Sunday, January 31, 2021

Mariken Wessels | Taking Off. Henry My Neighbor

Mariken Wessels
Taking Off. Henry My Neighbor
Ghent, Belgium: Art Paper Editions, 2015
320 pp., 24 x 33 cm., paperback
Edition of 2000

"Of the three-hundred-plus pages, edited and arranged by Wessels from Henry’s archive, over a hundred pages show repetitive grids of middle-aged Martha posing in quasi-erotic positions, in states of undress at their home in New Jersey, from 1981 to 1983. She stiffly offers herself to her husband’s camera, exhibiting more of a clinical awareness of her body than any real pleasure in it. Her gaze never meets the lens, but seems to follow directions to look stage right or stage left. There is nothing extraordinary about these pictures, aside from their immense number. Anyone with an iPhone might have many similar images. By 1984 Martha had left Henry, maybe tired of the constant attention of his mammogram-like camera, or maybe simply tired of Henry. A photograph shows her now-familiar arms, stretching out from an upstairs window and throwing streams of photographs down to the street below. We see the objects of Henry’s fantasy unhinged from the person of Martha, literally blowing away.

What happened after Martha left marked Henry as an artist. He recycled his archive of photographs and collaged together fantastic mutations, recombining body parts into sprawling new forms. These images enact Martha’s symbolic death, engendering a battalion of phantasmagoric monsters in her place. She becomes a mostly headless totem of bulbous flesh, an orgy of breasts, a psychosexual grotesquerie. Henry then used these composites as studies for clay figures, which are also documented here. These sculptures complete the process of abstraction. Martha remains only as a disembodied breast-phallus with a striking resemblance to modernist sculpture.

What is clear is this: Henry’s long obsessive relationship with his wife allowed him to develop a voice that gave rise to a powerful and complex body of work. It is less clear what Wessels’s relationship with Henry yielded. We are told only that Henry left his work in his house under a neighbor’s care, and the neighbor later gave the work to Wessels. Henry is not given a last name, and the neighbor remains anonymous. How did Henry, an artist from New Jersey, end up having his life’s work published by a Dutch artist? What distinguishes her work from that of an editor or curator?

After Henry abandoned his work he built a cabin in the woods to live out his last days. This follows a fantasy dear to my heart, one of isolation and self-reliance—a trope as familiar for visionaries and outsiders as the proverbial ride into the sunset is for cowboys. The final sequence in the book, presumably made after Henry had retreated to his cabin, shows traps laid in the forest and the animals caught in them. These pictures can be read as a final objectification of Martha, or as a reflection of Henry’s own emotional state. In either case he seemed to repudiate carnal pleasure, finally reducing the body to the raw condition of meat."
- Justine Kurland, Aperture

Brion Gysin | Dream Machine

Brion Gysin
Dream Machine
[no city]: Self-published, 1985
117.4 by 30.2 by 30.2 cm.
Edition size unknown

Signed, dated and inscribed to Keith Haring, this copy of Brion Gysin’s most celebrated work was offered for sale in the Sotheby's auction "Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring" from October of last year. 

Haring happened upon the Nova Convention, in 1978 and subsequently read The Third Man by Gysin and William S Burroughs. The "Cut-up" method made a lasting impression on Haring, who was then a student. Eight years later Haring and Gysin collaborated on Fault Lines, a limited-edition artist book with writings by Gysin and drawings by Haring. 

Haring's copy of the Dream Machine was estimated to sell for between six and eight hundred dollars. The hammer price was almost thirty-three thousand US dollars. 

“I think a lot of people learned a lot of things from Brion. Unfortunately, much of his importance has been un-recognized or at least un-acknowledged. I feel lucky to have met him and enjoyed a few years of his long life. He is a legend. Brion’s writings and especially his paintings have helped me understand myself and my work in very important ways. He was difficult to keep-up with – a kind of saint from the underworld or (other world)? He understood my work (and life) in a way that only he could, because he lived it. His paintings give my paintings historical precedent.

He has been called the ‘grandfather of graffiti’ because of his ‘writing paintings’. Crossing the gap between East and West, he turned calligraphy into a kind of surrealist writing. From his expulsion from the Surrealist group by Andre Breton (for being gay) to his years spent in Morocco and Paris, he has been an “outsider”. Usually written out of history instead of into it.

Brion sometimes complained of this sort of conspiracy of un-acknowledgement, but I think inside he knew that it was the source of private personal satisfaction. Being popular, he knew, had its drawbacks. In a way, his purity and “otherness” was preserved and almost exalted by being “the outsider”. As usual, time will tell of his contributions and he will be respected for generations to come.

It seemed to me that Brion had done…everything (been everywhere) and somehow came out on top, but not knowing which end the top was on. I will miss Brion, but I hope he lives on, in ways, through me and through the things I learned from him. If I could accomplish a portion of the things he has, I would be happy.”
- Keith Haring, Journal entry dated July 26, 1986

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Melanie Colosimo | Life Savers

Melanie Colosimo
Life Savers
Sackville, Canada: Struts Gallery, 2020
18 x 24" 
Edition of 500

The fourth in a series of eight posters (see previous posts). Posters by Raymond Boisjoly and Celine Huyghebaert, as well as two selected from a forthcoming open call, will be released in time for Spring. 


“Life Savers” is from a series of drawings of the same name that reimagine the sturdy personal floating device, the life preserver, as a soft malleable object. These life preservers have lost their intended purpose, but they’re not alone. They have company. Are they helping each other out or bringing each other down together? This series is a reflection on the role that community plays during a pandemic, when we are forced to be separated, but trying to remain afloat together.

Artist Bio:

Melanie Colosimo is an interdisciplinary artist based in Kjipuktuk (jee-book-took),also known as Halifax on Mi’kmaq (mee-guh-mawh) Territory in Nova Scotia. She received a BFA from Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB (2006) and an MFA from the University of Windsor, in Windsor, ON (2011). Using soft, simple materials such as fabric and cut paper, Colosimo creates drawings and installations that address themes collectivity, power and care. Her work has been presented in festivals and galleries internationally and across Canada such as AKA Gallery (SK) the Art Gallery of Windsor (ON), the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (NS), Eastern Edge Gallery (NL), and Mount Saint Vincent University Gallery (NS), the Guangdong Museum of Art, (Guangzhou) and the He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen. She has participated in multiple residencies at the Centre for Art Tapes, University of Windsor, the Banff Centre and at the Vermont Studio Centre in Johnson, Vermont. She was long listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2017 & 2020. Colosimo is also the Director/Curator of the Anna Leonowens Gallery Systems at NSCAD University where she facilitates over 200 exhibition & events annually.  

Friday, January 29, 2021

Séamus Gallagher | Terrified

Séamus Gallagher
Sackville, Canada: Struts Gallery, 2020
18 x 24" 
Edition of 500

The third in a series of eight posters (see previous posts). The works are not designed to be for sale, but rather posted around town and to various sites across the country. 


Terrified is a photo from my ongoing series "Dear Friend", featuring my paper drag persona partaking in trivial/recreational domestic activities, such as day-drinking, doomscrolling, taking selfies, doing dishes, etc.


Séamus Gallagher is a non-binary photo and virtual reality artist based in Halifax/Moncton. They recently graduated from NSCAD University with a double major in Photography and Expanded Media (BFA 2019). Their work has shown in festivals/exhibitions across Canada, as well as in Germany, England, Switzerland and Los Angeles. They are the recipient of the 2017 AGO | AIMIA Photography Scholarship, the 2018 NSCAD Student Awards, and the 2019 BMO 1st Art! Awards. They were also recently longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank New Generation Photography Awards. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Lenka Clayton | Tragically, The World's Oldest Person Keeps Dying

Lenka Clayton
Tragically, The World's Oldest Person Keeps Dying
Sackville, Canada: Struts Gallery, 2021
18 x 24"
Edition of 500

The second in a series of eight artist posters published by Struts Gallery in Sackville, New Brunswick. Other artists in the series include Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber (see previous post), Séamus Gallagher, Melanie Colosimo, Celine Huyghebaert, and Raymond Boisjoly. 


1. The oldest person in the world is immortal.
2. In the time it takes to read this poster eighteen people were born, and seven people died.
3. My paternal grandmother Hilda Clayton lived to be one hundred years old. In her last few months of life, as her body slowly unravelled, my dad would ask her how she was. "Getting better every day, David!”, she always replied. 
4. For a fraction of a second, each one of us has held the title of being the world’s youngest person. 


Lenka Clayton is an interdisciplinary artist. Recent exhibitions include How We Thought It Would Be and How It Was, Catharine Clark Gallery, SF (2020), Fruit and Other Things (2019) at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Object Temporarily Removed (2017) at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Talking Pictures (2017) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Artist Residency in Motherhood (2018) at Blanton Museum in Austin, TX. Clayton is the founder of "An Artist Residency in Motherhood", a self-directed, open-source artist residency program that takes place inside the homes and lives of artists who are also parents. There are currently over 1,000 artists-in-residence in 65 countries. In 2017, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York commissioned a major new work by Clayton and collaborator Jon Rubin, entitled A talking parrot, a high school drama class, a Punjabi TV show, the oldest song in the world, a museum artwork, and a congregation’s call to action circle through New York. With the participation of six diverse venues around New York City, the artists arranged for an essential element from each site—referenced in the project’s title—to circulate from one place to the next, creating a six-month network of social and material exchange. Clayton’s work has been supported by The Warhol Foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts amongst others. She has received an Art Matters Award, a Carol R. Brown Award for Creative Achievement, and a Creative Development Grant from Heinz/Pittsburgh Foundation. She has been artist-in-residence at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, PA and Headlands Center for the Arts, CA. Clayton’s work is held in collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, SFMoMA, The Carnegie Museum of Art and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. She is currently a Black Cube Nomadic Museum fellow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber | I'm not afraid, flowers just tremble


Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber
I'm not afraid, flowers just tremble
Sackville, Canada: Struts Gallery, 2021
18 x 24"
Edition of 500

The first in a series of eight artist posters designed to be posted around town and beyond. Each autonomous works, they can also be read collectively through the lens of the pandemic, with subject matter such as fear, safety and mortality. 

The first is titled I'm not afraid, flowers just tremble, by Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber. 

Other artists in the series include Lenka Clayton, Séamus Gallagher, Melanie Colosimo, Celine Huyghebaert, and Raymond Boisjoly. An open call for the final two will be announced shortly. 

Artist Statement: This painting comes from our ongoing series Flowers. Each painting in the series depicts a flower, or flowers, accompanied by a text. Often these texts use the flowers to reflect on human experiences, with humour and melancholy.

Bio: Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber have been working together for over 20 years and were founding members of the Winnipeg, Canada-based Royal Art Lodge art collective. Dumontier & Farber’s work is in the permanent collections of: National Gallery of Canada; Vancouver Art Gallery; Canada Council Art Bank; Winnipeg Art Gallery; Centro De Arte Caja De Burgos (Spain); Takashi Murakami (Tokyo); Folkwang Museum (Essen); and La Maison Rouge (Paris). 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


Jenny Holzer 
Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Avante Arte, 2020
24 x 13 cm.
Edition of 25

Made in collaboration with the New York City AIDS Memorial, this recent edition consists of condoms emblazoned with texts by Holzer and poet Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892), contained in a handblown recycled-glass pharmacy jar. 

The work was offered for €4,400, with proceeds going to support the New York City AIDS Memorial. The work sold out quickly. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Ed Ruscha | Zoot Soot

Ed Ruscha
Zoot Soot
Chicago, USA: Bert Green Fine Art, 2015
27.7 x 34.5 cm.
Edition of 40 [+ 8 AP] signed, numbered and dated copies

Alongside eight Artist's Proofs, only forty copies were produced, and only twenty of those were available for public sale. The work sold out almost immediately, with many of the prints quickly finding their way into auction. The work was published by Bert Green Fine Art in Chicago, and produced by  Aardvark Letterpress in Los Angeles. 

"Zoot Soot 2015 is a monochromatic etching on paper by the American artist Ed Ruscha. Along with Rain Gain 2014, Real Deal 2014), it takes a two-word idiom as its subject matter. In Rain Gain, Real Deal and Zoot Suit, rhyming words in white against a ground of light grey, blue and red respectively are split across a central divide and recede downwards into the centre of the page in a symmetrical configuration that recalls the drama and dynamism of movie posters. In Zoot Soot, with its phonetic variation on the spelling of Zoot ‘Suit’ to provide the symmetry of the double ‘o’, the two words are arranged one on top of the other with all four ‘o’s entirely cut out of the paper. These works are part of a group of eighteen works on paper produced by Ruscha between 2011 and 2015 (Tate P20484–P20501). Produced in a range of sizes and editions, they encompass techniques including lithography, mixography and etching. They are drawn from different bodies of work, revealing the artist’s aptitude as a printmaker, his ongoing exploration of signage, his engagement with his hometown of Los Angeles and his humorous approach to a typically American vernacular language. Fifteen of the prints (dating from 2013 onwards) have been produced specifically for Tate and are, like this one, inscribed by hand with the words ‘Tate Proof’.

Ruscha produced Rain Gain, Real Deal and Zoot Suit using the technique of ‘flat bite’ or ‘open bite’ etching, where large areas of the plate are exposed to acid, leaving uneven impressions at the edge of these areas where ink can collect during printing. The irregularities of tone density in the outline of the letters are a result of this process. To produce Zoot Soot, Ruscha first made thick sheets of paper by hand, adding small lengths of coloured thread to the pulp, before using a hand-operated die cutting machine to punch out the letters that made up his design. The finished sheets were then numbered, signed and stamped.

These works are representative of Ruscha’s humorous observation of the role of wordplay in contemporary advertising strategies. While works such as Real Deal repurpose expressions commonly used in American sales industries, others such as Zoot Suit are more layered in meaning, evoking the characteristic 1940s outfits and thus the communities of the African Americans, Mexican Americans and Italian Americans that wore them, as well as the complex history of interracial conflict and rioting in wartime Los Angeles. Zoot Soot is a tribute to the memory of the late Richard Duardo (1952–2014), a prominent printmaker and key figure in Los Angeles’s Mexican American community."
- Tate Britain

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Cara Levine | This Is Not a Gun

Cara Levine
This Is Not a Gun
Saratoga, USA: Sming Sming Books, 2020
284 pp., 28 x 14 cm., paperback
Edition size unknown

The bookwork This Is Not A Gun is the third component of a work that also includes a public workshop with collaborators from around the USA and a series of wood carvings begun in 2016. Each of the items were chosen because they were once used as justification for police officers shooting an unarmed civilian. The items include a flashlight, a hairbrush, a wrench, a broomstick, a bible, a submarine sandwich, and so on. 

The book gathers contributions from 40 artists, writers, healers, and activists who each respond to 40 objects that police officers have mistaken for guns when perceived through the lens of racism and power.  It includes a foreword by Cara Levine and an introduction by Elena Gross. Contributors include: Kemi Adeyemi, Jessica Angima, Sampada Aranke, Quenton Baker, Shamell Bell, Gregory Boyle, Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Elizabeth Dorbad, Amanda Eicher, Ekaette Ekong, Guillermo Galindo, Faye Gleisser, Sonia Guiñansaca, Angela Hennessy, Constance Hockaday, Jessica Ingram, Kate Johnson, Chris Johnson, Christopher Johnson, Ann Lewis, Rodney Lucas, Eliza Myrie, Keni Nooner, Kambui Olujimi, sidony o’neal, Candice Price, Kirat Randhawa, Will Rawls, Joshua Ross, Bayeté Ross-Smith, Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle, Jadelynn Stahl, Ashley Stull Meyers, Khadija Tarver, Jade Thacker, Prophet Walker, Leila Weefur, Amir Whitaker, Marvin K. White, and Christine Wong Yap.

"This book was planned to arrive in 2020 long before the pandemic and before these much-needed social uprisings. Nevertheless, something profound happened to America after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others. Many in our nation who had turned a blind eye for the decades previous, were spurred to act, and finally could not deny the systematic oppression and violence enacted on the People of Color in this country. Like many in this fight, I am eager to see institutional and sweeping change. As for our project, it feels like we have a moment to seize here, where America might be listening. And in that moment, I hope to insert this book of care and diligence, of creative force and collective power."
- Cara Levine

Saturday, January 23, 2021



Initially I wasn't sure how frequently artists' books and multiples would make it onto my (reluctant) Instagram feed. It turns out it's pretty often, including the above works by Bless, Jon Sasaki, Audie Murray, John Cage, Fluxus, Barbara Kruger, David Shrigley, Roula Partheniou, Jonathan Monk, Lee Henderson, Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber, Zoe Leonard, Kerri Reid, Kenneth Goldsmith, etc. 

Follow me there at @dave.dyment. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Aleksandra Mir | Keep Abortion Legal

Aleksandra Mir
Keep Abortion Legal
Toronto, Canada: Nothing Else Press, 2017
18.8 x 9.4 cm
Open edition

A vinyl bumper sticker produced in an unlimited edition, available for $3.00 CDN, here.

The landmark US Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade was handed down 48 years ago today, ruling that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion, without excessive government restriction.

The decision involved the case of a woman named Norma McCorvey—using the pseudonym "Jane Roe"—who became pregnant with her third child in 1969. McCorvey wanted an abortion, but she lived in Texas, where abortion was illegal except when necessary to save the mother's life. Lawyers Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee filed a lawsuit on her behalf in U.S. federal court against her local district attorney, Henry Wade, alleging that Texas's abortion laws were unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas heard the case and ruled in her favour. Texas appealed and the ruling went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.

The court issued a 7-2 decision, ruling in favour of Roe, on January 22nd, 1973. 

There have been countless attempts to overthrow this decision, and with three Trump appointees now on the court, there is a very serious danger that the ruling is in jeopardy. 

Matt Keegan | 1996

Matt Keegan
New York City, USA: Inventory Press, 2020
248 pp., 8 x 10.5", softcover
Edition size unknown

Published in November of last year, this Artist Book is a compendium of essays, interviews, photographs, magazine covers and other ephemera, all concerned with the year 1996. The interviews and commissioned writings attempt to reassess the 1990s, and the titular year in particular, which Keegan views as a pivotal moment in American politics. In addition to being the birth year of Generation Z, the year marks a key moment when the Democrat Party made an ideological shift to the right. 

Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, to devastating consequences. The 1996 Immigration Act laid the groundwork for the mass deportations that we see today. The 1996 Telecommunications Act "failed to serve the public and did not deliver on its promise of more competition, more diversity, lower prices, more jobs and a booming economy,” a 2005 Common Cause report concluded. “Instead, the public got more media concentration, less diversity, and higher prices.”

The public also got Fox News, which launched on October 7th, 1996. The station that hasn't merely shifted the dialogue, it's altered the language. "Fox has two pronouns, you and they, and one tone: indignation," wrote Megan Garber in The Atlantic last fall. "Its grammar is grievance. Its effect is totalizing." Last week the network announced its prime time hour will further minimize 'hard news' and increase the opinion 'journalists' that are the station's bread and butter. 

The cultural and political impact of the top-rated news network couldn't have been more clear than the last four years.“People think [Trump] is calling up Fox & Friends and telling us what to say,” a former producer on the show recounted, “Hell no. It’s the opposite. We tell him what to say.”

"Did you see George W. Bush’s quote about the coup attempt on January 6? “The violent assault on the Capitol . . . was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.” And I thought, “Are we supposed to read this quote and not recall that this person started a war, that is still ongoing seventeen years later, by lying to the American public?”"


"In 2016, I made a video called Generation that features my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephew all providing their definitions to a set of nineteen words, one of which is “American.” My father’s associations were “bullying, exaggeration, made up, there’s so many things all built up in a PR concoction.” I agree with him, especially in the wake of the white supremacist-led violence and theater of January 6.

At the same time, as an artist and educator, I have optimism about the collective work we have to do in opposition to the delusions of the right. It will take time to counter the damage of Trump’s presidency and the speed of online misinformation. This year feels like a breaking point, and there are a growing number of progressive and diverse voices entering public office and gaining traction in national debates on things like healthcare and a living wage. But in order to truly repair what’s been broken, the Democrats need to break with received wisdom of the last twenty-five years. Joe Biden has control of both the House and Senate, so let’s see what he and his party do with it."

- Matt Keegan, to Artforum, January 20, 2021

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Mathew Sawyer Sale

"Selling some stuff as I'm still out of work. DM me," says British artist Mathew Sawyer. Message him on Instagram @mathewsawyer to purchase.