4 new books: 70 artists, 21 animals and 1 graphic culinary journey

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Italy and Alliance Graphique Internationale, pp. 166-167

Graphics, an unparalleled communication tool, as narrated by its leading protagonists, a gallery in Paris and, surprisingly, by a theriomorphic alphabet and two centuries of menus

Italy and Alliance Graphique Internationale. 25 Graphic Designers of the 20th Century /
L’Italia e l’Alliance Graphique Internationale. 25 grafici del ’900

Featuring work in the great Italian graphic tradition and the gurus of international design, the book was published in collaboration with the Alliance Graphique Internationale on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name celebrating the Alliance’s 70th anniversary (on until 23rd January in Trieste).  The volume contains an overview of the graphic work of 25 masters, all members of the AGI, during the second half of the 20th century: from the renowned Bruno Munari, Bob Noorda, Albe Steiner, Franco Grignani, Emanuele Luzzati, Roberto Sambonet, Italo Lupi and Pierluigi Cerri to Franco Balan, Walter Ballmer, Eugenio Carmi, Mimmo Castellano, Giovanni Pintori, Pino Tovaglia and Pierpaolo Vetta, to name just some.

A chapter is devoted to each of the artists, a dialogue between iconic images, archive material and works in private collections. The advertising posters, book and magazine covers and consumer products testify to the importance of graphic art as an unparalleled instrument of dialogue and communication for all, and to the transformation of the profession during the second half of the 20th century. The book offers an insight into the parallel developments of Italian graphics, a crossroads for different graphic cultures, and the Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Title: Italy and Alliance Graphique Internationale. 25 Graphic Designers of the 20th Century / L’Italia e l’Alliance Graphique Internationale. 25 Grafici del ’900

Edited by: Carlo Vinti

Publisher: Corraini Editore

Published: 2022

Pages: 248

Language: Italian and English

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Arts Factory – 25 ans au Cœur de la Scène Graphique

Another anthology for graphic art fans, like the founders of the historic Arts Factor gallery in Paris, Effi Mild and Laurent Zorzin,  authorities on contemporary art for the last 25 years – from design to  comic strips to pure illustration. The book was published in close collaboration with this pioneering duo as a natural extension to the exhibition of the same name at the Cultural and Contemporary Art Centre at the historic Auberive Cistercian Abbey, which closed on 25th September. It provides an overview of the underground graphic scene, with what the introduction describes as an imprint that is “very personal, generous, stimulating, at times destabilising, but always accessible to the great majority.

In brief, it covers 25 years of artistic comings together, collective projects and exhibitions in the gallery spaces, from its first location in Montmartre to its current premises near the Bastille. The 50 or so artists include Béatrice Alemagna, Nine Antico, Atak, Jim Avignon and Martes Bathori to Henning Wagenbreth, Aurélie William Levaux and Willem.

Title: Arts Factory – 25 Ans au Cœur de la Scène Graphique

Authors: Jean-Claude & Alexia Volot, Effi Mild, Laurent Zorzin, Elodie Cabrera

Publisher: Éditions de l'Abbaye d'Auberive

Published: 2022

Pages: 258

Language: French

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Menu Design in Europe

A graphic and culinary journey through 19th and 20th century Europe, when the steady proliferation of new restaurants saw menus become the real visiting cards for establishments of a certain level, taking on an importance and an aesthetic value of their own. Frequently, they were the objects of greater attention than the food. As the introduction says: “A beautiful menu will not make a dish taste better, but it will make the dining experience a total experience.”

488 pages: a veritable feast for the eyes, featuring a plethora of menus from private collections and institutions.  The menus all vary tremendously in terms of pages, size, colour, writing and form – take the amusing  soup tureen from Copenhagen’s Smaa Hjem 7 Hotel, for instance. Along with menus from more or less famous or Michelin-starred eateries, the book features others from department store restaurants, cruise ships and sleeping cars. They also include a World War II German military menu and one from the famous Hindenburg airship, and others designed by artists such Jules Chéret and Alphonse Mucha for the Parisian gala held in honour of Sarah Bernhardt. There are images that hark back to the optimism of the Belle Époque, the clarity of  Surrealism, the opulence of Art Deco,  the austerity of the German Democratic Republic  and on up to more contemporary renditions. The finest (according to the author ) comes from the Roman Quinzi & Gabrieli restaurant, and dates back to the 1970s.

Title: Menu Design in Europe

Author: Jim Heimann, Steven Heller

Publisher: Taschen

Published: 2022

Pages: 448

Language: English, French and German

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Alfazoo

A new edition of a cult book. Officially aimed at children from 4 to 6, this unconventional zoo is for fans of illustration and typography, and is a great lesson in creative freedom, where graphics become narrative. Alfredo De Santis (1941-1998) was a graphic artist and painter, carrying out important work in publishing, politics and film. He always kept a graphic/pictorial diary too, which led him to create a great many stories, like this one.

Published in 1968 by the visionary  Emme Edizioni, it’s now back in the bookshops – this time with the addition of a single introductory text – more topical than ever, featuring animals shaped like vowels and consonants. His magic touch transforms the letters, an eye here, sometimes two, a nose or a mouth there... and les jeux sont faits! The graphics are suddenly populated with snails, snakes, elephants etc. A modern bestiary, and a cross between abstract and realism.

Title: Alfazoo

Author: Alfredo De Santis

Text: Marta Sironi

Publisher: Lazy Dog

Published: 2022

Pages: 60

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2 December 2022