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Posted inArt

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

Digging Into Ai Weiwei’s Online Diary

Reading through detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s blog, recently translated by Lee Ambrozy and published as an eponymous book by MIT Press, isn’t fun, and it’s not for the faint of heart. A carefully selected culling of the artist’s massive production of posts between 2006 and 2009, the volume is a guts-and-all portrait of the man who is in all likelihood the most important artist working in the world today. That he remains arrested without charge by the Chinese government only heightens the strained urgency of Ai’s posts, an avalanche of “writings, interviews and digital rants,” as the book’s tagline puts it, that range through political philosophy, aesthetic inquiry and simple documentation of daily life.

Posted inNews

MoMA’s iPad App is an Art Archive for Download

With the release of a brand new iPad application, the Museum of Modern Art forays into the territory of digital publishing. The free application is a smooth way to buy the digital versions of MoMA’s exhibition catalogues, but the app also presents several advantages over simply buying PDF versions of the books. An elegant interface plus a visual shopping center make the MoMA app an easy place to access digital versions of some of the best catalogues around, though no real value is added to the digital versions save perhaps the ability to zoom in with your fingers. (Don’t we have monocles to do that for print, or something?) Also included in the app are free samples of the catalogues presently up for purchase.

Posted inOpinion

Alec Soth Says Art Books Don’t Get Reviewed

Despite the 2010 New York Art Book Fair getting quite a fair amount of press attention, photographer and fair participant Alec Soth feels that it wasn’t exactly the right kind. His criticism lies not with the fair itself nor with its PR, rather, his opinion that critics don’t often go out of their way to review art books in detail. A post on his nascent publishing outfit, Little Brown Mushroom’s, blog has the details.