Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Twist on Young Adult Artwork at Gallery 1988

For most young adult novels, the only lasting visual impression is the cover. Ranging from utterly perfect to disappointing, often the cover shapes what we see and how we feel about the characters that live within or the overarching atmosphere of the book. This can have severe repercussions especially with reprints and reimaginings of the novel, as highlighted by the recent controversy over Sylvia Plath's masterfully witty and troubled novel The Bell Jar. You can decide for yourself whether the 50th anniversary edition really speaks to the heart of the story or reflects an adventurous tale about a well-meaning air stewardess.

Still, to re-envision is to rekindle, to bring a book back to life, and possibly instill more energy than previous artwork had achieved, a kinetic energy that breathes vigor, creativity, and sass. Such appears to be the goal of the current (but very brief) exhibit at Gallery 1988 Melrose, an art gallery in Los Angeles geared towards the never ending journey through pop culture. In conjunction with Hello Giggles (yes, the one co-founded by Zooey Deschanel), Gallery 1988 is hosting a series of works which reinvent many of the youthful novels of our childhood (well, mine at least).

The show, succinctly titled "Young Adult" includes new visions of Nancy Drew, Harriet the Spy, Sweet Valley High, Goosebumps and more from what I've seen online. The show only runs until February 23, so if you're interested in viewing it, I'd book it up to the gallery soon. Then you can let me know what you think. I'm curious what emotions a Nancy Drew silhouette on mudflaps elicits.


  1. I love this post and want to see this exhibit. And speaking of re-packaging famous books, have you seen this one of Anne of Green Gables? It fills me with rage. http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/shelftalker/?p=10138

  2. If you do go you must tell me what it's like!

    Next, who is that?? Because it sure isn't Anne! What the heck! I commiserate with you on that feeling of rage.

    Similarly, I understand why, when movies come out, they end up marketing books under the guise of the film actors or artwork, but that also drives me insane. People drastically underestimate the value and influence of covers.