Excitement is Building | Page 79 | Newberry

Excitement is Building

It is interesting to reflect that if I had not located in Chicago, I might never have known the name Mies Van der Rohe, or it might have meant less to me. The population was not as architecture mad where I come from.  My observation that “That building on the corner there was the first brick building in town, built in 1855” generated yawns. (In fairness to my home town, this may not indicate a lack of interest in architecture. A LOT of what I said in those days generated yawns. It’s different now, of course.)

Chicago and its surrounding communities, I have found, make up a world filled with architecture experts, from buffs to full professionals. And most of these people also like books. Architecture is one of the areas of the Book Fair where our supply is far less than the demand. The books don’t stay on the shelves long enough for people to come and correct me on the prices.

“This book on McKim is priced way too low. It should be…oh, it’s gone already.” (Don’t look so glum, friend. Somebody just proved your point.)

Hence I am happy to mention that we are getting plenty of nice, solid architecture books this year. There are especially lots in the area of retrospectives: you know the kind of book I mean. “Major, Jackson, and Smith: Residential Buildings, 1985-1990”, all filled with pictures of notable buildings and floorplans. There are histories of architecture, philosophies of architecture, and a smattering of the old masters: Vitruvius, John Ruskin, et al.

Speaking of old masters, this region is also heavily packed with Frank Lloyd Wright people. Some of these collections have been coming in as well. Nothing signed yet, nothing of wild collectible value (you will keep an eye out for that copy of “Eve of St. Agnes” designed by Wright, won’t you? I, personally, would pay up to fifty cents if you brought me a nice one.) But we have the coffee table books, and the pop-up books, and reprints of his own works, and the recollections of his son. Really, though we have our Louis Sullivan and Van der Rohe people as well, the Frank Lloyd Wright material probably outweighs them both.

What I mean to say, of course (wait for it), is that the 2010 Newberry Library Book fair has the Wright stuff.

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