book lovers mourn the dematerialization of the printed word, rare booksellers like Heather O’Donnell remain upbeat. She’s part of an ardent group of believers — a new generation flame tenders who are dedicated to keeping books safe in the electronic storm of Kindles and Nooks. For the upcoming Designers & Books Fair 2012 (October 26–28), she has curated an exhibit of stellar printing and binding design over the past three centuries. It makes an eloquent case for the notion that beauty will keep the printed book alive.

Posted inBooks

“The Wire” Gets Victorian in a Book by Fictional Scholar H.B. Ogden

Like the ever-present junkies on the TV show “The Wire,” fans of the acclaimed HBO series can never seem to get enough. Legions of viewers stayed glued to the tangled plot over five seasons — and their cravings were stoked for five years more through blogs, behind-the-scenes books, essays, college courses, and literally hundreds of scholarly articles and reviews. Now, on the show’s 10th anniversary, “The Wire” addicts can score a fresh fix with the arrival of the arch, smart faux-Victorian send-up of the series, Down in the Hole: The Unwired World of H.B. Ogden, by Joy DeLyria and Sean Michael Robinson (PowerHouse Books, 2012), based on a blog that went viral last March.

Posted inBooks

Working Through the End of Art

When the wide-eyed young painter Jim Holl came to New York City in the mid-1970s to study and make art he was shaken by the news that painting, according to the critics, was dead. Holl spent the next 20 years venturing outside the frame to find his place in this post-apocalyptic art world. His memoir, The Landscape Painter: 1974 through 1994, documents his journey.