Art book

Page Turners: A Guide to Art Book Giveaways 2014

Letters become patterns, Sigrid Calon

Self-published, 2014, 56 pages

Sigrid Calon, based in Amsterdam, is something of a star on the art book fair circuit. Using a Risograph machine (a fashionable form of automatic screen printing), she creates prints and books of graphic patterns, layering colors to achieve pretty tonal changes and optical effects. At the New York Art Book Fair 2014, she unveiled Letters become patterns, a square-bound book with a clear plexiglass cover and nice rounded corners. Each spread shows patterns derived from the letters of the alphabet, repeated shapes until they become abstract. A perfect gift for a graphic designer, early learner of the alphabet, or just anyone who enjoys dramatic combinations of colors and shapes.


the miraculous, Raphaël Rubinstein

Paper monument, 2014, 72 pages

the miraculous recounts legendary moments from the last five decades of art history in the form of fable-worthy stories. In fifty episodes, Rubinstein retains the names of famous artists to detail the conception of a particular piece, the happy accident that led to a successful career, the moment when a work of art became legendary. While many chapters of the miraculous may be familiar, the book sets itself apart from the traditional narrative of contemporary art by eliminating authorship and intention. With a dry but bewitching prose, the miraculous is a quick read that you will come back to again and again for its ability to portray everyday life from another world, like the artists it describes. Select this inspiring art writing experience for the art historian, artist or storyteller in your life.


motherhood, Lise Haller Baggesen

Green Lantern Press, 2014, 152 pages

The book’s slogan reads: “At the intersection of feminism, science fiction and disco, motherhood aims to locate the mother-shaped hole in contemporary art discourse. There’s no way to explain how these themes fit completely and effortlessly into Baggesen’s writing without just saying: they do. Each chapter is a letter addressed to unnamed “Dear” (it could be her daughter, sister, mother, reader). Blending pop lyrics with art criticism, feminist theory and gender politics, she calls to arms, makes jokes, delves into engaging personal stories and signs each one, “Love, Mom” . The book itself is beautiful – printed in purple ink, the edges gilded in silver.


Various notebooks, Probe

The result of a collaboration between Knock Knock, artist Tucker Nichols and designers MacFadden & Thorpe, Plumb is an unconventional line of artist-designed notebooks. Working with three artists per season, their second batch of products is even more exciting than the first. Artist and musician Nathaniel Russell is contributing a “Fake-Jacket Journal,” a blank booklet with four absurd cover options to hide his true nature from passers-by. Painter Linda Geary’s “Stack Book” uses her homemade color swatches to enclose nearly 300 pages of heavy white sketch paper. And Jason Polan’s spiral-bound stenographer-style “Observation Notebook” features observational sketches with the question, “What are you looking at? “


San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons, Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan

Giant Orange Press, 2014, 160 pages

According to forward Tom Downs, “Neon is the best in context,” but if you’re not interested in walking the 49 square miles of San Francisco after dark, second best is via photographs by this book. San Francisco’s neon signs – some are long gone, others are working now, from high class to mundane – draw attention to shiny San Francisco neon. Something in the red and green glow of most of the panels makes even the images from 2014 nostalgic. In the endnotes, the panels receive status reports, charming and personal texts from the photographers, who clearly care deeply about the subject. The stories “can be a catalyst for San Franciscans to preserve their neon landscape,” they write. This could be the perfect gift for a friend who has just moved to town, unsure of where to start to learn more about San Francisco’s rich (and rapidly disappearing) history.


Sugar skull, Charles Burns

Pantheon, 2014, 64 pages