Early Work on the Grand Canyon

Posted in art, books, graphicnovels by johnsnavely on November 17, 2007

I was in a used bookstore yesterday looking for more graphic novels and I found a book by David Macaulay called “Great Moments in Architecture“. You might remember Macaulay as the illustrator of books like “Mosque” and “How Things Work”. There’s some really nice moments in the book: the ruins of a gas station, early excavation of the Grand Canyon, and an inflatable cathedralm, all illustrated in a sketchy Piranesian style.

I bought the book for a couple reasons. First, it was published in the 70’s the beginning the pomo achitecture’s golden age. As such, it’s a great reminder that my ideas are really nothing new, a lot of people have been thinking about this stuff for a very long time. Secondly, I bought the book as a gentle reminder not to screw up. When the illustrations are good, they’re funny and beautiful and you want to build them. But when they’re bad, they read like a Farside comic. (by Gary Larson, AIA) Ugz.

A dirty secret: this is probably one of about five architecture books I own. I’ve got a copy of Oppositions that I stole from the NYPL and some random books from the Details series. But mostly, I’m thoroughly uneducated/unread. Now you know not to play Humiliation with me.

I also bought “The Story of O” to add to my collection. The introduction which compares the novel to Sade’s Justine starts to ask the right questions: how do you place this book into some sort of historical or cultural context, while acknowledging how much of an anomaly it [still] is? It’s never the novel that feels dated so much as the criticism. I can tell immediately when the response was written, but the novel itself seems outside of identifiable social cues.

I like the freaks, yes I do.

But this is for another post about another kind of graphic novel.


2 Responses

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  1. Jenny said, on November 25, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Freaks give me nightmares. I thought that was a Henry Darger painting you put up – I saw a show of his works at the American Crafts Museum in NYC several years ago. Needless to say, I was very disturbed…that moment ranked up there with the show of Jean Cocteau drawings I saw in Montreal. The most surreal one was a baby with penises for its limbs…again, very disturbing. Here in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo, the Third Mind show has Nancy Grossman designs, specifically, leather gimp head masks with slits for eyes…talk about disturbing…

  2. johnsnavely said, on November 25, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Darger’s pretty cool because his graphic style seems prescient when we look at the art work of today. There’s a lot of it. (Those are all Perogi… sorry!)

    I have a special tag on delicious for “artoonists“.

    I doubt they’ve been directly influenced by Darger, but it’s amazing that his work came so early.

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