Tag Archive | Books

Eye On Design: Book Covers By Elaine Lustig Cohen

Trio of Book Covers
All Photos By Gail

Over six decades, Elaine Lustig Cohen (19272016) moved among diverse activities, including art, design, and rare-book dealing. She began her career as a graphic designer in the mid-1950s, extending the vocabulary of European Modernism — Constructivism, Dada, and the Bauhaus —  into an American context for publishers, architects and cultural Institutions.

From 1962 to 1967, she helped shape the Jewish Museum’s intuitional identity, directing the design of catalogues, posters, booklets and other printed material for its progressive exhibition program. At the same time, Lustig Cohen developed a hard-edge style as a painter, with a formal language of solid colors, abstract geometric shapes, and minimally visible brushstrokes, her paintings directly relate to her design work and to the movement called Postpainterly Abstraction. Lustig Cohen’s artistic contributions demonstrate that the lineage of Postpainterly Abstraction should been expanded beyond the fine arts to include postwar graphic design.

Three Book Covers

One of Lustig Cohen’s key projects was the design of book jackets for Meridian Publishers. Drawing on her knowledge modern typography and avant-garde design principles, such as asymmetrical composition dramatic scale, and image montage, Lustig Cohen forged a distinctive graphic voice.

Three Book Jackets

For book jackets, she described her process as one of distillation, in which she would identify the central ideas of the text and render then abstractly with bold lettering, expressive forms, and playfully collaged photographic elements.

Photographed in the Jewish Museum in Manhattan.

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Anselm Kiefer’s Uraeus Sculpture at Rockefeller Center

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Front View With Flowers
All Photos By Gail  (Thanks to Dave Manilow for The Tip on How to Get This Great Shot!)

Memorial Day Monday was not the hoped-for sunny day here in NYC, and the grey sky with threat of rain lent itself to indoor activities like Museum visits! Thus, I was inspired to head out to the Museum of Modern Art, followed by a short walk downtown to Rockefeller Center to see the new summer public artwork. This year’s monumental work is the first site-specific outdoor public sculpture ever to be commissioned for the United States from German artist Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945). Entitled Uraeus, the work consists of a gigantic open book with eagle’s wings 30 feet in span, both made of lead, on top of a 20-foot-tall lead-clad stainless steel column.

Uraeus Left Front with Pedestal

Clustered around the base of the column are further oversize lead books, while a large snake coils up the column (you can see the snake’s head rising up over the bottom edge of the open book). Lead is one of Kiefer’s preferred materials for its soft, fluid properties that are traditionally associated with alchemical transformation.

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Side Front View

These photos will give you a better view of the statues platform with books scattered about, though it is not easy to get a shot without lots of people coming and going.

Uraeus Front with Pedestal

The sculpture’s cryptic title, Uraeus, refers to the erect shape of the Egyptian cobra, associated with the serpent goddess Wadjet and a symbol of power and divine authority. The wings evoke the headdresses and necklaces worn by Egyptian royalty in homage to the vulture goddess Nekhbet. Wadjet and Nekhbet were the guardians of Lower and Upper Egypt, respectively, and following ancient Egypt’s unification, became the joint patrons of the civilization. You can read more about the philosophy behind the sculpture at This Link.

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Rear View

This is what the piece looks like shot from the rear and facing Fifth Avenue.

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Side Rear View

Uraeus is no Seated Ballerina, but it’s worth checking out if you are in the area!

Anselm Kiefer’s Uraeus will be on View Through Jul 22nd, 2018 (expect that tenure to be extended) at the Fifth Avenue entrance to Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens, between 49th and 50th Streets, in Midtown Manhattan.Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Front View With Flowers 2

Airan Kang, The Luminous Poem at Bryce Wolkowitz

Asian Wall Scrolls
All Photos By Gail

Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is currently hosting The Luminous Poem, a new body of work by Korean artist Airan Kang. If you’ve seen Kang’s work before (she’s previously shown at the Wolkowitz Gallery), then you know that she makes these fantastic illuminated sculptures of books.

Luminous Poem Book Shelf

This show has lots of her illuminated books (and it seems also what look like VHS Cassette Boxes – nostalgia!), but it also explores other printed mediums, such as scrolls and room-sized projections. My favorite part of the exhibit was a small room where shelves of softly glowing books lined the walls.

The Beatles Murakami Jaws

It’s great fun to browse the shelves and spot your favorites, now transformed into objects of light and enhanced wonder.

Jeff Koons

There are Art Books and books that have been made into Movies and books about Pop Stars and Pop Culture Icons. All very fun!

A Clockwork Orange

Bob Dylan Hitchhikers Guide

Marilyn Monroe

This one hangs on the wall, and changes color.

England's Dreaming

As you can see, the book – its boundless possibilities and its cultural significance – is central to Airan Kang’s work. In The Luminous Poem, she opens up the idea of the book from a concrete, self-contained object into a virtual space for the imagination.

The Luminous Poem Installation

In the galleries’ rear space, The Luminous Poem, the central interactive installation, features texts from classical poetry that project across the surface of a massive mirrored book that the viewer can enter. The texts are poems from the Romantic canon of Western literature. Kang’s immersive installation situates book and text as an interactive experience, an unfinished work entered into and transformed by the reader or viewer’s imagination or memory.

Asian Scroll Flat

Kang has also created a new iteration of her Digital Lighting Book series in the form of Asian scrolls. The pages of the transparent cast-resin books have been replaced with light, that multivalent symbol of wisdom, knowledge and enlightenment. By upending the idea of the book as a familiar object, she encourages more free-floating associations with the book and its subject matter.

Luminous Poem Book Stack

Make sure to see this exhibit before it closes!

The Luminous Poem by Airan Kang will be on Exhibit Through June 13, 2015 at Bryce Wolkowitz, Located at 505 W 24th St, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Airan Kang Signage