Sure, it's still only September, but in my mind (and at Walgreens, have you noticed?) it's totally Halloween season. What better time to get your bony hands on The Book of Skulls (due in October from Laurence King Publishing, 160 pages, $14.95), Faye Dowling's new compilation of all things Memento mori? The table of contents page is illustrated by San Francisco's own Matt Furie, people. Get on this!
The strikingly-designed (dig the nifty "skeleton binding") Book of Skulls packs a lot into its petite pages. Dowling, a "freelance editor, curator, and art buyer," draws together a huge array of representations of skulls (in fine art, street art, fashion, rock n' roll, etc.), all of them visually stirring but with different levels of spookiness.
Page through and you'll find a Noel McLaughlin photograph of Paris' catacombs; examples from Noah Scalin's popular "Skull-A-Day" blog; Boo Davis of Quiltsrÿche's "evil quilts," works by Shepard Fairy and Damien Hirst; plus giant skull skull-ptures, teeny skull minatures, Day of the Dead art, skull murals and graffiti, crystal skulls, jewel-encrusted skulls, skateboard skulls, skull tattoos, biker skulls, Grateful Dead skulls, the Misfits fiend, Skullphone (you know it), and Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood jewelry. (Blessedly, there's no Ed Hardy.) The Book of Skulls isn't your typical hefty art book — obviously, it's aimed at a wider audience, and is potentially something you'd pick up and flip through while in line at Urban Outfitters. So what? It's a thoughtfully-curated, great-looking book. Read it while eating your way though that bag of Creepy Peepers.