Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Watching Night of the Living Dead

Watching Night of the Living Dead is a re-animation - if you will - of George Romero's 1966 feature Night of the Living Dead, made entirely from scenes in other films, and television shows, where characters are watching the horror classic. Originally named Night of the Flesh Eaters, the film was retitled at the insistence of the distributors, who swapped out the title card and accidentally omitted the copyright symbol. 

This minor clerical error has haunted everyone involved ever since, as it robbed them of all future profits from one of the most lucrative independent movies ever made. With the film not protected by copyright, drive-in theatres could program it without paying royalties, and television stations could air it incessantly. A decade later, it's public domain status led to the VHS market being flooded with unauthorized (but legal) copies, often from substandard prints. 

The word 'zombie' is never used in Night of the Living Dead (Romero thought of them as "dead neighbours") but the film basically set the template for all future iterations of the monster. The contemporary zombie (as portrayed in countless movies, TV shows like The Walking Dead, comics, novels, etc.) owes an enormous debt to Romero. His Zombie is basically the last new popular mythology that is publicly owned. 

Sequels, remakes and adaptations followed, as did the use of the film in other projects. When characters watch television in a film, securing those rights can be costly and time-consuming. If the clip used is in the public domain there is no cost or paperwork. Subsequently, Night of the Living Dead has appeared in countless other productions. 

My project collects these clips and presents them over a bed track of the original film, with I believe about 70% coverage. It stars Anthony Hopkins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Oldman, Victoria Abril, Jennifer Tilley, Amber Lynn, Robin Williams, Cloris Leachman, Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Beverly D’Angelo, Tracy Morgan, Jessica Biel, John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, and a young Ryan Gosling, among others. 

Earlier today the CBC ran a four-and-a-half minute piece about the project, here: 

Thanks to Lise Hosein for the text, and for commissioning the short film, and to Corrie Brough for filming and Erik Sirke for the edit (complete with the classic "coming to get you" line ominously repurposed against me). And thanks to Kristy Trinier, Clayton Smith, Ryan Doherty and everyone at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, for debuting the piece. It continues there until September 9th: 

Blake Edwards | 54 Hits from Hell

Blake Edwards
54 Hits from Hell
Chicago, USA, Public Collectors, 2018
20 pp., 5.5 in X 8.5", staple-bound
Edition of 238

A slim staple-bound Risograph booklet that ranks every song released during the Glenn Danzig era of The Misfits.

"Sometimes I come across a text—or in this case a series of texts—on the internet and it just looks like a publication waiting to happen. I had that experience as I watched my pal Blake Edwards analyze, critique, and ultimately rank every song by the band The Misfits, one song at a time, over a series of Facebook posts. At some point I asked, "You're going to make a zine from this, right?" He had no original intention of doing so, but liked the idea of turning all 54 posts into a publication so we threw caution to the wind, and made a 'zine together. It was our first collaboration, it happened quickly, it was fun, and Blake even helped out withe collating and stapling. An obvious must for fans of The Misfits, or fans of fans of The Misfits."
- Marc Fischer, Public Collectors

Available from the publisher, here, for $4.00. While you're there, pick up some of the Hardcore Architecture and Library Excavations series.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Augusto de Campos | Poetamenos 1953-1973

Augusto de Campos
Poetamenos 1953-1973
São Paulo, Brazil: Edições Invenção, 1973
26.5 x 26.5 cm.
Edition of 500

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Jenny Holzer | Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise

Jenny Holzer
Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise
Halifax, Canada: The Press of The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1983
[136] pp., 8.5 × 8.5 × 0.5", softcover
Edition size unknown

An early artist book by Holzer, whose full title is Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise - Truisms and Essays, featuring texts in English, French, German and Spanish.

Holzer celebrates her 68th birthday today.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Roy Lichtenstein | Wrapping Paper

Roy Lichtenstein
Wrapping Paper
New York City, USA: On 1st, 1968
76.7 × 78.7 cm.
Edition size unknown

Screenprint on glossy paper.

On 1st was a short-lived pop shop and fashion boutique founded by Bert Stern, who was best known for photographing Marilyn Monroe. The gallery shop published and sold "practical objects" by artists, at affordable prices. In addition to Lichenstein's now-popular paper plates, On 1st also produced this Wrapping Paper and, also Wallpaper from the same year. Other artists who produced "practical objects "for On 1st include Gerald Laing, Billy Apple, James Lee Byars, Sven Lukin and Bert Stern himself.

An article from New York Magazine, November 18 1968, about the activities of On 1st:

Friday, July 27, 2018

Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari | Toiletpaper Tray (Roses)

Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari
Toiletpaper Tray (Roses)
Milan, Italy: Seletti, 2014
60 × 40 x 25.5 cm.
Edition size unknown

A melanin, dishwasher safe tray from the collection of tableware and objects born out of the collaboration between Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s magazine and the Italian design company Seletti. Other imagery from the series included a toilet plunger, breakfast nailed to the table, competing lipsticks, severed fingers and a toad in a sandwich.

Soldout at most venues, the tray is still available at Made In Design, here, for the original price of £22.50.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Nam June Paik | Kim Chee and Sauerkraut

Nam June Paik
Kim Chee and Sauerkraut
Berlin, Germany: Texte zur Kunst,1997
21 x 5.1 x 2.5 cm.
Edition of 100 signed copies [+APs]

A television remote control and acrylic paint in the colours of the 'test pattern'. From Texte our Kunst number 28. Signed, dated and titled on the verso.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New Yoko Ono LP

Yesterday Yoko Ono announced the release of a new album due out on October 19th of this year. Titled Warzone, the recording follows her 2016 remix record, Yes, I’m a Witch Too, which featured updated versions of her songs by Sparks, Cibo Matto, Tune-Yards, Moby, Death Cab for Cutie and others.

Warzone also features remakes of earlier material, but by Ono herself, produced by her son Sean Lennon, whose label, Chimera, will release the disk. The record seems to share less in common with her five previous remix releases (dating back to Rising Remixes in 1996, which featured contributions from Tricky, Thurston Moore, the Beastie Boys, Ween and Perry Farrell) and more in common with something like Kate Bush's Director's Cut. On that 2011 title, the singer revisited and updated songs from her back catalogue that suffered from bad or dated production values.

That seems to be the agenda here, given that almost half of the tracks come from Ono's much-maligned 1985 LP Starpeace. Despite being recorded by legendary producer Bill Laswell, the record was poorly received at the time, and hasn't exactly aged well in the thirty-three years since.

Spin magazine called it "a Sesame Street album for children who think My Weekly Reader has been withholding the truth." Peter Buckley, in The Rough Guide to Rock, described the album as "a rather bombastic error of judgement, laden down by pseudo-cosmic philosophizing." Ono herself said "After Starpeace I was totally discouraged by the fact that there was no kind of demand for what I was doing....to put it mildly".

She did not release another record for eleven years, when she returned with the acclaimed Rising, which provides this new compilation with it's title track and "Where Doe We Go From Here". Other albums are represented by single tracks only: Between My Head and the Sky ("I’m Alive"), Approximately Infinite Universe ("Now Or Never"), Plastic Ono Band ("Why"), and Feeling The Space ("Woman Power").

The remade tracks from Starpeace include "Hell In Paradise", "I Love You Earth", "It’s Gonna Rain", "I Love All of Me", "Children Power" and "Teddy Bear" (which I assume is a remake of "Cape Clear", which opens with a young girl crying about her lost teddy bar).

The 1997 CD reissue of Starpeace featured a live version of John Lennon's "Imagine" from a sold-out performance in Budapest. Warzone, too, will feature Ono revisiting the Lennon classic, which she  — 46 years later — finally received songwriting credit for, last year.

Jeff Koons | Balloon Monkey (BLUE)

Jeff Koons
Balloon Monkey (BLUE)
24.9 x 20.9 x 39.2 cm
New York City, USA: Self-published, 2017
Edition of 999 copies [+ 50 AP]

Balloon Monkey (BLUE) is a porcelain, life-sized companion to the oversized stainless steel sculpture of the same name (below). From a series of three that also includes a red rabbit and a yellow swan.

Unlike the similar balloon animals mounted to plates - which sold for a few hundred dollars and quickly skyrocketed in price on the secondary market - these works are being sold for $14,000 US each. At this price, the artist stands the chance to earn almost fourteen million dollars from a single work, if the edition sells out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Mel Ramos Candy

Mel Ramos
New York City, USA: The Letter Edged in Black Press, 1968
27.6 x 17.6 cm.
Edition of 2000

The instructions are as follows:

1. Cut out candy wrapper and figures with single edge razor blade
2. Cut slots a,b,c,d,e. Fold on dotted lines and insert tabs.
3. Paste back of Fig. A to back of Fig. B. Place figure in wrapper and stand on end.

From SMS #5.

Ramos celebrates his 83rd birthday today.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Malena Pizani | An Artist

Malena Pizani
An Artist
Mexico City, Mexico: Gato Negro, 2017
[112] pp., 16.5 x 11.5 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

Released in December of last year, this book by Argentinian Malena Pizani features more than 1400 single-line descriptions of every conceivable type of artist:

An artist who looks out of the corner of his eye
An artist who looks out of the corner of his eye and also eavesdrops
A mean-spirited artist
A dark-energied artist
A dark-energied who has power
A dark-energied artist who has power and distributes it among other dark-energied artist
An artist who remembers his dreams
An utterly predictable artist
An artist who only paints dogs
An artist who makes art for years without any common threads

"The Spanish language allows for greater gender ambiguity than English does in its use of pronouns. As readers will note, this text offers a list of hyper-specific classifications that cumulatively express enormous variety: "the artist" in question can be, and is, many different artists, encompassing different genders and backgrounds and identities. Both the author and I were initially reluctant to rely in English, on the masculine singular "he" as the grammatical default. This practice has a long and loaded history, and we're both opposed to using the masculine as an umbrella for all voices. However, for the purposes of this book, it still seemed like the easiest and most efficient way to 1) convey the wry, clinical tone of the original text in analyzing "the artist" as a singular specimen, while 2) evoking the still heavily male-dominated nature of the art world as such."

- Translator's note

Available from Printed Matter, here, for $10 US.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Tom Sachs | McDonald Ltd. Plate

Tom Sachs
McDonald Ltd. Plate
Paris, France: Ligne Blanche, 2014
27 cm diameter (large), 21 cm. diameter (small)
Edition size unknown

Porcelain plate featuring an image of the top of a McDonald's coffee cup.

Available here, for $150 US.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Spencer Julien | Works

Spencer Julien
Toronto, Canada: Self-published, 2017
83 pp., 20 x 12.5 x 0.5 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

Published to coincide with the Etobicoke School of the Arts Portfolio Day, this volume includes: Research/Archive, Talk: Paths to Actualization, Scanner-based Photography, Curatorial Projects and Cirriculum Vitae.

Friday, July 20, 2018

You're the Guy I Want To Share My Money With

Laurie Anderson/John Giorno/William S Burroughs
You're the Guy I Want To Share My Money With
New York City, USA: Giorno Poetry Systems, 1981
Vinyl LP/Audio Cassette
Edition size unknown

A cassette and double LP released in 1981, with the CD following in 1993.  The tenth release from the Giorno Poetry Systems (and the second to feature Giorno and Burroughs), the album was recorded during the "Red Night" spoken word tour of 1981. Most of Anderson's material came from her magnum opus United States, and live versions of some tracks, such as "It Was Up in the Mountains", would also be included in her later 5-LP release, United States Live. This was Anderson's first major album release predating her solo debut, Big Science, by a year.

Whereas many of the Giorno Poetry Systems LPs had covers designed by visual artists (Les Levine, Keith Haring, Gary Panter, Robert Williams, etc.), this record was designed by George Delmerico, the late art director for the Village Voice newspaper.

Anderson's contributions to the LP include "Born, Never Asked", "Closed Circuits", "Dr. Miller", "It Was Up In The Mountains", "For Electronic Dogs", "Structuralist Filmmaking" and "Drums." Burroughs' tracks include "Introducing John Stanley Hart; He Entered The Bar With The Best Intentions", "Progressive Education", "The Wild Fruits", "Mr. Hart Couldn't Hear The Word Death" and others. Giorno is represented by two longer tracks: "Completely Attached To Delusion" and the epic "I Don't Need It, I Don't Want It, And You Cheated Me Out Of It".

The LP was a multi-grooved record, so depending on where the needle landed on the record listeners would hear either an Anderson, Burroughs or Giorno track.

"In 1974, I hitchhiked to the North Pole and when I got back my loft had been completely vandalized. There was some old mail lying on the front steps of the building inviting me to do a project at Zero Bull Shit Media in Fort Edward, New York. ZBS Media was a commune/recording studio where I learned about Buddhism and sound recording. It’s where I met Bob Bielecki, who was chief engineer there. Through him I met William and also John, who was beginning to record his work. We were all interested in making records and Dial-A-Poem was a sudden outlet for the work of all kinds of writers, musicians, and poets.

Burroughs’s “Language is a virus from outer space” always struck me as an odd thing for a writer to say—that language is a disease communicable by mouth. So, if language is a disease, what were we doing?

William wanted to be a song and dance man. He had some of the showman swagger of James Cagney and a few notes of Jimmy Durante saluting Mrs. Calabash (wherever you are). When he, John, and I made the record You’re the Guy I Want to Share My Money With (1981), William insisted that the three of us hold canes and pretend to dance for the photo shoot. So there we are on the back cover—the three of us in white shirts—William and John in some kind of tan suits and we’re all planting our canes in the same spot as if we’d just finished dousing.

It was a double album and each of us had a side. The album noted that these were “multi-track” pieces. The fourth side was a crapshoot. Depending on where you put the needle down, you would tap into one of our intertwined spirals, randomizing the record and giving it the feeling of one of William’s cut-ups."

- Laurie Anderson, "Dancing with John and William"

Nam June Paik

Nam June Paik was born on this day in 1932.