A Curious Collection of Uncommon Things

Peter Buchanan-Smith

     7.65 × 8.5 in (19.4 × 21.6 cm)
224 pages
200 color illustrations, 50 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 12/1/2001
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568982977

In Speck, Peter Buchanan Smith asks artists, designers, lawyers, writers, collectors, and photographers to explore our obsessions with the small objects that loom large in our everyday lives. To wit: Maira Kalman empties people's pocketbooks; Nicholas Blechman and Jesse Gordon trace the history of the oldest piece of dust; David Horowitz catalogs manhole covers; and Peter Buchanan-Smith unearths a 1966 high school yearbook and transcribes the inscriptions ("To a real sweet and cute guy with a great personality. Remember English III"). Speck also shows how "ordinary" people can fascinate as much as "ordinary" objects: an interview with shoe shiner Harry Kitt, Manhattan's last practitioner of the dry-shine; photographs taken by a blind man on a sight-seeing tour; and a barber's extensive collection of earth, water, and air from around the world ask us to rethink our assumptions abou the commonplace. "Some people would like you to think that design is elitist, expensive, and esoteric. Peter Buchanan-Smith and his contributors prove them wrong. Bby exposing the hidden magic in the stuff that surrounds us, he makes the ordinary extraordinary, and changes our understanding of what design is and what it can be."--Michael Beirut, Pentagram "Disturbing closeups of lipsticks; a collection of heartbreakingly earnest lost-pet fliers; painstakingly documented differences in the scribbles produced by Eraser Mate or Dynagrip pens all help make up Speck: A Curious Collection of Uncommon Things. Peter Buchanan-Smith presents various odd obsessions of 25 artists in various media, and the result is this set of 200 color and 50 b&w illustrations of "projects" that come dangerously close to drawing charges of haphazard art making and are all the more engaging for it."--Publisher's Weekly

Peter Buchanan-Smith is Art Director of the New York Times Op-Ed page.

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