In the News Posted Oct 31, 2017

Vogue: 11 Reasons to Put L.A.’s Culver City on Your Must-Visit List

"Los Angeles’s Culver City—which celebrates its centennial this year—is probably best known as the home of Sony Pictures, NPR West, and the Helms Bakery complex. But as of late, design-centric businesses like Nike and Apple have moved into town, bringing with them an onslaught of aesthetically minded shops and restaurants. Though the neighborhood—which is just east of Santa Monica—is just a little over five square miles, its architecture is extremely varied, ranging from Renaissance Revival–style historic buildings (like the Culver Hotel) to architect Eric Owens Moss’s body of experimental office spaces that dominate the industrial Hayden Tract. And, unlike other parts of L.A., alternative transportation is a viable option—a bike path that runs along the Ballona Creek will take you from Culver City to the beach, and the L.A. metro will get you downtown in 40 minutes. Below, 11 more reasons you’ll want to visit Culver City."

5. Arcana: Books on the Arts

Situated within the former Helms Bakery complex (now home to the Helms Design Center) is this not-to-be-missed bookstore specialing in hard-to-find art, photography, fashion, architecture, and design books.


Photo: Courtesy of Catherine Dash


In the News Posted Oct 31, 2017

LAist: The 8 Best Niche Museums And Galleries In Los Angeles

The 8 Best Niche Museums And Galleries In Los Angeles


Los Angeles has its fair share of reputable art institutions. Places like LACMA, MOCA, the Broad, and the Getty (which is co-sponsoring the Pacific Standard Time LA/LA exhibit around Southern California) represent the typical ways of seeing and consuming art. But what if that type of consumption turns stale? What if you want to see art in a different type of space? Los Angeles has far more interesting and exciting places operating under the radar of the established art gate-keepers. Here are some of our favorites.


"Ok, so this one isn’t technically a museum or gallery. But the book collection at Arcana is so vast and so thorough that you’re likely to see and learn about far more art than you necessarily would at LACMA. It’s not a library, so if you want to take any books home you have to shell out some cold hard cash, but perusing the books while in the store is entertaining in and of itself. Photo books, artist biographies, museum exhibition catalogues, you name it—if there's an artist whose work you want to look at, it's likely Arcana has one or several books on the subject. The sheer breadth of possibilities in this store is staggering, and they regularly host book signings and discussions."

In the News Posted Jun 20, 2017

DWR Approved.

We're pleased to be at the top of Design Within Reach's list of favorite L.A. Bookstores!


"Since 1984, Arcana has been the place to go for new, rare and out-of-print books on 20th- and 21st-century photography, art, design, architecture, fashion, film and music. Arcana founders Lee and Whitney Kaplan worked with architecture firm Johnston Marklee to design this 4,500-square-foot space in Culver City’s historic Helms Bakery building. The bright, light-filled space is lined with tall black metal shelves, creating what Lee calls “a forest of books.” In addition to having 100,000 books to discover, Arcana hosts book signings and panel discussions, as well as a popular Book of the Day feature on its blog.

In May 2017, 99U included Arcana in its list of worldwide Best Design Bookstores."


In the News Posted May 27, 2017

Best Bookstores > Arcana in 99u

We're honored to be among the top choices for  99U,'s worldwide Best Design Bookstores! 99u is "an editorial property based in New York City that tells the stories of leading creatives around the world who are mastering their crafts, building incredible careers, and shaping their industries. They have a vibrant websitequarterly magazine, and email newsletter that goes out to 735,000 people every week." Have a look!


In the News Posted May 01, 2017

Humanity Magazine > From Citizens of Humanity

The good people at Citizens of Humanity produce a sumptuous and thoughtful book-like journal, HUMANITY (which you can pick up for free at Arcana!).
Issue 10 (Spring 2017)  includes a great feature about Arcana's owner, Lee Kaplan, amongst the likes of the esteemed Venus Williams, Steve McCurry, Massimo Bottura, Norman Lear, Julian Schnabel, Gustavo Dudamel and more! Come in for a copy or read the full arcticle here.

In the News Posted Dec 07, 2016

Kinfolk City Guide

Thanks to Kinfolk for including us in their LA City Guide!

"Arcana is a haven for bibliophiles and aesthetes alike, stocking a cleverly curated selection of new and out-of-print books on photography, art, fashion, design, food, architecture and cinema.

Arcana: Books on the Arts is one of Los Angeles’ finest art bookstores. Boasting over 100,000 books, the extensive and hyper-specialized collection includes a far-reaching range of items from new, rare and out-of-print books to ephemera.

More closely resembling a gallery than a shop, Arcana occupies a 5,000-square-foot space in Culver City’s historic Helms Bakery building.The books are displayed on immense metal shelves that divide up the open-plan space into cozy rooms. And natural lighting from windows on three sides and polished concrete floors are inviting to browsers and collectors alike.

The shop is renowned for all aspects of specialized bookselling. Frequently hosting events, book signings and panel discussions with featured authors, Arcana excels at  reaching out to its community of loyal customers.


In the News Posted Oct 08, 2016

Financial Times, 10/8/16 > Christina Kim's Los Angeles

We're so happy that Christina  Kim's Los Angeles includes Arcana!  And we're honored to be the site of her forthcoming installation and to celebrate the "dosa glossary a-z" with a printed matter launch and sale, December 16th and 17th. The installation will remain on view for a month.  Read the whole piece in the Financial Times' Hot To Spend It section here, and visit to learn all about the beautiful and admirable things that Christina Kim does when she's not visiting bookstores!

"On Sundays I also like to visit my favourite bookstores. Caravan has been dealing in secondhand books for 60 years and has a fantastic range of old travel titles. The owner, Leonard Bernstein, will call me if an interesting book comes in. And then there’s Arcana, which is in Culver City and specialises in art books. I have quite a big library at home with a lot of reference, style, architecture and art books. "



In the News Posted Sep 08, 2016

Condé Nast Traveler, September 2016

Thanks to Tomas Maier of Bottega Veneta who is one of our great supporters! You can read the full piece in Condé Nast Traveler about the new Bottega Venetea shop in Beverly Hills (by Booth Moore) here.

""The boutique is as much a love letter to Southern California as a place to shop. Bottega Veneta creative directorTomas Maier is an architecture nut in the best possible way. He studies floor plans of historic Southern California homes (from Mediterranean Revival tomid-century), tours those open to the public, trawls open-house listings to peek at those that aren’t, and hunts down out-of- print books about them at L.A.’s Arcana bookstore when he’s in town."  (more...)

In the News Posted May 20, 2016

Culver City Highlights in Citizine

Thanks to Citizine for sharing this great list of Culver City delights fom Bar Nine Collective's Evan Damkoehler.


We're so lucky to be in such a great neighborhood! Have a look at some of the amazing things you can do (and eat!) around Arcana.



In the News Posted Feb 03, 2016

Spring Book Anticipation in Huck Magazine February 1, 2016

What’s in store for 2016? Lee Kaplan, co-founder of Arcana Books, L.A.’s massive art-book shop, looks into his crystal ball.

Arcana: Books on the Arts is getting ready for L.A.’s Printed Matter Book Fair right now, a massive event celebrating art books and publishing. “With the proliferation of small specialty publishers and the ease of self-publishing this is seemingly a golden age for ‘The Photobook’” says Lee Kaplan, co-founder of Arcana, which he and his wife, Whitney Kaplan, started in 1984.

“But the sheer number of books being released each week, month, year has made it not only increasingly difficult to keep up with the output, but to separate the extraordinary publications from the mundane due to such an overwhelming sameness of the look of so many of these,” he explains.

Nowhere is that sameness more clear than at something like an art book fair: the same worn out minimalist design, the same outplayed slick set-up. But even in the age of internet photo-galleries, there’s a kind of mystical quality to a good photobook. Like a piece of memorabilia, and there’s something uniquely collectible about them. Arcana specialises in “new, rare, and hard to catalogue raisonnés, monographs, and collectibles,” says Lee. Arcana is a huge space, and they stock books and ephemera on the visual arts, music, architecture, cinema and design. The shop is warehouse-like, but still inviting, lit by large windows and tucked off of Venice Boulevard in Culver City, L.A. It caters to photographers, gallerists and artists, collectors, and Hollywood creative types.

Lee sets his sights on the good stuff with Huck’s Forecast 2016.

The Photography Book Forecast

From Lee Kaplan

Mark Ruwedel

“Mark Ruwedel is a Southern California-based photographer that has for decades thoughtfully and beautifully captured the region’s changing environment by wryly documenting the encroaching hand of man on the remaining nearby deserts. His work frequently maintains a playful reference to the early artist books of Ed Ruscha, and has been steadily gaining an international reputation. He was the recipient of the 2015 Scotia Bank Prize for Photography, and his Pictures of Hell from RAM Publications was absolutely one of our favourite books from last year here at the shop.”

The Swimming Pool by Deanna Templeton

“Much of Deanna Templeton’s work to date has been that of a street photographer in the guise of a cultural anthropologist. She captures the young women and girls that populate the beaches, strands, and malls of Orange County – effortlessly noting the minute details of their everyday dress, and how they adorn their skin, hair, and bodies to present themselves to the world. These fleeting variations of teenage individuality are both a contemporary fashion typology as well as a more ominous view of a suburban Stepford conformity. For the upcoming The Swimming Pool, she has jettisoned the familiar public presentation of these youthful strangers to intimately reveal her friends swimming nude in her backyard pool.”


Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs + Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive

“Robert Mapplethorpe’s life and work have both received a great resurgence of interest over the past few years, and Los Angeles has become something of a second home for the study of the late, New York-based photographer. The County Museum of Art celebrated a significant acquisition of materials in 2011 with a career retrospective, and this spring they are presenting along with The J. Paul Getty Museum four separate shows related to his photographs, documents, and collecting proclivities. The Photographs focuses on the abundant holding of his images collected by the Getty – starting with their acquisition of his partner Sam Wagstaff’s massive collection; while The Archive is an anticipated and no-doubt fascinating collection of student, early, and commercial work, sculpture, and even jewellery designs that have mostly never seen the light of day.”


KH 3 by Kevin Harry

Over the past two years Kevin Harry has self-published two small books cum zines entitled KH that joyously document the lively sense of fashion and personal style that pervade the participants and attendees alike at street celebrations of the African diaspora. The first issue featured images taken at New York’s annual Puerto Rican Day Parade, and the second documented the 2015 Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn. The third installment will be devoted to tonsorial style, and should be with us just in time for the Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair in mid-February.

Provoke: Between Protest and Performance – Photography in Japan 1969-1975

Published in conjunction with an international touring exhibition, this massive hardbound catalogue Provoke: Between Protest and Performance will provide the first major institutional reassessment of the historical impact of short-lived but highly influential late sixties Japanese photography publication ProvokeProvoke’s core members consisted of critic Koji Taki, poet Takahiko Okada, and photographers Takuma Nakahira, Yakata Takanashi and Daido Moriyama along with Nobuyoshi Araki, Eikoh Hosoe, and Shomei Tomatsu, and the book focuses on their selected writings and projects undertaken between 1960 and 1975, “that offer a strongly interpretative account of currents in Japanese art and society at a moment of historical collapse and renewal.”


See the article on Huck's website.