Art, Architecture & Print Culture

Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.



   
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Designing San Francisco
Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay
Alison Isenberg
Designing San Francisco is the untold story of the formative postwar decades when U.S. cities took their modern shape amid clashing visions of the future. —Recommended by Paul
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Conversational Lexicon
Volume 2
Pil-Cappelen Smith
City Lights carrying Olso booksellers cult sensation "Conversational Lexicon."
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Blind Spot
Teju Cole
Teju sees the world through a lens that captures the minutia of locale in fully intriguing ways—the way he articulates prose around these photos is completely immaculate. —Recommended by Jared
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Identity Unknown
Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists
Donna Seaman
Who hasn't wondered where-aside from Georgia O'Keeffe and Frida Kahlo-all the women artists are? In many art books, they've been marginalized with cold efficiency, summarily dismissed in the captions of group photographs with the phrase "identity unknown" while each male is named.
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The Ecstasy of St. Kara
Kara Walker, New Work
Kara Walker
A VERY LIMITED EDITION!! Kara Walker's work astutely examines race, gender, and identity. Walker's newest series of large-scale drawings stem from her consideration of monuments and notions of permanence and impermanence following her massive public art project, A Subtlety, in Brooklyn.
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Welcome to Painterland
Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association
The Rat Bastard Protective Association was an inflammatory, close-knit community of artists who lived and worked in a building they dubbed Painterland in the Fillmore neighborhood of midcentury San Francisco. The artists who counted themselves among the Rat Bastards—which included Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hedrick, Michael McClure.
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Eye of the Sixties
Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art
Judith E. Stein
A man with a preternatural ability to find emerging artists, Richard Bellamy was one of the first advocates of pop art, minimalism, and conceptual art. The founder and director of the fabled Green Gallery on Fifty-Seventh Street, the witty, poetry-loving art lover became a legend of the avant-garde, showing the work of artists...
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Capacity
Theo Ellsworth
One of my very favorite books in any genre and a perfect gift to inspire young artists or writers. Ellsworth's drawings and stories are bursting with ideas on every square inch of the page, as he brilliantly reveals an artist's journey into their own "capacity" for self-discovery and creation. —Recommended by Chris, City Lights Publishers
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Shock Treatment
Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition
Karen Finley
Expanded anniversary edition of this 1990 classic by America's most provocative performance artist, as outrageous, insightful and relevant as ever.
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Fever Water
Darius James
Fever Water is a limited edition artist's book of one hundred and fifty numbered copies created by San Francisco based visual artist Tân Khánh Cao in collaboration with author Darius James. Its pages are printed on acid free one hundred percent cotton paper and vellum with archival ink and hand bound. Its melding of text and graphics...
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'Pataphysics
A Useless Guide
Andrew Hugill
Of all the French cultural exports over the last 150 years or so, 'pataphysics—the science of imaginary solutions and the laws governing exceptions—has proven to be one of the most durable. Originating in the wild imagination of French poet and playwright Alfred Jarry and his schoolmates, resisting clear definition, purposefully useless...
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Here
Richard McGuire
A beautiful exploration of a single place through time, from void to form to void again. Go ahead, open to a page, any page... —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books Also recommended by Paul, City Lights Books
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Widow Basquiat
A Love Story
Jennifer Clement
A vivid portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat in 80s New York City. Graffiti, drugs, music, and the relationship between him and his muse Suzanne Mallouk. This is a sad, moving, and poetic read about this fascinating artist.—Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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The Art of Noir
The Posters and Graphics from the Classic Era of Noir
Eddie Muller
Film noir is all about style, even more than it is about crime. The poster art from the noir era has a bold look and an iconography all its own. During noir's golden age, studios commissioned these arresting illustrations for even the lowliest "B" thriller.

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