these just in … 24 June, 2008

Le Corbusier Le Grand

by The Editors of Phaidon

Hardcover $200.00 - 10%

Le Corbusier Le Grand is an enormous and enormously appealing monograph on one of the greatest and most controversial visionaries of the twentieth century: Le Corbusier (1887-1965). Publisher Phaidon’s super-sized volume features thousands of stunning photographs of the seminal architect, his buildings and plans, writings, and related documents (sketchbooks, personal snapshots, even postcards). With the turn of each page, readers can follow Corbusier’s trajectory from revolutionary young artist and prolific writer to globe-trotting, celebrity-crusader for modern architecture and urban planning. Esteemed architectural historian and Corbusier expert Jean-Louis Cohen provides an elegant introductory essay to this veritable archive of images. We learn that although the Swiss-born Le Corbusier hailed from a small town in a small country under the modest name Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, he was destined for greatness-largely of his own design. A prime mover behind the International Style (perhaps the first truly global architectural-design language), Corbusier brought modern design principles and their promise of improved living standards to the world stage. Futuristic high rise apartment complexes, office towers, highly functional streamlined interiors and furniture made primarily of industrial materials may all be attributed in part to him and his controversial utopian mission to transform our daily lives into a highly functional and beautiful system. Le Corbusier Le Grand is an extravagant, yet essential tome for libraries, those interested in modernism, city planning, and especially those with a really big coffee table.

Iron Fists: Branding the 20th-Century Totalarian State

by Steven Heller

Hardcover $90.00 - 10%

It was just over 60 years ago that Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, two of the world’s most powerfully imposing leaders, died and their regimes crumbled. One of the most illuminating facts about this dark era of history is the way in which these tyrants, and others like them, used graphic design as an instrument of power. But how did these regimes succeed in influencing the minds of millions? It is in the visual language the imagery, the typeface, the color palette that the answers truly take shape.

Phaidon Press is pleased to announce the publication of Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State by Steven Heller, the first illustrated survey of the propaganda art, graphics, and artifacts created by the totalitarian governments of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Communist regimes of the USSR and China. The book sets the disturbingly powerful graphic devices in historical context.

The infamous symbols produced by these regimes are recognized universally: the swastika and gothic typography of Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s streamlined Futurist posters and Black Shirt uniforms, the stolid Social Realism of Stalin’s USSR and Mao s Little Red Book. Author Steven Heller, a world-renowned design historian, who has long collected two-and-three-dimensional examples from this period, reveals how these symbols were used in a wide variety of propaganda, from posters, magazines and advertisements to uniforms, flags and figurines.

In addition to using logos and symbols, all of the leaders researched in this book deliberately cultivated certain personal characteristics (Hitler’s mustache, Mussolini’s baldness, Lenin’s goatee, Mao’s smile), in an attempt to transform their corporeal selves into icons. These regime personalities were blanketed across public venues, from monuments to postage stamps. The Nazis, for example, installed an intricate graphic program that featured Hitler s face as a ”logo,” a system remarkably similar to modern corporate identity creations.

By integrating color images of artifacts with archival black and white photographs, Iron Fists offers unique insight into how these regimes were effective in using graphic design to further their causes. In the section on Fascist Italy, for example, there are numerous reproductions of stylized posters, magazines and handbooks designed to excite impressionable youth. Heller then connects this printed propaganda with historic photographs of Italian children dressed as men prepared for battle stoic and serious their small hands clutching guns instead of toys.

Divided into four sections by regime, Heller also explores the color systems (each dictatorship had a distinctive palette), typefaces, and slogans used to both rally and terrorize the populace. In result, he demonstrates how these elements were used to ”sell” the totalitarian message. The first extensively illustrated book on the subject, Iron Fists will have an obvious appeal to graphic designers but will also be an important contribution to the study of the history of the totalitarian state.

Inner Workings: Literary Essays 2000-2005

by J. M. Coetzee, intro by Derek Attridge
Paperback $16.00

In his second volume of literary essays, following Stranger Shores (2001), Nobel laureate Coetzee conducts deep readings primarily of major twentieth-century European and American writers. Cosmopolitan in range and erudite in texture, Coetzee’s biocritical explications delve into the art, times, and humanity of, among others, Italo Svevo, Robert Musil, Paul Celan, Gunter Grass, Graham Greene, and W. G. Sebald. As a South African expat, Coetzee is attuned to literature under pressure as writers write in lands other than home, contending with language gaps and facing a world in violent upheaval. In his American essays, Coetzee brings an unusual perspective to Walt Whitman’s eroticism, Faulkner’s vision of the South, Philip Roth’s Plot against America, and Arthur Miller’s screenplay for The Misfits. In each case, Coetzee tells a story as much as he interprets the work, riding in the slipstream of his subject’s life and writings as he parses matters personal, technical, aesthetic, moral, and political with both subtlety and vigor. Coetzee’s profound fascination with the clarity and mystery of literature reaffirms its significance.

Leave a Reply