Lakefront Anonymous, Chicago’s Unknown Art Gallery

Lakefront Anonymous, Chicago’s Unknown Art Gallery
By William Swislow (text and photographs) and Aron Packer (photographs)
Chicago:, 2021
Softcover, 160 pages, $40

Reviewed by Joseph Marlin

Who would have thought there would be a book about graffiti and vernacular stone carvings on Chicago’s lakefront? Not I, and I live here! But William Swislow, an SCA board member, has spent three decades photographing and documenting these works typically created by untrained, anonymous carvers.

Neon: A Light History

Neon: A Light History
By Dydia DeLyser and Paul Greenstein
San Francisco: Giant Orange Press, 2021
Softcover, 88 pages, $25

Reviewed by Douglas C. Towne

There’s a new book on neon signs that excels at, in the authors’ words, bringing “the light of the past into the present.” The cleverly titled Neon: A Light History beautifully and meticulously illuminates the evolution of this electrifying advertising medium. But that’s only the start. The text goes a step further and connects neon signs with the larger economic and societal forces that impacted them, placing them in the crux of American history.