Friday, July 1, 2016

Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber | Postcard

Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber
Postcard (PWP035)
Toronto, Canada: Paul + Wendy Projects, 2016
18 x 12.5 cm
Edition of 200

A Risograph promotional postcard produced for the Toronto Art Book Fair earlier this month. For more information about P+W Projects editions, visit their website, here

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Zak Jensen | 12 PEACES

Zak Jensen
Draw Down, 2016
12 pp., 5.5 × 3.25", boxed
Edition of 500

A screen-printed box houses a 12-page booklet, twelve stickers, a large and small button, and an iron-on patch. Each are adorned with an altered peace symbol.

Available from Draw Down Books for $14.95 US, here.  Visit the artist/designer's site here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ben Patterson | Instruction No. 2 (Please Wash Your Face)

Ben Patterson
Instruction No. 2 (Please Wash Your Face)
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1964
10 x 12 x 1.5 cm.
Edition size unknown

"Contained in a small plastic box was a paper towel, a small bar of soap, and the instruction 'Please wash your face,'" Patterson explained in the lead up to a 2011 performance of the work at New York's Third Streaming project space. "As far as I know, this will be the first performance of the piece with total audience participation. People will come to the stage — or optionally, to the bathroom — and wash their face. Afterward, there will be a moderated discussion on the subject: 'How is washing your face in public a work of art?'"

Fluxus advertised Instruction No. 2 as early as the fourth issue of the Fluxus newspaper (cc. fiVe ThReE), in 1964. It was made available both as an individual work (selling for $3.00) or as part of various Fluxkits. All consisted of a plastic box (typically white but sometimes clear) with the same George Maciunas designed label.  The paper towels were rubber stamped with the instructions/subtitle.

Instruction No. 1 - a series of dance instructions - was intended for publication through Fluxus, but never produced.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ben Patterson | The Black and White File

Ben Patterson
The Black and White File
Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, Germany: Self-published, 1999
[unpaginated], 32 x 29 x 5 cm., black binder
Edition of 20 signed and numbered copies

Subtitled "A Primary Collection of Scores and Instructions for His Music, Events, Operas, Performances, and Other Projects, 1958 - 1998", this binder contains a chronological collection of scores from the Fluxus artist and composer who died last Saturday (June 19th) at his home in Wiesbaden, Germany. He was 82. Read the Artnews obituary here.

- "Paper Piece", 1961
- "Ants", 1960
- "Duo for Voice and a String Instrument", 1960
- "Lemons", 1961
- "Ouverture II and III", 1961 / 1964
- "Septet from Lemons", 1961
- "Pavane for Flutes", 1961
- "Variations for Double Bass", 1961
- "Pond", 1962
- "Portrait of an Egg", 1962
- "Sneak Peek", 1962
- "Solo for Dancer", 1962
- "A Very Lawful Dance for Ennis", 1962
- "A Biting Peace for Pyla", 1963
- "Examination", 1963
- "First Symphony", 1964
- "How the Average Person Thinks About Art", 1987
- "I Visited the U.S.A.", 1987
- "Artist's Greeting", 1988
- "Critical Encounters", 1988
- "Signature No. 1", 1990
- "Signature No. 2", 1991
- "Bolero", 1994
- "Das Bahnhof Requiem", 1995
- "On the Road with Al...
   a Gedächtnisperformance für Al Hansen", 1996
- "A Simple Opera", 1996
- "The Future Makes Progress", 1997
- "Some "Found Objects" - Quotations -
   Recently Discovered by Benjamin Patterson", 1997
- "The Three Operas", 1997 ("Carmen", 1990;
   "Madame Butterfly", 1993;
   "Tristan und Isolde", 1961-1963)
- "World Weather", 1997
- "The Creation of the World", 1998
- "How to Make Art: Benjamin Patterson's Foolproof Methods", 1998

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Richard Prince | The Catcher in the Rye

Richard Prince
The Catcher in the Rye
New York City, USA: American Place, 2011
[unpaginated], 5.5 x 8", hardcover with dust jacket
Edition of 500

In the fall of 2011, Richard Prince went to the corner of Fifth Avenue, between 78th and 79th Street, just outside of Central Park, to sell some books. He sat on a park bench next to a blanket with a dozen copies of The Catcher in the Rye.

They were all brand new, just back from the printers in Iceland (apparently it was tricky to find someone willing to undertake the project), still shrink-wrapped. The book is a facsimile of JD Salinger's classic 1951 novel, with only two changes:  Prince's name has been substituted for Salinger’s, and the author's photograph was removed from the back cover.

The only other difference was the price: it was sixty-two dollars - double the cost of the reissue of the original that was then-available at bookstores. If a buyer asked for the book to be initialed, Prince would happily oblige. But if one wanted it signed by the artist, the price was seventy-five thousand dollars. Inscribed copies would be available only for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

"I know… crazy", Prince noted in a blog post a couple of years later, "But these “premium” prices weren’t arbitrary. They were in line with what you would normally pay for a real Catcher In The Rye if the Catcher was a first edition and it was signed or inscribed. As far as anybody knows there’s never been an inscribed Catcher with a dust jacket. Ever. Not a single one has been recorded or sold. The Library of Congress doesn’t have one. The Morgan. The Rare Book Division of the New York Public Library. Never, no one, anywhere. In forty years of collecting rare books I’ve never come across a Cather that’s has the whole package. Signature, inscription, unrestored dust jacket. I’m still looking. Waiting. Hoping. Holy grail."

Unsigned or initialled copies of Prince's appropriation now sell for upwards of two-thousand dollars, only a few years later.

In the photograph below, Prince is joined by his friend James Frey, who reportedly began hawking copies of the book with the passion of a bible salesman, selling five in ten minutes. A couple of years prior Prince designed a cover for a limited edition version of Frey's novel Bright Shiny Morning. In 2013, Frey contributed a text to Prince's Cowboys catalogue.

He is best known for his 2003 memoir A Million Little Pieces. In 2005, the title was chosen as an Oprah's Book Club selection, after which it topped the New York Times Best Seller list for fifteen straight weeks.

Following the Oprah appearance, The Smoking Gun began looking for a mug shot of the author to publish on their website. After a six-week long investigation, the site published an article in January of 2006, titled "A Million Little Lies". The article described fabrications in Frey's account of his drug abuse experiences, life, and criminal record.

On January 26, 2006, Frey re-appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where the host ambushed the author and his publisher, announcing that she felt "really duped", and "more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers."

It would have been quite a performance to stumble across in the park: a brazen act of copyright infringement (coming just after Prince lost a court case over his use of a Patrick Cariou photograph for his Canal Zone work) accompanied by the author of one of the most famous recent acts of literary forgery.