August 2, 2013

Books that give new meaning to the word “paperback”


For a new display installed at the New York Public Library, artist and designer Kelli Anderson has teamed up with Maria Popova of Brain Pickings to create a diorama of books floating above the New York City skyline.

The twist? The books and their covers have all been painstakingly recreated in cut paper. On her blog, Anderson discusses the process and philosophy behind the display:

Physical books have always felt like spatial riddles to me—they arrive collapsed to a surreal degree. This is in part due to the design ingenuity of compressing miles of lines of text into a pocket-sized volume. However, it is also due to that telescoping feeling of new possibilities which makes a book’s humble physical presence so cartoonishly out of sync with the reader’s experience. This disparity gradually reveals itself as the reader moves from page to page, much like how a flat facade on a building becomes dimensional as a walker turns a corner.

A video by Jacob Krupnick (best known as the director of the feature-length music video Girl Walk // All Day) captures in beautiful detail the way Anderson’s paper constructions bring the books to life.

The diorama is on display now at the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.


Christopher King is the former Art Director of Melville House.