Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Yoko Ono | Apple

Yoko Ono
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1988
8.26 x 6.99 x 6.35 cm.
Edition of 9 inscribed, dated and numbered copies

In 1988, Yoko Ono revisited a number of her earlier conceptual works from the sixties, remaking them in bronze for a series called The Bronze Age. The every day objects of the originals - things such as spoons, keys, a needle, an apple - had sat atop Plexiglas pedestals with brief accompanying texts. Of the series, Apple is perhaps the most radically transformed by the update, from the ephemeral to the permanent.

Ono described the original work (below) as being about the "excitement of watching the apple decay, and the decision as to whether to replace it, or just thinking of the beauty of the apple after it's gone". Her work often incorporated natural elements (wind, air, sky) and the iconography of fruit and seeds (Grapefruit, Acorn, etc.). She has also noted the mythology surrounding the fruit: "The apple is associated with love, sensuality, sin and temptation. The apple is the wisdom we gave to men".

The work was originally shown as part of Ono's now-infamous 1966 exhibition, Unfinished Paintings and Objects at John Dunbar's Indica Gallery in London. At a preview night before the opening Ono met her future partner John Lennon for the first time.

"He saw the apple," she recounted, years later, "You know, he didn't say anything. He just grabbed it and had a bite in it. Apple was a fresh apple on an installation like this. And he just grabbed it and bit it and looked at me like, you know, "There!" you know? I was so furious, I didn't know what to say. And it showed in my face: How dare this person mess around with my work? So he just said, "I'm sorry", and just put it on the stand again."

Ono told Uncut magazine in 2010 that her first impression of Lennon was that he looked "very beautiful, a very elegant kind of guy" and that "it would be nice to have an affair or something."  But after he bit into the apple she thought "Oh well, forget it."

Lennon remembered the meeting much more positively: "an apple on sale for two hundred quid! I thought it was fantastic—I got her work immediately...it was two hundred quid to watch the fresh apple decompose".

Either way, the bite mark became immortalized in the 80's bronze version. The apple is notably not the pristine new, fresh apple, nor the eventual decomposed one (see final image, below).

Monday, August 24, 2020

Cary Leibowitz | Too Young To Hate Nixon

Cary Leibowitz
Too Young To Hate Nixon
New York City, USA: Self-published, nd
8 x 8 cm.
Edition of 500 signed and numbered copies

A protest button about activism and the generation gap, producing in the mid-nineties, I believe.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Davi Det Hompson | Flicker Surface

Davi Det Hompson
Untitled [Flicker Surface]
Richmond, USA: Self-Published, 1970
15 x 15"
Edition of 35

A concrete poem, screenprint on paper, issued as part of the 1970 portfolio Oral, Topical, Spinal

Available from Division Leap, here, for $350 US.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Endre Tót | TOTalJOY Covid Face Mask

Endre Tót
TOTalJOY Covid Face Mask
London, UK: Show & Tell Editions, 2020
30 x 21cm.
Edition of 75 numbered copies

"Printed backing sheet with glue attached printed face mask with the text in red; “TOTalJOY”.
The title is well known as a phrase often used by the artist and while this artwork has been produced in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic is meant as a call to show optimism at a time of tragedy.
The mask is functioning and can be removed from the card but it is primarily meant as an artwork. As the card notes: all face masks help prevent transmission of disease but this is not surgical standard mask and should be treated as such. Only 75 numbered copies released all in original plastic self-sealing transparent plastic bag."
- publisher's blurb

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Paul Sharits | Flux Wall Poem

Paul Sharits
Flux Wall Poem
New York City, USA: Fluxus, [circa] 1968
10 x 12 x 1 cm.
Edition size unknown

A thin plastic box with a label designed by George Maciunas containing six double-sided offset printed cards. The illustration above (by Harry Ruhe) indicates how they are to be hung on the wall, hanging from chains.

Maciunas said very little about this work, other than writing to a collector "Not very good"*. The below prototype is certainly baffling: why such a large box for six cards that would fit into an envelope. Jon Hendricks, in the Fluxus Codex, remarks only "Handy words, packaged by Fluxus".

The work is in the collection of Harvard Art Museums, The Museum of Modern Art in NYC and the Bonotto Foundation.

*"Sharits wall poem is available, not very good...". George Maciunas to Dr. Hanns Sohm, late 1972.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Louise Lawler | Bird Calls

from Micah Lexier's Instagram page yesterday:

"Poster of an early presentation (August 16, 1983) of Louise Lawler’s seminal “Birdcalls”, which I was lucky enough to attend when I was a student at @nscaduniversity. After the performance I took this letterpress-printed poster off the wall (you can still see the pin holes in each corner) and managed to hang on to it for 37 years.

Stacey Allan, writing about “Birdcalls” in Afterall: Issue 20 (Spring 2009) wrote: The towering list of names is impressive…Stacked one on top of the other, the appearance of these artists' names might typically signal the inclusion of their works in a group exhibition, but here they serve as part of an audio-and-text installation by an artist who literally buries her name under the more recognisable names of her contemporaries. At the very bottom of the heap, a modest line identifies the work: 'Birdcalls by Louise Lawler'. Perhaps only after reading this acknowledgement is one able to connect the ambient audio track and its incongruous cries with the names on the wall. The sounds are made by Lawler, who strains her voice to sing the names of twenty-eight celebrated male artists as though they were the songs of twenty-eight unique species of bird. She calls the first, last or full name of each artist as indicated by the part of the name that is printed in red or green, each name given its own specifically nuanced call… Like the artists themselves, each name as performed by Lawler has its own imitable style.

Wendy Vogel wrote the following text - “Bird Calls (1972, recorded in 1981) by Louise Lawler is a six-minute roll call in which the artist squawks, chirps, and warbles the names of twenty-eight of the leading artists of the time—not coincidentally, all men.Each name is subject to distortion and derision as it is transformed into an individual call. This powerful (and powerfully funny) piece, the artist’s only audio work, may seem anomalous in relation to the subtly acerbic photographs and ephemeral multiples for which she is now known. Yet the work, in its explicit irony and eschewal of the visual, represents not only a turning point in 1970s feminist art production.

Yet the work, in its explicit irony and eschewal of the visual, represents not only a turning point in 1970s feminist art production, but a critical model that resonates with contemporary production and curatorial practice that don’t adhere to the notion of a fixed site.""

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Primary Information sale

Primary Information is one of my favorite active publishers. I’ve probably posted more long-form reviews of their titles than any other contemporary artist book publisher. This is in part because they are considerate enough to send me review copies, but I was a customer before this, and also subsequently. I recently purchased the Broken Music reprint, Cornelius Cardrew on Stockhausen and Cage and Tony Conrad’s Writings, as part of their Black Live Matter fundraiser, and just now ordered the complete ArtRite as part of the above 50%-off sale, which runs until tomorrow at 10am.

From their new publications, I'd recommend this Khan and Warwick title, and from their reprints, I'd suggest Fantastic Architecture or Lee Lozano's notebooks. In terms of audio, the Kaprow reprint is already sold out but the Guerrilla Art Action Group LP is very much worth having.

Andy Warhol | Blue Movie

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Jenny Holzer | Put food out in the same place...

Jenny Holzer
The Survival Series: Put food out in the same place
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1984
15.2 x 25.4 cm.
Edition of 10

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Ursula Meyer | Conceptual Art

Ursula Meyer
Conceptual Art
New York City, USA: E. P. Dutton, 1972
227 pp.,
Edition size unknown

A collection of almost entirely male contributions to conceptual art (despite being authored by a woman), including Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, Daniel Buren, Jan Dibbets, Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, On Kawara, Sol Lewitt, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Ed Ruscha, Lawrence Weiner, and others.

The only women to feature are Adrian Piper, Rosemarie Castaro and Hilla Becher (with her husband Bernd). Even the listing for N.E.Thing Company is followed by Iain Baxter's name in parenthesis, omitting the contributions of his wife Ingrid.

Still, there are some important works collected here, and the volume adheres to the principle that conceptual art is best represented by primary sources.

Download the volume in its entirety at Monoskop, here:


Friday, August 14, 2020

Wim Wenders | Instant Stories

Wim Wenders
Instant Stories
Munich, Germany: Schirmer Mosel, 2018
320 pp.,  9.9 x 1.3 x 11.8", hardcover
Edition size unknown

"Globetrotting filmmaker Wim Wenders always takes his old panorama camera with him, using it whenever the sheer wealth of what he sees and the impression it leaves on him breaks the normal scale of things. Infinite landscapes, endless horizons, deserts, and mountain ranges overwhelm by their emptiness and silence, street fronts in Havana, Houston, Berlin, or Jerusalem offer deep insights into the shallows of civilization. Wenders’ photographs are pictures of a world almost devoid of humans, a natural or man-made world viewed from a distance. They shed light on the many guises the surface of the earth dons and attest to Wenders’ contemplative and amazed gaze. This gaze, of course, didn’t stop at September 11 and delivered haunting photos of Ground Zero taken shortly after the attack. With poetic comments by the artist on all the pictures, the book is both a portrait of the world as encountered by the photographer and a portrait of the photographer as reflected in his vision of the world."

- publisher's blurb

Wim Wenders turns 75 years old today.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Recordworks of the Avant-garde

[Various Artists, Dave Dyment, ed]
Recordworks of the Avant-garde
Toronto, Canada: D & E Lake, [circa 1996]
[20 pp]., 21.5 x 18 cm., staple-bound
Edition size unknown

A sales list I compiled of artists' recordings many, many years ago when I worked for Lake Galleries and D & E Lake bookstore. The catalogue is not dated, but I'm guessing it was from around 1996.

The list includes records made by artists and records with cover graphics designed by artists. The former includes discs by Laurie Anderson, Katharina Fritsch, Al Hansen, Martin Kippenberger, Milan Knizak, Alison Knowles, Yoko Ono, Michael Snow, Lawrence Weiner, La Monte Young and others. The latter includes Francesco Clemente's cover for Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali's cover for Jackie Gleason, General Idea's design for several Rough Trade LPs, Jenny Holzer for Todd Levin, Mike Kelley for Sonic Youth, Robert Rauschenberg for Talking Heads, Gerhard Richter for Sonic Youth, and Andy Warhol for Paul Anka, The Velvet Underground, Diana Ross, The Rolling Stones, Miguel Bose, Aretha Franklin, John Lennon, etc., etc.

Additionally there are examples of experimental music (The Residents, the Hafler Trio, Brian Eno) and composers (John Cage, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, etc).

Union Editions

Union Editions launches next Thursday, August 13th in Palermo with an exhibition by Raniero Berardinelli and a performance by Giulia Crispiani.

Tomo Studio
Via Enrico Albanese 108, Palermo

Friday, August 7, 2020

Robert Rauschenberg | Cardbird VI, from Cardbird Series

Robert Rauschenberg
Cardbird VI, from Cardbird Series
Los Angeles, USA: Gemini G.E.L., 1971
66 x 71.1 x .09 cm.
Edition of 75 signed and dated copies [+6 AP]

The sixth of seven works in the Cardbirds series, which re-create the flattened cardboard boxes that Rauschenberg found in alleyway dumpsters off of La Cienega Boulevard, near the Los Angeles print shop that fabricated much of his work at the time. The torn edges, markings, folds, and labels have been meticulously reproduced onto pristine cardboard to duplicate the discarded found boxes.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Ian Hamilton Finlay | Woods and Seas

Ian Hamilton Finlay
Woods and Seas
Little Sparta, Scotland: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1980
[4] pp., 6 x 9 cm., softcover
Edition of 250

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Brian Eno | Glint

Brian Eno
New York City, USA: Artforum, 1986
Flexi-disc, 8", 33 ⅓ RPM
Edition size unknown

A single-sided flexi-disc record featuring an eight minute and thirty second ambient recording titled
Glint (East Of Woodbridge). The disk was released as a tear-out disc as part of Artforum magazine Volume XXIV No. 10, Summer 1986.

Three years later a version of Glint appeared with the new title of Suspicions on a non-commercial LP called Textures, which consisted of ambient tracks designed to be licensed for use in film and television productions. Three years after that, it reappeared again as Lanzarote and on Eno's 1992 LP  The Shutov Assembly.

The song can be heard on Youtube, here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Laurie Anderson | Let X = X

Laurie Anderson
Let X = X
New York City, USA: Artforum, 1982
5:00, 33 1/3 rpm 7" flexi-disc record
Edition size unknown

Two months prior to be releasing on her debut album (Big Science, Warner Brothers) a shorter version - without the tango and horns - was released as a flexi-disc tear-out in the February 1982 issue Artforum magazine. A sleeve for the disc could be cut out from the pages of the periodical and assembled.

Anderson was invited to contribute to the issue by Ingrid Sischy, who was the editor of Artforum from 1979 and 1988 (and later Interview Magazine and Vanity Fair, before dying of breast cancer at age 63 in 2015). 

Four years later, Brian Eno (who produced Anderson's fifth studio LP, Bright Red in 1994, among other collaborations) released the only other Artforum flexi-disc that I'm aware of, Glint (see next post). 

Hear Let X = X on Youtube, here

"In the early ’80s, Ingrid was one of the few people in the art world who had a very broad idea of the way art fit into the overall culture. Pop culture didn’t scare her. Neither did fashion. She was interested in everything. At the time, I had just signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records and was getting a lot of criticism from artists for “selling out.” Ingrid called it “crossing over,” and soon a lot of artists were trying it out. I’ll always be grateful to Ingrid for her support of my work. Every time I got an award, I would find out that Ingrid was somewhere behind it, pulling some strings. She invited me to put a flexi-disc of one of my songs, “let X = X,” into the February 1982 issue of the magazine. “Why not records?” she said in her voice that was half language, half laugh. She talked as if she were thinking of the words for the first time. In her grave mode, she could also speak in a way such that each word came out carved in stone. Ingrid was brilliant."
- Laurie Anderson on Ingrid Sischy, Artforum  2015