Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Book Arts Newsletter

Sarah Bodman's 130th Book Arts Newsletter, featuring fifty-three pages of Exhibitions, Announcements, Courses, Conferences, Lectures & Workshops, Opportunities, Announcements, Book Fairs and Events, Internet News, New Publications, Reports and Reviews, is now available to download

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Primary Information Sale

Primary Information have just announced a sale lasting 48 hours, during which all of their available titles are being offered for 50% off the list price.

Founded in 2006, the Brooklyn-based nonprofit quickly established themselves as an essential publishers of artist's books and editions. In addition to new titles by both emerging and established artists (Sarah Crowner, James Hoff, Fia Backström, Cory Arcangel, etc.) their mandate was to make long out-of-print titles available again to new audiences. These include facsimile reprints of classic bookworks from the Something Else Press (Fantastic Architecture, An Anthology of Concrete Poetry, the Great Bear Pamphlets), essential titles from Lee Lozano, Carolee Schneemann, Tony Conrad, Constance DeJong, etc., as well as collections of influential artist periodicals (Art Rite, Real Life, Just Another Asshole, Avalanche, Yeah, Destroy All Monsters) and vinyl LPs (the UJerks, Allan Kaprow's How to Make a Happening, The Guerrilla Art Action Group).

The sale ends on January 30 at 10:00am EDT.

Visit for more information.

Marcel Broodthaers | The Manuscript Found in a Bottle

Marcel Broodthaers
The Manuscript Found in a Bottle
Berlin, Germany: Edition René Block, 1974
30.5 x 8 x 7.5 cm.
Edition of 120 signed and numbered copies

Broodthaers had made several works both involving wine bottles and referencing Edgar Allan Poe long before he made this edition for René Block less than two years before his death at the age of 52.

The text on the bottle refers to "MS. Found in a Bottle", a short story by Poe about an unnamed narrator on a capsized cargo ship who pens a manuscript and casts it out to sea. The author's first published fiction, the story won first prize - and fifty dollars for the struggling writer - from a newspaper prose contest. It was published in the October 19, 1833, issue of the Baltimore Saturday Visiter. The story can be read here, in it's entirety.

Broodthaers tautological work consists of an empty wine bottle (empty of both wine and manuscript), boxed with an accompanying crumbled page. Originally priced at $200 (see advertisement, above), a copy sold at Christies auction house two years ago for 10,625 Euros.

Broodthaers was born on this day in 1924, and died on this day in 1976.

Claes Oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg turns 91 today.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Jason Polan | The American - Drawings of Robert Frank

Jason Polan
The American - Drawings of Robert Frank 
New York City, USA: Self-published, 2019
[unpaginated], softcover
Edition of 250

Best known for his drawing series Every Person In New York, Polan here presents illustrations from the forty-seven times he was able to draw photographer Robert Frank, whose 1959 book The Americans is considered one of the most important photo-based artists books of all time (see post, here).

Polan died earlier today at the age of 37, from cancer. Read the New York Times obituary here:

and Artforum's here:

and on Vulture:

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Barbara Kruger | Untitled (Kiss)

Barbara Kruger
Untitled (Kiss) 
Helsinki, Finland: Artek, 2019
38 x h. 44 cm.
Edition of 600 stamped and numbered copies

Barbara Kruger (who celebrates her 75th birthday today) produced this work featuring Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 in support of the ICA in London, which provided the artist with her first museum solo exhibition, in 1983.

Designed in 1933, the stackable Stool 60 is an iconic piece of furniture, used as a seat, a table, a plant stand or a display surface. Several million copies have been sold, worldwide.

Untitled (Kiss) was originally produced in an edition of 300. A second and final edition of 300 was later released, with one remaining copy available from the ICA bookstore, for £1,000.00, here.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Derek Jarman's Home and Garden

“The word unique is overused, but this really is a unique environment, it’s a unique building,” said artist Jeremy Deller, speaking of filmmaker Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage. “Within it you can see his thought processes, you can see his work and it is all in such incredible condition . . . He deserves to have this kept as it was.”

Deller and fellow artists Tacita Dean and Wolfgang Tillmans have produced works available as incentives for the fundraising drive to help preserve the home and famous garden in Dungeness, a hamlet on the coast of Kent, England.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund has pledged $981,000 and there's another $654,000 from the Art Fund, and $327,000 from the Linbury Trust. This figure must be doubled to provide for the cottage’s long-term care, so that residencies and tours of the property can still take place.

Tillmans and Dean both provided prints and Deller produced a button based and sticker series, which are available for a donation of £25. Dean said Jarman was an artist who touched many, “whether we’re stone collectors or gardeners or gay activists or just activists, or film-makers or painters … he was remarkable.”

"Paradise haunts gardens, and some gardens are paradises. Mine is one of them,” said Jarman, who purchased the home in 1986. Following his death eight years later, it was maintained by his partner Keith Collins until his passing in 2018. The garden was made by arranging flotsam washed up nearby, interspersed with endemic salt-loving beach plants, both set against the bright shingle. Published posthumously, Derek Jarman's Garden features writing by the artist and photographs by Howard Sooley. It's available from Amazon, here.

“First and foremost, the cottage was always a living thing, a practical toolbox for his work,” said Swinton (pictured above) at the launch of the fundraising campaign. Jarman had given the actress her first role, in his acclaimed 1986 film based on the life of Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The film also provided the debut for actor Sean Bean.

Jarman's other films include Edward II, The Garden, Jubilee, and Wittgenstein. His final film, Blue, was produced after he was blinded from AIDs related complications. The seventy-nine minute film features a saturated blue still as it's only visual.

Jarman also produced music videos for Bryan Ferry, Marianne Faithful, Throbbing Gristle, Suede, The Pet Shop Boys and Patti Smith. His short film The Queen Is Dead, was later edited to provide The Smiths with videos for their songs "Panic", "Ask", "There is a Light that Never Goes Out" and the title track.

The fundraising drive will continue another 67 days. Pledge here:

Bernadette Mayer | Story

Bernadette Mayer
New York City, USA: 0 to 9 Books, 1968
[38] pp., 28 x 22 cm., staple-bound
Edition size unknown

In collaboration with her brother-in-law Vito Acconci, Bernadette Mayer ran 0 To 9 magazine from 1967 to 1969, publishing seven mimeographed issues in editions of between 100 and 350 copies, and selling them for a dollar each. The more than seventy artists, poets and composers who contributed to the periodical include Robert Barry, Ted Berrigan, Clark Coolidge, Morton Feldman, John Giorno, Dan Graham, Dick Higgins, Les Levine, Sol LeWitt (the first publication of his influential text Sentences on Conceptual Art), Lee Lozano, Jackson Mac Low, Adrian Piper, Bern Porter, Yvonne Rainer, Jerome Rothenberg, Aram Saroyan, Robert Smithson, Alan Sondheim, Gertrude Stein, Bernar Venet, Hannah Weiner, Emmett Williams and Jasper Johns (whose stencil paintings gave the magazine it's name).

"Vito and I created 0 To 9 as an environment for our own work, which did not seem to exist anywhere else," Mayer later noted, and the pair both self-published standalone projects under the 0 To 9 banner (see previous post for Acconci's Four Book). 

The title Story refers to the many stories (or "like-stories" as Mayer has called them) in the slim volume, but also to the random insertion within the text of synonyms for the word "story", such as "anecdote", "scenario", "lie", "report", "tale", and "myth".

“This is the first book I ever published. I published it myself. It’s called Story. It has no page numbers. It’s about thirty pages. The way it came into being was I wrote a story that was about falling down, tripping and falling down. It was nicely written, experimentally so, but it seemed dull. So I tried to figure out what to do with it; and being a twenty-year-old person at the time, I went overboard and made a structure that is like a diamond shape where I accumulated other texts. I was very interested in American Indian myths at that time so I included a Kwakiutl myth about hats and about smoking; their description of a hoop and arrow game; and then an Italian folk tale about fourteen men who went to hell; another Italian tale about a man who sold cloth to a statue; then from Coos myth texts, a story of the five world makers, and the man who became an owl. Then I accumulated some lists from the dictionary of other words for beginning, middle and end. There’s a recipe for true sponge cake, there’s a 19th-century letter about etiquette, a couple of quotes from Edgar Allan Poe, and an article by the biologist Louis Agassiz about coral reefs.

Each of these things I thought was relevant to the diamond-shaped nature or accumulation of the story…. As I was saying to Clark Coolidge, there is some aspect of this work that I can’t remember (as to how I did it). I took the longest work which was the story I’d written about falling, and I made that begin at the beginning and end at the end. Everything was going on in the exact middle of the work, and at the beginning and end only one thing was going on and it was gradually accumulating and decreasing. To make things worse, I decided to interrupt the text at random moments with all the words I could think of that would mean story…. There are fifty-one…anecdote, profile, life-story, scenario, love-story, lie, report, western, article, bedside reading, novel, thumbnail sketch, talk, description, real-life story, piece, light reading, confessions, dime novel, narrative poem, myth, thriller. It was interrupted at random. The confluences were amazing. All of a sudden it would say detective story, and the section that was randomly chosen to be a detective story really became one. Or could become one in the reader’s mind. Probably more so than in my mind.”
- Bernadette Mayer, 1989

Friday, January 24, 2020

Vito Acconci | Four Book

Vito Acconci
Four Book
New York City, USA: 0 To 9 Books, 1968
[unpaginated], 28 x 22 cm., staple-bound
Edition size unknown

Acconci's second publication (and first artists' book) consists of typographical poetry, photocopies of the Manhattan phonebook and the type of reader-as-writer projects that Kenneth Goldsmith would later pursue to their logical conclusion. Some of the works had a kinetic quality and shortly afterwards Acconci abandoned writing for performance:

"When I was writing, what interested me was the space of a page, how you move from left margin to right margin, how you turn from one page to the next. I treated the page as a kind of field over which I, as writer, traveled, just as you, the reader, traveled. Once I realized I was so interested in movement, it seemed unnecessary to restrict that movement to an 8.5-by-11 piece of paper."

Four Book was published under the umbrella of 0 To 9, the mimeographed magazine Acconci produced with Bernadette Mayer. A copy signed by the artist in 1974 is available at Granary Books, here, for $1850.00 US.

Acconci was born on this day in 1940. He died on April 28, 2017, at the age of 77.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Maurizio Nannucci | Another Notion of Possibility

Maurizio Nannucci
Another Notion of Possibility
Toronto/New York City, Canada/USA: Shark Editions, 1998
5.7 cm. diameter
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies

The first of two Maurizio Nannucci multiples produced by John Goodwin's Shark Editions (the second being an embosser the following year, with the text "Let's Talk About Art") is a billiard ball  engraved with the title. The artist would revisit the format a year later, for a work produced for Text Zur Kunst.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Dora García | Steal this book

Dora García
Steal this book
Paris, France: Paraguay Press, 2000
136 pp., 11 x 18 cm., softcover
Edition of 15000

Activist Abbie Hoffman published Steal This Book (pictured below) in April of 1971. By November of that year, the book - intended as a manual for survival in the counter culture and a guidebook for battling the government and large corporations  - had already sold a quarter of a million copies.

The title, initially off-putting to both publishers and booksellers who feared their customers would take it at face value, has become iconic. Several tribes and parodies exist, including Steal this Album (by the band System of a Down), Steal this Episode (the ninth episode of the 25th season of The Simpsons) and Steal This Film, a documentary about piracy. Hoffman himself revisited the title with Steal This Urine Test, sixteen years later. Steal This Movie! is a biopic starring Vincent D'Onofrio and Janeane Garofalo as Abbie and Anita Hoffman.

Dora García's book pays tribute to Hoffmann’s, and documents eleven of her then-recent performative projects. The title presents the private correspondence of the artist with the various interpreters of the situations she sets up in public spaces. Questions, misunderstandings and even arguments arise, giving voice to the collaborative nature of her practice. It functions as s record of a body of work, but without the authoritative voice of the artist, curator or critic.

The book is presented in exhibitions as a cross between the free take-away posters of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and the proposed theft of Hoffman's original. It is also available in bookstores, and can be purchased from Printed Matter for $18.000 US, here.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Barbara Steveni , RIP

Iranian/British artist Barbara Steveni died yesterday, at the age of ninety-two.

Steveni and her husband John Latham formed The Artist Placement Group, which initiated and organized ‘placements’ for artists in industry or public institutions. To the mutual benefit of both, artists conducting research, worked on projects and realized art works outside of the limitations of galleries and their studios. The APG was founded in 1966 and remained active into the eighties. 

Over twenty artists - including Ian Breakwell, Stuart Brisley, Barry Flanagan, David Hall, David Toop, and Anna Ridley - were installed in “residencies” within outfits such as British Rail, British Steel, the London Zoo, and the National Coal Board. The APG also published print-based interventions in the magazine Studio International. 

Louise Lawler | Matchbook for Carnegie International 1991

Louise Lawler
Matchbook for Carnegie International 1991
Pittsburgh, USA: Carnegie Museum of Art, 1991
4.9 × 5.1 × 0.8 cm.
Edition size unknown

Robert Filliou

Robert Filliou was born on this day in 1926.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Richard Long | Twelve Works 1979 - 1981

Richard Long
Twelve Works 1979 - 1981
London, UK: Coracle/D'Offay, 1981
32 pp., 14 x 19.4 cm., clothbound
Edition of 250 signed and numbered copies

An artist book produced in conjunction with an exhibition at the Anthony d'Offay gallery in 1981. The title reproduces the texts of twelve walking works. The above is the special hard-cover edition with embossed boards, each copy signed and numbered in red crayon on the colophon page.

Peter Moore | Mask of George Maciunas

Peter Moore
Mask of George Maciunas 
New York City, USA: ReFlux Editions for Ubu Gallery, 1996
25 x 19.5 cm.
Edition size unknown

Die-cut mask of the late founder of Fluxus, with eyeholes, a fold-out nose and an elastic strap. By Fluxus photographer Peter Moore (and husband of Barbara Moore, who operated the publishing venture, ReFlux editions).

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Jiří Valoch | Do it yourself

Jiří Valoch
Do it yourself, 1971-1974
Amsterdam, The Netherlands: KONTEXTS Publications, 1975
8 pp., 8 x 11 cm.,
Edition of 100 signed and numbered copies