Archive for the 'books' Category


The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)

the_giving_treePublisher: HarperCollins PublishersPub.
Date: 1992-10-07


To say that this particular apple tree is a “giving tree” is an understatement. In Shel Silverstein’s popular tale of few words and simple line drawings, a tree starts out as a leafy playground, shade provider, and apple bearer for a rambunctious little boy. Making the boy happy makes the tree happy, but with time it becomes more challenging for the generous tree to meet his needs. When he asks for money, she suggests that he sell her apples. When he asks for a house, she offers her branches for lumber. When the boy is old, too old and sad to play in the tree, he asks the tree for a boat. She suggests that he cut her down to a stump so he can craft a boat out of her trunk. He unthinkingly does it. At this point in the story, the double-page spread shows a pathetic solitary stump, poignantly cut down to the heart the boy once carved into the tree as a child that said “M.E. + T.” “And then the tree was happy… but not really.” When there’s nothing left of her, the boy returns again as an old man, needing a quiet place to sit and rest. The stump offers up her services, and he sits on it. “And the tree was happy.” While the message of this book is unclear (Take and take and take? Give and give and give? Complete self-sacrifice is good? Complete self-sacrifice is infinitely sad?), Silverstein has perhaps deliberately left the book open to interpretation.
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Magnum photographer Josef Koudelka’s new book, Invasion 68 Prague

If you saw Tokion’s recent travel feature, “Design in Prague” (The Collage Issue, currently on stands) which showcases the city’s thriving art community, it may be hard to believe that only about two decades ago, Prague was still occupied by a Communist government. Artists inhabiting the city nowadays don’t have to worry about their freedom of expression, but this wasn’t always the case.

Two days after Czech photographer Josef Koudelka’s arrival to Prague, Warsaw Pact tanks invaded his nation’s capital. Thirty years old at the time, Koudelka had only recently taken on photography as his full-time profession. He had never worked as a news photographer before, but that soon changed on August 21, 1968 when he set to the streets in order to document the tumultuous events taking place during the first week of invasion. Amazingly, Koudelka was able to smuggle his photos out of the country. They were immediately published anonymously in The Sunday Times Magazine. In order to protect himself from Soviet authorities, Koudelka was unable to claim authorship of the photos for nearly sixteen years.

Invasion 68 Prague is a collection of nearly 250 images from this one pivotal week (many of which are being published for the first time), all selected by Koudelka himself. In conjunction with this publication, and on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the invasion, Aperture Gallery and Pace/MacGill Gallery will be jointly exhibiting a selection of large-scale versions of these prints on September 4, 2008.

The exhibition of Koudelka’s photographs will run at Aperture Gallery, New York from September 5th through October 30th, 2008. The companion show will run at the Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, from September 4th through October 11th. Invasion 68 Prague is available at Aperture Foundation. For more information visit Aperture Gallery or Pace/MacGill Gallery.

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