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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High Sierra of California
Gary Snyder
Combining the dramatic and meticulous work of printmaker Tom Killion--accented by quotes from John Muir--and the journal writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder, The High Sierra of California is a tribute to the bold, jagged peaks that...
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Home Work
Handbuilt Shelter
Lloyd Kahn
Building on the enormous success of the original Shelter, Lloyd Kahn continues his odyssey of finding and exploring the most magnificent and unusual hand-built houses in existence. Among the intriguing domiciles described in Home Work are a...
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How to Read Buildings
A Crash Course in Architectural Styles
Carol Davidson Cragoe
This practical primer is a handbook for decoding a building’s style, history, and evolution. Every building contains clues embedded in its design that identify not only its architectural style but also the story of who designed it, who it was built...
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Just Kids
Patti Smith
Just Kids illuminates the impressive lover of literature that Patti Smith is. Her memoir will be of particular interest to City Lights enthusiasts as she is our quintessential reader, a fan of the Surrealists...
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Kenneth Patchen A Centennial Selection
Kenneth Patchen, Jonathan Clark
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Literary Wonderlands
A Journey Through The Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created
Laura Miller
Nothing is better than a book about books. This is exquisitely curated and wonderfully illustrated. Here are the fictional landscapes of Wonderlands, from ancient myths to the computer age. For every book we are given an essay, its history, the original covers, and quotations and fun facts. —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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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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Prison/Culture
Sharon E. Bliss, Kevin B. Chen, Steve Dickison, Mark Dean Johnson, Rebeka Rodriguez
Nearly fifty artists, poets, and activists examine the contemporary prison system through heartrending art and community
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San Francisco
A Map of Perceptions
Andrea Ponsi
San Francisco is a city designed for artists and wanderers. From North Beach, to Chinatown, to the cold, rough surf of Ocean Beach, to Marin, both visitors and lifelong residents have endless opportunities to explore new neighborhoods, buildings, environments, and cultures just by getting in the car, hopping on a cable car, or by simply...
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San Francisco Chinatown
A Guide to Its History and Architecture
Philip P. Choy
Both a history of America's oldest Chinese community and a guide to its significant sites and architecture San Francisco Chinatown is the first book of its kind, written by someone born and raised there.
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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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Shoot An Iraqi
Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun
Wafaa Bilal, Kari Lydersen
An award-winning Iraqi artist's life story and the impact of his highly provocative interactive art piece
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South of Pico
African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s
Kellie Jones
In South of Pico Kellie Jones explores how the artists in Los Angeles's black communities during the 1960s and 1970s created a vibrant, productive, and engaged activist arts scene in the face of structural racism. —Recommended by Paul
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Surf Craft
Design and the Culture of Board Riding
Richard Kenvin
Surfboards were once made of wood and shaped by hand, objects of both cultural and recreational significance. Today most surfboards are mass-produced with fiberglass and a stew of petrochemicals, moving (or floating) billboards for athletes and their brands, emphasizing the commercial rather than the cultural. Surf Craft maps this evolution.

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