In the heart of New York City stands iconic Rockefeller Center, a haven of commerce and industry, art, history and ice skating. Center archivist and author Christine Roussel's gorgeous The Art of Rockefeller Center is an orderly catalogue of the Center's history, art and artists. This oversized volume is lavished with exquisite attention to detail; the book's design and typography, writing and photography are employed in shining homage to the artifice and artistry within and without the Center's venerable walls. Rockefeller Center emerged during the Depression from the idealistic vision of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Where there were once grimy tenements, the Center rose as a cohesive melding of art, architecture and American ideals. Before construction could begin, Rockefeller spent two years planning a "modern, self-contained urban center" that would be "a mecca for lovers of art." Together with an art advisory group (including his wife, Abby Aldrich, and son, Nelson), he identified art sites, standards, themes and artists, allocating $1 million to fund the enterprise in 1931. Artists commissioned included Gaston Lachaise, Lee Lawrie, Paul Manship and Diego Rivera (although his finished artwork, considered fascist, was destroyed). Each chapter of The Art of Rockefeller Center explicates the history and art of a single building of the complex, interpreting its art deco and art moderne treasures in exceptionally lucid prose and pristine photography. Especially interesting are explanations of the artistic processes used in creating public art and stories of the artists. The book also includes many historic photos, an index of artists and a color-coded map of the Rockefeller Center for reference.

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