Work From Home is a new vertical dedicated to life and culture in the strange and unprecedented situation of self-quarantine that many of us are dealing with right now. From what to watch to how to get a fit off and how to not think about anything, this is our guide to the great indoors. For updates on the spread of Covid-19 and how to keep yourself safe and informed, consult WHO and the CDC.
Towards the beginning of our collective quarantine, we published the books the Highsnobiety editorial team is reading to keep spirits up during these unprecedented times. Consisting primarily of wellness reading in addition to a few novels, the list provides some suggestions for keeping yourself mindfully distracted during this period of self-isolation. To complement this range of reading material, we reached out to Los Angeles-based gallery, store, and publisher THESE DAYS to curate a list of design books that should provide some much-needed visual stimulation for the weeks of solitude ahead.
THESE DAYS’ list focuses on thought-provoking publications that take the viewer on a journey of an artist’s or artists’ mind(s). You can spend hours with each one of these books, since they offer entertainment, stimulation, and inspiration in equal measure. Some even provide an education into lesser-known subcultures and art movements.
Check out the full list below and make sure to drop by THESE DAYS the next time you’re in the City of Angels once they reopen.
‘Altered States | The Library of Julio Santo Domingo’ by Peter Watts
Altered States is a documentation of one of the best private collections of counterculture ephemera, books, photos, and manuscripts ever accumulated. Covering a diverse range of subjects – from drugs and the occult to erotica and revolt – this volume is a fascinating look into the archive of one of the world’s most dedicated collectors.
‘A Hunter’ by Daido Moriyama
This is a faithful new edition of the original 1972 publication by legendary Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama. Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Moriyama drove through Japan by car while taking photos, creating some of his most iconic and respected imagery in the process. This edition comes with a separate booklet in English which includes essays by Tadanori Yokoo and Shoji Yamagashi, as well as commentary by Moriyama himself.
‘Better Books / Better Bookz | Art, Anarchy, Apostasy, Counter-Culture & the New Avant-Garde’ by Rozemin Keshvani, Alex Heil, and Peter Weibel
In the 1960s and ’70s, the legendary independent London bookstore Better Books offered a unique range of small-press/underground literature, poetry readings, film screenings, and happenings. In short, Better Books was the hub of London’s counterculture scene in the swinging sixties. Gathering archival documents, previously unpublished texts, and photographs with the voices of the protagonists who launched this revolution, this volume provides a secret history of the real scene.
‘Crime Wave Tehran’ by Pouria Khojastehpay
Compiled through individual submissions, research in Iranian media archives, and social media, Crime Wave Tehran provides a glimpse behind the curtain of state censorship and takes a closer look into the world of organized crime in Iran. From battle scars and prayers to criminal tattoos and blood spilt for gold, the Iranian criminals are united by a life in crime and a devotion to Shia Islam. This edition features an essay by Mahmood Fazal.
‘Crowbar Hotel’ by Pouria Khojastehpay
Another title by Khojastehpay, Crowbar Hotel is a collection of photos taken by inmates inside California states prisons with smuggled and illegal smartphones. Published in a limited edition of 400 copies, it’s a rare look at men behind prison walls.
‘Entangled’ by Maude Arsenault
This slim volume is an introspective look at femininity that acts as a reaction and response to Arsenault’s former fashion work, which she describes as “years dedicated to creating glorified images of women.” The work in Entangled is a thought-provoking visual poem which utilizes symbolism and subtlety over the obvious.
‘Homo Americanus’ by Raymond Pettibon
Published in 2016 on the occasion of Pettibon’s traveling retrospective, this massive tome is arranged in 32 chapters that chart the course of this artist’s career, beginning with a full reproduction of his very first publication, Captive Chains, a comic book originally released in 1978 through SST records. This dense volume provides a wealth of information (and, at 688 pages, can likely double as a bullet-proof vest).
‘Mongrelism’ by Jono Rotman
Mongrelism takes the form of a gang handbook for the New Zealand outlaw biker gang the Mongrel Mob. Made up of portraits, landscapes, ephemera, and texts, the book examines how the gang brands itself to uphold its hierarchy and history, and find core values usually lauded by society: perseverance, resilience, and loyalty.
‘Punk Picasso’ by Larry Clark
Published in 2003, this rare book displays in scrapbook format a loose chronological overview of the celebrated artist’s provocative career. The material presented spans family snapshots (his American Indian great grandfather, his father playing golf, a portrait of his mother as a professional photographer with Rollei and flash in hand, Clark with his son’s soccer team), unpublished images from “Tulsa and 42nd St.,” photographs from the set of his first films Kids and Ken Park, clippings from reviews of exhibitions and film, correspondence, transcribed stories, portraits of skateboarders, Page Six headlines, and reproductions of vinyl records which act as a silent soundtrack to the visual narrative.
‘Semina Culture | Wallace Berman & His Circle’ by Kristine McKenna, Michael Duncan, & Stephen Fredman
This volume celebrates the community of the quintessential visual artist of the Beat era, Wallace Berman (1926-76), who remains one of the best-kept secrets of postwar California underground culture. Because of the art and poetry journal Semina, Berman is sometimes considered the grandfather of zine culture. Published in very small editions between 1955-64, Semina was a beautifully made loose-leaf, nine-issue collection of work from the artists and poets that made up Berman’s larger community.
‘Skateboard Museum Zine Collection’ by Jurgen Blumlein
Beginning with its first show in 2003, the Skateboard Museum has created limited edition zines to accompany each exhibition. Now collected in a boxed edition of five of these zines, this compendium covers the Art of Harry Blitzstein, Vans shoes skate heritage, the emergence of the indie skate zine scene, skater Jason Jessee’s punk flyer collection, and the history of homemade skateboards.
‘Sugar Paper Theories’ by Jack Latham
In this fascinating book, photographer Jack Latham investigates the disappearance of two men in 1970s Iceland. Through photographs of the places and people involved in various accounts and time spent speaking with surviving suspects, whistle blowers, conspiracy theorists, investigators, and expert witnesses, Latham crafts a unique look at a once-forgotten mystery. Utilizing a multitude of paper changes, varying page sizes, text, and photography, looking through Sugar Paper Theories makes for an unusual and richly textured experience not often found in photo books.
‘We Have No Place To Be 1980–1982’ by Joji Hashiguchi
Japanese photographer Joji Hashiguchi spent three years photographing disenfranchised youth in Tokyo, London, Liverpool, Nuremberg, West Berlin, and New York, capturing the emerging youth movements of the time. This recently released edition of We Have No Place To Be includes more than 30 unpublished photos and an essay by artist Yoshimoto Nara.