AA Bronson’s House of Shame brings together AA Bronson’s work from recent years, emphasizing the social dimension of his collaborative artistic practice. Edited by Vincent Simon, it was published by Edition Patrick Frey. Berlin-based designer Fritz Grögel provided the book design. He kindly lets us in on his concept and typeface choices.
AA Bronson’s queer and spiritual art is rarely pleasing and sometimes provocative. It touches on social taboos such as homosexuality, age and death, and deals with supernatural and irrational aspects of life that are not in vogue in our secular, rational modern age. For some viewers, it may seem like a freak show at first glance. For Fritz, this was precisely the starting point for the book design: to present the “House of Shame” in the style of 19th century fairs, where people who did not conform to the norm were put on display.
For the few longform texts, Christoph Dunst’s Novel (Atlas Font Foundry) is used, described by the designer as “a warm oldstyle roman that offers all the bells and whistles for fine, bibliophile typographic work”. Captions are set in Albert-Jan Pool’s FF DIN, for Fritz “the classic choice of typographic restraint”. Especially when combined with some of the “wild” images, it establishes a clear distance. In the appendix, Novel and DIN are used together, in a differentiating manner.
The format and layout of AA Bronson’s House of Shame aim to be unpretentious yet of high quality. Instead of doing a coffee table book, Fritz opted for a medium format that can be viewed on the train. Glossy finishing and lamination were deliberately avoided; the flattering haptics of the predominantly open papers should speak for itself. The outcome is an arresting publication that makes me want to learn more about AA Bronson and his work.