The Greatest Espresso Desk Books To Present (Or Be Gifted)

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Coffee table books are inherently ambitious. First, you have to have a coffee table – that is, you have to have a living room and not a bedroom in the kitchen of a closet that you share with three college friends. You also need to have the batter to invest in multiple pieces of bound paper, as coffee table books usually cost at least $ 50 more than the average hardcover book. And finally, you have to have a taste for curating a good collection – a task that seems so daunting that companies that do it for you actually exist. For this reason we have decided to offer a little advice on coffee tables free of charge. Below are the books we’ve bought or received as gifts over the years (a good collection takes years, you know) that we love the most. The more specific your interests, the better your pile will be – if books could speak, which ones would appeal to you?

“Lauren Greenfield is an anthropologist of abundance. She came into my world in 2012 with her documentary The Queen of Versailles, which followed a couple from Florida trying to build the largest house in America. They weren’t doing so well – the 2009 financial crisis held them back – and the opulence they were so proud of became a metaphor for the grotesque. Greenfield’s criticism of excess continues in Generation Wealth, where she photographed the mega-rich for 25 years, mostly across America. Photos of shoe closets larger than my bedroom. Pages and pages of teen parties that seem to cost more than my wedding (watch out for a young gig from Kim Kardashian). Puppies in Couture. So many photos from plastic surgery. It’s all so rich and ugly. You will want to shrink your nose on the stench of excess. And yet I think it’s great that every time I open this book with someone there is so much to tell. What does all this stuff reveal? what is it hiding? And why are all haircuts so damn bad? ”
– Ashley Weatherford

For fashion lovers and peace lovers: Dead Style

“Before COVID I went to a lot of concerts. Especially Dead and Company concerts. I always tried to convince a friend who was not familiar with the band to come with me, even if they didn’t understand the tunes It always has been. Not much has changed since the days of the original Grateful Dead: hippies, cult members, motorcyclists, babies, creators and nomads, all brought together by their passion for music. I wish I could document everyone and every person (and outfit) I see, but it helps to have a well-trained street style photographer behind the lens – I might be too shy, but Mister Mort isn’t. In Dead Style you will get a glimpse of dead heads Head-to-toe color, homemade t-shirts and silly hats tie up without having to go into a dirty parking lot.To me, it serves as an anthropological record, but the color and the se The loneliness of everything means that it is a joy to flip through too. ”
“But Oshinsky.”

“I love how Roy DeCarava’s photographs revolve around the spectrum of light: brightness and darkness, shadow and darkness, and finding light where there seems to be no light at all. This kind of photographic soul search was intentional. He drew black not on New York life for an ethnographic statement – his constant goal was simply to highlight his wealth. DeCarava’s black and white pictures documented the lives of his roommates in Harlem and the jazz legends who lived there, but I admired how many times He made locals lead actors In a way, his pictures are the work of creative non-fiction books from Black New York – they captured what was there, but also exposed its complexity with tenderness. ”
– Give Mbagwu

For aspiring jewelry collectors: Heavenly bodies

“This book is not about the Met Costume Institute 2018 exhibit of the same name, but if you liked it, you’ll love it. While art historian Paul Koudounaris was traveling Europe to research another book, he came across a group of decorated books They all came from Roman catacombs, where they were extracted and (under extremely difficult circumstances) considered martyrs. After the Vatican gave them a seal of approval, the skeletons were distributed to cities in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and placed in the care of nuns. Then the nuns would work to make the skeleton fit for public worship in church altars: first they would carefully cover the bones with hand-woven gauze, and then use that as a base for embroidering gems and metals all over the body, the result is both magnificent and macabre, an impressive intersection between Sc beauty and horror. But essentially this is a jewelry book – the 15th century gold filigree alone is so much more in the tricate than anything I’ve ever seen. ”
-TO

For the curious art historian: Noah Davis

“Noah Davis was an emerging contemporary artist from Los Angeles when he died of a rare type of tissue cancer at the age of 32. While he is known for his enigmatic figurative paintings, his legacy is reflected in The Underground Museum, an institution in which he is a part founded, promoting the work of other contemporary color artists such as his brother, filmmaker Kahlil Joseph, his co-founder and wife, sculptor Karon Davis, and other venerable artists (think Arthur Jafa and Deana Lawson) based in Focus on Los Angeles and Beyond When I learn more about Noah Davis while reading his self-titled book – and his community of artists, for which he posthumously provided a platform – I remember seeing the group of young black creatives, that I see today impress in real time. “”
– ONE

“Everyone should have a coffee table book with the greatest photos of the 20th century, and I’m lucky enough to have exactly six. I’m talking about the works of Gordon Parks, of course, who shot a bit of everything – from the quiet performance of everyday life to his fashion work and beyond. I have his collected anthology of works, which is now grossly overpriced on Amazon, but my other book by Gordon Parks, Invisible Man, is a simple introduction to his oeuvre. Working with Ralph Ellison, Parks has promoted his famous novel of the same name and cataloged Harlem in all its vibrant glory and concentrated energy. I love this book so much. Ellison’s words underscore the photos, and I’ll leave some of them up to you now:

Living in Harlem means living in the bowels of the city. It’s about passing a labyrinth between streets that monotonously explode into the sky with the towers and crosses of the churches and get jumbled with garbage and decay underfoot. Who am I? Where am I? How did I get there? Behind the endless walls of his ghetto, the man is looking for a social identity. Refugees from southern feudalism, many negroes wander numbly in the labyrinths of the northern ghettos, the displaced people of American democracy. ‘“

– AW

Photo via ITG

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