While the North American newspapers are cutting back on book coverage, the UK papers remain dedicated to writing about books. The Independent doesn’t have huge resources but keeps up a decent level of book stories, reviews and commentary. Today, the Indy offers up a story about big books and I mean big as in heavy books.
If you drop into the Taschen shop in London’s Chelsea, you discover that the luxury book market is booming like a volcano. Wool, a celebration of the messy abstract art of New Yorker Christopher Wool is available at £600, as is America Swings, a mildly emetic study of strenuous sexual misconduct in the US Bible belt. Both are in limited editions – the latter with a print run of only 100, and you get a special “chromogenic” print of a naked Viking and his girlfriend, gratis.
You might consider blowing £700 on Guts and Glory: The Golden Age of American Football – sports photographs by Neil Leifer, limited to 200 signed copies. This is, however, a trifle when put beside Koons, a £2,000 study of Jeff Koons’s entire glossy oeuvre, published in an edition of 1,500 signed copies. You wonder what strange land you’ve walked into, where, in the depths of recession, there are punters willing to pay a king’s ransom for a collection of photographs and a cardboard slipcase. Then you spot another Taschen volume which seems to provide an answer.