Mr. Taschen comes to L.A.

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.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Books stories on LA Observed:
Pop Sixties
LA Observed Notes: Bookstore stays open, NPR pact
Al Franken in Los Angeles many times over
His British invasion - and ours
Press freedom under Trump and the Festival of Books
Amy Dawes, 56, journalist and author
Richard Schickel, 84, film critic, director and author
The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner: An Interview with Ron Rapoport
Previous story: Geek boys are for it

Next story: Murray Fromson, blogger


LA Observed on Twitter