Review: The Art of Steampunk: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement by Art Donovan

Published by Fox Chapel Publishing
Released August 1, 2011
128 pages
Where I got it: Digital review copy from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: 4 stars

The world’s first exhibition of Steampunk art was held at The Museum of History of Science at the University of Oxford from October 2009 to February 2010.  It was a success and drew large crowds of visitors to the museum.  This catalog is the result of that exhibition, now in a form where it can be owned, admired, and instructive to those who were not able to make it to the actual event.

In The Art of Steampunk, Donovan attempts to give a summary definition of Steampunk in this catalog, which is meant to appeal to both Steampunk enthusiasts and the layman who knows nothing of the genre and is experiencing it for the first time through the exhibition.  We also get a short history of the genre, and samples of work and bios of many of the artists currently creating Steampunk art.

The typography and page layout of this book really worked to compliment the art shown in the photographs, which made the catalog much more appealing to readers and evocative of the idea of steampunk.  Nothing can replace the experience of viewing these 3-dimensional art pieces up close and in person, but the photographs still portray enough of the pieces to leave you with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the art.

My recommendation?  Have this on hand for when you need a point of reference while reading Westerfeld’s Leviathan or Pullman’s The Golden Compass.  Or just keep it on your coffee table to tickle the imagination of guests.

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