Three Wise Gifts For This Holiday Season
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If you're looking for the last-minute gift for the lover of art and design on your list, then you're in luck! Three new books from Princeton Architectural Press explore a diverse variety of topics—from the developement of a visual language, to a fascinating miniature domestic world to a behind-the-scenes look at bringing large sculpture to life. Read the reviews after the jump... From Hieroglyphics To Isotype: A Visual Autobiography by Otto Neurath. Otto Neurath (1882-1942)...
If you're looking for the last-minute gift for the lover of art and design on your list, then you're in luck! Three new books from Princeton Architectural Press explore a diverse variety of topics—from the developement of a visual language, to a fascinating miniature domestic world to a behind-the-scenes look at bringing large sculpture to life. Read the reviews after the jump...From Hieroglyphics To Isotype: A Visual Autobiography by Otto Neurath. Otto Neurath (1882-1942) was a political economist, philosopher, and sociologist whose work encompassed urbanism and visual communication. He was a leading figure in the development of the visual "language" called Isotype. Isotype was a means of transforming information into a visual form, and is applicable in all areas of design.
In his autobiography, Neurath explains that his formative years were filled with shapes and symbols in various eye-communications. His interest in hieroglyphics, maps and illustration helped to prepare him for the development of Isotype. It was his need to communicate information to a varied public at the museum that he was working at that eventually pushed Isotype into the public forum in which we find it today. Reading his own words, seeing his actual typewritten pages and archival collections contributes to a new understanding of something that we take for granted—the visual icons we use everyday.
America's Doll House: The Miniature World of Faith Bradford by William L. Bird, Jr.
In 1951 Faith Bradford, a Washington D.C. librarian, gave the the Smithsonian Institute an amazing collection of miniatures that filled 23 detailed rooms. Over the years, this exhibit has become one of the most popular for young and old alike. In telling the story of this exhibit, Smithsonian curator William Bird lets the reader in on all the interesting details about Bradford's life, her collection and her background story of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Doll, their family and their home. Along hte way, Bird describes the Museum's changing focus and how that impacted many of the displays.
One of the most fascinating details that Bird relates has to do with a 1955 donation of the "Modern House" that Bradford based on the examples of residential architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Charles M. Goodman that were found within a mile of her Maryland home. Although there are interesting photographs of the Modern doll house, this item was never displayed and has has somehow been lost.
The photographs and room-by-room catalogs, as well as Bradford's scrapbook, shows how involved she was this collection. The historically significant back story that she wrote combines everything together to make a wonderful and vivid narrative. This book is an engaging look at a true labor of love.
Large Scale: Fabricating Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s by Jonathan D. Lippencott
Icons like Alexander Calder and Isamu Noguchi primed the world for the emergance of large stabile and mobile public sculpture. They had the facilities to accomplish their work, but most artists did not. Johnathan Lippincott tells the story of his father, Donald Lippincott and his partner, Roxanne Everett in establishing a facility that specialized in assisting contemporary sculptors realize their work in large scale using industrial materials. Lippincott, Inc. (1966-1994) was able to put tools of the trade at the disposal of the artist faced with bringing their concept to real life.
Through photographs and interviews, this book presents a look at the day-to-day working process of creating these sculptures. Once comes away from the book with the idea that he environment at Lippincott, Inc. was an important factor in the success of many artists in one of the most active periods of public sculpture in art history. Seeing the images of these large scale works of art as they were made increases the sense of appreciation for them.
Images via Princeton Architectural Press