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Bookshelf: New York's finest bookstore KARMA share their fave titles

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Who better than to give us a well-curated selection of some of the finest books around than KARMA books, one of New York’s most well-respected art bookstores. Founded by Brendan Dugan of An Art Service this little Aladdin’s cave of knowledge and aesthetic fudge collates some of the most difficult-to-find books in the world and publishes those that must exist. Their selection is, unsurprisingly, informative and beautiful in equal measure. Check out their site to get your hands on some of these publications for yourself.

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    Jean-Baptiste Bernadet: On Knowing and Not

Jean-Baptiste Bernadet: On Knowing and Not

An artist’s book by Belgian painter Jean-Baptiste with a text by John D’Agata excerpted from About a Mountain.10,000 years from now, Vega, not Polaris, will be our North Star. The space satellite Voyager, which was launched in 1979, and which has been traveling 40,000 miles per hour, will be closer to the absolute emptiness of space than it will be our home. Even the Earth’s continents, which have been migrating slowly since they initially were formed, will be 850ft farther apart.

And while we won’t be living longer than we currently are living, Frank Tipler’s book the Physics of Immortality says that if we’re wealthy we’ll be able to buy the brains of younger body donors, download our memories into their minds, and then live through them vicariously until we need another donor.

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    Carol Bove: The Middle Pillar: A Retrospective Introduction

Carol Bove: The Middle Pillar: A Retrospective Introduction

In 2004 Carol Bove described her interest in what she called the provocative “shady places” of display: “a gradient that starts with a small, personal domestic object and goes through art objects, installation art, site-specific works, environments, installation design, architecture, etc.” Her use of historical objects and texts belongs to this larger project dedicated to undermining binaries, often the either/or distinctions between site-specific installations and autonomous artworks.

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    Brice Marden: Book of Images, 1970

Brice Marden: Book of Images, 1970

A facsimile printing of a Brice Marden journal from 1970. An excerpt from the Journal:

The forgoing suite:
work same shapes only so I can
push differences more.
work faster
work them all together
ponder them all as group
push differences and samenesses at
same time

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    Deste 2000 Words

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    Deste 2000 Words

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    Deste 2000 Words

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    Deste 2000 Words

Deste: 2000 Words series

Conceived by Massimiliano Gioni, the Deste Foundation’s 2000 Words series gives insight into the work of some of today’s most exciting contemporary artists through the vantage point of the Dakis Joannou collection. “Collecting is, for me, is an adventure, a set of different—lived—experiences, a constant flow of meeting, talking, listening, looking. It’s an act of understanding and participating,” says Joannou. Each monograph features a critical, forthright essay and a survey of the artist’s works in this important collection. The collection of books include:

Pawel Althamer by Massimiliano Gioni
Roberto Cuoghi by Ali Subotnick
Urs Fischer by Ali Jessica Morgan
Elad Lassry by Tim Griffin
Josh Smith by Anne Pontégnie
Andro Wekua by Gary Carrion-Murayari

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    Michael Bullock: Roman Catholic Jacuzzi

Michael Bullock: Roman Catholic Jacuzzi

Roman Catholic Jacuzzi is an autobiographical novella, telling the true story of the author’s accidental discovery of a secret retreat for gay Catholic priests, and the weekend that ensued.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Michael Bullock is a writer and has been actively involved in independent magazine publishing for over a decade. Upon moving to New York City he started his career at the seminal downtown publication index. He went on to establish BUTT (the revolutionary Dutch magazine for homosexuals) in America, becoming its U.S. publisher from 2004–11. Currently, he is the American features editor for the contemporary interiors magazine Apartamento, a regular contributor to the architecture and design title PIN–UP, and works on the publishing side of Fantastic Man, The Gentlewoman, and PIN–UP. Roman Catholic Jacuzzi is his first published book.

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

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    Where some printed publications shy away from British culture as it exists beyond Union Jack flags and Yorkshire tea in floral china, LAW Magazine, which stands for Lives and Works is already knee-deep in the grit and the grime. Now in its fifth issue, the staple-bound bi-annual describes itself as a platform for “the beautiful everyday… A window into the world of the current undercurrent that nobody is catching and which is therefore of greater importance to document.” It’s a kind of Britishness so ubiquitous that you’d have to be wandering the streets with your head in a bag to miss it – one defined by full-suspension mountain bikes, Sunday League referees, Hackney estate maps and Vauxhall Novas.

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    Having founded London-based design studio Build in 2001, creative director Michael C. Place has amassed his fair share of books in his time, with a healthy combination of design knowledge to be found tucked between the spines on the studios (admirably well-organised) shelf. We’ve been championing Build’s work on the site for some time now, so what better way to get an insight into the inspirations behind their snazzy work than by hearing from the creative director himself about his favourite reading material? Between Letraset catalogues, reflections on legend Wim Crouwel and Michael’s mate Blam (who has excellent taste in books) we were not disappointed.

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    “In February 2013, 18 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.” That’s the opening statement on the website of graphic novelist Matilda Tristram, who channeled this painful chapter of her life into a bestselling comic entitled Probably Nothing. We interviewed Matilda a while back on the site and were so intrigued by her story, we had to know more. In this revealing, insightful Bookshelf, Matilda shows us the fantastic books that have inspired her to be one of the most important and engaging graphic novelists working today. Here she is…

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    Yay! Hato Press! We love them. A lot. Neighbours of ours, Hato have spent the last five years collaborating with some of the coolest young creatives and oldest institutions to create impeccably beautiful printed matter and design solutions. A number of the publications these guys have produced are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding/smelling, and it seems that every single thing they do or work on is covered in a glimmering magic dust that is exclusive to only them. Before you go and wet your pants over their multi-disciplinary work on their very nice websites (here and here) check out the books that have inspired them over the years below. Enjoy!

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    Satirical artist and very funny woman Miriam Elia is something of a pro when it comes to books; last year she self-published We Go to the Gallery, a satirical reinterpretation of a 1960s Ladybird book which seeks to help parents explain sex, death and contemporary art to their young ones, complete with a handy glossary of new words to learn. She’s since co-curated an exhibition about Pastiche, Parody and Piracy at London’s Cob Gallery, while other past works include I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… and It Was TOTALLY MEANINGLESS about her relationship with Martin Creed. Hilarious? Yes. Yes it is. Miriam’s Bookshelf includes lovingly weathered books about typography, photography, flesh-eating plants and Butlins holiday camps, giving a neat insight into her brain.

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    John Tebbs is an English gardener who, frustrated by the fact that “many of his working days are held hostage to the weather” founded The Garden Edit in the winter of 2013. His idea was to spend his downtime as productively as possible, creating an online store of beautiful objects which he sourced and sold himself. The resulting curated collection reflects John’s faultless aesthetic, selling “minimal, well-designed products from craftspeople, artists, publishing houses and family-run businesses” alongside a Journal which features short articles by some of his favourite figures about their own horticultural escapades, from rooftop gardens to illustrations of plants.

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    Want to know a surprising secret about self-proclaimed “book obsessive” and Dazed & Confused editor Isabella Burley? She can’t stand big coffee-table-sized fashion books. “I’ve always taken my references from art, pop culture, photography and sex zines rather than fashion,” she told us. “That’s really come to shape the way I approach our fashion content within Dazed.”

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    With 25 years experience in magazine design, not to mention eight years of covering the extensive subject under the title magCulture, it’s a wonder we haven’t already metaphorically burst into Jeremy Leslie’s house and insisted he share his five favourite examples of printed matter right then and there. Instead, we caught him in the build up to The Modern Magazine 2014, the conference which takes place annually in the midst of London Design Festival to shine a torch on the current state of editorial creativity, as well as new directions for the industry.

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    Danielle Pender is the brain at the helm of Riposte magazine, one of the most exciting new publications created to champion the women doing exciting work in the creative industries today, as well as working at KK Outlet, the London outpost of communications agency KesselsKramer, so can you blame us for wanting to have a poke about her bookshelf? Her selection gives a generous insight into the process behind putting together a magazine, from the issue of National Geographic which led her and Riposte’s creative director Shaz Madani to consider a text-based front cover for the magazine (“I’m really happy we had the balls to go with it”) and the all-time hero she dreams of interviewing, with a few other gems thrown in for good measure. She technically stretched her five books to seven, but we let her off because they’re all so damn interesting.

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    I always had a hunch that Bruno Bayley was the kind of guy with a great bookshelf – you can just tell that he’s a hoarder of the weird, the kind of person who would rather stumble upon someone’s diary in a forest than, say, a suitcase full of cash. London-based Bruno is the European managing editor of Vice, which allows him to take his curiosity for the dark corners of the world and pump them out to those who want to know but perhaps can’t be bothered to look. His articles are some of the best on Vice at the moment, so go and check them out after you’ve read his deeply interesting, peculiar top five books. Excuse us while we go and subscribe to the Fortean Times

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    London-based photographer Catherine Losing is exactly our cup of tea; working with the crème de la crème of collaborators from set designers to food stylists, she takes photographs which are colourful, dynamic, bold and immediately recognisable. Unsurprisingly then, her bookshelf is among the very best-stocked of them all, complete with Martin Creed, Barbara Hepworth and Toilet Paper magazine, and most importantly they’re all seriously well-thumbed and chockablock with Post-its.

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    When you ask a couple of creatives who work in a former kindergarten in east Berlin (as we learned in an interview many moons ago) to show you their book collection, you hope to see some pretty cool and quirky publications. Doris and Daniel of Golden Cosmos have not let us down.

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    Design and animation are maybe a bit overlooked when it comes to selecting people whose bookshelves we’d like to share with you. With that in mind this week’s collection comes from the very lovely folks at interactive design and animation studio Animade. They recently incorporated Hover Studio into their midst too, making them collectively one of our favourite groups of creative brains in a five mile radius. Their bookshelf has a serious digital and animation lean, so budding animators and interactive designers, gather round to find out the tomes that’ll yield the secrets of your trade.