The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 15, 2017
by Dan
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Race, Power, Money: Olivia Laing on Jean-Michel Basquiat

At The Guardian, Olivia Laing, the eminently readable author of To the River, The Trip to Echo Spring, and The Lonely City, on artist Jean-Michel Basquiat:  There is a graphomaniac quality to almost all of Basquiat’s work. He liked to … Continue reading

May 25, 2017
by Dan
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Gerhard Steidl is Making Books an Art Form

Rebecca Mead’s long profile of publisher Gerhard Steidl for The New Yorker is a wonderful, fascinating read: Each Steidl title is unique, printed with a bespoke combination of inks and papers. But to the informed eye, and the informed hand, … Continue reading

February 7, 2017
by Dan
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Chris Ware on George Herriman and Krazy Kat

The New York Review of Books has an essay by cartoonist Chris Ware on George Herriman the creator Krazy Kat, one of the most beautiful, poetic and inventive comic strips ever created:     Krazy Kat has been described as a parable of love, … Continue reading

January 17, 2017
by Dan
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Irma Boom’s Library

The New York Times visits Dutch designer and bookmaker Irma Boom‘s new library of experimental books: Irma Boom pays careful attention to word choice. The Dutch designer, one of the world’s pre-eminent bookmakers, is loath to say “client” and refers to … Continue reading

November 27, 2016
by Dan
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Robert Rauschenberg and the Subversive Language of Junk

With a major Robert Rauschenberg retrospective opening at Tate Modern in December, Alex Needham, writing for The Guardian, visits the late artist’s island home of Captiva, Florida: Rauschenberg started visiting in 1962, before moving to Captiva nine years later, describing it as “the foundation of … Continue reading

October 24, 2016
by Dan
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Illuminated Manuscripts

Tom Gauld for The Guardian.

October 20, 2016
by Dan
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William Eggleston, the Pioneer of Color Photography

Augusten Burroughs’ strange and sad profile of photographer William Eggleston for T, the New York Times Style Magazine: WE LEAVE THE OFFICES of the Eggleston Trust and go to his apartment. The first thing one sees upon entering is a bright red … Continue reading

September 23, 2016
by Dan
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The Bolted Book

Designers & Books, in collaboration with the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York and the Mart, the Museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy, is launching a Kickstarter campaign on October 18 to publish a new facsimile … Continue reading

September 8, 2016
by Dan
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Luc Sante on Jean-Michel Basquiat

New York Review of Books blog has posted Luc Sante’s reminiscences of artist Jean-Michel Basquait: The last time I saw Jean I was going home from work, had just passed through the turnstile at the 57th Street BMT station. We … Continue reading

September 2, 2016
by Dan
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Ed Ruscha: Buildings and Words

Ed Ruscha: Buildings and Words is a short documentary, commissioned by MOCA in Los Angeles, exploring two of the recurring themes in the artist’s work. It was written and directed by Felipe Lima, and is narrated by Owen Wilson: Apparently Ruscha calls his font ‘Boy Scout … Continue reading

August 24, 2016
by Dan
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Art Installation

Tom Gauld for the New Scientist.

May 28, 2016
by Dan
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Moholy-Nagy: Future Present

The New York Times on a new exhibition of work by Hungarian artist and designer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy at the Guggenheim in New York: The first large Moholy-Nagy exhibition in this country in over 50 years may also be, its organizers … Continue reading

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