With books migrating to pads and pods this maybe a moot point. But before designed book jackets, book covers were the primary illustrative and typographical surface on a book. The photographs of the covers taken from “Arts and Crafts Book Covers” (in the book over 90 in all), makes this an essential document of a fertile creative period.
Fleurs, Fruits & Légumes du Jour is a folio of caricature prints by Alfred Le Petit (1841-1909) from 1871. He was one of the great line artists and satirists of his era, and a contributor to L’Eclipse, a leading republican newspaper during the French Third Republic. View some of the more hilariously acute physical transformations and caricatures from the original portfolio.
Those of us who lean in the direction of psychosomatic illness (at least those of us who have survived our psychosomatic illnesses), have been waiting for a visual cautionary book like this for decades. Oddly, this was published in 1953. Although the expressionistic illustrations and information graphics may seem satiric, they accompany a very serious text by an expert, O. Spurgeon English, M.D.
I recently found a catalog of Ukrainian political posters spanning the period after the Russian revolution until the early 1980s – some are surprisingly well known. In light of the apparent push from Russian President Putin to aid the Yanukovych government, seeing this now quaint the Ukrainian SSR-Soviet era posters seems like a deceivingly innocent moment in history.
Productive Arts! run by Howard Garfinkel and Larry Zeman is an essential resource for Russian and Soviet design materials (publications, posters, ephemera) produced by the leaders of the Constructivist, Productivist and Socialist Realist movements. Most recently, they published catalogs on Soviet newspapers and specifically pages designed by montagist Gustav Klutsis. I asked Zeman to discuss the acquisition and significance of this collection.
A little over a month ago, I wrote about Hanksy’s six day graffiti mash-up at a condemned row house on the Lower East Side. I promised a video produced by No Your City and directed by Nicolas Heller. Well here it is, “Hanksy Presents: Surplus Candy,” a record of the making of the incredible indoor street art extravaganza, which was open to the public for just two hours and then oblivion.
Book jackets were functional appendages to books created to keep covers free of dirt and dust (hence the now antiquated term dust jackets). They’re also mini-posters designed to attract readers — like bees to the flower. Twenty years ago, Seymour Chwast and I authored a book titled Jackets Required, a survey of these dust repellent graphic designs from the ’20s through the ’40s.