Edward Tufte’s Museum of Cognitive Art

Detail from star chart in Tufte's copy of Galileo's Starry Messenger (1610)

Edward Tufte, the design and data-visualization expert whose books and courses have defined an elegant approach to information design, is selling his library. The collection, sale of which is being handled by Christie’s auction house in New York, numbers some two hundred books, many of them rare volumes in the history of science and technology (including an edition of Euclid’s Elements published in Rome in 1589 and a first edition of Galileo’s Starry Messenger expected to sell for $600,000�$800,000; evidently, there’s a living to be had in being an infoviz guru).

The best thing about the sale for those of us who aren’t in the market for half-million dollar history-of-science tomes: Christie’s terrifically-produced slideshow of the collection.

Tufte has moved towards his work in large-scale sculpture in recent years, taking commissions and opening a gallery in Manhattan. In the introduction to the sale catalogue, he explains that he wants the space occupied by his library for outdoor sculpture exhibition. His library, he writes evocatively, he thought of as the “Museum of Cognitive Art.” I wish a deep-pocketed someone would buy the collection its entirety and recreate this museum for the rest of us.

[via kottke.org]

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