cover image Michael Graves: Images of a Grand Tour

Michael Graves: Images of a Grand Tour

Brian M. Ambroziak. Princeton Architectural Press, $29.95 (257pp) ISBN 978-1-56898-529-9

At first, the premise is specific enough to be interesting: Michael Graves, one of the most prolific living architects, goes to Paris in 1960 and takes a grand tour of Europe, documenting-normally with drawings, paintings and photographs-a humble convent near Lyon, France, the grand mosques of Istanbul and plenty of Spain and Italy in between. Perhaps just looking at the pictures is all one should do, because this book takes a sudden downturn in the exposition department when Ambroziak tries too hard to establish a connection between this talented architect's vacation drawings and his fame. ""The sketches and photographs of Italy that Graves produced during this two-year period visually imprinted themselves on his mind. The impact of his experiences is revealed throughout the extensive body of his work..."" This seems a bit disingenuous, seeing that Graves has put his name on everything from luxury apartment building to high-style toilet brushes. His branding and marketing teams have made him so versatile and commercially viable, that, ironically, these drawings of historic architecture distance his recent work from the traditional works collected here. 90 color, 210 b/w illustrations.