Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Gerhard Rühm | i in the mirror

Gerhard Rühm
i in the mirror
Köln, Germany: Galerie Schüppenhauer, 1975
19 x 19 x 19 cm.
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies

The 'i' in mirror, reflected back as an exclamation mark. Made with acrylic glass, wood, paper, letterset, and mirror. Signed, titled and numbered in pencil.

Christian Bök | The Xenotext: Book 1 booklaunch

Join Christian Bök at Studio Bar (824 Dundas Street West, Toronto) at 7pm tomorrow night for the launch of his eagerly awaited The Xenotext: Book 1.

"Enciphered in a bacterium, The Xenotext is the world’s first living poem. Internationally bestselling poet Christian Bök (Eunoia), has spent more than ten years writing what promises to be the first example of ‘living poetry.’ After successfully demonstrating his concept in a colony of E. coli, Bök is on the verge of enciphering a beautiful, anomalous poem into the genome of an unkillable bacterium (Deinococcus radiodurans), which can, in turn, ‘read’ his text, responding to it by manufacturing a viable, benign protein, whose sequence of amino acids enciphers yet another poem. The engineered organism might conceivably serve as a post-apocalyptic archive, capable of outlasting our civilization.

Book 1 of The Xenotext constitutes a kind of ‘demonic grimoire,’ providing a scientific framework for the project with a series of poems, texts and illustrations.

‘Many artists seek to attain immortality through their art, but few would expect their work to outlast the human race and live on for billions of years. As Canadian poet Christian Bök has realized, it all comes down to the durability of your materials.’
– The Guardian"

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Martin Ransby | Kalk

Martin Ransby
Copenhagen, Denmark: Ransby Editions, 2015
48 pp., 15 x 21 cm., saddle stitched
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies

An artist book consisting of black and white photographs and cyanotypes taken at a limestone quarry, and a risograph print, housed in a printed envelope.

Available from the publisher, here, for 20 €.

Christian Marclay | Stereo

Christian Marclay
San Francisco, USA: Fraenkel Gallery, 2008
62 pp., 5.75 x 9.75", hardcover
Edition size unknown

Designed by Marclay, Stereo functions as part-artist book, part-monograph, with the artist curating a selection of his work which explores the theme of doubling and echoing.

Available from the publisher, here, for $35.00.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Merce at the Minskoff

Merce at the Minskoff is a hand towel signed by Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, and John Cage, which recently sold at auction for only $125.

Details at, here.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Nuit Blanche Edmonton: Martin Creed and Andrew Buszchak

There are no advance install shots that would do these final two works justice, but I'll have photos up of all the completed projects Sunday night. (after which  the blog returns to its regular focus).

Please come out and join us if you're in the Edmonton area.

"An artwork that has no weight, no permanent shape, and no certain outcome, Half The Air In A Given Space gives tangible form to the air around us. It is an interactive work that invites playful participation.

Creed’s instructions are as follows: “Calculate the volume of the space. Using air, blow up 12-inch balloons until they occupy half the volume of the space… As usual the space should be full of air, but half of it should be inside balloons. Extra balloons may be added over time to maintain the volume of the work, or else the balloons may be left to deflate naturally.”

Martin Creed is a celebrated British artist and musician, well-known for challenging definitions of art through mundane yet thoughtful and impactful gestures. He won Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize in 2001 for Work No. 227: The lights going on and off, in which the lights in an empty room turned on and off at five-second intervals. The year prior his large neon sign the whole world + the work = the whole world, was emblazoned on the façade of Tate Britain. He studied in London at the Slade School of Fine Art, graduating in 1990. He is represented by Hauser & Wirth, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise and Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma galleries.

Creed states: “I think it’s all to do with wanting to communicate. I mean, I think I want to make things because I want to communicate with people, because I want to be loved.”

City Centre Pedways to East Parkade, 2nd and 3rd floors over 102 A Ave. Please enter exhibit from either the 2nd or 3rd floors through City Centre."

"Engaging the existing automated interior lighting systems of various buildings in the downtown core, Beacon programs the lights to turn on and off, broadcasting a slow motion binary code. The message is ambiguous to even the skilled observer: it is unclear whether it is intended as a distress signal or a symbol of hope.

Andrew Buszchak’s work explores systems of belief and exchange; he is interested in how these structures are entwined with the values and customs of contemporary North American society. By manipulating aspects of contemporary life, he seeks a perspective that will help to form new insights on objects and correlations that are often taken for granted.

Buszchak is an interdisciplinary artist working recently in video, print, and exchange. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from NSCAD University in Halifax. In 2014, he exhibited videos at Xpace Cultural Centre in Toronto ON and produced a limited edition print to accompany the Society of Northern Alberta Printmakers’ spring edition of SNAPline. Other recent engagements with Edmonton’s arts community include his reader series Tuesday Night Book Talk held at Creative Practices Institute, and his collaboration with Émilienne Gervais, Custodial Walk, as part of Park(ing) Day hosted by The Drawing Room.

Chancery Hall (3 Sir Winston Churchill Square) and Epcor Tower (10423 - 101 Street). (This installation is visible from a distance.)"

Nuit Blanche Edmonton: Ali Nickerson | Blue Christmas

Above: a very small sampling of the numerous items loaned by local Christmas enthusiast Ralph Hartfeil to adorn the winter wonderland of Ali Nickerson's Blue Christmas piece, which will be set up at 100A Street and 101A Avenue, Rice Howard Way (south of Parkade Entrance).

"A towering green-and-red polka-dot wrapped present is at the centre of a Winter Wonderland, complete with snowmen, Santas, Christmas lights and candy canes lining the streets. It will serve as an all-night workshop, where the artist and her elves will work feverishly to hand-make gifts in response to visitors wish-lists. While awaiting their gift, participants can have their photograph taken with ‘Woody the Christmas Tree’, a replica of a vintage small town shopping mall attraction.

Ali Nickerson’s practice spans a range of media, including sculpture, drawing, robotics, and craft. Fuelled by skewed narratives, violence, and dark humor, her work embraces the conflicts, uneasiness, and anxieties that shape human life. She received her Bachelors degree in Fine Arts from NSCAD and her Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Alberta. She has participated the Future Station: 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Alberta and The Biennial of Canadian Fiber Art in Ontario (2008). She has exhibited her work throughout Canada and was the 2014/15 Artist in Residence at Edmonton’s Harcourt House.

This Artist Project is presented by Kelly Ramsay Tower with the support of the Edmonton Arts Council."

Update: the project was a hit, with line-ups all night long. Ali and her elves (all charismatic, smart, funny) fashioned makeshift presents all night long. I recall requests as varied as "a pick-axe", "a taco", "winnie the pooh", "all my dreams come true" and "a penguin". We asked for a hamburger and hotdog and received the following:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nuit Blanche Edmonton: Lee Henderson | The Known Effects of Lightning on the Body

Above: The Orient Travel Centre (at 9668-101a Ave) painted red for Lee Henderson's video installation The Known Effects of Lightning on the Body.

"A dark and quiet room features an exquisitely filmed video of a single matchstick lit and left to extinguish, projected onto copper screen. The screen dissolves and repeats, the video deceptively appearing to be a short loop, but several different matches are in fact employed, each bowing and bending uniquely. The installation offers a contemplative space, allowing a zen-like meditation of light and dark, life and death, and durational time.

Lee Henderson completed his BFA at the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2003 and his MFA at the University of Regina in 2005. His practice includes installation, video, photography, text and performance. Much of his work, often darkly humorous, contemplates the connection between mortality and photography.

Recent commissions and public projects include Fixing a Novel by Removing all the Adjectives, a single, mirror-polished brick in a cellar somewhere under Berlin; The Crypt of Marie Laveau, as Tintype (a dead medium on a dead medium); and De Mortuis, a recutting of Alfred Hitchcock’s voice to deliver a soliloquy on death and the mediated image. He has shown across Canada, and in Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Naples, and Berlin."

Edmonton Nuit Blanche: some installation shots

Yoko Ono's Imagine Peace banner being installed in front of Edmonton City Hall, Gary James Joyne's installation inside, and the grass laid on Priscilla Monge's Soccer Pitch project, a few blocks away.

Nuit Blanche Edmonton: Gary James Joynes | Ouroboros

Above: testing out the crane for the video projector for Gary James Joynes' Ouroboros at City Hall.

"Using analog synthesizers and custom-made machines, Joynes creates striking visual representations of sound, both from pure tones and musical compositions. He has honed this method of drawing with sound, to develop a sophisticated vocabulary of mark- making. The intricate and elaborate patterns in the immersive sound and video installation Ouroboros are reminiscent of sacred geometric and decorative imagery from a variety of faiths and cultures.

Gary James Joynes, who also performs under the name Clinker, is a sound and visual artist who has been active in the international live audio-visual and experimental music performance community for years. Recent performances include ELEKTRA16 in Montreal, CMKY in Boulder, Colorado, New Forms 14 in Vancouver, MUTEK_IMG (Montreal), SoundsLike, Koffler Centre in Toronto, Electric Fields in Ottawa, Roulette Mixology Festival in New York, Soundasaurus, and Mutek_10 in Montreal. Other festivals and events include Sublimated Landscape / Sonic Topology at the ICA in London, UK, Tanzstartklar Festival in Graz, Austria (2008), and Sprawl’s Interplay_4 Festival in Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Bristol (2007). He has exhibited work at the Koffler Centre of the Arts in Toronto and Harcourt House, Latitude53 gallery in Edmonton, and most recently presented Broken Sound (2015) and Topographic Sound (2013) at dc3 Art Projects.

This project is presented by MLT with support from the Edmonton Arts Council."

Nuit Blanche Edmonton: vsvsvs

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Nuit Blanche Edmonton: vsvsvs | Make it Flat

Above: vsvsvs in their new gear, atop their steam roller, in their recently built hockey rink, posing for the cover of this weekend's Metro newspaper.

Make it Flat takes place at 104a Avenue and 100 Street (just west of the CN Tower, in front of the Epcor building, next to Brandon Vickerd's Dance of the Cranes).

"vsvsvs, a Toronto collective of seven artists, are known equally for their elaborate DIY constructions as for their playful acts of destruction. On a temporary purpose built hockey rink, a steamroller replaces the Zamboni, which indiscriminately levels any object placed in its path. Items selected by the artists range from ramps, ceramics, lightbulbs, yoga balls, air-mattresses, toothpaste tubes and bubble wrap etc., are continually arranged, destroyed and rearranged over the course of the night. The project aims to use the act of destruction as a generative gesture and as an aesthetic spectacle.

Pronounced ‘versus versus versus’, the seven-person collective and artist-run centre based out of a warehouse in the Portlands of Toronto have been working together since 2010. Current members include Anthony Cooper, James Gardner, Laura Simon, Miles Stemp, Ryan Clayton, Stephen McLeod and Wallis Cheung. Their activities encompass collective art making, a residency program, a formal exhibition space, and individual studio practices. The group’s collective work focuses on the collaborative production of multiples, drawings, video works, sculpture, installations, and performance.

Recently their work has been shown at Katzman Contemporary, Niagara Artist’s Centre, Mercer Union (2015), The Power Plant (2014) and Cambridge Galleries (2013). Recent projects include Coat Check at Platforms Project, Art Athina (2014), Nap Station at Art Toronto, Dunk Tank at ArtSpin, Temporary Monument at Art of the Danforth (Toronto 2014) and 1-855 IS IT ART for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2013."

Edmonton Nuit Blanche: Yoko Ono | Wish Trees

Fish Griwkowsky, filmmaker, photographer, curator and art critic for the Edmonton Journal, interviewed Yoko Ono about her upcoming project for Edmonton's Nuit Blanche, here:

In 2008, I curated Zone C for Toronto's Nuit Blanche, which included five Wish Trees by Yoko Ono (pictured below, with then-Mayor David Miller affixing his wish).

At the request of Nuit Blanche Edmonton, the project is being remounted, but this time as the largest installation of the Wish Tree piece, ever. There will be 121 trees installed in Winston Churchill Square (adjacent to City Hall).  Participants are invited to write a wish on tags that will be provided, and tie it to a branch of the Wish Trees. After the event, the wishes will be collected and sent to the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER in Iceland, and the trees will be planted in communities throughout Edmonton.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Nuit Blanche Edmonton: Sasha Krieger | Soliloquy

Kelly Mark's 108 Leyton Ave (previous post) features the artist arguing with herself. Sasha Krieger's Soliloquy appropriates footage from feature films where characters have found themselves lost and isolated from the rest of the world. The work dates from 2011, but the artist has created a new, expanded version for Edmonton's Nuit Blanche. The piece will be projected on the exterior east wall of the World Trade Centre, 9990 Jasper Ave, across from the Hotel MacDonald.

"In cinema, the lone traveller, lost in the wilderness, will invariably come across an open space and call out, hearing nothing back but their own echo. This gesture, enacted in the hopes of making contact or just the satisfaction of hearing the reflection of one’s own voice, plays out dozens of times in Soliloquy, the trope collected and arranged as an endless monologue. Projected onto the side of a downtown building, Krieger’s collaged film inhabits the great outdoors, allowing the character’s voices to echo throughout the city.

Sasha Krieger is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores issues surrounding originality and process in acts of creative production. She received her Bachelors degree in Fine Arts in Photography from Emily Carr University in 2005 and her Masters degree in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in 2010. She has exhibited her work locally and internationally at venues such as, University of British Columbia’s AHVA Gallery, Vancouver, MacArthur B Arthur in Oakland, Sight School in Oakland, RVCA in San Francisco in and For-Site Foundation in Nevada City, California."

Nuit Blanche Edmonton: Kelly Mark | 108 Leyton Ave

Between the years 1999 and 2002, Priscilla Monge (see previous post) made a work titled Pensum in which a series of schoolroom chalkboards are covered with endless lists of things the artist must not do ("I must not have sex with art critics”, "I must not be minimalist", "I must not buy any more shoes"). At the exact same time, Kelly Mark was producing a work that functions as the exact inverse. I Really Should... is an accumulation of procrastinations ("I really should stop smoking", "I really should lose some weight", "I really should become the voice of my generation"), that has been produced as a text piece, a neon sculpture and an audio work. 

The type of back and forth between the two works is not dissimilar to Mark's 108 Leyton Ave, which is presented as an outdoor projection as part of Nuit Blanche Edmonton on Saturday. The work will be shown at the south-west corner of Churchill Square, in the upper Pavilion. The above image is from an exhibition at The University of Waterloo, where Mark is exhibiting alongside Roula Partheniou. It continues until October 31st. 

108 Leyton Ave, produced almost twenty years after Mark first began exhibiting work, has been hailed as her masterpiece. 

"Kelly Mark sits across the table from herself, drinking, smoking and arguing. The split- screen video projection features the artist masterfully mimicking her own gestures, while debating with herself, using colloquial expressions relating to “nothing” and “everything”. The list of clichés are expertly woven into the script as contradictions, counter- arguments, counsel and complaint, building towards a poignant and surprisingly personal portrait of the artist.

Toronto-based Kelly Mark works in a variety of media including sculpture, video, installation, drawing, photography, sound, multiples, performance and public interventions. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1994 at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Mark has exhibited widely across Canada, and internationally at venues including the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, The Power Plant in Toronto, Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, Muse d’Art Contemporain in Montreal, Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Bass Museum in Miami, Ikon Gallery and Lisson Gallery in the UK, and the Physics Room in New Zealand. Mark represented Canada at the Liverpool Biennale in 2006 and the Sydney Biennale in 1998."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Edmonton Nuit Blanche: Priscilla Monge | Soccer Pitch

1st look: a construction crew from a local landscaping company (who I think volunteered their services) are creating the soccer field for Priscilla Monge's piece at 104 Avenue and 96 Street.

Priscilla Monge
Soccer Pitch

Originally created for the 2006 Liverpool Biennial, Soccer Pitch features local teams competing on an irregular football field. The wildly uneven surface renders the rules of the game moot and proposes an alternative type of play.

Priscilla Monge was born in 1968, in San José, Costa Rica, where she still lives today. Her work employs humour, irony and provocation to question existing power structures.
Her work has been exhibited in numerous important international Biennials, including Venice (2001 and again in 2013), Habana (1997), Liverpool (2006) and São Paulo (2004). Other exhibitions include Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (2007) and Hotel Mexico at Luis Adelantado Gallery (2010). Her work is held in numerous public and private collections, including The Tate Britain, Mexico Vivo Foundation, Centro Andaluuz de Arte Contemporaneo in Spain and the Museo del Barrio in New York City.

Edmonton Nuit Blanche

I arrived yesterday in preparation for the inaugural Edmonton Nuit Blanche, which takes place this Saturday, September 26th, from 7pm to 4am.

I have curated eleven public projects for the event, mostly in the downtown core. These include sound works, video projections, performance, installations, interactive pieces, etc. etc. The participating artists are:

Andrew Buszchak
Martin Creed
Lee Henderson
Gary James Joynes
Sasha Krieger
Kelly Mark
Priscilla Monge
Ali Nickerson
Yoko Ono
Jon Sasaki

The project is titled The Halfl-Lit Moon. I'll try to post updates about each work as I visit the various sites in the lead up to the event.

Other commissioned works and independent projects include Brandon Vickerd's Dance of the Cranes (choreographed construction cranes), the Gotta Minute Film Festival (a series of one-minute films) and Pothole Possibilities (artists' projects in potholes).

For full details, visit the Nuit Blanche website, here, and join the Facebook here.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fine Art Multiple

Last year the Swiss-based FineArtMultiple site asked me to contribute a monthly column on the subject of artists' multiples. The site is now active, and my first text is about how a newspaper strike helped introduce the idea of artists' editions to New York City:

"The European origins of the published artist multiple are typically traced back to Daniel Spoerri's Edition MAT from 1959, a mail-order business offering artworks by Arman, Christo, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Dieter Roth, Jean Tinguely, and others. The works were produced in an edition of 100 each and sold at a uniform price, regardless of the stature of the particular artist.

In North America, it was the result of a newspaper strike. The natural pairing of Pop artists and retail commerce had begun a year prior. In December 1961, Claes Oldenburg opened 'The Store' in the Lower East Side, with an inventory list of 107 items, ranging in price from $21.79 to $399.98. Andy Warhol soon after produced his first silk-screens and began signing soup cans. But it took an extended hiatus from newspaper publication to kickstart artists multiples as a viable business model."

Read the full article, here.


I'm heading to Alberta today so there will either be a week-long hiatus here, or the site will be repurposed for a week - with entries related to Edmonton's inaugural Nuit Blanche event, which I have curated. Posts will be mostly off-topic, though several of the artists participating (Yoko Ono, Martin Creed, vsvsvs, Jon Sasaki, Kelly Mark, etc.) will be familiar to readers here.

Lots of books (above) to get to when we resume.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Gilbert & George: The Early Years

David Platzker's excellent exhibition Gilbert & George: The Early Years closes a week today at the MoMA. For more information, visit the gallery site, here. A New York Times review can be read here.

Hear Gilbert & George explain their invention of Postal Sculptures as young art-school graduates in this six-minute video produced by MoMA, on Youtube, here.


[Giorgio Maffei, Patrizio Peterlini, editors]
Milano, Italy: Mousse Publishing, 2015
295 pp., 16.5 x 24 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

There are very few traditional books listed in the Fluxus Codex, Jon Hendricks' indispensable 1988 600+ page book that catalogues every item published by Fluxus or mentioned in a Fluxus newsletter or any known correspondence from George Maciunas. Most histories focus on either the performative side of Fluxus, or the object-based multiples. FLUXBOOKS is the first title to present a detailed study of artists' books produced under the auspices of Fluxus.

Subtitled Fluxus Artists Books from the Sixties to the Future, FLUXBOOKS serves as the catalogue for the exhibition of the same name, which took place in Venice, earlier this year (see previous posts, here, here and here). The show was a collaboration between the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundations and the Luigi Bonotto collection.

The name Fluxus was first used as the title for a proposed magazine of experimental musical notation. The performances were initially designed strictly as fundraisers for the publication. It never materialized, but Maciunas' dedication to publishing remained unwavering throughout his life (“I have lots of paper," he wrote an artist, proposing a project).

Perhaps the closest he got to a bound Fluxus anthology was the first Yearbox, from 1964. But even early on, his innovative approach produced a work so novel that the title is often considered alongside the group's object-based multiples. The pages of the book were manila envelopes, held together with detachable metal bolts. Inside the envelopes were a variety of printed materials (both text scores and documentation of works) and other flat objects (a napkin, a mirror, a plastic glove, a burnt matchstick, smaller envelopes, a paper boat, typewriter ribbon, etc.). The printed materials also ranged in size, printing techniques and approach (accordion folds, small cards, and so on). No two copies of the publication were alike - with the contents varying, and the rubber stamped titles uniquely applied in different configurations. It was housed in a stencilled wooden crate that doubled as it's shipping container.

The follow-up Yearbox, from 1967, dispensed with any form of binding - it was issued as a wooden box, containing as many objects as printed materials.

By this point Maciunas had produced several artists' multiples in plastic boxes he purchased from surplus stores on Canal Street. After offering to publish "the complete works" of many artists, he realized the benefit of loose leaf publications, which could be regularly updated. The editions were to be "perpetually renewable and expandable as long as the author is living and constantly producing new works,” Maciunas explained in a letter to Thomas Schmidt, in late 1962.

He had ambitious plans to produce unbound “Complete works of…” many of the artists that he considered central to Fluxus, with titles by Eric Anderson, Robert Filliou, Albert Fine, Henry Flynt, Milan Knizak, and Nam June Paik advertised in newsletters but never produced. Chieko Shiomi’s Events and Games, Robert Watts’ Events, and George Brecht’s Water Yam are Fluxus editions that could be viewed as part of this "complete works" program. The latter is arguably one of the most important and influential solo Fluxus publications. Published in an unlimited, unsigned, or numbered edition in 1962, the boxed work consisted of approximately seventy white cards of varying sizes, each containing an “event score.” Five different versions of the work appear in FLUXBOOKS.

The text-based compendia presumably led to the realization that the plastic boxes could also house objects. FLUXBOOKS includes examples of Maciunas-published boxes that included beans (Alison Knowles), beads (George Brecht), dust (Robert Filliou), seeds (Ken Friedman's Flux Corsage, one of my favourites), and shit (Maciunas himself). These suggest that Fluxus multiples grew out of the history of publishing, rather than the history of sculpture, and helped to cement the connection between artists' books and multiples that continues today.

FLUXBOOKS also expands beyond the Maciunas-centred idea of Fluxus, to include artists who were affiliated with the group.  Dieter Roth, an artist for whom the production of books is central to his practice, possibly more so than any other artist, was skeptical of Fluxus, and disliked Maciunas, but his work shared much in common with Fluxus artists, and he was close friends with many of them. At one point he reportedly proposed his Literaturwurst book (a book as sausage) to Maciunas, who declined to publish it. 

The Something Else Press famously had it's origins in Maciunas' inability to publish Dick Higgins' "complete works" fast enough for the artist. Higgins arrived home one day, frustrated by the delays, and announced to his partner Alison Knowles that they were starting a publishing house. This led to one of the most significant publishers of artists' books ever. The Something Else Press published important works by John Cage, Ray Johnson, Brion Gysin, Bern Porter, Emmett Williams, Merce Cunningham, Wolf Vostell and many others. Higgins' interest in what he dubbed 'intermedia' is evident in many of his publishing choices: works that overlapped or fell in between the cracks of existing media, such as dance, music notation, theatre, even memoir. Poetry, particularly concrete poetry, is well represented in the numerous titles that the SEP produced in the decade that they were operational (1964-74).

While Maciunas radically rethought the format of the book, Higgins took the opposite approach. He produced artists' books that bookstores could stock and libraries could collect. The content was wildly innovative, but the formats were typically very classical: strong bindings, fine papers, colourful covers and excellent typography.

FLUXBOOKS is divided into five main categories: Book as Book, Book as Memento, Book as Plot, Book as Box, Book as Object. It also includes introductions from both editors, the text "Deconstructing Knowledge" by Angela Vettese, and a top ten list from Harry Ruhé, which includes brief descriptions of the following titles:

Per Kirkeby Blå, tid
Ben Vautier BEN DIEU
Fluxus I (Fluxyearbox1)
Paul Sharits Open the door: an incision
Dieter Roth Daily Mirror, Gesammelte Werke Bd.10 -  (deluxe edition),
Jonas Mekas and George Maciunas Reminiscensijos
Wolf Vostell Betonierungen
Jeff Berner Fluxbook,
Al Hansen Flux Flak Pak
La Monte Young An Anthology 

Ruhé's list intermingles his own personal history with the group, typifying the editor's approach to FLUXBOOKS, eschewing critical discourse in favour of firsthand accounts.

"There was no need for comments by critics," reads the press release, "which are not relevant to this study." While not lacking in bibliographic information, the title opted to focus on "the images of the books themselves, [which] are sufficient to present their nature and development.” This is a logical approach, given the origin of the book, in Luigi Bonotto's personal collection. Bonatto's undertaking (a collection of Fluxus and Concrete Poetry materials) is made with considerable resources and research, but it reads as a labour of love, rather than the scholarly approach a museum might take compiling a comprehensive collection.

Like Ruhé, Bonatto developed friendships with the artists and many of the works in the collection reflect this. They are housed in envelopes sent directly from the artist, or are lovingly inscribed to him.

Interspersed throughout the book are glossy pages featuring new contributions from over a dozen artists. Larry Miller's is blank but for a single line at the bottom of the page, instructing the reader to "Chew this page of the catalogue as much as you like, without detaching it from the book". Yoko Ono's contribution is also blank, except for the phrase Space Transformer, in the centre of the page.
Milan Knizak contributed four rough drawings of "Killed Books" (Shot Dead, Drowned, Burned and Cut to Pieces) that seemingly refer to his Broken Music series, in which the Czech artist would destroy vinyl records as sound works. Eric Andersen's Box For Expectations is a three-dimensional cut out.

Additional responses include Philip Corner, Alison Knowles, Carolee Schneemann, Mieko Shiomi, Ann Tardos , Ken Friedman and others. This approach helps emphasize the title's interest in primary artists' material, rather than academia.

FLUXBOOKS is availble from the publisher, here, for € 28.00.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

John Cage | Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)

John Cage
Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
Los Angeles, USA: Siglio Press, 2015
176 pp., 6 x 8.5", hardcover
Edition size unknown

A full review of this essential title is forthcoming, but get your copy today when it launches at Printed Matter's Art Book Fair tonight at MoMA P.S.1. The book won't be in stores until October 27th.

The title collects, for the first time anywhere, all eight parts of Cage's Diary, which was written and published over sixteen years. For example, Part 2 was published as part of William Copley's SMS series, and Part 3 as a Great Bear Pamphlet, published by The Something Else Press (both below).

Co-editors Joe Biel and Richard Kraft stay true to the spirit of Cage's layouts, which were all determined by chance operation.  It's lovingly produced, with coloured texts and a letterpressed cover.

Siglio are in Room C-#04, and will also be carrying their recent titles by Sophie Calle and Ray Johnson (including the facsimile of his own Something Else Press title, The Paper Snake).

Visit the publisher's website, here.

Blouin Art Info's Top 11 of the NYC Art Fair