John Cheim, book designer

While it’s only open for a few more days, the ICA in London’s small exhibition on the work of gallerist and book designer John Cheim is well worth a visit

While it’s only open for a few more days, the ICA in London’s small exhibition on the work of gallerist and book designer John Cheim is well worth a visit…

Cheim is one half of the Cheim & Read gallery in New York but he has also been a prolific designer of artist’s books for 30 years, having originally studied at the Rhode Island School of Design.

The ICA’s Fox Reading Room features a series of glass cases which house a selection of his (often extremely rare) books for artists and photographers such as Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Bruce Weber and Louise Bourgeois.

One of the most unusual books on show is The Print Book, below, from 1976, which contains a range of flattened objects. A couple of monitors also show more of Cheim’s work, including books for Gilbert and George and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

A lovely inclusion, which I only noticed on the way out, is one of Cheim’s elementary school report cards from 1964. It is filled out by the school principal, Noble E. Freden, who offers some encouraging words to the young designer.

Design by John Cheim is open until Sunday (and is free). More details at ica.org.uk. The show will also go to White Columns in New York later in the year.


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