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    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/…

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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

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    Way back in 2011 when we first posted the work of Frank Magnotta It’s Nice That was a very different beast – we’d only give you one image to check out and the rest was up to you. So when I stumbled across Frank’s work again this week it seemed essential that we show you a whole lot more. To be honest there have been few updates to his site in the past three years but the work is breathtaking, pulling together pop culture references, architectural precision and some serious Americana and combining it into stark surrealist landscapes. At times grotesque but always engaging, Frank’s graphite artworks are still some of the finest around.

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    These painted scenes from Paige Jiyoung Moon are so wonderfully intricate, a new detail pops out each time you see them. Capturing domestic scenes like people drinking coffee, friends watching a film or a family eating lunch together, it’s the mundanity of what Paige paints that makes her miniature worlds so inviting as the viewer tries to pick out some sort of irregularity.

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    It’s been a whole two years since we last posted about the marvellous work of Lynnie Zulu and we’re happy to have the illustrator’s vibrant world colouring our dull Monday once again. Her latest body of work is on show now at No Walls Gallery in Brighton and is a fantastically lively exploration of the female in all her glorious forms.

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    We’re no ballet aficionados, but we wouldn’t usually associate drunkards, typists and factory workers with the grace and poise of the discipline. However, as these beautiful gouache painting by Tatiana Bruni show, there’s much more to ballet than tutus and swan lake, with her angular figures, bold colours and sometimes grotesquely postured characters. The paintings show costume designs for Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1931 ballet The Bolt, and are going on show at London’s Gallery for Russian Arts and Design alongside a series of period photographs. The ballet itself was bold and striking in its use of real hammers, machine-inspired choreography, aerobics and acrobatics, and the costume images are equally as dynamic, inspired by “the aesthetics of agit-theatre and artist-designed propaganda posters”, according to the gallery. The sense of movement is palpable, whether in the graceful billowing dresses or the staggering legs of our brightly-coloured drunkard, working against the geometric rigidity of the style to beautiful effect.

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    The announcement that David Lynch is to release new episodes of Twin Peaks in 2016 was, unsurprisingly, met with internet-breaking levels of excitement. Soon, every Tommy, Dale and Henry Spencer was walking around their independent coffee shop knowingly harping on about their “damn fine cup of coffee” and popping that heartbreaking Angelo Badalamenti theme on the office stereo like they’d actually watched every episode back in 1990, when they were five.

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    Not since we saw the Doge meme IRL on a street in Hackney have we been this excited by the face of a strange dog. Now, we’re excited by many strange dog faces, thanks to what looks set to be a brilliant show by Wilfrid Wood. Wilfrid’s work has long been a favourite at It’s Nice That, and has over the years included sculptures of Tom Daley and Paul McCartney and numerous bottoms for Levis.

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    Man of many talents Will Edmonds has some great new work on his site in the geometric shape of these colourful framed pieces and paintings on wood. There’s a childlike simplicity against a more grown-up restraint in the works, which draw you in with colour and keep you there with the deceptively intricate layers. The works were created for an exhibition entitled A Watery Line at The Tetley in Leeds in summer 2014, where he was also showing sculptures and ceramics.

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    I can’t quite believe that it’s two years since we last featured Alex Roulette’s work on the site because he’s undoubtedly one of our favourite artists working today. The New York based painter creates scenes which “explore the blurred sense of time and place within memories” and he’s a master of the atmospheric. Looking at his paintings feels like beginning a dream when you’re pitched into a situation conjured up by your subconscious and yet instinctively know broadly where you are and what’s going on.

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    I’m sticking by my claim that the beach is one of the most fascinatingly liminal places going; you arrive, you take off (almost) all your clothes and you lie down, play volleyball and splash next to strangers with the same idea, and nobody thinks anything of it.

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    These painted shapes from Berlin-based Frau Grau are just wonderful with their rich, vivid tones and excellent composition. I really like the organic and uneven shapes, with each one refusing to tesselate neatly with its neighbour. The formation and assembly works fantastically, laid out like a detailed study of jewel-like pebbles and rocks found on an imagined coastline. It’s this ambiguity about what the artist is actually depicting that interests me so much.