December 2009

Culture(d)—December 2009

edited by MAYER RUS

nick knight, los angeles, cultured

PHOTO FINISH

The eponymous midcareer survey of photographer Nick Knight’s work feels like a 21st-century Eyes of Laura Mars—both travel the sexy-sinister spectrum to magnificent effect. With an intro by Charlotte Cotton, LACMA’s former photography curator, the monograph includes editorial assign­ments (such as model Lily Donaldson for British Vogue, above), ad work and collaborations with Björk and choreographer Michael Clark. $75.

pamela august russell, cultured

MAKING MATTERS VERSE

In B Is for Bad Poetry, Pamela August Russell takes aim at not only the vicissitudes of love and life but the highfalutin tone and form of classical verse itself. Her sardonic poetry jam—more deft than def—includes such gems as “Schadenfreude Encore,” “Sandy Dennis Briefly” and “But L’Oréal Said I Was Worth It.” Her bio informs us this is her first book of bad poetry and that she currently lives in Los Angeles...“near the freeway.” $9.95.

david hicks, life of design, los angeles, cultured

MATERIAL WORLD

David Hicks: A Life of Design may not be the first volume dedicated to the late tastemaker, but it is surely the most comprehensive. Written by Hicks’ son, Ashley, the book marries illustrations with anecdotes that pro­vide a context for the man and his work. One chapter begins: “In February 1961, David and Pammy [Lady Pamela Mountbatten, Hicks’ wife] went to Egypt. David, like many aesthetes before him, always loved every­thing Egyptian, from his father’s Freemason’s apron to his grandfather’s splendid mantle clock of black basalt topped with a gilded sphinx.” Delicious. Hicks’ enduring influence is evident in the cavalcade of products that continue to roll out under his name, including new stone floor tiles (above) for Studium. Book, $65; tiles, $75–$375 per square foot, studiumnyc.com.

MUSEUM QUALITY

While the tykes are on holiday recess, sneak in a little culture by taking them to Giant Robot Biennale 2: 15 Years at the Japanese American National Museum. Curated by Eric Nakamura, the show highlights the work of artists associated with the influential magazine of Asian-American pop culture during the past decade and a half, including Theo Ellsworth, Stella Lai and Deth P. Sun. Think of it along the lines of Life cereal—the kids are sure to like it, and they’ll never have to know it’s good for them. Through January 24. Admission, $9 adults, $5 children. 369 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, 213-625-0414, janm.org.