• Hollybig

    Bookshelf: R. Gerald Nelson

Graphic Design

Bookshelf: R. Gerald Nelson

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

This week’s Bookshelf comes courtesy of R. Gerald Nelson, whose studio Making Known (which we originally stated was "one hell of a place to spend time getting to grips with ‘a noisy kind of knowledge.’ "), publishing arm Edition MK and personal site LoR/E (Library of Reading/Essays) all concern themselves with a dissemination of design practice within a critical, visual platform. His bibliography matches the thoughtful, content-rich nature of his various platforms and acts a contextual starting block for his own practice.

The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960–1982 Douglas Fogle

As a comprehensive exhibition catalogue that examines the experimental uses of photography and its manifestations within such movements as Conceptual Art, Process Art, and Arte Povera from the 1960s to the 1980s, I have often returned to this book to revisit and gain a further understanding of how artists were using the photographic medium during this period. Even as designer, I’ve found value in studying the way in which those artists created images and of how those images were able to convey their messages and ideas (as opposed to simply using the medium for documentary purposes) and of how such a practice brought fundamental questions about photography to light. The large catalogue is permeated with many great readings, artist statements, and excerpts. A personal favorite: the collection of statements (from the likes of Walter Benjamin, Guy Debord, Susan Sontag, and many others) regarding photography and the image, compiled by Sarah Charlesworth and Barbara Kruger in 1983, titled “Glossolalia.”
www.artbook.com

The Regime of Visibility Camiel van Winkel

Camiel van Winkel opens his 2005 book, The Regime of Visibility, holding nothing back (“There are too few images. …Today’s culture is determined by a visual shortage, rather than visual excess”). And in the first paragraph alone, he delivers a barrage of seemingly contradictory and radical ideas (i.e., “Images may be present everywhere, but as a social force they are less powerful than the imperative to visualise”) that pull you in and leave you wanting to read more. Simply put, this is a book that I highly recommend to anyone who produces anything visual. There are, no doubt, countless writings on the powerful effect of images and visual culture, but van Winkel’s book stands out in my mind because it so thoroughly surveys “the regime of visibility”— from the extremes of high art to mass/pop culture—without the use of overbearing and academic language. What I also enjoy about this book is that van Winkel presents his discourse by way of citing many familiar artists, icons, movements, and ideas: from Jeff Koons to Wim Crouwel, reality television to The Matrix, Kate Moss to Cindy Sherman, fashion photography to conceptual art, and more.
www.naipublishers.nl

For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn’t there. Anthony Huberman

Whenever I spend time with this book, I am always enlightened and amazed by the effectiveness with which the book’s message and content (written by Anthony Huberman) are presented as well as by the inventiveness of its design (crafted by Will Holder). Huberman unravels his thesis—dealing with such omnipresent subjects as speculation, knowledge, confusion, curiosity, interpretation, and nonknowledge as they all relate to art—using stripped-down language in combination with a fascinating mix of analogies and stories that allow readers to keep pace with Huberman and what would otherwise be, if not for his approach, dull and complex subjects to communicate. Meanwhile, Huberman’s writing is cleverly represented in an enhancing yet curiously kitschy way with the help of Holder’s theater of graphic and typographic antics.
www.camstl.org/shop/for-the-blind-man…

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2008: The Present Issue Edited by Anisha Imhasly and Tan Wälchli

The annual Most Beautiful Swiss Books (MBSB) publication has been steadily building its reputation as a vehicle for the presentation of the most relevant commentary and ideas that define the worlds of publishing and book design. The last three editions of MBSB (a thematic trilogy designed and conceptualized by Laurenz Brunner with editor Tan Wälchli) have been especially well crafted and injected with a renewed focus on quality content and writing from relevant contributors. As such, I’ve anticipated the release of each edition of MBSB more for its intellectual insight about the state of publishing and book design and less for its showcasing of the best of Swiss books (beautiful as they may be). Titled The Present Issue, the 2008 edition of MBSB contains, in my mind, the best collection of essays and content to date, including: James Goggin’s examination of the graphic designer’s array of everyday activities and of how a designer’s work is both omnipresent and invisible; Cynthia Leung’s take on the marketing of art books and of the antagonistic relationship between graphic designers and marketing specialists and; Lisette Smits’ theorization on why graphic designers gravitate toward the art world and whether that tendency is based upon a political position.
www.nijhoflee.nl/The-Most-Beautiful-Swiss…

Talks About Money Edited by John Barclay and Linda van Deursen

Admittedly, the first time I opened Talks About Money (expecting a very sober presentation of texts), I thought I had picked up the wrong book. That’s because the book’s text is presented entirely within countless speech bubbles (like the type one would see in a comic book). That said, you’ll soon find that the speech bubbles actually facilitate an engaging read. All things considered, the book has an unquestionable worth as a useful guide on the topic of money (that is, if you’re a practicing freelance graphic designer trying to better determine the value of your time and work). The texts in this book unfold as casual conversations that were based upon interviews with freelance graphic designers of all levels of experience. This book, which I’ve littered with Post-it flags and margin notes, is one of the books that I most commonly refer to and one that I imagine would be equally as appreciated by many freelance graphic designers.
www.amazon.com/Talks-About-Money-John-Barclay/…

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. Sanda_anderlon_at_the_beach_itsnicethat_list

    Like Hieronymus Bosch for the digital age, Croatia-based Sanda Anderlon’s monumental collages are fantastically detailed and intricate. Created on her computer by painstakingly editing thousands of images she’s found online, Sanda Anderlon has a knack for capturing the smaller moments on a large scale.

  2. One-more-time_-2015_-by-cornelia-parker-ra-for-terrace-wires-itsnicethat-list

    The term “public art” often elicits a few groans from art critics, but when you consider London’s key public art spaces – the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, the Serpentine Gallery, and Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall – it’s difficult to overlook the impact sculptures and installation can have in public environments where they reach millions of people each year.

  3. List-hanna-tuulikki-away-with-the-birds-its-nice-that-

    Few art projects merge feminism, singing, birds and the ecosystems of the Hebrides. Indeed, aside from Hanna Tuulikki’s Away with the Birds, we can’t think of another. The piece, made with arts organisation The Space, is a vocal score written for an all-female ensemble that takes inspiration from the landscape of the Hebrides to create a musical composition that mimics birdsong. This was initially performed on the island of Canna back in August last year, and arts organisation The Space has now commissioned artist Hanna to create a digital version for online audiences, launching this summer to continue the artist’s explosations of womanhood, nature and the online space as an environment in its own right. We had a chat with Hanna to find out more.

  4. List-kerry-james-marshall_-plunge_-1992.

    There’s a raw, energetic feel to the work of Kerry James Marshall – it’s all bold brushstrokes and bright colours that can’t help but channel a sense of movement and action. The Alabama-born artist now lives in Chicago, and manages to get that raw, outsider art feel combined with a rigorous eye for colour and composition. The works that have particularly pulled us in are the ones that capture their subject in a moment of repose or rapture, whether quietly sunning themselves, looking in the mirror or diving into a pool. They’re the unposed moments where people are truly themselves, and Kerry’s brushes articulate them beautifully.

  5. Danielrozin-pompommirror-itsnicethat-list

    There are a lot of artists doing interesting things with digital but for me the most engaging are those who explore the points at which human and computers come together to create something interactive – such as the Random International collective (of Rain Room fame) and Daniel Rozin. The latter, a New York-based artist, educator and developer, has just opened a new show at the bitforms gallery which includes one of the most striking interactive projects we’ve come across for ages.

  6. Universaleverything-sydneyoperahouse-itsnicethat-list

    It may be my former life as a hack but there’s something about the word “biggest” that always piques my interest. That said, ambition only gets you so far and you can’t sacrifice skill or style in a headlong rush for scale. With Universal Everything though, you needn’t worry. On Friday the studio created its largest projection to date, lighting up the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House with hand-drawn animations from 22 of the world’s best creatives. Every year the landmark commissions an artist to work on its curves and Matt Pyke and his team jumped at the chance to take on an opportunity that “epitomises everything we strive for.”

  7. Linus_bill_adrien_horni_ny_karg_catalogue_2014_it's_nice_that_list

    Swiss art duo Linus Bill and Adrien Horni’s ongoing collaboration has produced a great body of irreverent, experimental work. They first joined forces in 2011 when they were invited to produce the artistic supplement of the Swiss Art Directors Club advertising awards. Controversially, they turned the notion of award-winning design it on its head by producing a Xeroxed, deconstructed version celebrating the refused entries. This kind of do-it-yourself subversion has been the undercurrent running through everything the two image-makers (and breakers) have done since.

  8. Michaelcraig-martin-onbeinganartist-istnicethat-list

    In some circumstances, calling a book On Being An Artist would seem pretentious and pompous, but if anyone knows about being an artist, it’s Michael Craig-Martin. Over his extraordinary career he has studied with Chuck Close and Richard Serra, met the likes of Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, John Cage and Charles Saatchi, had work shown at Tate Modern, the Pompidou Centre and MoMA, and taught some of the YBAs’ leading lights including Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.

  9. Ricco_maresca_mexican_pulp_art_its_nice_that_list_2

    Ballsy, bizarre and a little bit racy, these Mexican pulp fiction book covers are fantastic fun and epitomise our need for a bit of weird naughtiness. The kitsch-factor is overwhelming as scantily clad women run away in terror, a man in purple spandex is surrounded by adoring cats and giant robots menacingly pick up shiny red cars.

    As part of an exhibition at New York gallery Ricco Maresca held earlier this year, the collection is a celebration of pulp paperbacks released in Mexico during the 60s and 70s. Many of the artists remain unidentified which is a shame as some of these are absolute gems. Without book titles, there’s no context for the artwork and we’re left with the ordinary and extraordinary crashing into each other in glorious fashion. According to Ricco Maresca, there’s a key difference between Mexican pulp art and the American pulp art coming out at the same time. As well as the drama and sauciness, much of Mexican pulp art prominently featured violence, sci-fi, psychedelia, and crime, making it all the more outrageous.

  10. Yayoi-kusama-itsnicethat-list

    Yayoi Kusama is one of few artists who is seems to be without comparison. Her new exhibition, Give Me Love takes place at New York’s David Zwirner gallery, and features a collection of her enormous brightly coloured canvases. Their sunny dispositions are undercut with titles which reveal a more disquieting undertone for example I Who Cry in the Flowering Season, or I Am Dying Now There the Death Is. In another room a series of her bulging Pumpkin sculptures, reminiscent of decaying fruit in spite of their metallic sheen and polka dot finish, reinforces the juxtaposition of the joyous and the sinister.

  11. Brest_history_and_chips_it's_nice_that_list

    Imagine a John Stezaker collage let loose in the kitchen and you’ve got the History and Chips series from Brest Brest Brest. With a portfolio that includes a poster of Elvis Presley’s face emerging from a melting ice cream, the graphic design studio based in the south of France couldn’t fail to pique our interest. For their playful History and Chips collages, Rémy Poncet and Arnaud Jarsaillon have raided the fridge and dressed up classic movie stills and vintage portraits with everything from smoked salmon and mustard, to ham and pineapple. A testament to the fact that food makes everything better, these old pictures are given a new lease of life thanks to a little bubblegum and a wry sense of humour.

  12. Olafur_eliasson_the_weather_project_it's_nice_that

    This week the most visited modern and contemporary art museum in the world celebrates its 15 year anniversary. After its transformation from derelict power station to beloved beacon of British culture, Tate Modern has defined a generation and helped open art to the everyman. Here, we look at some of the top moments over the last decade and a half at Britain’s leading arts institution.

  13. Kings-cross-pond-ooze-architects-its-nice-that-list

    I’ve slid down an art installation before thanks to Carsten Höller, and I’ve frolicked about in a room full of balloons thanks to Martin Creed, but never before had I literally swum in art until this morning. Bright and early, there I was shivering in art, thanks to a bathing pond art installation in a building site in London’s King’s Cross. The piece, formally known as Of Soil and Water: the King’s Cross Pond Club , was created by Ooze Architects (Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg) and artist Marjetica Potrč, and takes the form of a natural, chemical-free pool, complete with plants and bushes. And who knows what else – I didn’t dare think what one day could be lurking in there after the maggoty old python Hampstead Heath ponds story of a few years back.