Coming in April from Rizzoli, Roy McMakin: When a Chair is Not a Chair details the multi-faceted career of Roy McMakin. At once an architect and a furniture designer, this monograph proves McMakin above all an artist. The photographs alone reveal an unparalleled talent in turning the mundane into items of absolute glory. Chests of drawers, these being my personal favorites, are close to perfected in McMakin’s hands.

Smartly composed essays balance the photographic spreads. These range from personal reflections (in the case of Lisa Eisner’s “Love Letter to Roy McMakin”) to analytic work that contextualizes McMakin’s place in design and his work in architecture. Eisner, a photographer and founder of Greybull Press, is joined as an essayist by Seattle Art Museum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Michael Darling and Conceptual Artist John Baldessari, and writer Michael Ned Holte. The quartet’s variety of scope and thought succeeds in articulating McMakin’s own breadth quite well, and each essay is as engrossing as the designs that surround them.

Highly recommended reading.

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