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GIFT BOOKS IN BRIEF : THE ACCORDION-FOLD BOOK FOR THE UMBRELLAS by Wolfgang Volz and Masahiko Yanagi (Bedford Arts: $75) .

December 01, 1991|David Colker

You've got to be a Christo fanatic, who loved the artist's massive "Umbrellas" project that stood in the Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles and in Japan--or have someone on your gift list who fits that profile--to buy this slim art book. Not that it isn't a nice book. The oversized book features good reproductions of 16 of the artist's painted photographs done in his studio while working on the project; Christo painted umbrellas directly onto landscape photographs shot by Wolfgang Volz at the sites. As an added touch, this series of reproductions folds out, accordion style, allowing you to stand it up and make your own little "Umbrellas" display right in your living room. More interesting is an informative but short (two-page) interview with Christo on the technical processes he used to paint on the photographs and an explanation of the part they played in planning the outdoor exhibition. Finally, there is a one-page essay by Masahiko Yanagi on Christo's art in general and specifically on the "Umbrellas" project, which was six years in the making. But the reproductions and three pages of text do not seem enough to justify a $75 tab. For that money, art books far thicker and more comprehensive can be obtained, including some of Christo's own books.

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