Chicken Feet, Duck Limbs and Dada Handshakes
Vancouver, Canada: Western Front, 1984
64 pp., 7-1/8" x 5-1/2", softcover
Edition of 500
Produced during a residency at the Western Front in September 1984, this book tells the story of Fluxus artist Williams meeting various members of the Dada movement. He recounts shaking hands with Tristan Tzara, Max Ernst, Hans Arp, Man Ray, Richard Hulsenbeck and Marcel Duchamp. He never met, shook hands or laid eyes on Picabia, but notes that he shook hands with many of his mourners, on the afternoon of his funeral.
The text is handwritten by Williams and the book is illustrated with his doodles (similar to the cover) and with prints made by using chicken and duck feet as rubber stamps. The artist is photographed with a hammer in hand and a duck's foot in the other, in his 1992 autobiography My Life in Flux and Vice Versa.
"So much happened during month-long residency at the Western Front cultural centre that I recall it as a simultaneity, with no sense of chronology...Kate Craig, curator of the Front's video productions suggested that we work up a video project, but I was so busy seeking out gourmet Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, and making my book".
- My Life in Flux and Vice Versa
The only copy on ABE is listed at $195 (here), but still available from the publisher for $30.00, here.