Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Broken Music

(Ursula Block, etc)
Broken Music 
278 pp., 26 x 21 cm., softcover
Berlin, Germany: Daadgalerie: 1992
Edition size unknown

From (the English translation of) Block's introduction: "Broken Music shows works of visual artists created with and for the medium of the record: records, record-covers, record-objects, record-installations. In contrast to the composer or musician who perceives the record first and foremost as a vehicle transpoting his musical ideas, the visual artist is especially interested in the optical as well as acoustical presence." 

A curator and dealer, Block is one of the leading authorities on the subject and the proprietor of the artists' record store in Berlin called Gelbe Musik. She is married to curator and publisher Rene Block.
The book is a compendium of artists' recordworks, many of which are illustrated, and the volume also includes a chronology, bibliography, and a flexi-disk record by Czechoslovakian Fluxus artist (and progenitor of altered records in art) Milan Knízák. 

The artists featured in the book include Vito Acconci, Joseph Beuys, Laurie Anderson, Guillaume Apollinaire, Karel Appel, Arman, Hans Arp, Antonin Artaud, John Baldessari, Hugo Ball, Claus van Bebber, John Bender, Harry Bertoia, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Mel Bochner, Claus Böhmler, Christian Boltanski, K.P. Brehmer, William Burroughs, John Cage, Henri Chopin, Henning Christiansen, Jean Cocteau, William Copley, Philip Corner, Merce Cunningham, Hanne Darboven, Jim Dine, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Peter Fischli, David Weiss, R. Buckminster Fuller, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, Jack Goldstein, Peter Gordon, Hans Haacke, Richard Hamilton, Bernard Heidsieck, Holger Hiller, Richard Huelsenbeck, Isidore Isou, Marcel Janco, Servie Janssen, Jasper Johns, Joe Jones, Thomas Kapielski, Allan Kaprow, Martin Kippenberger, Per Kirkeby, Milan Knížák, John Lennon, Sol Lewitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Anna Lockwood, Paul McCarthy, Meredith Monk, Hermann Nitsch, Frank O'Hara, Claes Oldenburg, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Dieter Roth, Kurt Schwitters, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Michael Snow, Keith Sonnier, Jean Tinguely, Tristan Tzara, Ben Vautier, Andy Warhol, William Wegman, Lawrence Weiner, Emmett Williams, and many others. 

Considered one of the most important catalogues on the subjects, this volume is difficult to find on the secondary market, and typically sells for between $400 and $600. I used to plead with former employers to sell me their copy, but was told by one (Don Lake) "I can't sell that book. That book makes me money." I then would constantly check for it on Ebay, until Sting published a memoir with the same name, rendering searches futile. I met Block in Berlin a few years ago and, after initially telling me "no, no, I don't have copies of that to sell", I traded her a copy of Sound By Artists (see forthcoming post, this week) for a still-sealed copy of Broken Music

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