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Abstract City

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  524 ratings  ·  108 reviews
In July 2008, illustrator and designer Christoph Niemann began Abstract City, a visual blog for the New York Times. His posts were inspired by the desire to re-create simple and everyday observations and stories from his own life that everyone could relate to. In Niemann’s hands, mundane experiences such as riding the subway or trying to get a good night’s sleep were trans ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Harry N. Abrams
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Showing 1-30
4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  524 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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J & J
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
This just isn't my was hard for me to focus on the words and I didn't like the style of drawing (although I am not an art critic in the least so take that with a grain of salt ;)
Dov Zeller
"The true malice of headphones." (wonderfully said) (from the section called My Life with Cables)

"Poplar. Unpoplar." "Ernie and Birch" "Laurel and Hardy" (in Bio Diversity)

This book is high on concept and has a lot of stunningly crafty art and lovely humor. A lot of people seem to really love this book. I have mixed feelings but it's so intent on doing what it's doing and doing it so craftily I didn't feel comfortable giving it a lower rating.

Why didn't I love it all the way through? I didn't f
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A collection of art celebrating the joys and annoyances of everyday life. It's very creative, and might make you smile a good bit.
Abstract City by Christoph Niemann is a totally delightful book. It's literally a graphic novel-not a form of comics but a novel by a graphic designer that consists of, well, graphic designs. It's divided into sections, each of which is about some aspect of the author's experience-his sons and their love of subways (New York City), one of my favorite parts; the Berlin Wall (the author's life in Berlin), things he has made with cookie dough, and, another personal favorite, the creative process. T ...more
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another delightful book of visual essays by Niemann, a columnist, graphic artist and illustrator. He tells us about everyday life, his work life and city-dwelling tricks of the trade among many other topics, in his most singular multimedia way. Niemann is a writer and artist to watch. Eager to see what he comes up with next.
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: artists, designers, New Yorkers, art lovers, anyone!
Shelves: graphic
Clearly, Christoph Niemann's brain works differently than everyone else's, because he isn't just a designer or an artist blogging for the New York Times (where he recently live-drew the running of the New York Marathon): His media include cookie dough, wires, Legos and even tiles (check out the MTA map bathroom he created for his subway-obsessed kids). He hilariously documents his love-hate affair with coffee (drawn with coffee on paper napkins, of course), creates schematics of sleep positions, ...more
Dev Nithiavel
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Niemann's creativity and ability to make us chuckle over the most mundane things in life are just, beautiful. My Life with Cables, Bio Diversity, Red Eye and Unpopular Science were specifically awesome chapters. Re-readable anytime. Impressive stuff. Heart warming.
Vivian Zhang
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun and relatable collection of visual essays.

(Faux Fir was my favourite joke.)
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenny by: April
I can't begin to describe how much I loved this book. I plan to purchase it so that I can look back though it and enjoy it again and again. Christoph Niemann is a designer and writes a visual blog for the New York Times, and this book is sort of a compilation of his work. I "read" it in just two nights, with "read" being the key word because the work is mostly visual, with each page consisting of a drawing or visual creation of Niemann's, along with a short bit of text to accompany it. The creat ...more
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it
A very mixed book, as might be expected from a collection of visual essays. Niemann's mind works very interestingly, using art to convey a wealth of information. But when there is no story to tell (for example, just a collection of humorously shaped leaves) then it falls flat. The best stories are excellent, including the story of his sons' obsession with the NY Subway, Diagrams used to convey helpful hints to NYC residents, and an exploration in creating tile mosaics in a bathroom based on piec ...more
Joey Alison Sayers
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Christoph Niemann has made me re-learn what comics can be. While some pieces were stronger than others, I felt that every one of them made me think of comics a little differently. He moves smoothly and unjarringly between humor and poignancy. I hope he keeps making these pieces; I would read volumes of them.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delight! I read this on my Kindle (having no other option available from the library) and now I'm wondering what the actual book is like. I may want to buy it as a coffee table book!

*goes off to add Christoph Niemann's other books to my to-read list*
Nov 20, 2016 rated it liked it
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-and-design, humor
Niemann's designs, and the tales he tells through them, are original, wry, beautiful. What else do you want?
Rachel C.
Oh, New York. Let me count the ways.

My favorite pieces were "The Boys and the Subway" and "I LEGO NY."

Thanks for the birthday present, Allie.
Jeff Lewonczyk
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had expected this to be a five-star review, since I love Niemann's work and enjoyed all of these essays when I originally read them. But honestly, I feel like they weren't designed to be binge-read in rapid succession. What seemed dazzlingly clever in smaller pieces seems a bit more contrived and cutesy when taken as a whole. Still, no one's better at this kind of thing than Niemann, and the original afterword about his creative process does a lot to ground the book into something more substan ...more
David Schaafsma
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Abstract City is a visual blog for The New York Times from the pen and mind of illustrator/designer Christopher Niemann. He calls these things "visual essays." Here it is if you want check it out:

Some cool themes/motifs/obsessions: Legos, cables, weather, maps, the NYC subway, the challenges of “spooning” when you have small children, and so on.

You like the idea of a visual blog? Here’s another one to which I daily subscribe, from Maria Fabrizio, who reads the pa
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I've loved Niemann's blog, and here some of his posts - plus some new ones - are compiled into a coffee-table-worthy book. His illustrations capture in a few strokes (or collages, or sculptures) some little slice of everyday life. The tone is always amused wonder (Except for his piece about living near where the Berlin wall was).

My favorite chapter is the last one, on the creative process (gist: no Muse here).

The whole book just brings joy.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aesthetics, arts
I became aware of Christoph Niemann through the Abstract: Art of Design docuseries on Netflix (Niemann is the focus of episode 1). Since then I started following him on Twitter and Instagram and love his playful style, both in his formal New Yorker/NYTs work, and his playful abstracts and animations incorporating everyday objects into his sketches. This is from 2012 and exemplifies his style well.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To be fair, this book consists of blog posts and images. Not a lengthy read. But I loved it! Found this illustrator after watching "Abstract: the art of design" on Netflix. I find him to be really inspirational as an artist and a parent - many of his illustrations are about life with his kids. (Hilarious!) And I loved what he had to say about being a working artist. You can't wait for inspiration to strike, you just have to work every day!
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spring-2017
Recommended by: Jasmin Aujla

There's no plot, only a series of illustrations, mostly inspired by New York, that take you through Christoph Niemann's thought process and experiences. I love how he interprets relatable things from everyday life through objects and shapes that you see around the city all the time.
Arzu T
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mind opening

This book is very inspiring for artists and for non-artists as well. It is very enjoyable to read. You can also learn a lot of stuff even the intention of the writer isn't so :)
Beth Skubis
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A delight, from end to end. Has to be read... no, experienced. And, if you love what you see, be sure to read Niemann's Sunday Sketching and to watch at least the first episode of Netflix's "Abstract", the series about designers that starts with Niemann himself.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read for fun, after seeing a recommendation on
Man Repeller.

This book combines two of my very favorite things: whimsical art and New York City. I highly, highly recommend this to lovers of either or both.
Chris Carithers
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is fun, lighthearted and completely unpredictable. Not every page lands but most do and those ones will make their mark on your mind. The book as a whole changes the way you see and opens visual and conceptual possibilities.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, non-fiction
Amy Johnson
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very cool images and drawings
Meghan Davis strader
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It looks much more daunting than it is, each page is one or two sentences and a graphic rendition of something on his mind. It even has chapters!
Giacomo Barbieri
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
È un libro sulla vita mascherato da fumetto goliardico, quasi auto-satirico
Lorry Chwazik
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Delightful. I want more!
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“I like coffee so much that I have tea for breakfast. The first cup of the day in particular is so good that I’m afraid I won’t be able to properly appreciate it when I am half-asleep.” 1 likes
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