Fall is here! Here are some books we’re excited to see coming out this season:


Images courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press blog: http://blog.papress.com/

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1. In the City by Nigel Peake, Princeton Architectural Press. This is the urban-focused follow up to Peake’s excellent illustrations of rural life, In the Wilds. Earlier this summer PAP put out a set of 12 full color note cards by Peake, including 6 illustrations from the City series and 6 from the Wilds. In the City is available on PAP’s web store now.


Images courtesy of the artist’s website: http://www.edwardburtynsky.com/

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2. Burtynsky – Water, Edward Burtynsky, Steidl Verlag. The release of this book coincides with exhibitions of Burtynksy’s photographs at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery and Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York (through November 2), a touring museum exhibition organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art (October 5 – January 19), a documentary film called Watermark, and an iPad app. Through all of these formats, Burtynsky explores the relationship between civilization and water, and the impact of that relationship on the landscape.

photo from W.W. Norton

3. The Great War, Joe Sacco. This looks exciting. We snap up a lot of accordion books, and we’re eager to get our hands on this 24 foot long drawing. The project reminds us that just before the advent of the motion picture, battlefield cylorama toured the world providing 19th century audiences with sprawling narrative, pseudo-cinematic experiences. This looks like the kind of project that reveals new details each time you pick it up. Check out some more pictures at W.W. Norton, and more still at NPR.

Bonus Track: And once fall is over, you can look forward to something new from James Turrell. Details are scarce but he…

is currently working on a book with LACMA and Kulturforum Järna that he hopes to debut at the end of this year called “The Turrell World Tour”, which challenges fans to visit all 82 of his site-specific works across 26 countries. “You go and visit a place and you have that signed,” says Mr Turrell. “If you visit all the spaces, then you’ll be our guest at Roden Crater.”

That’s according to The Economist. For more details on the “World Tour” and Turrell’s “masterwork” at Roden Crater, here’s a post at ArtInfo. The Roden Crater project has site now too.


Photo from http://rodencrater.com/

shelf / — posted on October 2nd, 2013

lebbeus woodsLebbeus Woods, who passed away just last year, was lucky enough to spend his last decades as a professional visionary, architect and theorist. His first widely available published work, OneFiveFour, came from the Princeton Architectural Press in 1989, which we wrote about last year. He did, however, have a string of smaller press titles previous to OneFiveFour.

The images in this post are from our collection of Lebbeus’ early published drawings which appeared alongside poetry, not architecture, although they are clearly characteristic of the later Lebbeus Woods aesthetic.

lebbeus woods lebbeus woods lebbeus woods lebbeus woods lebbeus woodsDetails:

In the Dream Museum — Red Herring Chapbook No. 6.
Robert Bensen. Swamp Press, 1980

Matrix — The Red Herring Poets
Robert Bensen (ed.). Channing-Murray, 1976.

Here is some information about The Red Herring Poets from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

Formed in 1974, the Red Herring Poets hosted weekly poetry workshops and monthly meetings at the Red Herring Coffeehouse, located at the Channing-Murray Foundation in Urbana, Ill.

SFMoMA had an exhibit on Lebbeus Woods earlier this year, described as follows:

The extensive drawings and models on view present an original perspective on the built environment — one that holds high regard for humanity’s ability to resist, respond, and create in adverse conditions. “Maybe I can show what could happen if we lived by a different set of rules,” he once said.

And Woods’ sizeable blog is still available and full of content for you to browse.

shelf / lebbeus woods — posted on September 20th, 2013

Ruins or Books recently relocated to the west coast, which gave us an opportunity to attend The Projects Festival in its second installment. Among many great discoveries there was the work of Veronica Graham, who is one half of the small press Most Ancient.

coverThis is LODE, an interpretation of Nevada’s land use patterns during the boom and bust cycles of the late 19th century. Repeated symbols that represent various conditions and uses of the landscape are printed onto vellum, so that flipping through the pages mimics an excavation of the layers of the land’s history.

spread 1 1 spread 2 1 spread 3 1 page 1 page 2 1 spine 1Other works of interest by Graham include this print of Oakland’s Lake Merritt and The Map of Neighboring Territories accordion book, much reminiscent of our other favorite accordion book artist Warja Lavater.

All things Graham are available in the Most Ancient shop.


shelf / / V. A. Graham — posted on September 4th, 2013

SCAPEGOAT has recently released its winter/spring 2013 issue, “Currency”. This is the journal’s 5th issue, and the first to assume a book format, which is considerably more dense than previous broadsheet issues. All issues are designed by Chris Lee.

The Currency issue explores the relationship between money and territory. Notable contributions include: an essay on the “Grexit,” a theoretical currency that challenges European money-image iconography; Abbas Akhavan’s gallery show, Islands, in which a map of Dubai was gold leafed onto the galley wall, then divided and sold to collectors in units of drywall; a Berlin co-working space, ExRotaPrint, organized to shield its tenants from the gentrification of the surrounding city; two architects rebuilding a derelict house in Buffalo, NY, by engaging directly with cheap and locally available materials rather than resorting to detached consumerism; a proposal for a new value system based on soil, and the “soil-erg” as its unit of currency.

Image of journal spread: Greece

SCAPEGOAT is a bi-annual publication with curated contributions that address global capital as it relates to architecture, landscape and political economy. Previous issues have discussed PropertyServiceMaterialism and Realism. Upcoming issues will discuss Excess and Mexico City.

You can subscribe, purchase at an assortment of bookstores around the globe, or read them online for free.


shelf — posted on May 17th, 2013

Tauba Auerbach - Mesh/Moiré

Tauba Auerbach - Mesh/Moiré

Six new Tauba Auerbach prints, “Mesh/Moiré I-VI”, 2012 have been unleashed by Park Life and Paulson Blot Press. The material is classic Tauba Auerbach and these are excellent and successful works in process and composition that should please her fans. You can read details about the process on a promotional flyer/PDF that the press has released.

A lot of Auerbach’s art is about the tension between  an almost total control over what goes into a process and an absence of control about the result that emerges from that process. She explores her system and process thoroughly, with thought and experimentation, and then when she’s ready, she lets go.

Following that intro is an interview with the artist that reveals in generous detail the process that produced the patterned prints. The issue price is $4,500 for each of the 6, with sets available. Let the feeding frenzy begin. For those west coasters that want a closer look, we assume that Park Life will be showing off these beauties at the artMRKT San Francisco May 16-19.

Tauba Auerbach - Mesh/Moiré (1)

Tauba Auerbach – Mesh/Moiré from Paulson Bott

Tauba Auerbach - Mesh/Moiré (2)

Tauba Auerbach – Mesh/Moiré from Paulson Bott

Tauba Auerbach - Mesh/Moiré (3)

Tauba Auerbach – Mesh/Moiré from Paulson Bott

Tauba Auerbach - Mesh/Moiré (5)

Tauba Auerbach – Mesh/Moiré from Paulson Bott

Tauba Auerbach - Mesh/Moiré (6)

Tauba Auerbach – Mesh/Moiré from Paulson Bott

Tauba Auerbach - Mesh/Moiré (7)

Tauba Auerbach – Mesh/Moiré from Paulson Bott

The above images are from either the Paulson Bott Press site or the promotional flyer. Paulson Bott has a long history with Tauba Auerbach, which you can browse on their site. Some of these prints may be available still, they’re probably upwards of $5K by now.

In thinking about these new prints, we did some reading about past Aurebach prints and came up with a few details to share. With the recent well-documented blockbuster exhibition Tetrachromat came an uncharacteristic untitled edition of 120 spray-paint-on-my-studio-floor silk screen prints on black paper, which may have started out around $700*. Some images from the artist’s studio on the Goldminer Project reveal how these prints came about.

Tauba Auerbach - Tetrachromat print

Tauba Auerbach – Tetrachromat print

In 2011 came a pair of C-prints, “Static 18” and “Static 19“, from Texte Zur Kunst. These 2 editions started out at the awesome price of 245 euro and have easily appreciated an order of magnitude* since then. There were 30 of each of these plus 10 proofs. As their titles suggest, these are a continuation of a long series of haunting static prints that came in much smaller editions. The “static” series followed “crumple”, “shatter” and “crease”, all concerned with randomness, disruption and confusion. You can follow up about many of these earlier prints by getting ahold of the increasingly scarce monograph Chaos (alternate link), put out in 2010 by Deitch Projects.

Tauba Auerbach - Static 19

Tauba Auerbach – Static

Tauba Auerbach - Static 18

Tauba Auerbach – Static

Tauba Auerbach’s website has an excellent list of her works. Click through, it’s good way to spend an afternoon into evening.

Tauba Auerbach - Folds - Printed MatterAnd finally, one more mesmerizing print. This one, “Untitled (Fold)”, was a Printed Matter benefit print from 2009. It’s a shame that here we can only trade in these little images which fail to draw you in and play with your vision and perception the way the full size and real editions do. From the Printed Matter description:

Tauba Auerbach’s two-tone screenprint is a visual cacophony of purple and yellow gridded dots that, when seen at a distance of 9 or 10 feet, resolve into an ingenious optical illusion suggesting a piece of paper that has been folded into sixteen segments.


wall — posted on May 6th, 2013

documenta 13 - 100 notes, 100 thoughts (1) documenta 13 - 100 notes, 100 thoughts (2) documenta 13 - 100 notes, 100 thoughts (3)

The thirteenth edition of documenta, the prestigious German contemporary art festival, wrapped up September 2012. As a teaser for that festival, the organizers, along with Hatje Cantz, put together a list of 100 slim volumes titled 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts which “comprise facsimiles of existing notebooks, commissioned essays, collaborations, and conversations.” The long list of artists and theorists covered includes Ruins or Books favorites Kenneth GoldsmithWilliam Kentridge and Florian Hecker. And the titles are largely available at the project site (or perhaps at your local art book shop), and a browse of the project site will reveal that several of the later episodes are available free via PDF.

documenta 13 - 100 notes, 100 thoughts (4)The following pictures come from the Alejandro Jodorowsky volume. The contents being a reproduction of a notebook that, despite the impeccably lettered cover, has nothing to do with the aborted Dune film project. Instead its pages are full of Jodorowsky’s obsession with the Tarot de Marseille. This obsession lasted decades and may offer you at least a partial answer to the question “what has he been doing for the last 30 years?”. In fact Jodorowsky maintained an interest in this centuries old Tarot deck, finally releasing an edition based on his research in 1998 with Philippe Camion.

Here’s the product page for this Jodorowsky item.

Here’s the wikipeda page for the documenta festival.

Alejandro Jodorowsky - 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts (3)
Alejandro Jodorowsky - 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts (2)
Alejandro Jodorowsky - 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts (4)
Alejandro Jodorowsky - 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts (5)
Alejandro Jodorowsky - 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts (6)
Alejandro Jodorowsky - 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts (7)





shelf / / Alejandro Jodorowsky — posted on May 1st, 2013

White Poplars - John Dilnot (3)

Here’s an odd and unexpected delight from John Dilnot. White Poplars is a simple “one idea” book that would be at home in Various Small Books, a recent ode to Ed Ruscha from the MIT Press. This one is a collection of photographs of graffitied and scarred poplar trees in Alicante, Spain, bound as accordian books in corrugated cardboard. 2 similar volumes in a slip case, edition of 500, inkjet and rubber stamps.

The item is available from the artist’s site. Take a look around because he has a handful of artists’ books divided across two pages: “Little Books” and “Bigger Books“.

White Poplars - John Dilnot (1)
White Poplars - John Dilnot (2)
White Poplars - John Dilnot (4)
White Poplars - John Dilnot (5)
White Poplars - John Dilnot (6)
White Poplars - John Dilnot (7)
And just in case you are as curious as we were, yes, you can see these same trees in Google Street View.

shelf / / John Dilnot — posted on April 22nd, 2013

ben laposky - electronic abstractions (5)

ben laposky - electronic abstractions

ben laposky - electronic abstractions (6)

ben laposky - electronic abstractions (4)

ben laposky - electronic abstractions (3)

ben laposky - electronic abstractions (1)

Ben F. Laposky is referred to on Wikipedia as “the pioneer for electronic art”. Bold words, but given that in 1953 he had a touring gallery show of oscilliscope designs, it’s clear that he’s at least near the front of the pack.

This curiosity I came across is from 1961. Computer art was still pretty far off the art world’s radar but Recreational Mathematics (Issue No 4, August 1961) provided Ben Laposky a venue to discuss his process. This little journal piece features seven of the “oscillons” (numbers: 39, 11, 10, 18, 41, 16, 38) from his Electronic Abstractions exhibit.

The content of Laposky’s article is largely a readable technical explanation of the work. Eventually he shifts from referring to this work as “design” to calling it an “art form”. Furthermore he briefly calls it the reigning “fourth-dimensional art form” and appeals to relativity and “Minkowski geometry time”. He closes out by discussing his successful traveling exhibit of this work, but suggests that 8 years on it is the only art show of its kind, although the advertising world frequently co-opts the aesthetic. This piece refers to 1937 article that describes a similar design process… so the hunt continues.

For more on early computer artists visit [DAM], the Digital Art Museum’s, site as well as the Spalter Digital Art Collection’s blog. It was their collection in the DeCordova’s Drawing with Code exhibition, that turned us on to this corner of the world.

shelf / / Ben F. Laposky — posted on March 29th, 2013