DATE: 5/21/2012 | BY JANE BROWN
Arcana Books on the Arts has been Southern California’s primary purveyor of fine new, out-of-print and rare books on photography, art, music, fashion, design, architecture and cinema since 1984. Over the past two months, owners Lee and Whitney Kaplan and their staff took on the arduous task of relocating the store's massive inventory of 100,000-plus books from Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade to Culver City's historic Helms Bakery building.
Last week, Arcana opened the space to the public for the first time. This stunning and bright 5,000-square-foot space—designed by Johnston Marklee in collaboration with Landlocd—features row upon row of floor-to-ceiling metal shelves stacked with a vast and unparalleled assortment of books on the visual arts. Visitors can immerse themselves equally in rare books retailing for thousands of dollars, classic backlist titles, or an assortment of well-priced new releases.
Lee Kaplan opened Arcana on a pre-gentrified Third Street Promenade in 1989. His small storefront quickly became a destination for book and art collectors from around the world, as well as savvy researchers from the worlds of film, fashion, art, photography and commercial production.
Long-time Arcana employee Steve Kilfoy behind the sales counter.
Behind the original storefront was a labyrinth of rooms with stockpiles of books everywhere. Now, treasures from these backrooms—and a variety of surplus storage units—are accessible for all to see.
Aracana’s New Release Section.
This overwhelming collection of fine art books is not only a spectacle, but a must-see destination for any culturally-minded visitor to the Los Angeles area.
Taschen rep Sarah Boyd with ARTBOOK | WEST gift rep Tricia Gabriel in front of the Arcana stacks.
"Between the cost of all of our grandiose notions of moving and being closed for an extra two months without having any income," it's been difficult, Lee told the L.A. Weekly. "It's been the most stressful thing I've done in my adult life, probably Whitney too, but it's been really amazing."
Whitney and Lee Kaplan.