At a glance

Art & Architecture Library

2008-2009

Sansepolcro (Arezzo) : Grafica European center of fine arts, 2007.
Art & Architecture Library » Locked Stacks, Medium » QA31 .A694 2007 F + SUPPL
Only recently discovered and attributed, Piero della Francesca’s undated [fifteenth-century] manuscript consists entirely of writings by the Greek mathematician Archimedes. It is a sort of “reprint” composed by hand, with marginal diagrams recreating Archimedes’s studies of simple geometric forms. As such, the manuscript serves as elegantly presented evidence of the great Renaissance painter’s intense personal commitment to understanding mathematical theory, especially that of the classical thinkers. More generally, the work underscores the interdisciplinarity so often at play in Renaissance artistic output as well as the interest visual artists held in circumscribing the physical world around them. The Library’s facsimile edition, one of 999 copies, includes commentary by Roberto Manescalchi and Matteo Martelli.
[Paris] G.L.M., 1937.
Art & Architecture Library » Locked Stacks, Small » TR650 .R35 1937
Paris : Éditions J. Bucher, 1937.
Art & Architecture Library » Locked Stacks, Small » NC139 .R38 A4 1937
These two works, both from 1937, mark a major turning point in Man Ray’s artistic career, with La Photographie summing up his photographic career and Les Mains Libres charting future creative directions. In 1937 he decided to give up photography altogether [“Photography is not the art”], rented a studio in Antibes, and devoted himself to drawing and painting. La Photographie also serves as a summing up of Man Ray’s earlier Dada tendencies, with its Duchampian puns for the photographs’ titles. Many of the drawings reproduced in Les Mains Libresserved as points of departure for related paintings, reliefs, and other works as his focus shifted from photography to other media. His use of hands on the front and rear covers he designed forLes Mains clearly indicates his desire to move away from photography and towards painting.

While both works are significant in Man Ray’s oeuvre and are extensively referenced in the Man Ray literature, neither title could be classified in the grand tradition of livres d’artiste, a format that Man Ray never really embraced. Both are commercially printed, yet at the highest standards. As is typical of his artistic production, which is marked by inference rather than proclamation, they do nod in the direction of the livre d'artiste and its associations with artistic exclusivity and self-reflexivity.
Paris : Au Sans pareil, 1922.
Art & Architecture Library » Locked Stacks, Small » N6494 .D3 C64
Dada (much like its related movement Surrealism) was punctuated by rivalries and disagreements regarding guiding philosophies and resulting visual styles. As Dada was so mired in language and its manipulation, these rivalries often surfaced in words on the pages of journals, manifestoes, handbills, and posters. A disagreement that developed between former colleagues and movement-guiding figures Francis Picabia and Tristan Tzara came to a head in March of 1922 when Picabia published La Pomme de Pins and claimed, among other things, that “Tristan in his cotton cap thinks he’s still at Zürich” [a reference to the city where Dada was founded; many of the members had since moved on to Paris, Berlin, Cologne, and other locales]. Tzara’s response the following month was the single-issue journal Le Coeur à Barbe, fueled by support from Marcel Duchamp, Paul Éluard, Erik Satie, and others. The attack on Picabia within its pages was indirect and certainly unintelligible to the uninitiated; more than anything, the asserted loyalties of all of the paper’s contributors demonstrated that Picabia was increasingly irrelevant to the world of Dada.

The cover design, attributed to Iliazd (a Georgian writer and artist who lived and worked in Paris), is one of the most recognizable images in Parisian Dada: simple engraved images combined with wood type and juxtaposed into well-planned absurdity. It is a prime example of early 1920s avant-garde page design.
Paris : C. Bloch.
Art & Architecture Library » Locked Stacks, Small » AP20 .N7
Roger Allard was one of the early critics to support the early Cubist works of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, and played a leading role in gathering the Cubists for their first group exhibition at the Salon des Independendants (1911). With Jean Metzinger and Maurice Raynal before World War I, and with Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler shortly after, Allard argued that Cubism was a conceptualized depiction; it was about reality. But in the years after WWI Allard criticized the Cubists for becoming increasingly hermetic, and he began to support artists whose work was more naturalistic. Le Nouveau Spectateur covers these later years, and analyzes cinema, art and Bolshevism, decorative art, and the works of the leading French artists of this stylized naturalist movement, such as André Dunoyer de Segonzac, Guy Pierre Fauconnet, Marcel Gromaire, Jean-Emile Laboureur, and Raoul Dufy, as well as Henri Matisse and Picasso. Allard’s post-War critique of cubist abstraction can be seen to presage the Cubists’ return to naturalism themselves in the 1930s. Each issue is illustrated with reproductions or original woodcuts by these and other artists.
Paris : A. Skira, 1939.
Art & Architecture Library » Locked Stacks, Small » N7433.4 .T69 S64 1939
Toyen was a painter, illustrator, founding member of the Czech Surrealist group, and, as a woman, part of a somewhat underrepresented segment of the larger Surrealist circle. In 1939 Toyen, who had moved through Cubism and abstraction to a form of representation based upon the language of psychoanalysis, was in hiding in Prague, her work having been publicly banned. The images she created for The Spectres of the Desert reflect the horrifying climate in which she was forced to work, her increasingly foreboding totemic images having become isolated in space and trailed by deep shadows. After the war, Toyen moved to Paris and became an active participant in post-war Surrealist production. But it is in this cycle of drawings (and two others—The Rifle-Range and Hide Yourself War!) that she makes her mark as a keen documentarian of the (often irrational) psychological effects of war.
[Large ed.] San Francisco : Dana Smith, 2009.
Art & Architecture Library » Locked Stacks, Large » N7433.4 .S553 M57 2009B F PT.1
Dana Smith is a longtime resident of the Mission District of San Francisco, one of a number of exhibiting artists (loosely referred to as the Mission School) whose aesthetic and working methods are fundamentally informed by the socially, culturally, and economically diverse neighborhood. She works primarily in the photographic medium, distorting her images—often of the Mission itself—through collage or digital manipulation and then collecting the resulting compositions into portfolio or book form. To date her most compelling works have been, arguably, collaborative ones, her images and page layouts serving as hyper-real backdrops for work by partner Mission artists.

The Mission Miracle Mile Trilogy, however, is a solo effort in which Smith’s digitally enhanced photography takes center stage, and as such (in conjunction with her poetry volume Sanctuary in My Skin from 2008) it seems a turning point in the artist’s career. The thirty-two-inch page spreads are printed full-bleed with saturated images of sidewalks, bus transfers, crushed pills, street vendors, tattoos, transients, and schoolchildren. The effect is dramatic, each page turn evoking the atmosphere of the street and the feeling of progressing down it. Across three volumes, the project approaches the monumental.
Paris : Editions Anthropos, 1967-1977.
Art & Architecture Library » Locked Stacks, Small » NA9000 .U88 NO.15-17 1977-1978
Utopie is a sixteen-issue journal (one issue being a double number) that was published by the French ultra-leftist group of the same name in the years leading up to and following the tumultuous events of 1968. In a sense, in its focus upon urban forms and the politics of space, it was an architecture journal, but the group’s collective aim was to move beyond the discipline into a more philosophical and less illustrative realm. Members of the group hailed from the disciplines not only of architecture but of sociology and philosophy (Later, the journal adopted a stance of author anonymity so as to stress pure theory over idiosyncrasy.). Contributors to the journal included the its founder Hubert Tonka, Jean Aubert, Isabelle Auricoste, René Lourau, and, most famously, Jean Baudrillard.

Utopie as a group paralleled the Situationists, though it could be argued that the Situationists focused more on practical political action than Utopie did. Baudrillard, in discussing Utopie and its journal, separated his group from the Situationists (with which he had been associated earlier in his career) by claiming: “For us, 1968 was already more than politics. It was symbolic, almost ‘metahistorical.’ Thereafter, it was all over. In the 1970s, we passed beyond the end. Thereafter, we passed entirely to the side of theory." The Art & Architecture Library owns the six published volumes of The Situationist TimesUtopie serves as a wonderful complement and counterpoint to this collection.

It is worth noting, too, the character of Utopie’s graphic design, each issue’s cover bearing a single color with bold lowercase text. Even as its contributors moved more and more toward an erasure of the visual in favor of the theoretical, appearances—and their uniqueness—certainly mattered.
[New York?] : Buffalo Press, 1973.
Art & Architecture Library » Locked Stacks, Small » N6537 .M43 A4 1973
Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978) is best known for his artistic practice of carving existing buildings during the period 1972-1978. Using a chain saw, Matta-Clark treated vacant buildings as raw, sculptural material. Influenced by the land art of Robert Smithson, Matta-Clark cut into and through buildings in an urban-based sculptural practice, calling his interventions “Anarchitecture.” He documented the cuttings in films and photographs which he subsequently exhibited in galleries, occasionally with fragments from the buildings themselves. In a series of “cut drawings” (1972–6) he developed his idea of the cut as a technique. Walls Paper functions in a similar vein. Based on colored photographs of peeling wallpaper from abandoned buildings, Matta-Clark cut each page in half horizontally. Maintaining their top/bottom orientation, he staple-bound the split pages in two sections, the top halves composing the top half of the book, and the bottom halves the bottom portion. One can flip through the top half and the bottom half of the book simultaneously, or vary the flipping to create new combinations between the top and bottom portions of the book.
Amsterdam : MHCHIJ De Hooge Brug.
Special Collections » Manuscript Collection: request at Special Collections service desk » M1671
The title of this early twentieth-century journal, Wendingen, is based on a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche, "Umwälzung aller Werte" [upheaval of all values]. Hendrik Theodorus Wijdeveld, the journal’s founder, translated the term "Umwälzung" into Dutch as "omwentelen" [revolve], then as "wentelen" [turn about], and, finally, as "wending" [turn]. "Wendingen" is the plural of "wending." Hence, Wendingen implied a sense of turnings, as in turning away from the past and toward the future. To this end, Wijdeveld, who designed and edited most of the one hundred sixteen issues himself, oversaw the journal’s adoption of graphically innovative covers that opened to reveal beautifully gridded and typeset pages. Inspired by the notion of socially engaged contemporary Dutch architecture, the journal’s focus quickly expanded to include such topics as printmaking, non-Western artifacts, puppetry and stage design, and ancient building construction—a topical (and geographical) range very unique for its time.

Wendingen includes seven issues devoted solely to Frank Lloyd Wright (one of whose covers was designed by El Lissitzky), as well as issues on Josef Hoffmann, Erich Mendelsohn, Eileen Gray, Jan Toorop (two issues), Gustav Klimt, and Lyonel Feininger. The archive includes all issues published, dated 1916-1931. It also includes a collection of related material: the finished original drawing by Jesserun de Mesquita for one of the covers (vol. IX, no. 1, 1928), two original drawings for page layouts, and other ephemeral items.