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Calvin Reid -- 6/1/98
Books for Art's Sake
"The public understands that there is something important about art," said Abrams CEO Paul Gottlieb, explaining the motivation behind Abrams's new Essentials series of short, popular, visually savvy books on significant figures in modern art. "In our 50 years of publishing, this is a departure for us. It's a new way to deal with the subject," he said. The series was developed by packager John Campbell for Abrams and will initially feature The Essential Jackson Pollock followed by books on Salvador Dali, Edward Hopper and Vincent van Gogh. In another departure, Andrews McMeel will distribute the books to the trade and other outlets ("We wanted the widest possible distribution," said Gottlieb); Abrams will handle foreign distribution, book clubs and mail order.
The Unbearables are an amorphous yet utterly devoted gathering of downtown (and honorary downtown) New York writers dedicated to liberating American literary culture by destroying it. Best known for picketing the New Yorker over its p try selections, these self-styled "literary terrorists" have released their third book The Unbearables: Crimes of the Beats (Autonomedia), a delightful combination of "meta-criticism and pseudo-history," according to Unbearable p t Ron Kolm (who also happens to be a buyer at the Coliseum bookstore on 57th Street). "We're all influenced by the Beats, so we decided to kill off daddy. We want to deconstruct the Beats myth in order to make it useful again." Very funny and sporadically reliable, the book includes everything from a series of graphs comparing the aesthetic activity of the Beats and the Unbearables to essays by such notables as Samuel R. Delaney and Ron Sukenick. For more information, call (718) 963-2603, or visit www.autonomedia.org.
Dreams and Schemes
When a 500-pound suspension joint fell at Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago, most of us could imagine New York Yankees owner and new stadium extortionist George Steinbrenner creeping out the back gate with a socket wrench in hand. But perhaps he had help from the publisher at Penguin Studio, which has published Yankee Stadium: 75 Years of Drama, Glamor and Glory by Ray Robinson and Christopher Jennison, a wonderfully illustrated (and suspiciously timely) celebration of the great baseball temple in the Bronx.And those fed up with public subsidies for millionaire sports owners might want to read Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan (a Cleveland Browns fan) and Neil deMause (a Yankees fan), just published by Common Courage Press. The two journalists detail the history of stadium financing, as well as congressional efforts to stop this nefarious business.
Frederick Morgan and Paula Deitz, c ditors of the Hudson Review, are celebrating the literary magazine's 50th anniversary with special 288-page issue featuring Joseph Epstein, Hayden Carruth and Maxine Kumin, among many others.
The New York Public Library has mounted an exhibition, "The New York Academy of Sciences: 175 years of Scholarly Publishing," to mark the anniversary of the NYAS's venerable book-publishing program, The Annals of Science. The exhibition is on through June 30. Visit its website for information.
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