London Gallery Celebrates the Book Cover

At a time when e-readers may be displacing the good, old-fashioned print book, an effort to revive interest in the art of the book cover is taking place in London.

The gallery StolenSpace gave a simple task to a group of more than 30 artists, designers, ceramic artists and photographers: design a cover for your favorite book. Participants were free to paint, print, etch, sculpt, photograph, or use any medium of their choice, as long as the result was in the size of an average book (defined as 198mm by 129mm).

The full blog post, on StolenSpace gallery’s “Never Judge…?” exhibit in East London, is at the NEW YORK TIMES, and also continues here after the jump.

The results of this challenge are on display at StolenSpace (Dray Walk, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane; 44-207-247-2684; stolenspace.com), in a show titled “Never Judge…?.” The exhibition, which was organized in conjunction with Penguin Books (who, like many book companies, are fully embracing e-reader technology) runs from Dec. 3 to 19. Limited edition prints of some of the book covers will be for sale.

“The general idea was to keep it as varied as possible,” said Beth Gregory, gallery manager at StolenSpace. “These are people we like or respect, not just a random selection. The majority of the artists chosen to participate are not necessarily designers, some are sculptors, painters, and photographers, so re-creating a book cover in their style and media has produced some really beautiful and interesting results.”

The roster of more than 100 artists involved in the exhibition includes a number of D.Y.I.-focused street artists, including Shephard Fairey, Jeff Soto, and Cyclops, an East London-based street artist whose work has been included in auctions alongside works by Banksy at the Bond Street auction rooms of Bonhams in London.

Penguin Books will take 20 of the pieces being displayed, and publish and distribute books with those new covers in April.

“We wanted to celebrate the art of the book cover as we feel it is a dying art form,” Ms. Gregory added. “With the advent of the iPad, it’s now questionable how long the printed novel and its cover will be around. Just like the album cover, it’ll be resigned to a thumbnail in iTunes.”

Photo: StolenSpace

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