While libraries are certainly safe havens for books, the always-evolving taste of readers and the inevitable wear and tear on each tome means that many books are eventually phased out and destined for the dumpster. Los Angeles native Mike Stilkey (previously) works with local libraries to give those books a second chance with his massive art installations. Stilkey arranges the faces and spines of books in groupings of varying size, ranging from a half dozen staked together to thousands-tall-towers that fill public spaces. With a combination of colored pencil, ink, paint, and lacquer, he then paints lively characters using the books as his canvas. The colors, sizes, and titles offer unique blends of backgrounds for dancing couples (both human and feline), dapper birds, and bicycling bears.
Stilkey uses fanciful colors and anthropomorphized animals to add a sense of timeless whimsy to his paintings, which have been exhibited throughout the US. The artist has also traveled the world to create site-specific installations in South Korea, Italy, Switzerland, China, and the Philippines. He will be installing a new work at the LA Art Show in Los Angeles, California from January 23 – 27, 2019. You can see more of his work on Instagram and Facebook. (via My Modern Met)
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When traveling, it is a given that I will visit at least one museum dedicated to art. Most often it is someplace new—either an institution that has previously escaped my radar, or one that belongs to a city I have not yet explored. Although I enjoy viewing institutional collections, I am perhaps most drawn to works installed outdoors, especially if they require a bit of extra effort to reach. Phaidon has taken the burden out of researching secluded works and well-known urban installations by compiling some of the best into a new compendium titled Destination Art.
The book is a follow-up to their publication Destination Architecture (2017), and includes 500 artworks installed around the globe in 60 countries and 300 cities. The guide is a great resource for planning your next art pilgrimage to a far off corner of the Earth, or simply narrowing down a piece or two that have been hiding in your own backyard. The global guide is focused on site-specific modern and contemporary works from 340 artists ranging from Yayoi Kusama’s city-based collaboration with Coca-Cola in Matsumoto, Nagano in Japan to Louise Bourgeois’s “Crouching Spider” (2003) situated on a reflective pool outside the Château La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France. You can buy the book, which includes a wide range of murals, sculptures, sound installations, land art, and more, on Amazon and Phaidon.
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Little Tree Library: A Clever Twist on the Donation-Based Community Library Gives New Life to a Big Old Stump
Thanks to the nonprofit Little Free Library, chances are you have encountered a small house-like structure on a public thoroughfare, with a front door that opens to allow passersby to give or take a free book. The program exists in 88 countries, with over 75,000 registered Little Free Libraries. In addition to the goodwill-fueled, donation-based libraries, one of the charms is that each one is customized. Many sport unique paint jobs or even entirely off-the-wall architecture, like the Swedish flag-bedecked Library in the shape of a water tower, which pays homage to the real structure, a beloved fixture in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago.
One family in Idaho took their Library design to the next level with a “Little Tree Library,” carved out of a 110-year-old cottonwood tree stump on their property. Sharalee Armitage Howard, you’ll not be surprised to learn, works as a librarian and previously studied bookbinding, according to her Facebook profile. She spearheaded the complex installation on her front lawn, including dentils that, upon closer inspection, are actually miniature books complete with titles. The Library also features interior and exterior lighting, to give the space an extra-homey glow, as well as a “roof” over the top of the stump to help prevent its weathering away.
KREM, the local news station in Coeur d’Alene made a video (below) to give those outside the small town a closer look at the Howard’s new addition. You can find a Little Free Library near you on the organization’s website, which also offers premade kits if you don’t have any large stumps on hand.
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A new addition to TASCHEN’s art catalog is a massive 500-page edition that showcases the life and works of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Authored by Eleanor Nairne and edited by Hans Werner Holzwarth, the monograph is an oversized hardcover filled with large-scale reproductions of the artist’s drawings, paintings, and notebook pages. Several essays guide the reader year-by-year through Basquiat’s artistic career, from 1978 to his untimely death in 1988.
One of the most popular Black visual artist of all time, and indisputably one of the most successful artists of his era, Basquiat has been a larger-than-life art icon for over three decades. The new TASCHEN book matches that legacy not only with its physical size (which allows owners to get a closer look at some of his most seminal pieces), but with deep analysis and context of his work and the short 27 years to create it. To add a copy to your personal library, visit TASCHEN’s website.
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Nanny and self-taught photographer Vivian Maier (1926–2009) (previously here and here) kept nearly 150,000 photographic images, including street photography and self-portraits, hidden from the world until an estate sale in 2007 revealed a large bulk of her secretive hobby. Since 2010 her photographs have been widely exhibited in galleries and museums across the world, and were the subject of the 2013 documentary Finding Vivian Maier, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
Although her mostly Chicago and New York-based photographs have become infamous in the decade since their discovery, her color images have been less prevalent due to the technical challenges involved in their development and recovery. This month the largest monograph of her full-color photographs was published by Harper Collins, which includes images pulled from the roughly 40,000 Ektachrome color slides spanning the last 30 years of her life. Vivian Maier: The Color Work explores over 150 of her colorful images with details that have been gathered about her story and photographic process. The book also features a forward by photographer Joel Meyerowitz and text by Colin Westerbeck, a former curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Maier was a self-invented polymath of a photographer,” writes Westerbeck in the book. “The one advantage Maier gained from keeping her photography to herself was an exemption from contradiction and condescension. She didn’t have to worry about either the orthodoxy or the approval of her peers.”
Vivian Maier: The Color Work was created in partnership with Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York City, who will be presenting an exhibition of the same title opening November 14, 2018 and running through January 5, 2019. Several of the color photographs included in the exhibition will be presented for the first time. You can see more of Maier’s black and white and color photography on this portfolio site dedicated to her collection, and you can purchase a copy of the new book on Amazon. (via Chicago Magazine)
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Whimsical Literary Scenes Arranged with Hundreds of Colorful Hardcover and Paperback Novels by Elizabeth Sagan
Prolific reader and book collector Elizabeth Sagan uses Instagram as a platform to promote the engaging experience of reading physical books. Using her colorful collection of thousands of hardcover and paperback novels, she builds imaginative scenes that transport her audience into the storyline of dozens of literary tales. Over the last few months she has masqueraded as an angel with gigantic book wings, surfed a blue wave of literary titles, and laid at the center of a dazzling star of stacked texts. Sagan also co-runs the account My Book Features with James Trevino, where the pair shares their favorite book art images and novels from around the world. You can see more of her creative book compositions on Instagram. (via My Modern Met)
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Majestic Conservatories and Cozy Private Potting Sheds Showcase the Universal Appeal of Glass Greenhouses
Photographer duo India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson (known collectively as Haarkon) celebrate the universal beauty and rich history of glass greenhouses in a new book, Glasshouse Greenhouse. Filled with verdant images of greenhouses from around the world, the book is divided into seven thematic chapters including History, Research, and Pleasure. Haarkon complement the visual storytelling with written reflections that explain each location and their experience in discovering it.
The UK-based pair travels widely for their editorial and commercial work as visual storytellers, and seeking out greenhouses has become a touchpoint in their explorations of new places. In an interview with the Telegraph, Hobson shares, “It’s a fusion of both botanicals and architecture, an odd but extremely satisfying mix of the organic and engineered which I think appeals to a broad range of [people]. To me, they are a universal language in some ways: the fusion of many cultures and countries all under one beautiful glass roof.”
Freshly published by Pavilion Books on October 4th, Glasshouse Greenhouse is Haarkon’s debut book and it is available on Amazon. You can see more from Hobson and Edmondson on their website and Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Science
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.