Thursday, April 17, 2014

Joseph Beuys | Rose for Direct Democracy

Joseph Beuys
Rose für direkte Demokratie 
Heidelberg, Germany: Edition Staeck, 1973
2 x 2 x 13.25"
glass graduated cylinder with inscription, rose
Edition of 440 signed and numbered copies

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hot 100 Online Auction

The "Hot 100" online auction, with works by 100 "top, international, emerging artists" goes live today at noon. The auction, in support of the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation (with aid going to environmental and humanitarian charities) features one hundred works, priced under  $10,000.

Artists involved include myself, Jon Sasaki, Roula Partheniou, An Te Liu and many others.

Visit the site here:

Bidding ends May 1st.

Yves Klein | Conférence à la Sorbonne, 3 juin 1959

Yves Klein
Conférence à la Sorbonne, 3 juin 1959 
Paris, France: Centre national d'art et de culture, 1959
12 x 12"
2 LP vinyl record set, gatefold sleeve
Edition of 500 numbered copies

A live recording of two lectures Klein gave at the Recorded at the Grand Amphithéâtre de l'Université de la Sorbonne (Paris, France): The Evolution of Art Toward the Immaterial, and The Architecture of the Air.

The two-disc set is increasingly rare with copies selling for between $650 US (Ebay, in January) and
$1123.00 US (Christies auction, last October).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Joan Jonas to represent the US at the 2015 Venice Biennale

For more information, see the New York Times, here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Athena Tacha

This is the last week to see Printed Matter's display of bookworks by Athena Tacha. The exhibition, which opened March 18th, closes Saturday April 19th. The presentation features a comprehensive collection of the artist's publications.

"The focus of Tacha’s practice ranges broadly. She examines abstract geometries, creates intimate narratives, and builds scientific records. The mediums Tacha utilizes are as diverse as her subject matter, and her talents as photographer, sculptor, author, designer and architect are evidenced in the diversity of publications she has produced over the past four decades.
Many of the works featured here are a part of Tacha’s pocket books series and present titles that read like poetry: Little Pleasures, Adolescent Loves, Different Notions of Thriftiness, Life’s Layering, Vulnerability, Tragic Cats. The accounts within each are meditations on a particular aspect of life, describing ordinary acts and phenomena such as scratching dandruff from the scalp, considering which groceries to buy in the supermarket, or the appearance of wrinkles with age. Tacha’s reflections bring to light the broader implications of these seemingly commonplace events, making allusions to the ecological, sociological, and political impacts of our personal choices and emotions and visa versa. Just as often, Tacha’s reflections stay within the intimate scope of the act or object described and leave the reader to draw their own conclusions.
In contrast to the psychological self-portrait developed in the pocket book series, Tacha also has produced a physical/physiological self-portrait throughout a series of artists’ books. Gestures, Expressions, The Human Body : An Invisible Ecosystem and Heredity Studies I and II examine the human body. These titles record variations of hand and facial positioning, genetic variation within nuclear families, and the diverse micro-organic fauna that live on and in the human body.
The more architectural, spacial and abstract areas of Tacha’s practice are exemplified in Dictionary of Steps, Spacial Disorientation: Staircases and Ramps, and Ten Projects for Staircases (Tacha’s first book, never before available through Printed Matter)."

- Printed Matter Press release

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Harmony Korine | A Crack Up At The Race Riots

Harmony Korine
A Crackup At The Race Riots
New York City, USA: Main Street Books/Doubleday, 1998
176 pp., 23.5 x 14 cm., paper
Edition size unknown

By calling his first bookwork a novel, filmmaker Harmony Korine pointedly plays with the reader's expectations. A Crack-Up at the Race Riots is a fragmentary book of lists, letters, jokes, and dialogue, many of them hand scrawled or doodled. But rather than an extended 'zine  - similar to the type he was making in collaboration with Mark Gonzales at the time (later to be collected and compiled by Drag City Books) - or an artists' book, the title was released as a first 'novel'.

Most early reviews took Korine at face value and reviewed it as such. One suggested it was work of "creative overreach" from a talent "thrust too soon into the limelight" and another felt that "Korine seems too much inside his own head to speak for anyone outside it." Chloe Sevigny, who appeared in three of Korine's film projects and was dating him at the time, said "I liked the suicide notes and the rumour stuff. It was a little too dirty for me, though." Her co-star in Korine's Julien Donkey Boy, actor Ewen Bremmer (SnowpiercerTrainspotting) called it "quite lazy as a novel".

When the reviews were good, they were effusive, with some praising the work as a 'reinvention of the novel', and comparing it favourably to the fragmented fiction of Kathy Acker and William S. Burroughs.

At the time, Korine was reading Walter Benjamin, a book of jokes by Milton Berle, Henny Youngman's autobiography Take My Life Please and a history of molestation in the Boy Scouts. Much of this comes out in Crackup, but the also content seems oddly prescient to the contemporary youth pop culture conversation. Subjects like suicide, sex, celebrity worship, drug use, race and rape are Tumblr and Reddit staples today.

The book includes a page titled "Idea for a Late-Night Comedy" (below), which suggests an intervention into the stale format of the American late night talk show.  On April 3rd, 1998 Korine made his third and final appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman to promote the book. His first was as the wunderkind who wrote the screenplay for Larry Clark's Kids in his teens, and the second was to promote his debut film Gummo. Korine was banned from the show after Letterman discovered him in the Green Room, rifling through Meryl Streep's purse.

Presumably high, Korine is even less coherent than his previous visits, but his best joke ("I wanted to write the Great American Novel, or a novel.  I just wanted it to be American.") confirms his liquid commitment to the format of long prose plot driven narrative. Letterman is stumped and incredulously asks how long it took him to write ("two or three years" is the reply) and flips to a page  he had clipped off in advance. He asks his guest: "...all I see on page 59 is the word hepburn......How much does this thing go for, Harmony?" Korine laughs and says "I think it's the regular book price."

Korine addressed the page in question in a recent interview with Vice Magazine:

"I’d write titles for books I wanted to write, then I would see that the titles were more interesting than the book, and I would say maybe the book would actually kill the title. Maybe the title is better than the full book. It’s like that page that just says hepburn. I’d spent like three years just trying to figure out what would be the perfect one word novel. And I finally thought of the word hepburn. It just made perfect sense. I felt like all the answers to the world were wrapped up in those letters—or actually not answers, but all the questions."

The book includes one such list of these titles, called "Titles of Books I Will Write", which includes "A Life Without Pigment", "Foster Homes and Gardens" (my favourite) and "Can't Touch This" (the book also opens with an image of MC Hammer). This approach always reminded me of the books Monty Python issued in the early seventies. They often played with the format of the book itself, and would typically include fictional dust jacket blurb endorsements and "further titles you may care to enjoy" such as "Toad Sexing for Married Couples" and "So You're Interested in Acne". Coincidentally, one of them, under Historiography, is "A History of the English Speaking Publishers by Kate Hepburn."

As Letterman is wrapping up his interview, he tries, but fails, to get the author to endorse his own book: "I don't know, I don't like to, I never even, I can't imagine why anyone would buy a book nowadays," says Korine.

A Crackup At The Race Riots was reissued by Drag City last year, following the renewed interest in Korine after the release of Spring Breakers. But if you, like Korine, you can't imagine actually buying it, you can download the PDF for free, here.

In February of this year Korine and actor James Franco told the New York Post that they were working together again, with Franco set to star in an adaptation of the 'novel'. The subsequent details suggest that the announcement was in jest, but it's hard to certain.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

George Maciunas | Flux Snow Game

George Maciunas
Flux Snow Game
New York City, USA: Fluxus, [circa] 1966
4 x 4.75 x 0.5 cm.
Edition size unknown

A clear plastic box with label attached to the lid, containing Styrofoam pellets. Presumably the viewer inadvertently spills the pellets when opening the clasp, thus completing the game by making it snow.

Flux Snow Game was announced in several Fluxus newsletters between '67 and '70, with a price of $3.00 (which, adjusted for inflation, would be approximately $22 today).