Reasons to Be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles (英語) ハードカバー – 2011/2/28
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More than a quarter century after his death, graphic design genius Barney Bubbles remains a powerful influence on contemporary artists. Bubbles is perhaps best known for the legendary record album covers and posters he created for Hawkwind, in styles ranging from Art Deco to Constructivist to black light/acid trip. His art also graces the covers of albums by Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello (the stampeding elephants on Armed Forces are his work, as is the camera-wielding Costello of This Year's Model), The Damned, Depeche Mode, Ian Dury and Nick Lowe, and he designed as well for Sir Terence Conran and underground magazines Oz and Friends. When the first edition of Reasons to Be Cheerful was released in 2009, reviewers pronounced it "joyous, playful and rich in meaning" and Mojo named this marvelous compendium its Book of the Year. This first edition quickly sold out, making this reissue a welcome opportunity to see Bubbles' work anew. This new and expanded edition contains hundreds of rare and previously unpublished images, photographs, working sketches, notebooks and original artwork. It includes more than 50 new images, for a total of over 600 in all, as well as fresh interviews, exclusive facts and information, writings by Peter Saville and Malcolm Garrett and an introduction by Billy Bragg.
I found it most valuable giving credit to his uncredited work for Stff Records, of which I've been a collector for 30 years. It's revelatory to understand not just the cultural climate in which this grand and humble work was produced, but the mind behind it. Always interested in threads which weave, and bind, it serves as a jump-off to explore more music, more design. That's huge.
In many ways, it's a tragicomedy. Paul Gorman should be thanked for putting pen to this. I also deeply appreciate the expanded introductory matter from Malcolm Garret, Peter Saville, Billy Bragg, and Art Chantry. They help frame what's to come.
If you're a graphic designer interested in music packaging, all I can say about this book is Buy 1.
Who here has noticed Barney's self-portrait in the Armed Forces package, or the profile on the cover of 4D Man? Gorman finds things you may have overlooked each time you saw them. That is why this is a terrific book, because it is neither just about Barney's life nor just his album covers. This book is about everything the man created -- including single sleeves, labels, furniture, sculpture, logos, even music! -- and the artistic sensibility that went into them.
Barney's fans know that an album's design is about far more than the cover; it's about the entire package. Gorman offers this in Reasons and expands upon it on his site devoted to Barney, where what couldn't fit into the book is documented. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, any devotees of design and layout, typography, modern art, or punk/new wave must get this.
Bubbles' life and work encompasses the late 60's and early (hippie) 70's as well as the punk rock and post-punk era. He is closely identified with early Elvis Costello among others. The book takes the reader from the beginning in the 60's up until the 80s when sadly, Bubbles took his own life. His work with Stiff records paralells what Peter Saville did for Factory yet Bubble's style is less "clean" and classic; constantly opening itself up and disgesting style culture quotations.
The work looks fresh and contemporary in a post-modern way; many styles and the acknowledgement of "style" a strong element in the work. There are marks and quotation of marks; images and reflections of images, puns. This is an instance when design has out-smarted "art" on many levels; it has functioned as visual culture, and has turned on itself to acknowledge its function. The immediacy of design and the medium of record covers is also an undercurrent of this book. It is very interesting to consider how much one has lived with one's records and how much one has been affected and reflected through them. This is recommended for music lovers, design fans, anyone interested in post-punk aesthetics, designers and artists of course.