Monday, June 23, 2008

Coffee Table Cred

I am a self-professed collector of coffee table books of all varieties. Now, some literati might read the term "coffee table book" as an offensive slur, used to distinguish over-sized reading material the intellectual consistency of marshmallow fluff that is not fit for the shelf. However, I reserve this term for that special find in the bookstore or museum gift shop that is fit to be displayed, shared, and discussed. My collection ranges in scope from Candida Hofer's Louvre to Roberta Bayley's Blondie: Unseen 1976-1980. The qualities these books have in common are that they are visually interesting, decidedly unique, and certain to provoke questions and comments from house guests. After visiting the geektastically chic costume exhibition Superheroes at the Metropolitan Museum last week, I believe that I have found the holy grail of coffee table books. The brightly colored Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy is replete with a wealth of awesome technicolor photographs that explore the concept of mutable identity via costuming. Fashion and fantasy collide in this visually exciting exhibition catalog featuring many of our favorite superheroes like Wonder Woman and Spider Man, ensuring that this coffee table book will never, under any circumstances, become just another coaster for your water glass.

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