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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2011
As a previous reviewer wrote, this book is a nice object. It is beautifully printed, well-designed, and the selected images are uniformly of high quality. But not a word of written comment? Seriously? The short paragraph on the back cover (essentially the same as the product description on the Amazon page) is the ONLY written commentary of the entire book! So what readers are getting is a group of pretty pictures by contemporary and not-widely known designers. The images are united by a clean and dominantly retro aesthetic and you can like the work, dislike it, use it as visual inspiration. . . but context please??? Make that up for yourself, I guess.

The product description above notes "Instead, the book shows that it is only our idealistic conception of modernism that gives earlier work attributes that it never actually had." Please describe this "idealistic conception" and the "attributes" that the earlier work never had? I think it is a huge leap over a gaping chasm to make that claim. While I do personally like the work showcased in this book, I am left hanging to draw my own assumptions about it. Nothing about this book furthers, challenges, disputes whatever ideas I have of modernism. It is a wasted opportunity. There are plenty of people willing to bash modernism and, sadly, here are two editors who apparently find value in it but their support for it, by lack of written content, is more lip service than rallying cry.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2011
This is such a cool book! From the cover paper stock to the paper stock of the interior pages, it's fine attention to detail like this that's not so common in books these days. Each page comes alive and commands your full attention. While the colors are bright, they also have that retro, dull look which plays up the theme. If you're a fan of design where old is new again, you need to pick this up. Learning of so many new artists and designers alone makes the book worth it. Only 4 stars because I would've liked to see more new ideas rather than so many that literally lifted from the originals. The artist featured on the cover is the only one that really blew me away with originality. Still, I know it's definitely a book I'll flip to over and over again for inspiration!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2011
Why this book is titled "The Modernist" is a mystery to this reader. This blurb will contain more words than the book itself, which is comprised entirely of graphically compelling mock book covers - hundreds of them redone in the historic style of the 50s and 60s. (Think of the bold, red iconic carousel horse on the cover of the 1st edition of Catcher in the Rye). I presume the book is not a work of humor, but I smiled and nearly laughed at the incongruities of its mission. This book is a cross between a historic 1950s Mad magazine parody of contemporary culture and a graphic design course in which students are assign the task of remaking modern fiction titles into the bold, blunt flat iconic styles so characteristic of 50s and 60s paperbacks. These students get A's: the covers are well done and historically convincing. The humor comes from imagining Lemony Snicket's and Harry Potter appearing decades before their true release dates with delightful, chuckle-triggering choices of icons to represent the motive force of that particular work of fiction.

I can't give it more than 3 stars because of the utter lack of context and supporting text. It's "gee-whiz look at me."
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2011
The cover sold me immediately! I just love every page of this gorgeous book. Lots of reminders of old-school design, but done in a really cool modern way. This is some of the stuff you'd expect to see in Mad Men too, and it shows that really good and beautiful ideas are always going to be fashionable. Anyone who loves good design with a healthy dose of retro should pick this one up.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2012
Bought this as a gift for a Graphic Designer, the giftee loved it! I'm not that familiar with the design in the book itself, so this review is just based on feedback I got from the giftee.
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