Monday, February 6, 2023

Tracey Emin | Exploration of the Soul

Tracey Emin
Exploration of the Soul
Self-published, 1994
20.3 × 20.3 cm.
Edition of 200 signed and numbered copies

Created over an intense ten day period, Exploration of the Soul is the artist's first published text. It recounts her life up to the age of thirteen - from conception to the day when her virginity was forcibly taken from her. 

The Tate Gallery called the work (which also exists as framed A4 sheets of paper)  “a poetic but frequently harrowing account of her sexual history.”

The bookwork is accompanied by a unique hand sewn canvas bag with appliqué text, photographs of Emin and her brother, and a unique monoprint. The book is signed and numbered, and features the inscription "I wanted this to be the truth, Tracey Emin 1994"

"In Exploration of the Soul all my spellings were corrected. When the time came for it to be printed I had to choose whether it was going to be printed in my handwriting and whether it was going to be my own spelling. I decided to have it beautifully printed—a really nice print. So we couldn’t keep the spelling mistakes in it because it would have looked really stupid. I write using stream-of-consciousness and I think my work isn’t important in the detail but in the whole."

“The book is a mental journey – my coming to terms with beauty, innocence and evil combined.”
- Tracey Emin

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Lawrence Weiner | causality AFFECTED AND/OR EFFECTED

Lawrence Weiner
New York City, USA: Leo Castelli and Eminent Publications, 1971
[80] pp., 16.5 x 10.8 cm., spiral bound
Edition of 1000

Lawrence Weiner's sixth artist book features a series of text works on cause and affect/effect. The title is spiral-bound with a protective mylar cover. The title is valued at around $500, depending on condition. 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Jonathan Monk

Happy birthday to Jonathan Monk, who turns 54 today. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Nan Goldin | The Ballad of Sexual Dependency

Nan Goldin
The Ballad of Sexual Dependency
New York City, USA: Aperture Books, 1986
144 pp., 25.2 x 22.8 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

Titled after a song from The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill ("Ballade von der sexuellen Hörigkeit"), The Ballad of Sexual Dependency began as a slide show that Goldin would perform live, alongside songs by James Brown, Maria Callas, Nina Simone, The Velvet Underground  and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. 

The slides were deeply personal photographs she had taken of herself, and her friends and lovers in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They are featured primping, posing, dancing, bathing, fucking, getting married and raising children. They suffer the ravages of AIDs, drug abuse and domestic violence. 

If the original live presentations reappropriated the rec room family slide show, the 1986 Aperture book does the same for the family photo album.

"The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is the diary I let people read,” Goldin wrote. “The diary is a form of control over my life. It allows me to obsessively record every detail. It enables me to remember.” 

Accolades for the book are numerous. Andrew Roth calls it "perhaps the most influential photography book since Diane Arbus' 1972 monograph." Martin Parr wrote "like most of the great photobooks, it is an honest, troubling, passionate, deeply poetic mirror held up to our times." Guardian critic Sean O'Hagan calls the book a "a benchmark for all other work in a similar confessional vein." Lucy Davies, in The Telegraph, said it "would come to influence a generation of fledgling photographers, who fell into her truth-telling wake."

Village Voice critic J. Hoberman named the original slide show as one of his favourite films of 1985, calling it "a near-definitive portrait of a particular Lower East Side bohemia". 

Mock-ups of the book appear in the new documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, which played in town last night, as do excerpts from the slide show, and other slide show works from throughout Goldin's career. 

The Oscar-nominated film serves as both a biography of the artist and her work, but also of her activism, specifically in battling to have museums prevent allowing the Sackler family to whitewash their reputation through donations. The most powerful sequences are when Goldin and other survivors of the opiate crisis confront the billionaire Sacklers during a Perdue Pharma bankruptcy hearing over Zoom. 

One of the best known images from the book is a self portrait from 1984 of the artist with two black eyes, after being beaten by her boyfriend, who appears on the cover of the book with her. In All the Beauty and the Bloodshed Goldin describes the assault in agonizing detail. He punched her in the face, in the nose, but ultimately seemed to be directing his rage at the photographer's eyes. A friend arrived and the beating stopped. "She saved my life," Goldin recounts. 

She also describes how this ex-boyfriend tried to prevent the book from being published, as did her father. Her parents worried that the recounting of her older sister's suicide would implicate them. 

"I think the wrong things are kept private," Goldin says in the film, a common refrain from panel discussions and interviews with the artist. 

In the introduction to the book she writes "I sometimes don't know how I feel about someone until I take his or her picture... I want the people in my pictures to stare back. I want to show exactly what my world looks like, without glamorization, without glorification."


Lee Ranaldo

Happy Birthday to Lee Ranaldo!

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Dean Baldwin Lew | Mixed Drinks

Dean Baldwin Lew
Mixed Drinks
Toronto, Canada: Museum of Canadian Art, 2022
190 pp., 11.5 x 7 x 1.3 cm. softcover
Edition size unknown

'The Act of Drinking Beer With Friends Is the Highest Form of Art" claimed San Francisco artist Tom Marioni, in the title of his proto-relational-aesthetics work from 1970. I can't think of an artist who better inhabits the sentiment than Dean Baldwin Lew. He has hosted countless events that bring people together around food and drink, typically serving alcohol from behind bars that he has fashioned out of travel trunks, pianos, and - for the closing exhibition of the old MoCA Toronto space - a yacht turned on its side (see below). 

When I was at Mercer Union he produced a mini-bar for a group show I put together, by building the smallest possible functioning saloon. It could uncomfortably seat maybe four patrons at a time, because everything was scaled down to the size of hotel mini-bar bottles (see below). He would leave his card on the counter and visitors could call him anytime and he would arrive (through a hole in the wall) to serve them up a cocktail. Part-way through the exhibition we held an 'open mic night', from a stage the size of an LP jacket. Performers included a singer-songwriter, a comic, a steel drum player, and a performance artist (Ulysses Castellanos, who tried to light his dick on fire). 

Last fall Toronto's Museum of Contemporary Art hosted an exhibition by Thomas Demand called House of Cards. Alongside Demand's primarily photographic work, the exhibition featured guest artists Martin Boyce, Kelly Jazvac, Caruso St John and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Tiravanija became the poster boy for 'relational' work but his practice always left me a little cold, particularly when Toronto had the Instant Coffee Trailers and Dean Baldwin's bars. 

MoCA wisely invited Baldwin Lew as a guest to the guest artists, particularly Tiravanija's karaoke bar. His contribution is a cocktail recipe book. Thomas Demand, Martin Boyce, Kelly Jazvac and Rirkrit Tiravanija all contributed drinks. As did fifty other artists and friends of Baldwin Lew: Abbas Akhavan, Aman Sandhu, Bridget Moser, Callum Schuster, David Liss, Debashis Sinha, Diane Borsato, Eleanor King, FASTWURMS, Guillaume Adjutor Provost, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino, Jeon-Heon Bae 배종헌, Jon Sasaki, Joni Cheung, Joseph Tisiga, Karen Kraven, Katie Bethune-Leaman, Kristan Horton, Lili Huston-Herterich, Maria Simmons, Mégane Voghell, Michel de Broin, Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Oliver Husain, Peaches, Popsy Johnstone, Radames “Juni” Figueroa, Ryan Gander and Simon Turnbull, Scott Rogers, Stephanie Comilang, Ulysses Castellanos, Vanessa Maltese, Vera Frenkel and many others. 

Here are some sample recipes: 

Bridget Moser
High Nuun Margarita (an active lifestyle cocktail)

2 oz silver tequila
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 Nuun Sport hydrating electrolyte tablet in Fresh Lime flavour (*if a caffeine-free option is preferred, sub Lemon Lime flavour)
salt for glass (optional)
ice cubes
lime wedge (optional)
1. Salt the glass (optional). Rub lime wedge around the rim of glass and dip rim in salt. If you are using a Nalgene water bottle, Hydro Flask, Hydrapak Softflask, etc., you may prefer to skip this step.
2. Dissolve Nuun hydrating electrolyte tablet in 4 to 6 oz of cold water in a cocktail shaker. Wait a few minutes. 
3. Once dissolved, add tequila, Cointreau, and ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds or desired workout period. Strain into prepared cocktail glass or preferred hydration vessel. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired or possible.
Best consumed mid-day, around 12:00 pm.
Bridget Moser is a video and performance artist who lives and works in Toronto. She is also a runner training for a half marathon.

Golden Shower

1 barril de 20L de cerveja artesanal (sugerimos lager, blond ou pilsen)
1 vaso sanitário
1 ducha higiênica
1 bobina de alumínio
1 cilindro de gás CO2
peças de conexão
muito gelo
um bando de pessoas

Pegue um vaso sanitário e se livre da caixa acoplada. Pegue o barril de 20L de cerveja e coloque em seu lugar. Ponha a bobina de alumínio dentro do vaso, conecte uma das extremidades ao barril e a outra à ducha higiênica. Ajuste a pressão de CO2, certificando-se de que a cerveja esteja fluindo, quando servida pela duchinha. Cubra a serpentina dentro do vaso sanitário com gelo e chama os amigos para abrirem suas bocas e tomarem um refrescante Golden Shower!!

Diane Borsato
Hot milky tea

Assam (strong, black) tea, boiling hot water, milk
First take a long walk up a steep trail.
Swim in cold water.
Walk home in the rain, cold and sore.
Swim again (you are already soaking wet, after all).
Take off your wet clothes, wrap yourself in a warm sweater, towel or bathrobe
and prepare tea as follows:
Add 1 heaping tbsp. of tea leaves into a filter, set in a large mug.
Heat water in a kettle to boiling. Just as soon as the water boils, turn off the heat
and pour the very hot water through the tea into the cup.
Cover with a saucer, and steep for 3 to 3 ½ minutes. Use a timer to be precise.
Uncover, remove filter, and add milk to the tea.
Enjoy the hot milky tea, gratefully.

Caroline Monnet
Ti Jacques

1 dose de sirop d’érable
5 dose de rhum Agricole
Quartiers de lime
Menthe fraiche
Dans un petit verre, verser 1 dose de sirop d’érable.
Écrasez dans le verre un quartier de lime pour faire sortir le jus.
À l’aide d’un bâton en bois écraser la lime au fond du verre avec la menthe.
Ajouter le rhum. Assurez-vous d’utiliser un rhum de qualité, de préférence des Antilles.
Mélanger. On peut ajouter des glaçons, mais mon parrain Jacques, le boit sans, comme tous les marins bretons.

I regret that I was too busy to participate, but I ended up in the book anyway - mocked for multiples, no less: 

Jon Sasaki
Dave's Swamp Water

A little splash stolen from every bottle in Dave Dyment's liquor cabinet, replaced with an equivalent amount of water.

Prepare two mason jars ahead of time, one containing distilled water and the other empty. Arrive at Dave's house and find a way to get invited inside. Once inside, distract him by asking about a book or a multiple or a rare record or some such thing; when he leaves the room to retrieve it, start filling your empty mason jar. The process is complete when you have roughly 4 oz of mixed liquor, or when Dave is about to return to the room.

Baldwin's own cocktail involves taking a pineapple on a camping trip, and reminds me of my earliest memory of him. We were at the party for Rebecca Belmore, hosted by the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, almost twenty years ago. There was an open bar and a long table of food. Baldwin began repurposing pineapples as tumblers and serving drinks from them, perhaps surreptitiously, after the bar was closed (my memories are hazy).  

Mixed Drinks was made possible with support from Paul Bain and Aaron Kirsch. It is available from Art Metropole, for $15.00 CDN, here. The drink ticket bookmarks and handwritten drink coasters were given out at the launch party in the fall, which I'll consider as part of the (free) deluxe edition.