Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hang Up Hang Over

There is a disturbing trend that I have noticed in the last couple of years.  If I were writing a book about the virus, I might entitle it The Contagious Caper of the Hung Up and Hung Over. Specifically, I refer to the hanging up of art or mirrors over shelves of books. This fad has become increasingly pervasive and practiced by designers more times than I care to see every time I open a book, magazine, or catalogue. 

So what are we saying here? That we don't really look at our books? That we would rather look at an art piece or mirror?  Well, make up your mind!  It all seem stupid to me, and I call it dumb decorating.

Oh, how sophisticated, intellectual and cultivated is this!  A Recamier chaise longue, an architectural maquette, mastaba print, pricey antiques, and a heady assortment of cultural tomes. But was this a designer who bought arty books by the foot or were they a treasured client's collection? Why would a book lover agree to having to hide their books behind an art piece?  Not only would you have to remove it to get a book that you forgot was back there, but wouldn't it make dusting more difficult?  I don't think it's practical, and I regard it as an insult to both the books and the art.  Both are treated as so much decorative fluff.

It gets worse!  Really, what do we want?  Books, art, or floral display? Why not just design a frame composed of book spines? 

I would not be so presumptuous to insist that art supersedes literature.

Throughout my life, I have enjoyed a certain voyeurism in regards to book collections. You could gain all sorts of insights as to a person's interests and personality based on the titles.  But here, I would want to peek behind the painting. Maybe the shelves are empty?  Trashy books the homeowner might not wish to display; i.e.  self-help books, diet books, gothic novels, etc.?

Egads! Maybe the mirror and pictures just haven't been hung yet. Maybe the owls are varying their perches. I think this is supposed to be a statement about the wisdom of books and owls. Note the books put in backwards.  But that's for a whole other blog. Stay tuned.


  1. Hey, I'm afraid you've got it right. All my extra posters and filed in folders under my bed! I know now what to do: I have 9 book shelves, and they are dusty. I can put up some posters, giving art its due and keeping down the dust. What do you say?

  2. Brilliant, Arturo! Just treat your bookshelf like a wall and forgedduhbout the books! Then you'll have the simple geometry of the bookcase as a frame. I'm thinking we could market this idea to frame sellers.