• 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. David-hockney-perspective-should-be-reversed-itsnicethat-list

    David Hockney never fails to astound me. He’s likely the most prolific British painter, printmaker and photographer our generation will see, and rather than settle down into one comfortable style – he has entertained more than a few over the course of his 50-year and counting career – he continues to set himself new lines to cross. He pushes back on the boundaries he had set himself the last time around. 

  2. Karinhagen-itsnicethat-main

    Pottery has had a bit of a bad rep until recently when people have slowly begun to realise that it’s FUCKING BADDASS. The pottery world is creaking under the weight of the amount of thrill-seeking clay-spinners popping up all over the place making vessels for cool people to put their cacti and fennel seeds in, and so we thought we’d highlight a few people who are taking the clay world by storm. Think for a minute, if you will, how few kilns there are on this earth, and how many universities have in recent years completely shut down their ceramics department due to lack of funding and demand. Then get your head around how these guys manage to create such brilliant work at such an astonishing rate while still keeping up their day jobs. Seeing as pottery is well trendy right now, I thought I’d run down a list of my personal favourite pot-heads out there.

  3. Jr-newyorktimes-itsnicethat-list

    It’s always a joy when two creative forces we like collide and produce something that harnesses their collective talents. We’re huge fans of the team at The New York Times Magazine (so much so we interviewed design director Gail Bichler for the new issue of our Printed Pages magazine) and we love the work of JR, so the coming-together of the two was right up our street.

  4. List

    Have you ever wondered what the world might have looked like after the great Old Testament flood? What bizarre events might have followed such a freak occurrence in weather? Me neither. It’s honestly never crossed my mind. But illustrator Samuel Branton has been fixating on the idea, imagining the strange fusion of land and sea that a tumultuous rise in water levels might effect. He’s gone one step further and illustrated these fictional scenarios in miniature, taking this Regency medium and making it weird. Witness crabs beating up a wild boar, monkeys tossing an elephant in the air and a sad old sperm whale incapacitated in a tree. And Deluge is available in book form too!

  5. Aakash-itsnicethat-list

    When we last wrote about Aakash Nihalani we described his practice as a series of interventions, and now that he has graduated from playful street art compositions to full blown technological mind-blowers, that vaguery seems even more apt. His newest piece sees him create a series of interactive installations which respond to the movements of the subject stood in front of them. The video demonstrates it better than I could ever hope to, so wrap your eyes around it and try to keep your jaw off the floor. Aakash is entering a new age, people; just imagine the possibilities!

  6. Ines-longevial-itsnicethat-list

    Inès Longevial is an art director and illustrator based in Paris, whose beautiful paintings of intertwined bodies are likely to have you looking twice. She breaks up the human figure into segments in a fashion Picasso himself would admire, rendering different parts in contrasting but muted colour palettes to disguise the physicality of her subjects. The effect is quite beguiling; hands play across hips and colour distinctions hint at the seams of clothes, but nothing is clear cut. It’s a geometric play on anatomy, and it has clients including fashion brand Amélie Pichard and sportswear giants Nike coming back for more.

  7. Hannahwaldron-itsnicethat-list

    “I wish I knew how to weave,” I found myself sighing longingly while clicking through Hannah Waldron’s portfolio. The UK-based multi-disciplinary artist and designer has transitioned seamlessly from grid-based image-making to create works in textile form since completing an MFA in Textiles at Konstfack, Sweden, and it looks like she’s well at home in the medium. Map Tapestries is a series of woven works inspired by various city scenes – Kreuzberg, NYC and Venice, for example – in bright colours, evocative shapes and simple geometric forms, and it’s wonderful.

  8. Jen-stark-whirl-side-int-10

    If it isn’t broke then there’s absolutely no need to even think about fixing it, as artist Jen Stark is fully aware, and there’s nothing broken about her geometric papercut sculptures. The LA-based artist has been making such work for literally as long as It’s Nice That has been running – here’s the first time we ever posted about her, back in 2007 – and although her work continues to grow in intricacy, she’s stayed true to her roots. These days her sculptures are made more and more often inside huge, unassuming black and white boxes, recreating the feeling that you’re a child about to unbundle a giant parcel of joy on Christmas morning, and they’re still as impressive as they were eight years ago.

  9. Everybody-razzle-dazzle-1-photo-mark-mcnulty-int-list

    Sir Peter Blake has designed this fabulous dazzle ship, a Mersey Ferry that will carry commuter passengers for the next two years. Named Everybody Razzle Dazzle, Sir Peter says it’s his “largest artwork to date,” and that he was “honoured and excited to have been asked to design a dazzle image for the iconic Mersey Ferry.”

  10. Boyocollage-int-list

    Some budding young design talents fresh out of university might harbour resentment about being thrust into a new job at a design studio as a “photocopier boy” (his words), but Patrick Waugh is not one of them. Instead he took full advantage of the rich archive at his disposal in his earliest and most junior jobs to make copies. Lots of them. And then took a scalpel and some masking tape to them, and transformed them into something altogether more exciting.

  11. Stephenabela-int-main

    At first, Stephen Abela’s images are all glorious bronzed bodies, sun-drenched beaches and hazy holiday reveries. But beneath the heat, there’s something else at play too, which feels a little more disquieting. In that oft-cited Edward Hopper thing: even in the densely populated scenes there feels like there’s a loneliness. Even the speech bubbles are lonely – in fact, they’re vacant – suggesting that for all the beautiful scenery, the folk that populate it aren’t quite sure what to say or what to do. There’s a joy there, for sure, but the great thing about Stephen’s work is this complexity, and the sense that all isn’t necessarily as it seems.

  12. Int-list-carsten-holler-pic

    Merging the fun of the playground with the beauty and cerebral qualities of art, a slide will transport visitors to the Hayward Gallery entrance this summer thanks to the forthcoming Carsten Höller show, Decision.

  13. Traceyemin-mybed-int-

    Sometimes I don’t really “get” modern art, but I get Tracey Emin’s My Bed. She displayed it as a piece of art in 1998 after practically living in it for about a month following a bad breakup. Back then she was rake-thin and impish with an appetite for booze and fags, in that odd age where you’re left to fend for yourself but are not perhaps quite ready.