Scott Timberg has a pair of Calendar pieces in the Sunday LAT on German art book publisher Benedikt Taschen, who adopted Los Angeles as home and last week opened a chic bookstore in Beverly Hills, and his local editor Jim Heimann, author of California Crazy and other books on local culture. Taschen's latest obsession is a $3,000, 75-pound limited edition volume on Muhammad Ali.
In September 2002, the company moved its U.S. offices from New York to Hollywood, which has led to a new emphasis on Americana and pop culture and the hiring of Heimann, 54, a graphic artist and author steeped in L.A. history. While once Taschen changed the world of the art book, now Los Angeles has begun to change Taschen.
Last week, an "Old European," mahogany-and-brass Taschen store, designed by Philippe Starck, opened in Beverly Hills to showcase the imprint's books and provide a space for lectures and events. It will be for Taschen what the Playboy mansion is for Hefner, a way of packaging, and bringing to life, a mystique an idiosyncratic blend of art, kitsch, nudity and international capitalism.
Taschen and his wife Angelika bought the landmark, flying saucer-shaped Chemosphere House off Mulholland Drive 1998. Since their recent divorce, he lives in a hotel on Sunset and she still edits for the company. The stories are behind the subscribers-only wall at the LAT's CalendarLive.