Rick Poynor

Critic; Curator; Writer; Lecturer / Graphic Design / United Kingdom / Design Observer

Rick Poynor’s Notable Books of 2011

These titles deal with some aspect of visual culture and they are all books I have enjoyed this year. Only one, 100 Artists’ Manifestos, is an entirely pictureless read; the others are intensely visual, but their texts are important, too. I single them out because, in each case, I felt a rush of excitement as soon as I laid hands on them. The subjects were of great interest to me, the books made an instant connection and I coveted them for my library, though I’m still saving up for The Ruins of Detroit. I might just have to put that one on my Christmas list.

3 books
Horacio Fernández Editor
Designed by José Luis Logo

This major photobook survey (followed by The Dutch Photobook in 2012) focuses on Latin American publications that are little known even in their countries of origin. Many of the projects from the 1930s to the present are stunning and easily the equal of photobooks from Europe, the U.S. and Japan. Horacio Fernández and his advisory committee are acutely sensitive to the vital role that graphic design plays in making a photobook, and there is a valuable appendix exploring the work of six key designers. José Luis Logo expertly lays out the pages.

Yves Marchand Photographs
Romain meffre Photographs
Robert Polidori Essay
Thomas J. Sugrue Essay

I was staggered the first time I saw whole neighborhoods in a state of disintegration on a visit to Detroit. How could a city in such a wealthy nation resemble a war zone? Car plants, hotels, theaters, apartment buildings, school classrooms, police stations, dentists’ surgeries, bank vaults—in brilliant pictures, taken over a five-year period, we confront a vision of economic disaster and a city fabric gripped by entropy. A deeply alarming survey and, we have to hope, not as prescient as it feels.

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