Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sound By Artists

Dan Lander and Micah Lexier (editors)
Sound By Artists
Toronto, Canada/Banff, Canada: Art Metropole/Walter Phillips Art Gallery, 1990
386 pp., 22.5 x 14.5 x 3 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

The most enduring aspect of Art Metropole's publishing ventures is the Artists series, which is now 37 years old and features 7 titles. It began in 1976 with the publication of Video by Artists (edited by Peggy Gale), one of the first books on the subject of artists' video. It was followed by Performance by Artists in 1979 (edited by AA Bronson and Peggy Gale), Books by Artists in 1981 (edited by Tim Guest and Germano Celant), Museums by Artists in 1983 (edited by AA Bronson and Peggy Gale and with a cover by Daniel Buren), Video by Artists II in 1986 (edited by Elke Town), and Sound by Artists in 1990. While I was at Art Metropole I was working on a title called Retail by Artists, with Jordan Sonenberg, which eventually was released as Commerce By Artists (2011, edited by Luis Jacob).

All of the above titles - with the exception of Video by Artists II and Commerce By Artists - are long out of print and sell for many times the cover price on the secondary market. The first Video by Artists sells for around three hundred dollars, and Performance... and Museums by Artists for between one and two hundred dollars.  Sound by Artists, which is considered (alongside Broken Music) one of the most important volumes on the subject, is typically valued at between $300 and $500.

This price may come down with the launch today of the reprint, published by Blackwood Gallery and Charivari Press, though I imagine the flexidisk included in the original (much like Broken Music) is a big part of the appeal for collectors. Called Soundpage, it's a clear flexi record by Christian Marclay, that is bound into the book, and therefore unplayable. It's a record object much like the 12" vinyl disks Marclay was releasing at the time.

The reprint does not include the disk, but is close to facsimile in most other ways, I understand. It includes essays, artist projects, a discography and bibliography.

The texts includes The Future of Music: Credo by John Cage, The sound of One Line Scanning by Bill Viola, Listen by Max Neuhaus, parole / mots / words / wörter by Maurizio Nannucci (see recent post), Speaker Swinging by Gordon Monahan, Cut and paste: Collage and the Art of Sound by Kevin Concannon, I am sitting in a room by Alvin Lucier, Audio art in the Deaf Century by Douglas Kahn (see Noise Water Meat, below) and Mimicry by Rita McKeough. Other contributors include Daina Augaitis, Bruce Barber, Max Bruinsma, Moniek Darge & Godfried-Willem Raes, Suzanne Delehanty, Jack Goldstein, Graf Haufen, Ihor Holubizky, Richard Kostelanetz, Christina Kubisch, Marysia Lewandowska, Annea Lockwood, Donal McGraith, Ian Murray, Mystery Laboratory, R. Murray Schaeffer, Stelarc, Rod Summers, Gregory Whitehead, Hildegard Westerkamp and Caroline Wilkinson.

One of my favorite chapters, written by Kevin Concannon (who often writes about Yoko Ono, and artists' advertisements), can be read here.

To purchase the new reprint (for $19.95), contact Julia Abraham, the Curatorial Assistant (and Collections and Archives Manager) at Blackwood, at

No comments:

Post a Comment