In the News Posted Mar 25, 2024

Denim Tears African Diaspora Goods Library

Renaissance men Tremaine Emory and Theaster Gates have created a show-stopping flagship store with the Denim Tears African Diaspora Goods (176 Spring St, NYC).
We're thrilled that the African Art book collection we’ve been building for 40 years has found its home in this singular space.
“African Diaspora Goods will function as a cultural hub, expanding on Denim Tears’ narrative storytelling on the Black diaspora. The store’s design was a collaborative effort between Denim Tears’ founder, Tremaine Emory, and Theaster Gates.
Inspired by Gates’ decades-long artistic practice of archiving, elevating, and making publicly accessible historic Black images and objects, the store also serves as a community space housing a collection of over one thousand, five hundred publications on the history of the Arts of Africa alongside the label’s seasonal collections. Denim Tears invites visitors to not only shop the brand’s latest wares but also to enrich themselves with this robust selection of books curated by Lee and Whitney Kaplan, owners of the Culver City-based art book store Arcana: Books on the Arts
African Diaspora Goods will double as a comprehensive research library filled with books, exhibition catalogs, and periodicals published in Africa, Europe, The Americas, and Asia, documenting the visual and performative cultures of the Indigenous peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa. Assembled by Arcana over a span of nearly forty years, this unique resource includes material from publishers, booksellers, art dealers, and the libraries of several major collectors and academics. Denim Tears' flagship will house one of the most significant American collections of such documentation within a non-institutional setting, similar to Gates’ Johnson Publishing Company Library at his celebrated Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago  This book collection serves as a physical testament to Denim Tears' genuine commitment to storytelling, aligning with their ethos and dedication to using fashion as a vehicle to tell impactful stories about the African diaspora.”


In the News Posted Apr 06, 2022

Getty Acquires the "Whitney and Lee Kaplan African American Visual Culture Collection"


After months and months of keeping things under wraps, we are very proud - and excited - to be able to announce that the “Whitney and Lee Kaplan African American Visual Culture Collection” of printed materials documenting the visual culture and representation of African Americans and the African Diaspora in the Western Hemisphere has found a fantastic “forever home” at the Getty Research Institute!


I began this journey in 1989 with the purchase of the now incredibly-coveted Charles White Brown Pharmaceutical print portfolio and a self-imposed challenge to amass as many books on African American artists in my book-buying forays as I could. By 2020, this archive had grown to 3500 exhibition catalogues, periodicals, posters, announcements, and bits of ephemera including much material on a vibrant Post-War Los Angeles art scene with the likes of Betye Saar, Samella Lewis, David Hammons, Senga Nengudi, Ed Bereal, Bernie Casey, John Outterbridge, and Kerry James Marshall up through Charles Gaines, Henry Taylor, Mark Bradford, Martine Syms, Devin Troy Strother, Senon Williams, and Devin Reynolds. And so many others.


Now, over thirty years later, we are overjoyed that this archive has been acquired by the Getty and will remain a vital resource in the city we love.


We owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to all of the artists, photographers, booksellers, curators, gallerists, collectors, and individuals that helped make this possible. We are particularly indebted to Simone Fujita and Kathleen Salomon at the Getty Research Institute for making our wish of placing this collection in the best possible hands come true.  – Lee Kaplan


Link to full press release here:

More articles can be found here: 


Getty Acquires LA Bookseller’s Vast Black Art Archive (

Getty Research Institute acquires booksellers' collection of thousands of catalogues and materials on Black artists (

Getty Library Acquires Rare Materials on African American Art –

A Storied Collection of Books on African American Art Lands at the Getty - LA Weekly

Art Industry News: Star Art Advisor Allan Schwartzman Has Joined Forces With a London Art-Market Power Broker + Other Stories (



In the News Posted Jul 01, 2021

A Continuous Lean

Wow, we find ourselves in very esteemed company on the A Continuous Lean list of the 125 best stores in the U.S.!
THANK YOU, @acontinuouslean for this honor and for the fantastic list. It's primarily for menswear, but "there are some book stores mixed in (because book shops need all of the help they can get)." True words. Many thanks for your ongoing support.



In the News Posted Oct 30, 2020

Wes Del Val, Book/Shop, and the #onegreatreader series

We’re delighted to share this interview with Arcana founder Lee Kaplan and Wes Del Val  for the One Great Reader series!
Book/Shop is a lovely store in Oakland, CA that we have admired for their thoughtful selection of out print books and charming biblio-themed merch. Please follow Wes’ #onegreatreader series for more interviews with the likes of Tosh Berman, Luc Sante, Sasha Frere Jones, James Crump, and more.
For his introduction to Lee’s interview Wes said: “Yes everything can be delivered to your door these days, but there is still nothing like seeing what an owner chooses to order for his shop, touch and look at what he decides to put out for his customers, talk to and ask questions of him, and then leave with what you bought, no waiting required. For years bookstores have been the only shops I am interested in going into and one of the absolute gems in America is Arcana: Books on the Arts. Owner Lee Kaplan has little free time outside of keeping the shop vital since 1984 so I feel very fortunate that he gave us our longest interview yet. 
Thanks to Wes, to our comrades at Book/Shop, and to all of you bibliophiles for your ongoing support of independent bookstores. 
In the News Posted Feb 08, 2020


Why, visit Arcana, of course! See more great suggestions from "Mr. Porter" here.


"If you can make it out to Culver City (and, do, because Lukshon and Father’s Office are awesome), Arcana bookstore in the old Helms bakery complex is one of the great bookstores in the world. It’s also a summons to a more sensual time, when we leafed through great big blocks of photography books, art books, architecture books, looking for we-knew-not-what, but always finding something incredible, something inspiring, something that we needed and held onto, other than our phones."


In the News Posted Jan 25, 2020

New York Times: Jen Mankins 5 Places to Shop in Los Angeles


See more of Jen's excellent picks - we're happy to be in such good company! from a woman of such amazing taste (Bird Brooklyn is THE BEST)- here.


4. Arcana: Books on the Arts “It’s an art book mecca,” Ms. Mankins says of this sunny, open bookstore in Culver City. Arcana has a deep inventory of new, rare and out-of-print books and catalogs on cinema, photography, architecture … well, everything including the kitchen sink. The proprietors, Lee and Whitney Kaplan, have been in the business for 35 years and can help locate obscure titles (a Joseph Kosuth, say) with pre-internet zeal. Book signings, receptions and discussions regularly fill up the space, often featuring young photographers and creative types. “They’re really supportive,” Ms. Mankins says. 

In the News Posted Nov 01, 2019

Outside The Frame Podcast with Lee Kaplan!

We invite you to listen to the Peter Fetterman Gallery podcast, "Outside the Frame". Their newly released second episode features our own Lee Kaplan discussing the shop's arcane history, the foundations of building a fine art book collection, the state of publishing and consumerism, and more. 

In addition, The Peter Fetterman Gallery is offering the wonderful "Find Your Book" challenge: buy a book, post about it,and you'll be entered to win a silver gelatin print by one of the gallery's artists! Details here.
In the News Posted Apr 01, 2019

Frame Magazine 03 Spring Summer 2019

"Local bookstores are becoming harder and harder to find, but it's not too late to rediscover the unique charms of touching, skimming, and smelling hile you browse. There's no place better to do so than Arcana Books, the Los Angeles institution which specializes in art books. Originally located in Santa Monica, Arcana shines in its larger Culver City space, which better accomodates their 100,000 title collection. And if that weren't enough, Arcana is the best bookstore in Los Angeles (or possibly the country) to source rare, out-of-print gems, like R. Crumb's Dream Diary of Ed Ruscha's Metro Mattresses."

In the News Posted Nov 20, 2018

Louis Vuitton City Guide

Thanks to Samantha Brooks, Stephanie Rafanelli, Andrea Richard, and Stephanie Theobald for including us in the Louis Vuitton Los Angeles city guide