The Eye

(noun) a globular organ in the head through which people and vertebrate animals see.

1. Eye on Design
I am thrilled to share Madeleine Morley's meditation on Content Object for AIGA's Eye On Design: "L.A. Studio Content Object Explores “That Grey Area” Between Art and Design"

2. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Some of the really exciting books that we've been working on for the last year (and then some) are slowly making their way to the public. Four of which are highlighted here and may have also been spotted at L.A. Art Book Fair last weekend.

—Kimberly Varella and Content Object

Rodney McMillian—
Studio Museum in Harlem and ICA Philadelphia

Two years in the making, Rodney McMillian is both an exhibition catalogue and an object in its own right. The cover is a detail from McMillians artwork, a kemmering (2013), which is a painting/object that can be seen as an inversion or an eversion—depending on how you look at it. This piece is profoundly aligned with how I think about publication design and the objectness of the book—the recto/verso of the page, the front and back covers, and the sequencing and subsequent combinations of allegory.

This book weaves together McMillian’s practice—the radical use of postconsumer objects, video, and painting—with new essays by Charles Gaines, Rita Gonzalez, Anthony Elms, Dave McKenzie, and Steven Nelson, as well as a conversation between Naima J. Keith and Rodney McMillian. There are also two uncannily relevant reprints: an excerpt of  "When Affirmative Action Was White," by Ira Katznelson (2005), and a mesmerizing conversation between John Sinclair and Sun Ra (1966).

Rodney McMillian was published on the occasion of two exhibitions: Rodney McMillian: The Black Show (Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, 2016); and Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street (The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2016). Curated by Anthony Elms and Naima J. Keith, respectively.

The book is 8.25 x 11.25 inches and 168 pages. Color separations by Echelon Color. Printed in China by Permanent Printing Limited Printed.

Experience: Culture, Cognition, and the Common Sense—
MIT Press

With a hefty list of contributors this book is truly MIT: bringing together art, theory, science, technology, and design. Things you'll experience while reading this book include a heat-sensitive cover designed in collaboration with Olafur Eliasson, endpapers printed with human pheromone infused ink (Carsten Höller), dynamically shifting foredges (Tauba Auerbach), web-like bookmarks emerging from the center (Tomás Saraceno), and a series of radical posters combining the vernacular of color and the politically identified self (Renée Green).

Alvin Lucier was commissioned to write a score for the book which he called Closed Book (2015). In the early phases of design we sent Lucier a paper dummy so that he could feel the weight of the book, touch the texture of the paper, and hear the thump of the cover. He begins the score with: "Place this book on a desk, table, or other surface. Throughout the course of the performance tap the body of the book in ways that reveal the resonant characteristics of the book coupled with the surface upon which it rests."

Other contributors include Bevil Conway, John Dewey, Michel Foucault, Adam Frank, Vittorio Gallese, Stefan Helmreich, Edmund Husserl, William James, Caroline A. Jones, Douglas Kahn, Brian Kane, Leah Kelly, Bruno Latour, David Mather, Mara Mills, Alva Noë, Jacques Rancière, Michael Rossi, Natasha Schüll, Joan W.Scott, Tino Sehgal, Alma Steingart, Josh Tenenbaum, and Rebecca Uchill.

Experience: Culture, Cognition, and the Common Sense is edited by Caroline A. Jones, David Mather, and Rebecca Uchill, and designed with Becca Lofchie. It is 7.125 x 9.875 inches and 352 pages. Printed in China.

Cock, Paper, Scissors—
ONE Archives at the USC Libraries

In the words of editor and curator David Evans Frantz: "Cock, Paper, Scissors brings together works by an intergenerational group of fifteen queer artists who explore the collaged page or the scrapbook with diverse, erotically inclined tactics. The exhibition and catalogue draws from both archival collections and contemporary practices, focusing on how these artists reuse the pieces of print culture for worldmaking projects ranging from the era of gay liberation to the present."

One of my favorite inclusions is a series by Anita Steckel where she takes the pages of Taschen's Tom of Finland and draws in her own figures—most often women gracefully yet assertively entering the original scenes. Colored pencils fill the negative spaces with a rosy palette, transforming Tom of Finland's rigorous, monochromatic drawings into disorienting, visual spells.

The book's intimate size invites you to read it surreptitiously (perhaps concealed within a large Taschen book), and enjoy the scintillating pages in private.

Cock, Paper, Scissors is edited by David Evans Frantz, Lucas Hilderbrand, and Kayleigh Perkov. It is 6.5 x 8.5 inches and 152 pages. Printed in China.

Incendiary Traces: Hillary Mushkin—
Pomona College Museum of Art

Incendiary Traces is a project by Hillary Mushkin that gathers groups of artists, scholars, and students to to meet at active, militarized sites to draw. This publication contains six such sites, including the 29 Palms Marine Corps Base, the US/Mexico border, and San Clemente Island Naval Weapons Testing Range. The exhibition at Pomona College Museum of Art, on view until May 14th, shares the roster with Goya's War: Los Desastres de la Guerra, a set of 80 etchings published 1863. As a friend recently put it: "the older it is, the more relevant it now seems."

The cover of the book highlights traces of obscure acronyms, "in-house" references to the sites highlighted in the volume. The size of the book references an on-the-fly sketchbook or field manual, and the stories are told through the drawings accompanied by detailed didactics by Mushkin. Includes essays by Susanna Newbury and Sarah Seekatz.

Incendiary Traces: Hillary Mushkin is edited by Rebecca McGrew, and designed with Becca Lofchie. It is 9.5 x 6 inches and 136 pages. Printed by the Avery Group at Shapco Printing.


Machine Project: The Platinum Collection (Live by Special Request)
Tang Museum Teaching Museum at Skidmore College

Prometheus 2017: Four Artists from Mexico Revisit Orozco
Pomona College Museum of Art
supported by the Getty PST LA/LA Initiative

Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
supported by the Getty PST LA/LA Initiative