The Art Museum, a tome containing an imaginary art museum featuring the world’s most famous works, is the latest book from Phaidon. The story of this epic work (it weights 18 lbs and clocks in at over 1,000 pages), broke on NPR last year, and the impressive magnitude of the project and the over 2,700 works of art contained within its pages have left a lasting impression on this librarian.
How invaluable could such a book be to students who don’t have the opportunity to visit all of the world’s museums to witness these pieces firsthand? What an invigorating supplement to a student’s knowledge of art it could be.
A team of 100 innovators from teaching, museum, research, and editorial backgrounds labored over the book for a decade. Rather than dividing it by chapters, like a traditional book, the creators split the tome up by rooms, mirroring the layout of museum. Of course, with the freedom to arrange the pieces as they saw fit and without the confines of using only the pieces contained in one singular museum, they were able to create rooms based around central themes (ex. abstract expressionists).
Hefty in size, weight, and most of all, in culture, Phaidon’s The Art Museum presents an entirely new way to share art. For those who already cultivate a vast knowledge of the subject, and for those who are just learning about the masters, the book is highly versatile in value. Be sure to listen to the story on the NPR site, and check out the photo gallery too.