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Book Review: Art & Place

ART & PLACE  Cover
All Images Courtesy of Phaidon

Hundreds of books about Art are published every year and it’s challenging for even hardcore Art enthusiasts like me to keep track of the best ones. But I don’t think I’ve yet come across a coffee table-sized Art book that I wanted to peruse cover-to-cover for hours in the way I do Art & Place: Site-Specific Art of The Americas — a comprehensive collection of public art, due out from Phaidon Press in November, 2013.

It’s unfortunate that, due to the (understandable) copyright restrictions on the hundreds of gorgeous photographs contained in the pages of Art & Place, the publishers would only allow me to post three images from the book, because the photographs collected for this impressive publication are simply breathtaking and make Art & Place a must-own for collectors and fans alike. Whenever I travel, one of my favorite things to do is photo-documen public art; whether that be sculptures, installations, random street art or works created from and within nature. Art transforms the perception of reality in a way mere words cannot, and this book does an amazing job of both visually demonstrating and verbally relating the ways in which art elevates life. If you also enjoy photographing site-specific works of art when you visit a new city, this book is an indispensable guide to making the most of your travel experiences across the United States.

Star Tunnel By Charles Ross
Chupinas Mesa, Charles Ross, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Anton Chico, NM, USA
Star Axis, 1976–, carved rock and masonry, H: 15.85 m / 52 ft 4 Star Tunnel Aperture

Organized geographically, Art & Place is an unprecedented overview of site-specific art across North, Central and South America from 10,000 BC to the present day. This one-of-a-kind book offers an in-depth and extensive look at major works from all periods that are inextricably linked with their site. From Isamu Noguchi at Storm King Art Center, Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago, and Donald Judd in Marfa, to the Toltec Warriors at Tula and the Moai Statues on Easter Island, all the featured works are specifically made for, or installed in, a particular place – whether that be a landscape, an interior or an urban environment.

Bus Home By Dennis Oppenheim
Pacific View Mall, Dennis Oppenheim, Ventura, CA, USA
Bus Home, 2002, painted steel, acrylic, 10.9 × 15.2 × 30.5 m / 36 × 50 × 100 ft

“Art made for a specific place can be the most spectacular, uplifting and exciting art you can ever experience, and artists of the Americas have provided us with some of the most outstanding examples,” says Amanda Renshaw, editor of the book. “I’ve had the chance to visit many sites, but quickly realized that it is, unfortunately, impossible to visit them all in a single lifetime. Art sites have become increasingly popular destinations. The format of Art & Place aims to bring some of the most extraordinary examples to life and enable most of us to visit these amazing places from home.”

Museo de la Memoria
Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, Alfredo Jaar, Santiago, Chile
Geometry of Conscience, Plaza de la Memoria, 2010, light installation, duration: 3 mins

Highlights include:

  • Works in over 60 cities – from Albuquerque to Washington, DC, and from Baja to Rio de Janeiro
  • 170 powerful and spectacular art works from North, Central, and South America
  • 800 large-format color images depicting the artwork in its surroundings along with a descriptive text written by a specialist
  • All forms of art including carving and painting, murals and frescos, mosaics, altarpieces, tapestries, integral sculpture, stained glass, earthworks, land art and more
  • Renowned artists such as Richard Serra and John Sargent, Donald Judd and Henry Moore, alongside art created by ancient civilizations, Colonial settlers and 19th Century muralists
  • Maps pinpointing the location of sites and specially commissioned plans show the layout of complex sites

With the holidays coming up, I can’t think of a more appropriate gift for the Art lover in your life than Art & Place: Site-Specific Art of The Americas (Approx. 368 Pages; Approx. 800 Color Illustrations), available as a Hard Cover collectible for just $79.95. Phaidon books are available at all major bookstores and retailers worldwide, as well as online at This Link!

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