February 2011

"The Air-Conditioned Nightmare," by Richard Baker (left); "Handyman's Concrete," by Tom Burckhardt (right)

Cover Art
Two painters find their subject in beloved books

By Peter Terzian

The past decade has witnessed a small boom in art inspired by the printed book, a choice of subject fueled by affection and nostalgia. An exhibition at San Francisco's Gregory Lind Gallery illustrates how two New York-based artists have approached the same material in radically different ways. Richard Baker makes still lifes of the kinds of books he grew up reading paperbacks from the 1960s and '70s by such counterculture icons as Jack Kerouac and Gertrude Stein painted in lovely colors with dog-ears and stains intact. Tom Burckhardt paints on books, layering existing covers with abstract shapes and figures that evoke classic Japanese prints.