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Critical Mass - November 2008

Noteworthy new releases for November

The Transparent City: a collection by the contemporary photographer Michael Wolf of Chicago architecture

Books

The Transparent City
(Aperture Foundation; $60)
This collection by the contemporary photographer Michael Wolf will grab your attention: The book is oversized, the subject is Chicago architecture, and the photos don’t just capture buildings—they let you peer voyeuristically into Loop high-rises. Wolf, who divides his time between Hong Kong and Paris, comes to Chicago on November 20th for a talk at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. His Chicago series hangs there from November 14th to January 31st.

 

Who We Were
(CityFiles Press; $45)
Michael Williams and Richard Cahan, coauthors of Richard Nickel’s Chicago, along with Nicholas Osborn, the founder of SquareAmerica.com, sifted through a million vintage amateur snapshots from flea markets and shoeboxes for this portrait of America through its own lens. The 350 images they settled upon are organized in a loose timeline and, together, create a street-level history of our country in the 20th century.

 

Mysterio’s Encyclopedia
(Quirk Books; $24.95)
The coolest book for tweens and young adults that we’ve come across in some time. Gabe Fajuri, the Chicago-based associate editor of MAGIC Magazine, reveals the secrets of the illusionist Mr. Mysterio, a celebrated showman who rivaled Harry Houdini in his day. The tricks are illustrated and cleverly explained—which makes them ideal for trying at home.

Photograph: Megan Lovejoy

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