Monday, 11 October 2010

Book Choice - Pittville Library

You can take the man out of the library, but you can’t take the librarian out of the man. I began my professional life as a librarian – several happy years at Goldsmiths prior to equally happy years at Pittville (University of Gloucestershire) - but turned to teaching when required to relinquish librarianship for Learning Centrism. Though it is many years since I worked in Pittville Library, I still, secretly, regard it as my library. So, I was delighted to be asked to do a pick of the bookstock for display as part of a celebration of the Pittville years prior to relocation, next year.
My selection, in alphabetical order (of course) is as follows:
Becher, Bernd and Hilla (1988) Water Towers, London: MITP
I could have chosen the Mineheads, the Blast Furnaces or the Gas Tanks (I love the Gas Tanks), but I plumped for the Water Towers. Part objective typology of industrial forms and part conceptual art, these cool documents constitute strange and poetic visions - what the Bechers themselves termed Anonyme Skulpturen.
Borges, Jorge Luis (1970) Labyrinths: selected stories and other writings, Harmondsworth: Penguin
Amazing stories, each one dense with ideas and wonder.
Dean, Tacita (1999) Teignmouth Electron, London: Bookworks
The strange story of Donald Crowhurst, the man who faked his lone circumnavigation of the world and disappeared, seen through the work of this intriguing artist.
Dyer, Geoff (2005) The Ongoing Moment, London: Little Brown
The world is filling up with histories of photography: Dyer’s book is a refreshingly original take on the subjects and perceptions of photographers.
Frank, Robert (2008) The Americans, Steidl
Probably the best photobook. Ever. As Jack Kerouac says in the introduction: Anybody doesn’t like these pitchers dont like potry, see?
Hickey, Dave (1997) Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy, Art Issues Press
A good writer on art can be hard to find. Dave Hickey does the job.
Le Corbusier (1946) Towards a New Architecture, London: Architectural Press
Disguised by a bland library binding this edition of Le Corbusier’s seminal statement on architecture has the authentic whiff of heroic Modernist utopianism; the thrill of the impending machine age is captured in the pictures of cars, aeroplanes and grain silos.
Marinetti, F.T. (1989) The Futurist Cookbook, London: Trefoil
Matisse, Henri (1985) Jazz,New York: Braziller
An exhilarating and joyous feast of colour and energy: a triumph of the art of the book.
Opie, Julian (1991) A28/14(E), London: G-W Press
Order your modular sculpture here, just note the serial number. The exhibition catalogue as trade catalogue.
Parr, Martin (1999) Boring Postcards, London: Phaidon
Boring? Surely some mistake? How can you not thrill to the views of the M6, Thomas Cook’s International HQ, and the New Bus Station, Preston (‘Largest in Britain’).
Patterson, Simon (1994) Rex Reason, London: Book Works
A handy compendium of the elements reconfigured as film stars, directors and gods.
Spencer, Herbert (1969) Pioneers of Modern Typography, London: Lund Humphries
The freshness and invention of avant-garde graphic design sings off the pages of this beautifully constructed book.
Vogel, Amos (2005) Film as a Subversive Art, London: C.T.
For much of its history, the world of avant-garde and experimental film has been obscure and inaccessible; now, thanks to the internet and the wonderful UbuWeb, this world is opening up. Vogel’s book is the key to unlocking it.
Wentworth, Richard (1998) Thinking Aloud, London: Hayward Gallery Publishing
A brilliant and witty selection of objects and images gently nudged into new relationships and poetic dialogue.

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