• Rgbooks

    Bookshelf: Rob Giampietro

Graphic Design

Bookshelf: Rob Giampietro

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

New York based Rob Giampietro is the editor of the “filing cabinet online”, Lined and Unlined and a principal at Project Projects (and more). More specifically, as a graphic designer, educator and author of the impossibly vast archive of articles on the mutually inclusive fields of design, art, philosophy, education (and more), he is extremely qualified to tell us about his five books for our Bookshelf feature (and more). We shall hereby tack the “and more” suffix onto Rob’s name every time we see it, it also explains the cheeky further reading list we let him have…

Typeface as Program François Rappo

What is a typeface? It seems like this question was asked and answered long ago. But question is at the center of this engaging catalogue of typographic explorations conducted in recent years at ECAL/University of art and design Lausanne, which suggests the answer is in need of a major update. A fascinating survey of technologies, techniques, and traditions in flux. Jürg Lehni’s essay “The Nature of Type Design in the Digital Age” is an must-read.
www.amazon.co.uk/typface_as_program…

Anthology of Concrete Poetry Emmett Williams

Edited by one of my heroes, the freewheeling poet-editor-artist Emmett Williams, this anthology announces on its own cover in large, bold Optima that “the publishers of Something Else Press, Inc., take great pride in presenting this most active of modern poetry movements and in introducing so many major writers from so many countries between these covers for the first time to the American reading public.” It does exactly that, offering a parade of approaches and experiments, complete with annotations, to the practice of poem-making. Though Williams notes in his foreword to the 1967 edition, that “the poem as picture is as old as the hills, or the men who once lived in them, scratching their histories and fantasies in the preliterate strokes on the walls of caves,” he insists that these poems have been “born of the times, as a way of knowing and saying something about the world of now, with the techniques and insights of now.”
www.amazon.co.uk/concrete_poetry…

Varieties of Disturbance Lydia Davis

Known for writing the shortest of short stories, Lydia Davis’s flawless collection from 2007 mixes the aphoristic dread of Kafka with the verbal gameplay of Perec and adds a dash of wisdom and tenderness that is utterly Davis’s own. In her hands, the experience of reading words and the experience of experiencing what those words themselves describe collapse into a single wedded thing. Read 20 Sculptures in One Hour and you will know exactly what I mean.
www.amazon.co.uk/varieties_of_disturbance…

The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing Mark McGurl

This book has been on my mind a lot lately. McGurl, a UCLA English professor, looks at the explosion of creative writing programs in the US in the postwar period — 52 degree-granting programs in 1975 compared to over 300 in 2004 — and tries to read the creative writing program both into and through the literature it has produced. Even-handed and routinely enlightening, McGurl’s study is full of formulations like this one: “‘Experience’ and ‘craft’ and ‘creativity’ have been in more or less constant dialogue across the Program Era. One way to flesh out this dialogue is to look at the familiar set of prescriptive slogans in which they are complexly encoded: ‘write what you know’; ‘show don’t tell’; ‘find your voice.’” As a design educator, I think there’s a lot McGurl has to teach us.
www.amazon.co.uk/the_program_era…

Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation Sissela Bok

Bok is a Swedish philosopher and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Harvard’s School of Public Health. Building on her earlier book, Lying, Secrets is a vast survey of the ethics, instances, and effects of secrecy in nearly every part of our society — secret societies, confidential sources, state secrets, trade secrets, and more. In our age of Foursquare check-ins and Wikileaks cables, it’s endlessly fascinating to read this book, first published over 25 years ago, to see how much its core questions still resonate: “How far should one go in protecting one’s secrets? Should one conceal all that friends and colleagues confide? When may a promise of secrecy be broken? Are there times when it must be breached? Under what circumstances is it wrong to gossip about the secrets of others, or to pry into them? Is secrecy corrupting when it promotes the unchecked exercise of power?” There’s enough to more than fill Pandora’s Box, which naturally Bok examines as well.
www.amazon.co.uk/on_the_ethics_of_concealment…

Further reading:

The Mirror in the Text by Lucien Dällenbach, Parallel Encyclopedia by Batia Suter, Bruno Munari: Air Made Visible edited by Claude Lichtenstein & Alfredo Haberli, Gramophone Film Typewriter by Friedrich Kittler, The Shape of Time by George Kubler…

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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.”

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Serenmorganjones-int-list

    With the centenary of British women receiving the partial vote coming up shortly, artist Seren Morgan Jones decided it was time to focus on the Welsh suffragists who helped to make it happen. “I think it is important to show that there is more to Wales and its history than coal mining, rugby and men,” she explains, “and to draw people’s attention to the fact Welsh women were so involved in the fight for women’s rights.”