Mark Lamster

Critic; Writer / United States /

Mark Lamster’s Notable Books of 2012

3 books
Wendell Castle
Text by Alastair Gordon
Foreword by Evan Snyderman

Wendell Castle isn't a household name, but maybe it should be. Castle was a pioneer in making furniture as three-dimensional sculpture, first with anthropomorphic carved wood pieces and then in candy-colored molded plastics. Alastair Gordon tells this story with great affection and sympathy in a beautifully made book.

Jennifer Jane Marshall

The first history of MoMA's landmark Machine Art show of 1934, which set a standard for design exhibitions that remains a pervasive influence nearly 80 years later. This book recovers the show's backstory and context, especially the roll of photographer Ruth Bernhard, though its writing and conclusions sometimes veer into overly theoretical academicism.

Christopher Bonanos

A charming illustrated biography of Polaroid and its founder, the progressive visionary Edwin Land, whose philosophy and products served as models for Steve Jobs and Apple. This is the rare design-themed book that has a conventional story arc—an almost miraculous rise, followed by immense success, and then a catastrophic fall—and Bonanos tells it with sympathetic but gimlet-eyed intelligence. There is much to be learned from this story about both how to and how not to think about the making of objects, and the running of design companies, at all scales.

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