There are very few things so precious to me that I would consider running back into my home for if it was up in flames: photos, my cats, and my favorite coffee table books.
I have a beautiful collection of coffee table books that I have acquired over the years, and it has kind of become an obsession of mine-not just as a statement piece in my home, on display, collecting dust. I have read through these books, front to back, and referenced back to them for information many times.
I love the intimacy of a coffee table book, the additional information it provides on a subject I am interested in, the beautiful enlarged photos, the scrapbook like quality- it’s a personal treasure that someone just so willingly shared with you and I completely cherish them.
If a band, artist, or photographer I am interested in comes out with a coffee table book, you can bet your a** it’s already in my Amazon Wish List ready to be purchased, or I’m on the hunt for it.
I wanted to share with you my favorite and most treasured coffee table books in my collection that are definitely worth checking out if you are intrigued by the subject matter.
ANDY WARHOL Polaroids 1958-1987
This, gorgeous, 408-page book inspired me to buy my own Polaroid camera and start shooting away. I remember waiting forever for the right time to purchase this book because it is so expensive, and I ended up using my Christmas money to finally get it because I knew I had to have it.
I am obsessed with the drama and conflama of Andy Warhol, his factory, the Warhol Super Stars, anything and everything Andy. I know it’s so cliché and there are so many more amazing artists than Andy Warhol, but I just cannot help myself. My Warhol obsession led me down the path to discovering Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground, Candy Darling, Edie Sedgewick and all the astounding things that evolved around Warhol. Although, we can all admit, Warhol was a controversial, tragic and abusive person, we can also admit so many remarkable things happened around him, and he provided a safe haven for so many people to come to The Factory and just be who they were without judgement.
Yes, we have the incredible art work of Andy Warhol and his legacy, but I think it’s more important that we remember who and what came out of The Factory besides his art.
This book is a beautiful and intimate portrayal of Andy being himself, and capturing beautiful, candid moments in time of legendary people. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during some of these amazing shots, to hear the conversations, to see the people we’ve lost over time, and to time, and just be present in that very moment as he was taking these photographs.
This book provides a very different take on Warhol and gives an amazing look into the incredible movement he helped to create, rather than just being remembered for his soup cans and Marilyn Monroe screen prints.
This book is definitely one of the most treasured items I own and if you don’t care about one other thing in this post you need to take a look at this one book for yourself. It is incredible.
You can find Andy Warhol Polaroids 1958-1987 here.
Inside The Chelsea Hotel Photographed By Julia Calfee
Every time I visit New York City, I have one request, visit 222 W. 23rd st. The Hotel Chelsea.
I would be lying to you if I didn’t admit that The Hotel Chelsea entered by consciousness due to an obsession with The Sex Pistols and of course Sid and Nancy.
Nancy, the girlfriend, of Sex Pistols “bassist” Sid Vicious was notoriously found dead on the bathroom floor of room 100, with a single stab wound to her abdomen. She bled out sometime during the night after an altercation with either Sid or a known drug dealer. It seems more likely that she got into a scuffle with someone over drugs rather than Sid killing her due to the fact that no one in the city could find any junk to get a fix, and he was passed out cold from over consumption of Tuinal due to the shortage of heroin.
Sid and Nancy are among only a few of the well known people who frequented the Hotel Chelsea in its heyday-some of the hotel’s most notable guests and residents include: Dylan Thomas (poet), Arthur Miller (playwright), Jack Kerouac (novelist and poet), William S. Burroughs (writer and visual artist, known as the primary figure of the Beat Generation and postmodern author popular culture and literary influencer), Bob Dylan (singer-songwriter), Patti Smith (singer-songwriter, author, poet), Leonard Cohen (singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist), Robert Mapplethorpe (photographer), and Andy Warhol (artist, film director, producer) just to name a few.
Julia Calfee lived and photographed within the walls of Hotel Chelsea for four years and within her book, through her photography, she answers the question we are all dying to know: “what is it like living inside the Hotel Chelsea?!” My takeaway-beautiful chaos.
This is a must-have book for anyone who is as obsessed with the lore and legend of the Hotel Chelsea and has the ultimate dream of merely getting a glimpse inside.
You can find Inside: The Chelsea Hotel: Photographed By Julia Calfee here.
Never Mind The Bullocks Here’s The Sex Pistols 1977 The Bullocks Diaries
Long story short, sometime around 2014, I became obsessed with the London Punk scene, and at the forefront of that scene, of course, is the Sex Pistols. Although the Pistols had a short run (1975-1978) and only one record release under their belt, they are among the most groundbreaking and influential bands in music history. The Sex Pistols are credited for initiating the Punk movement in the UK, as well as influencing bands such as The Clash, The Damned, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
I love the scrapbook look of this book as it includes press clippings, photos, documents, and everything in between-it really reminds me of something I would have made myself back in the day as a fan of pop-punk bands with all of my Van’s Warped Tour memorabilia.
This book is a must-have for any die hard Sex Pistols fan such as myself.
You can find Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols: 1977 The Bullocks Diaries here.
Mean Streets: NYC 1970-1985 Photographs By Edward Grazda
Clearly, I love NYC- I love the gritty streets, the culture, the history, the attitude, and all things that make NYC what it is. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be uprooting from the Midwest anytime soon to live there, however, it is a great escape if you need to get some culture pumping through your veins, and it makes you greatly appreciate your 900 sq ft. apartment for less than $800 a month, once you return.
During the 1970s, the City of New York faced many economic hardships, industrial decline and even the threat of bankruptcy. The city was forced to lay off many city workers and officials, as well as cutting funds for municipal services such as sanitation. More than 82,000 people fled to the suburbs (white flight) in desperate need of jobs. Those who were left in the city, rightfully so, became infuriated with the negligence of their government turned to violence, so much that crime rates increased at an alarmingly rapid pace with drugs, vandalism and theft becoming the norm.PBS NYC in Chaos
This book is an amazing look into the decline of NYC during the 1970s and 1980s. It’s odd to say, but the photographs truly pop out at you and for a second you feel immersed into that very moment in time.
You can find Mean Streets: NYC 1970-1985 Photographs By Edward Grazda here.
I really hope you guys enjoyed this post and found it informational and interesting. What are your favorite coffee table books? Are you as obsessed as I am? Are you interested in any of the subject matter discussed above? Leave me a comment with your thoughts, and or your favorite coffee table books I should check out!