Art & Architecture
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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Color
A Natural History of the Palette
Victoria Finlay
Discover the tantalizing true stories behind your favorite colors. For example: Cleopatra used saffron—a source of the color yellow—for seduction. Extracted from an Afghan mine, the blue “ultramarine” paint used by Michelangelo...
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The Anthropology of Turquoise
Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky
Ellen Meloy
Greater than Silko, equal to Solnit. What an immense pleasure to hear the voice of this smart and witty desert dweller, and how restorative to know that human beings can be like this. Yes, there is some turquoise involved. —Recommended by Gent
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The Arcades Project
Walter Benjamin
You could spend years trying to read Walter Benjamin's The Arcades Project--after all, he spent much of the last 13 years of his life doing the research. When he committed suicide in 1940, he destroyed his copy of the manuscript, and so for decades the work was believed lost. But another copy turned up, and...
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Why Art Cannot Be Taught
A Handbook for Art Students
James Elkins
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Grapefruit
A Book of Instructions and Drawings by Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
Quiet.It's a bomb. --Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books Back in print for the first time in nearly thirty years, here is Yoko Ono's whimsical, delightful, subversive, startling book of instructions for art and for life. "Burn this book after...
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Air Guitar
Essays on Art & Democracy
Dave Hickey
Air Guitar is Dave Hickey's "memoir without tears"—a journey through the vernacular cultural landscape of the United States in the second half of the twentieth century. Looking back from the vantage-point of his adopted hometown of Las Vegas, Hickey specu
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Animal Farm 50th Anniversary Edition
A Fairy Story Illustrated by Ralph Steadman
George Orwell
A special large-format fiftieth-anniversary edition, illustrated in full color by Ralph Steadman. Includes Orwell's proposed but unpublished preface to the original edition and his preface to the 1947 Ukrainian edition.
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What Is Art?
Leo Tolstoy
During his decades of world fame as a novelist, Tolstoy also wrote prolifically in a series of essays and polemics on issues of morality, social justice and religion. These works culminated in What is Art?, published in 1898. Impassioned and...
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The Pencil
A History of Design and Circumstance
Henry Petroski
Henry Petroski traces the origins of the pencil back to ancient Greece and Rome, writes factually and charmingly about its development over the centuries and around the world, and shows what the pencil can teach us about engineering and technology...
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Secret Exhibition
Six California Artists
Rebecca Solnit
Secret Exhibition chronicles a vital California art movement, focusing on six artists – Wallace Bergman, Jess, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hendrick, and George Herms – who broke new ground with provocative work, especially in assemblage and...
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Ways of Seeing
Based on the BBC Television Series
John Berger
John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series...
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Shock Treatment
First Edition
Karen Finley
San Francisco: City Lights., (1990) First Edition. 8vo, 145 pages. Signed by Finley on the title page. Fine in pictorial wrappers.
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In Praise of Shadows
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of laquerware under candlelight and women in...

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