LetterScapes: A Global Survey of Typographic Installations

Anna Saccani, Author
Anna Saccani. Thames & Hudson, $50 (352p) ISBN 978-0-500-24143-1
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Though it’s the result of doctoral thesis research, Saccani’s survey of 37 projects that utilize letters, words, and phrases in public spaces around the world is anything but dry and academic. In this inspiring and often moving collection of public artwork, Saccani superbly shows just how versatile simple letters (and even Braille) can be. Powerful public works such as Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the stunning monument to victims of the March 11, 2004, terrorist bombing in Spain, and Ilya Kabadov’s ingenious “Antenna” in Munster, Germany, a metal sculpture that displays a passage in wire letters that use the sky for a backdrop, among others, demonstrate the myriad ways the public can interact with type. While many of the pieces have a somber tone, there are playful selections as well, from enigmatic Lawrence Weiner’s phrases on New York City manhole covers to Robert Indiana’s iconic “Love,” which has appeared in multiple locations and has been translated into Hebrew, sitting in front of Jerusalem’s Israel Museum. Interviews with a handful of artists, maps of the featured installations, and notes on type styles round out this bountiful feast for lovers of fonts and typography. (May)
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