Y H B H S (card catalog) selection 36

Rodney Hill
, gallerist, Los Angeles
"These 3 books have stirred memories of my little corner of the pre-internet universe; Detroit in the early 1980s, where I was exposed to some pretty great forms, textures and volumes."

When Rodney Hill responded to my email asking him to pick his favorite book for YHBHS, not only was I flattered, but I was psyched to see what he would choose! Rodney has turned me onto so much art & design that it's just plain ridiculous. He's the type of enthusiast that sends emails of Italian lamps on auction at 3 a.m... Yes, to know him is an honor and an education in design, passion, and generosity.

The email that I received from Rodney Hill reads:

On the last day of holiday vacation, I share three books that have been at close at hand lately and have became knotted together in my mind. These 3 books have stirred memories of my little corner of the pre-internet universe; Detroit in the early 1980s, where I was exposed to some pretty great forms, textures and volumes. I frequented Linda Dresner's amazing boutique (www.lindadresner.com) where they stocked asymmetrical, origami-like Japanese fashion from the start. Meanwhile, wedge shaped, stainless steel DeLoreans with gull-wing doors were on the streets. Nearby, John Portman's "Renaissance Center," a reinforced concrete lobby with conversation pods and a monorail, offered 73 story glass elevator rides.

Juliaan Lampens
, 2010
Angelique Campens, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Sara Noel Costa de Araujo,
Jan Kempenaers, Francis Strauven, Juliaan Lampens


These impressive designs and aesthetics established a 30 year imprint in my mind's eye of an ideal way of living, impossible to achieve without a serious code of discipline. When I came to know Julian Lampens' work a few years ago, the immediate sensation was of Deja Vu, then awe -- that living with these forms and textures can indeed be intimate and warm.

Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion

by Akio Fukai, Barbara Vinken, Susannah Frankel & Hirofumi Kurino


Seeing 30 years of Japanese fashion further historicized in "Future Beauty" at London's beautiful Barbican Center was a personal highlight of 2010, and its glossy catalog is already a treasure. The exhibition included extensive amounts of the related graphic direct mail and magazine advertising materials. Another treat: a projected video of a very tense audience responding to Rei Kawakubo's "lump dress" runway show, silence, laughter, and a few courageous people clapping to support it. (The show is still up!)

Arthropods: New Design Futures
by Jim Burns 1972, Praeger, New York


I think the prescient designers in Arthropods: New Design Futures saw Comme des Garcon's "lump dresses" coming. Inside the books foreboding cover graphics, it's full of B&W eye candy and ideas from 30 international environmental designers who were acting against the un-ecological and dehumanizing urban and corporate environments of the late Sixties (!!!???). Arthopods' "understanding of consequences" reads much like "Green movement" propaganda, practices and product placement of today. There's not much in Arthropods for the consumer, just ideas, and very few built works. An architect friend looked straight through "Arthropods" patina, and commented: "Optimistic !", and I think he was right!

I normally spend my time on blogs like this, and Ro/Lu, etc. where I enjoy the gathering community of people interested in circulating and re-circulating these ideas and images, which often send me back to books like these.

Enjoy the pics!"


Rodney Hill loves lamps. He is co-owner of Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles. Takayoshi Nonaka is a photographer. He is Creative Director, H. P. France, Los Angeles, New York...