Fashion Comes for Books

In his 1967 classic critique of late capitalist society, “Society of the Spectacle,” the French philosopher Guy Debord posited that the West has reached a new stage of relations between commodities and people. Whereas before the laboring classes were alienated by capitalism from the product of their labor, now they were also alienated by it from their entire lives, from their surroundings, and most importantly from each other. He posited that during early capitalism the process of alienation occurred only during the workday. Once the factory lights were out the worker could at least go home and engage in his or her communal life. Now, however, leisure time became completely monopolized by what he called “the spectacle,” a mode of life in which fetishization of commodities has “moved the focus of existence… from having to appearing.” If that sounds like Instagram to you, you are not wrong.

Dieter Rams: Less and More

In the history of design Dieter Rams – age 86 – is already a deity. His famous Ten Principles of Design are the design world’s Ten Commandments. His precept “Less But Better” is or should be etched on every designer’s forehead. Actually, considering today’s concern for sustainability, they should be etched on every person’s forehead. Rams’s products for the German manufacturer Braun have inspired countless designers, including those of Bang & Olufsen, and of course, Apple. There is, of course, a documentary. And books. One of which, “Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams” originally published in 2015 by Gestalten, is now in reprint. The book serves a double duty as a catalog accompanying the eponymous museum exhibit that has been traveling the world since 2009, and is now on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

StyleZeitgeist Magazine Holiday Gift Guide, Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonne

Francis Bacon: Catalog Raisonné

If you are a fan of the Irish painter Francis Bacon, you are in for a serious joy ride (if such a term can be applied to Bacon’s work). Earlier this year his estate released a painstakingly researched and compiled Catalog Raisonné of his work. That’s right – every single Bacon painting known has been searched for, discovered, photographed, described and put into this five-volume cloth bound colossus, distributed in the US by D.A.P.