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Arcana: Books on the Arts
Powder-coated-steel display shelves punctuate the store

If we step into another bookstore that?s going out of business, we?re going to cry. So we?re grateful to Arcana: Books on the Arts for doubling down on its bet that the indie bookstore isn?t dying. In Arcana?s case, it?s just expanded and moved to Culver City.

Open since 1984, Arcana?s rare book collection--photo-heavy volumes about contemporary art, photography, rock ?n? roll and more--has long been the secret garden of area bookworms, even though it operated out of a cramped Santa Monica shop. Now its 100,000 titles reside in a window-wrapped 5,000-square-foot loft space on Washington Boulevard. The original Rudolf Schindler?meets?Donald Judd plywood shelves made the move, too, supplemented by 132 steel shelves structurally engineered and bolted to the foundation to survive the big one. The new space was designed by Johnston Marklee (best known for the spidery gas station at Robertson and Olympic) in conjunction with Landlocd.

Sixty-five percent of the stock is out of print but decidedly in vogue. Did you miss the recent Hedi Slimane MOCA show? Pick up his photo anthology ($55). Interested in recently deceased artist Mike Kelley? Here?s a catalog of his most famous works ($35). Want to read more about the late Vidal Sassoon? Arcana has his autobiography ($32).

Best of all, the shop?s knowledgeable staff is eager to act as your literary concierge, recommending books on a wide range of topics. Arcana: Books on the Arts has us thinking outside the big-box store.

Arcana: Books on the Arts, 8675 Washington Blvd., Culver City; 310-458-1499 or

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