Tuesday, December 4, 2007


We have a couple of new books in our art section that have been cataloged into that section rather hesitantly, not because we questioned their artistic merit but because they are equally powerful in other contexts.
Burning Man: art in the desert by A. Leo Nash chronicles the more amazing installation art pieces that have appeared at this annual festival over the years. The photographs are all in grainy black and white, which not only highlights the details of the pieces but also fits in well with the desert environment. But this isn't just art. There are people here: in the photos, working on the crews, sitting in the audience, relaxing in the campsites. This makes Burning Man more than just a gallery collection of installation art (which is the shelf section where we ended up placing it); this book is also a photographic journey through time that depicts a unique subculture. In the text, Nash alludes to the Mad Max films as an inspiration for the Burning Man festival. Throw in Salvador Dali, and you've got a good idea of what you'll find in this book: unreal beauty and true free spirits.
Collect Raindrops: the seasons gathered is an interesting book by Nikki McClure. Two-tone prints created from papercuts, the beautiful images in this collection are idyllic and peaceful. These are pictures of friendship, cooperation, nature, contentment and hard work (the good kind, like weeding a garden or building a shed). Accompanying each image is a single word or phrase that invests the piece with more meaning. The designs in this book are reminiscent of the graphic design of the Arts & Crafts movement, which is why we placed it in with our art poster section. It could just as easily be with the poetry, environmentalism, or graphic novel books. Art as collective conscience.

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