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The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game Hardcover – September 1, 2010


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The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game + The Where, the Why, and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science + Big Questions from Little People: And Simple Answers from Great Minds
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811870901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811870900
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fantastically quirky little art book whose ideas and pages literally just keep unfolding and unfolding." --NPR

"...The Exquisite Book is nothing short of inspirational."
--Time Out Chicago

"...we love how it's a picture book for adults that is both creatively inspiring and incredibly engaging."
--Readymade

"The foreword by Dave Eggers (What is the What) is enough of a reason to buy this compelling and seriously cool work. What we want to know is: how did the publisher design it for the price?"
---The Weekly Review

"In our current world of straight-jacketed rationality almost to the point of insanity, The Exquisite Book launches us into the madness of possibility and the frightening potential of our own imagination."
--Big Think

About the Author

Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski, and Matt Lamothe are partners in Also Design. Julia is author of the popular blog Book-By-Its-Cover.com.

Dave Eggers is a writer and editor.

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Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
The fold=out design was a perfect format.
Imagine This
I just stare and stare at it... there's just so much richness of art... I love this.
Jana
This book is not just thought provoking, it's also really fun!
Doug Bowker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By kybrdplyr on October 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I tried to read this book from cover to cover, visually, and it was just not enough. I now display one fold out page per week or as long as is necessary to really see at what I am looking. This book fits the criteria for the kind of art I hang on my walls: it must be endlessly visually compelling and it must grab my heart. Add to that the intellectual curiosity of each artist's piece and this book becomes a mini-museum of delight. Congratulations on the concept and thank you.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Imagine This on October 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is so creative and smart. The illustrations are beautiful and will pull you in to discover what the connections are from one to the other. When I looked at it with a friend, I discovered that we each saw different connecting entry points and that made it ever more captivating. Dave Eggers introduction is so true, that however complicated, all our stories are in some way connected. This was a huge undertaking...a hundred contemporary artists participating by responding to a previous artist is done to perfection. The fold=out design was a perfect format. You will look at this over and over and then match the interview as to why the artists responded the way they did. Art teachers will especially want to try this with students and use the book as an example. The variety of ideas and the playfulness are refreshing and gorgeous.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Doug Bowker on March 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is not just thought provoking, it's also really fun! It is obvious most of the artists put a lot of time and creativity into their page, and I like the "chapter" themes the editors came up with. Over time I'm sure I will be looking up my favorites to see what kind of other work the various artists have done. The production quality is very good, especially for such a reasonable price, with good binding, folding and clear print quality throughout.

Granted, this book is not perfect, in that the editors definitely should have sent a few pictures back with a "read the rules and try again" note because some artists acted as if they just couldn't be bothered with actually lining up their painting with the page before. Seriously, that's the point of the whole book! Luckily, on balance most DID try to work with the previous images, and in many cases the connections made between multiple images is truly fantastic. Also luckily, even the paintings that are "on their own" are usually good works too. Still, it can be annoying to see a great series of pictures kind of come to a dead end when the next artist maybe uses one tiny line to "connect" and ignores all the interesting possibilities the previous image had!

I'd love to see this project done again in the future with other artists and designers; you really could never run out of things you could do with this concept!
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32 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Amy on October 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book here after reading about it on the book-by-its-cover blog, which I really enjoy. I loved the concept, and I still think it's a great idea. But if I'd taken the time to find it in a bookstore and looked at it "in person" first, I wouldn't have purchased it.

There are a few good visual connections from one page to the next (half of which are shown as the examples on the blog), but much more of it is a disjointed grouping of random illustrations, strung together, but hanging by a thread. Which doesn't make it a terrible book, but it doesn't live up to the expectation created. There's a section in the book where the artists answer different questions about their submissions. Many of them should've been asked why they agreed to be part of a collaboration if they had no intention of cooperating with its one basic premise.

If you're someone like me who does enjoy disjointed groupings of random illustrations, I recommend skipping this one and putting your money toward a Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, or one of the other juried annuals that present a better selection of contemporary illustration. A few of these might turn up there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kilgore Gagarin TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, the price of this book makes it easy for me to recommend, albeit slightly, that you purchase this if interested. Despite what I see as its flaws, I found it a a good deal as I am a collector of artists books, particularly "fan-fold" or "leporello" works like this. As a physical artifact, the book itself is well constructed and well executed. I see the major artistic problem as one of "too many cooks" as in "too many cooks spoil the broth."

It's a good work to stimulate discussion and ideas which I think is sort of the point of the eponymous game of "exquisite corpse" on which this book is based. I would love to see a similar work executed by fewer artists, perhaps one, in order to see if a clearer vision can emerge. In the end, I liked this book, but just couldn't fully embrace the end result which I found to lean towards incoherence and chaos.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jambo on September 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A fun artistic collaboration. Love books with pages that fold out - gives me a sense of tactile play as well as a delightful feast for my eyes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kiril Z on January 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Book is amazing! Great concept, perfect execution, nice format. A must for designers, artists and people who love the game approach to important things in life.
The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game
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