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The Velvet Underground: New York Art Hardcover – October 9, 2009
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"This is a handsome book with more full-color images than a strong acid trip. If you dig on The Velvets, you should buy it." ~Dazed & Confused
"The book has minimal text (including an exclusive interview between bandmates Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker). The strength lies in the knockout imagery. It visually traces the narrative of the group, and of the '60s era itself. The wraparound-sunglasses, all-black amphetamine cool of their early days as Andy Warhol's house band, to the bell-bottom jamming of their swan song period." ~Raw
“The Velvet Underground: New York Art is the ultimate visual biography of the greatest rock band in history. The new hardcover tome was lovingly and exhaustingly compiled by Johannes Kugelberg who managed to unearth a staggering amount of never-before-scene images.” ~VMAN
“The reunion of the legendary New York band comes on the heels of the publication of The Velvet Underground: New York Art, a compendium of previously unseen photographs, poster and cover designs by Andy Warhol, Lou Reed's handwritten music and lyrics, underground press clippings and other reviews, flyers, handbills and posters. The book, published by Italian book house Rizzoli, also contains a recorded conversation between Reed and Tucker, as well as contributions from former Czech president Vaclav Havel and author Jon Savage.” ~Billboard
"The Velvet Underground is now the subject of a hefty coffee table book from Rizzoli. As could be expected for a volume commemorating perhaps the first and definitely the ur-art rock band, it’s handsome and heavy and comes in a limited edition of 400, complete with a seven-inch 45, for $300. (There’s also a trade edition for $50). The book is a collection of Velvet Underground ephemera: posters, screen prints, photographs, ticket stubs, record covers, alternative record covers, film stills, letters and lyric sheets — essentially a lavishly printed and protracted set of liner notes... But perhaps the most poignant parts of the monograph are those wistful moments when you can see that the rock gods are mere mortals after all" ~New York Times
About the Author
Lou Reed, and Maureen Tucker were key members of the Velvet Underground.
Johan Kugelberg is the author of Born in the Bronx, also published by Rizzoli.
Vaclav Havel is a playwright and author, and was the first president of the Czech Republic.
Jon Savage is the author of several books, including England’s Dreaming.
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The book has lots of great photos and some interesting interviews, but it just didn't work for me. I was much happier with a bio that came out in the 1980's called Uptight. I would highly recommend that book.
This one is good and I have no doubt that there are many VU fans who will love it. You may too and I would probably defer to the other reviews if I were someone considering buying this book. For some reason, it didn't resonate with me very strongly.
In this new book, edited by Johan Kugelberg, the word that most comes to mind, is `art.' Kugelberg, in his love and devotion to this early NY rock ensemble, has assembled the first and only monograph of the band's formative years. This unique, coffee-table format art book compiles an impressive collection of rare photographs, handbills, press clippings, flyers, posters and handwritten lyrics from the beginning and early days of the Velvets journey.
Known in the beginning as `Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground,' (the book begins with a classified ad that Warhol placed offering to associate his name with products, bands, etc, in the New York area), the band made their name largely by playing `events' rather than mere concerts, that revolved around places like Warhol's loft parties and Steve Paul's NY club, The Scene.
While this volume's focus is primarily on the early days of the band, there is also an updated interview with the VU's Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker (the band's Sterling Morrison has since passed away while Reed and John Cale remain somewhat distant) as well as an extensive band chronology which adds the perspective of time to the mix. Several of the other reprinted articles and interviews (from Lester Bangs and others) provide a window into many of the thoughts of the band at the time of their ascent (Beatles, good - Zappa, bad.)
Kugelberg's research and rendering give way to a feeling that given the highly visual nature of rock'n'roll - and the notion of rock music as art, that there are many groups who would benefit from the almost catalog raisonne nature of this book. Hopefully, this will be a harbinger of things to come.
Rizzoli has put together a great assemblage of contemporary and new interviews, criticism, photos, movie stills, manuscript lyrics and even a laudatory preface by playwright, former Czech President and rabid Velvet fan Vaclav Havel. The flow from text to images is impeccably laid out with the right amount of white space and interesting typography that gives the feel of being at a museum exhibition.
The highlight of the book is the visual feast of water-stained, tape-repaired artsy posters, handbills, album covers, set lists and other rare ephemera. Nostalgic Baby Boomers and Velvet Underground fans will treasure this compilation, but it is also an art, music and popular culture reference for a larger audience that effectively evokes the work of this highly influential group.