• 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. Fraser-muggerige-barbican-happening-its-nice-that-list

    The worlds of conceptual art and functional graphic design cross perhaps less often than they should. But creating a piece of design that has to perform in a commercial sense and the expression of complex, looser artistic ideas can come together beautifully, as exemplified in the little corner devoted to graphic design at the Barbican’s current show by Doug Aitken, Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening.

  2. Jarvis-cocker-its-nice-that-tlist

    Pulp frontman, solo artist and deep-voiced saviour of Sunday afternoon radio Jarvis Cocker has turned his hand to art, in the form of his Paris exhibition 20 Golden greats. The works on show are “gold records” – fictitious awards that explore the mythology of the artefacts of the same name so often cited in rock biographies. In truth, the accolades have no value whatsoever, according to the gallery showing Jarvis’s work, “not only because they usually aren’t at all made with gold, but moreover because they are generally crafted in a manner at best vaguely artistic, and at worst, perfectly kitsch."

  3. Basquiat_warhol_guggenheim_int_list

    From subway graffitist to art world darling, Jean-Michel Basquiat was perhaps the quintessential New York artist. Before he came to embody that particularly urbane trinity of poetry, jazz and painting, the Brooklyn prodigy was spray painting cryptic messages on Lower Manhattan buildings under the moniker SAMO and selling sweatshirts and postcards emblazoned with his work. Basquiat was one of several graffiti artists to transition to the gallery, but the only one with such a meteoric ascent and with such staying power. By his early twenties he counted Andy Warhol as a friend and collaborator, and his impassioned brand of countercultural painting had completely taken New York by storm.

  4. List-sculpture-in-the-city-its-nice-that-tomoaki-suzuki-'zezi'-courtesy-corvi-mora_-london

    As this week’s public art-themed Nicer Tuesdays reminded us, it’s all too easy to take the masterpieces in full view around the city for granted. And while there’s a plethora of work to see all year round in many cities across the UK, from next week the City of London is placing work by the likes of Damien Hirst, Ai Weiwei and Adam Chodzko around the Square Mile to add a little culture to the landscape of our wolves of Threadneedle Street. This is the fifth year of the programme, Sculpture in the City, and will see a total of 14 works go on show. They will remain in situ until May next year.

  5. List-ai-wei-wei-an-archive-its-nice-that-

    Ai Weiwei has printed five years worth of his many, many tweets onto rice paper to form a new piece called An Archive . The artist has long used Twitter as a platform from which to protest Chinese government oppression, leading to a ban from Chinese Twitter. In an interview with The Creator’s Project, Ai tells how the piece, which is formed of thousands of pieces of printed rice paper, showcases a time when he could use the social network for “discussions and memories of the past, as well as predictions for the future. Twitter was an exercise for the mind and one where you are fully exposed to the public."

  6. Royal_academy_summer_exhibition_poster_list

    I never thought I’d use the word irreverent to describe the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Since 1769 the RA has taken a fairly unwavering and conservative approach to the world’s largest open submission exhibition, hanging up to 1,000 works by both amateur artists and great names. Long the lacklustre foxhole of stuffy Academicians and part-time painters, this year marks the greatest effort the RA has made yet to reinvigorate the English summer stalwart.
     
    It’s no surprise that the man behind the brightest, boldest edition yet is Michael Craig-Martin, this year’s curator and the artist best known for his Pop Art palette and his tutorship of YBA trailblazers Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas. Among his modernisms for the show is the decision to repaint the three central galleries in colours lifted straight from his work: hot pink, turquoise and baby blue. Far from playing to mere spectacle, Craig-Martin’s trademark penchant for polychrome is a bold statement that does away with both the white cube mis-en-scène of contemporary art and the fusty grandeur of the Academy. Regular attendees might also notice he has made the print galleries more central.

  7. Jim_lambie_zobop_ra_it's_nice_that_list

    For this year’s Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, Scottish artist Jim Lambie has transformed the storied art institution’s grand staircase with one of his kaleidoscopic floor installations and shaken up the English cultural calendar highlight. Using hundreds of strips of adhesive vinyl tape, Lambie’s eye-catching floor work follows the architecture of the Academy and is part of his ongoing series Zobop. The 2005 Turner Prize nominee’s slightly riotous, technicolour stairs breathe new life into the neo-classical space, and the optical effect packs huge impact, fittingly leading the way to the boldest, brightest edition of the Summer Exhibition in its nearly 250-year run.

  8. Nina-chanel-abney-its-nice-that-list

    The carnivalesque colours and vibrant busyness caught our eye in Nina Chanel’s work; her attitude and subject matter kept us looking. Nina is based in New Jersey, and uses bright brushstrokes and text to explore issues of race, politics, sex and the strange world of celebrity. How? Through a strange troupe of aliens, strange symbols and rainbow colours. Surrealism plays with pop art and high-brow plays with low-brow in her huge e-number fuelled pieces, which carry a depth belying their initially saccharine appearances.

  9. David-shrigley-football-mascot-its-nice-that-top

    David Shrigley has designed a rather strange mascot for Scottish Premiership football team Partick Thistle. Shrigley – a fan of the team – was appointed to create the little yellow jagged character, named Kingsley, as part of the team’s new sponsorship deal with US investment firm Kingsford Capital. The artist also created the brand mark that will appear on Thistle kits and around its home stadium.

  10. Luis-vasallo-itsnicethat-list

    Life drawing classes are more often than not the conservative preserve of academic art, but Luis Vassallo’s nudes tell a different story. Luis’ series A Life Drawing Class, made as part of a collaboration with Hot and Cool magazine, is a refreshing take on a somewhat strait-laced tradition. Over the course of several weeks the Madrid-based artist transformed the models in front of him into adventurous images that juxtapose the classical with the surreal, mixing and matching a number of drawing styles – often in the same sketch – from hard-edged geometry and soft, rolling forms that alternate between clean pencil lines and those in thick jagged charcoal. Finding inspiration in the Italian avant garde and the 60s revival of figurative art, Luis is clear that his work is less about looking back and more about finding a way to pick up where these 20th Century movements left off. The results are unlike any nudes we’ve seen before.

  11. Jackson-pollock_-number-34-1949-its-nice-that-list

    As one of the most instantly recognisable modern artists and a GCSE art staple, it’s tempting to think there’s little we haven’t seen of Jackson Pollock’s work. A new exhibition at Tate Liverpool, however, proves us wrong. The exhibition, entitled Blind Spots, is the first in more than 30 years to show his late black pouring works. Some we’ll know, many we won’t, but all prove – if proof were needed – what an important, inspirational figure Pollock was. He managed to bring tricky concepts of Abstract Expressionism into the minds of a far wider audience than the art world inner circle, and his works are surely some of the most oft-seen, yet never tiresome artworks of the last century.

  12. Matthew_craven_demiurge_it's_nice_that_list

    Matthew Craven’s dizzying mix of ink patterns, cut-outs and ancient culture is as powerful as it is studied. We’ve written about the New York artist’s vivid collages before, and in his most recent series demiURGE, Matthew pairs both tribal and Greek sculpture with his hand-drawn designs and recurring motifs. His images play with materials as much as they play with time, and with their lost relics and archeological curiosities it’s as if Matthew has picked through old history textbooks and back issues of National Geographic for the mystic effect that makes his work so instantly recognisable. Pairing busts, masks, vases and classical bric-a-brac with optical patterns, Matthew’s collages always prove greater than the sum of their parts.

  13. Richard_prince_new_portraits_it's_nice_that_list

    Richard Prince’s New Portraits have proven to be nothing short of sensational. The artist’s controversial series has seen him take other people’s Instagram posts, print them on six-foot canvases and sell them for up to $90,000. The only changes made to these images of everyone from Pamela Anderson to total unknowns are the bewildering or lewd remarks Prince adds to the comments thread. As of last Friday, ten of these new works are on show at Gagosian London. “The iPhone became my studio,” Prince says somewhere in the seven-page stream of consciousness that makes up the press release.

    For the last 40 years the New York artist has inspired everything from acclaim to outrage for the unapologetic appropriation that has defined much of his work. As the man who reprinted copies of JD Salinger’s classic teenage anthem Catcher in the Rye with his own name in place of the author’s, Prince has found himself on the wrong side of copyright lawsuits multiple times. Resulting opinions of him tend to violently swing between genius and good-for-nothing. In the case of the New Portraits series, Peter Schjeldahl writing for the New Yorker’s response to the screenshot-cum-paintings was “something like a wish to be dead,” whilst sex writer Karley Sciortino has said she felt honoured to be included in the series.

    In an unexpected but fitting turn, people seemed to feel slightly vindicated when some of Prince’s unauthorised Instagram reproductions were recently reproduced and resold by some of their original subjects, namely the LA-based group of alternative pin-up girls and burlesque dancers operating under the moniker SuicideGirls. “Payback!” headlines screamed, but this ceaseless loop of feedback and mirroring perfectly plays to Prince’s raison d’être. Even this is not the artist’s own, and in his ideas about enshrining banality and popular culture he is most definitely walking in Warhol’s slightly worn-out silver shoes.

    Mining the internet for source material is not new either, but as abhorrent as they may be, Prince’s portraits eloquently teach a powerful lesson in the trappings of social networking. They test public and private limits and have started an important and much-needed conversation about copyright and art in the digital age. They have also been sharp reminders that our self-exposure and digital exhibitionism doesn’t exist in the vacuums of our various feeds, but very much enters into public territory.

    The most absurd part in all of this postmodernist pageantry however, happened during my exchange with Gagosian’s PR when I asked for press images and was told, “I’m afraid that we don’t have permission to use any images of any individual works.” Irony is a beautiful, twisted thing.