Friday, February 28, 2014

Paul + Wendy Projects interview

To coincide with the exhibition of their prints at the Burnaby Art Gallery (which remains on view until the end of March), the gallery has posted an interview with Paul Van Kooy and Wendy Gomoll of Paul + Wendy Projects. The conversation details the origins of the publishing venture, the origins of Bookclub, and a short wish list of favourite artists' books.

Read it here:

The above photographs document P+W Projects publications (by Micah Lexier, Michael Dumontier, Neil Farber, Maggie Groat, Derek Sullivan, Jon Pylypchuk, Roula Partheniou and the Royal Art Lodge) in situ, in buyers homes (taken from their Facebook page, here).

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Germano Celant

The last couple of weeks have seen two of the world’s leading experts on artists books and multiples speak in Toronto. I somehow didn’t know out about Clive Philpot’s Booktrek presentation (and I wasn’t the only one in the dark about it, apparently the audience numbered in the single digits. The low single digits) but I made sure not to miss Germano Celant’s screening and talk at the Canadian Art Reel Artists Film Festival on Saturday.

Celant is a curator, critic and art historian perhaps best known for coining the term Art Povera in 1967. He is the author of many books and essays on the subject of artists' records (The Record As Artwork, see entry here), artists’ books (The Book as Artwork, Books by Artists, etc) and artists’ multiples (The Small Utopia, see entry here). The latter is almost certainly the most comprehensive survey of artists' editions ever mounted.

While the talk was mainly about his elaborate re-staging of the influential 1969 exhibition When Attitude Becomes Form at the Prada Foundation last year, he touched briefly on the multiples show, noting that the title (Small Utopia) referred to the lofty goals of the early proponents, ideas that the form might "democratize the art world" and so on. Celant casually noted, "it didn't take".

The above photographs, by Valery Gore and courtesy of the Canadian Art Foundation, show Celant in the TIFF lounge, for the Patrons Club brunch that the foundation hosted prior to the screening. In the above two images he is speaking with Interim Executive Director and Publisher Jacqueline Howe and former director (and founder of the festival) Ann Webb. In the first photograph, curator and critic Philip Monk gives Celant a copy of his latest book Glamour is Theft: A User's Guide to General Idea. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

David Hoffos | Scenes from the House Dream

David Hoffos
Scenes from the House Dream 
Lethbridge, Alberta: Self-published, 2008
19 x 19 x 1 cm
Edition size unknown

Scenes from the House Dream was a touring exhibition, curated by  Shirley Madill, that began at the Rodman Hall at Brock University and travelled to the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Trépanier Baer Gallery and The Illingworth Kerr Gallery at the Alberta College of Art + Design. The exhibition gathered five years of works, serving as a compendium of the artist’s signature use of low-tech paraphernalia to produce illusionistic dioramas.

This multiple collects ten colour stereo views of Hoffos' celebrated scenes and comes with its own stereo viewer.

Available from the artist's website, here, for $30.00 CDN.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Larry Miller | Orifice Flux Plugs

Larry Miller
Orifice Flux Plugs
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1974
9.125 × 13.125 × 2.9"
Edition size unknown

Later re-issued as a Reflux edition in both the original size and the smaller seven-compartment box (bottom three images) Miller's Orifice Flux Plugs were first advertised in a May 1975 Fluxus newsletter as "containing various plugs to plug human orifices such as ear plug, ear wax, earphone, rectal medicine, enema syringe, nose drops, cotton balls, eye drops, pacifyer [sic], cigar, mouth ball, whistle, glass eye, bullet, plaster finger, etc..."

No two copies were identical, and other items included a crayon, a toy statue of the empire state building (things kids might insert into their nose?), a condom, a tampon, a Vics nasal inhaler, a lightbulb, a cork, and a baby soother from a gag shop in which the nipple had been replaced by a penis (see black and white image above, second compartment). 

The edition was initially offered for the high price of $100, making it one of the more expensive of the plastic boxed Fluxus editions. I recently bought the later, smaller Reflux version directly from the artist, for $300.00 (which I consider a steal, as it's one of my all time favourites). Having previously had trouble sending them across the border in the mail (likely due to the inclusion of the bullet), the artist held onto a copy (his last) for me until I was next able to visit NYC in person. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Alison Knowles | Bean Rolls

Alison Knowles
Bean Rolls
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1964
7.9 x 8.4 x 8.4 cm.
Edition of 200

Designed by George Maciunas in 1963, a  four inch square cube contains seventeen tiny scrolls held closed with a small dental rubber band. On the scrolls are various mundane facts about beans, presented like an anonymous found poem. The work lists instances when beans are mentioned in songs, stories, science, cartoons, advertising, etc.  "I discover rare information about beans in libraries all over the world," Knowles told Ruud Janssen in 2007.

Knowles considers the work a "canned book" and it is sometimes cited as the first example, in the canon of artists' books, of a 'book object'. Actual beans are included, also, to produce a sound when the can is shaken.

Knowles used the Bean Rolls in performances, notably #12 from her Great Bear Pamphlet by Alison Knowles. (click here for the PDF):

Simultaneous Bean Reading (Autumn, 1964)
Using the Alison Knowles Bean Rolls* and six to eight performers, unroll the rolls over the audience and start reading aloud. Have the audience join in. A single performer goes among the other performers with scissors, cutting out large sections of the rolls. This performer deter- mines the length of the performance.

Premiered November 16th, 1964 at Cafe au Go Go, New York City.

Also included in Fluxkit, below.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bernar Venet | The Infrared Polarization Of The Infrared Star In Cygnus

Bernar Venet
The Infrared Polarization Of The Infrared Star In Cygnus
New York City, USA: The Letter Edged In Black Press Inc., 1968
45 RPM Vinyl record, 7"
Edition size unknown

A single-sided 7" record, packaged in an 8.25" gatefold sleeve, published as part of the S.M.S. folio number 6, which also includes visual works by Richard Artschwager, Ed Bereal, Betty Dodson, Ronoldo Ferri, John Giorno, Toby Mussman, Adrian Nutbeem, Claes Oldenburg, Mischa Petrov, Jean Reavey, Diter Rot, and Paul Steiner.

A reading of an astronomer's technical notes beautifully packaged in a gatefold sleeve reproducing the handwritten notes on graph paper and including a diagram and table relating to the infrared polarization of this specific heavenly body.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay | Libretto

Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay
Winnipeg, Canada: Plug-In, 2004
36 pp, 23 x 15 cm., sewn-bound
Edition of 1000 signed and numbered copies

The complete text of the Ramsay's epic video performance Lyric, in which he sings tropes from one thousand love songs, arranged thematically.

Beautifully designed by Barr Gilmore.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Robert Filliou | A New Way to Blow Out Matches

Robert Filliou
A New Way to Blow Out Matches
Malmö, Sweden: Bengt Adlers, 1980
7.2 x 10.7 x 4.8 cm cm
Edition of 30 signed and numbered copies

A wooden box containing a weighted spinning toy and a box of matches. The match affixes into the toy, becoming its handle.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ron Terada | Defile: Trading Places

Ron Terada
Defile: Trading Places
Toronto, Canada: YYZ Artist's Outlet/Art Metropole, 2003
52 pp., 28 x 20.5 x cm., staplebound
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies

Defile began as an idea from Art Metropole’s bookstore manager Jordan Sonenberg, (presumably) to both honour and parody FILE magazine, to which Art Metropole owed it’s origins. The notion was to publish a single issue a year, handing over the content entirely to a single artist or collective. They could serve as editors, or provide all of the content themselves. I approached Terada with the parameters and he quickly responded with the premise that was to become the first (and second last) issue. He wanted the entire magazine to consist of advertising, most of which would be made in trade with other periodicals.

We contacted every major art publication and twenty-one agreed to provide ads in return:Afterall (Issue 7), Artforum (Issue 6), Art Monthly (Issue 264), Art on Paper (Issue 5), Art Papers (Issue 2), Border Crossings (Issue 85), C Magazine (Issue 77), Cabinet (Issue 10), Camera Austria (Issue 81),Canadian Art (Issue 1), CV (Issue 60), Exit (Issue 9), Flash Art (Issue 229), Frieze (Issue 73), Kunst-Bulletin (Issue 1/2), Parachute (Issue 110), Parkett (Issue 67), Prefix Photo (Issue 7), Springerin (Issue 1),Teme Celeste (Issue 96), Zingmagazine (Issue 18).

This makes Defile magazine one of the best advertised art magazines ever (certainly the best advertised pilot issue of an art magazine) but the issue itself contains no content, only the closed circuit loop. The cover graphic, too, was part of an exchange. In order to use the stock photograph, we traded the photographer an ad on the back of the issue.

Titled Trading Places, the glossy periodical serves as both a snapshot of a month in the art world, a parody of a readership that consumes art magazines primarily for the advertising, and a trading of art world discourse real estate (Terada had previously funded a monograph of his work by selling gallery wall space to donors).

The trade edition of 950 were given away or sold for $5.00 (I can’t remember) but the signed edition remains available at Art Metropole, here, for $25.00.

Five years later the artist produced a 2008 poster called Have You Seen This Kitten?, a supplement to the project which served as a call to locate and collect the twenty-one back issues featuring the kitten advertisement. The collector was invited to document a stack of the periodicals and send two copies of the photograph to the artist, who would sign them and return one, as authentication of the collected sculpture.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ulises Carrion | In Alphabetical Order

Ulises Carrion
In Alphabetical Order
Amsterdam/ Maastricht, The Netherlands: Cres/Agora Studio, 1978
[unpaginated], 21 x15 cm., softcover
Edition of 250

A bookwork documenting an intervention into the artist's own rolodex. The same wooden index card holder (not an actual rolodex) containing the artist's contacts has been annotated with notepaper, based on some simple criteria, such as "People I've Met; Artists; Non-Artists; My best Friends - People I Love; People I Admire; There Has Been A Change in Our Relationship of Late."

"This book of mine is partly real facts, and partly fantasy. The real fact is that I love lists of names. Card indexes, retrieval information systems - that sort of thing."
- Ulises Carrion