Monday, May 31, 2021

Four Horsemen | Nada Canadada

Four Horsemen
Nada Canadada
Milan, Italy: Holidays Records, 2018
12" vinyl LP
Edition of 250 

Originally released in 1972 by Griffin House,  this reissue of the acclaimed collection of sound poetry by Toronto's Four Horsemen (bpNichol, Rafael Barreto-Rivera, Paul Dutton, and Steve McCaffery) includes a sixteen-page booklet and a printed inner sleeve with original artwork. 

"The number of words we still use in our poetry comes as somewhat of a surprise to us, especially in the light of this album. Strictly speaking we cannot call what we do sound poetry if by it is meant that poetry which has its basis in non-verbal, vocal, and sub-vocal elements of sound. Nor are we into the electronic ramifications of sound in any sense beyond doing a record. We are in fact reluctant to pin the aesthetic continuum on which we operate to the first wall available. Still, perhaps the best name for what we do is what it always has been: poetry". 

- Rafael Barreto-Rivera. 

Yoshitomo Nara | Mini Mori Girl

Yoshitomo Nara
Mini Mori Girl
Self-published, 2012
11.3 by 8 by 8 cm.
resin, wood, plastic, boxed
Edition of 1000 copies

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Vostell. Dé-coll/agen 1954-1969, Plakate, Verwischungen, Objekte. Happening Partituren, Happening Fall Outs, Elektronische Verwischungen, Elektronische Objekte.

[Wolf Vostell]
Vostell. Dé-coll/agen 1954-1969, Plakate, Verwischungen, Objekte. Happening Partituren, Happening Fall Outs, Elektronische Verwischungen, Elektronische Objekte.
Berlin, Germany: Edition 17 & Galerie René Block, 1969.
448 pp., 23.4 x 16.9 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

A heavily illustrated book documenting Vostell’s work from 1954 to 1969, including a text by Sidney Simon, an artist biography, a list of exhibition and happenings and a list of works.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Josef Albers | Interaction of Color

Josef Albers
Interaction of Color (50th Anniversary Edition) 
Yale University Press, 2013
208 pp.,  6 x 0.75 x 9.25", softcover
Edition size unknown

"The 50th-anniversary edition of a classic text, featuring an expanded selection of color studies

Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color is a masterwork in art education. Conceived as a handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students, this influential book presents Albers’s singular explanation of complex color theory principles.

Originally published by Yale University Press in 1963 as a limited silkscreen edition with 150 color plates, Interaction of Color first appeared in paperback in 1971, featuring ten color studies chosen by Albers, and has remained in print ever since. With over a quarter of a million copies sold in its various editions since 1963, Interaction of Color remains an essential resource on color, as pioneering today as when Albers first created it.

Fifty years after Interaction’s initial publication, this new edition presents a significantly expanded selection of close to sixty color studies alongside Albers’s original text, demonstrating such principles as color relativity, intensity, and temperature; vibrating and vanishing boundaries; and the illusion of transparency and reversed grounds. A celebration of the longevity and unique authority of Albers’s contribution, this landmark edition will find new audiences in studios and classrooms around the world."

Available from Draw Down books, for $18.00 US, here

Thursday, May 27, 2021

General Idea | Shut the Fuck Up

General Idea
The Sequel: Shut the Fuck Up
Basel, Switzerland: STAMPA Galerie, 1992
25.1 × 16.3 × 4.8 cm., 30 minutes
Edition of 8 [+ 1 AP]

General Idea's classic media parody video work presented on VHS in a boxed hard-cover book featuring the Test Pattern colours. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Daniel Meadows | Factory Records 1979–1980

Daniel Meadows
Factory Records 1979–1980
Southport, UK: Café Royal Books, 2021
32 pp., 14 x 20 cm., staple-bound
Edition size unknown

Photographs of Tony Wilson's Factory Records roster, including Ian Curtis and Bernard Sumner of Joy Division, Vini Reilly of the Duutti Column, producer Martin Hannet, and the band A Certain Ratio. 

The first edition sold out but the second edition will be ready to ship later this week. Order your copy from Cafe Royal Books, here:

Top Stories Exhibition

Top Stories was a prose periodical featuring experimental writing by women authors and artists. The series included staple-bound booklets by Jenny Holzer, Kathy Acker, Laurie Anderson, Pati Hill, Mary Kelly, Cookie Mueller, and others. The series also included visual contributions by artists such as David Armstrong, Joe Gibbons, Nan Goldin, Peter Hujar, Gary Indiana, Richard Prince and Leslie Thornton. 

The series was published by Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, New York, an artist-run centre founded by Charles Clough, Robert Longo, Diane Bertolo, Nancy Dwyer, Larry Lundy, Cindy Sherman and Michael Zwack in 1974. 

The 29 publications produced between 1978 and 1991 are now the subject of the an exhibition at The Netherlands Kunstverein. Complete sets of the series are somewhat rare, but not too prohibitively expensive that they needed to be displayed as rare objects under glass. This allows the museum to avoid the typical trappings of archival shows, and instead display the works on a magazine rack. The press release invites visitors to "browse, smell, read and touch the material for yourself."

In addition to the publications, the show features a newly commissioned two-channel film by Peggy Ahwesh, unpacking the Top Stories archives. Parallel to the exhibition, is the publication of Tense,  a never-realized publication by Lucy Lippard and Jerry Kearns from 1984. It will be launched during Amsterdam Art Weekend, towards the end of the exhibition.

"As I listen to Turyn speaking to Ahwesh about Top Stories #9: Kathy Acker (1981), I pick up the issue in question and flip through it. In the film, Turyn describes how she took care of the imagery for this issue herself, after Acker wrote her a letter saying that she wanted ‘the photographs to undermine the text’. In response, Turyn walked through Manhattan, from 57th Street to Chelsea, with Acker’s text, New York City in 1979, in mind, taking photos that – while showing no direct connection to the text – similarly evoke the unique social landscape of Times Square. The chapbook is bookended by two photographs of a clothed woman sitting on a chair, with only her lower half visible. On the first page, her legs are closed and, in the last, they are wide open. Turyn initially thought the chapbook should finish with the image of the woman’s legs closed to signify the end of the book, but Acker wanted it the other way around, arguing: ‘Literature should be open-ended.’ It’s something that could also be said of this exhibition, which, through its pared back yet insightful presentation, shows the importance of letting writers speak for themselves, offering an experience that is as open-ended as Acker intended her work to be."

- Julia Mullié, Frieze

Sunday, May 23, 2021

VILE Vol.3 No.2.

[Anna Banana, ed.]
VILE Vol.3 No.2.
San Francisco, USA: Banana Productions, 1977
98 pp., 27.4 × 21.4 cm., softcover
Edition of 1000

General Idea's FILE Megazine (itself a parody - and anagram of - LIFE Magazine) was influential enough to result in several other publications referencing their format: BILE, SMILE, Defile, and VILE, with the latter being the most well known. 

FILE preceded VILE by a couple of years and became essential to the growing Mail-Art movement in Canada. The inclusion of an Artist Directory helped establish a network of artists across the country, resulting in a proliferation of correspondance art. When Anna Banana sensed a "growing disdain for mail art" from the periodical, she countered with her own large format magazine. 

Even three years after the debut issue, the editorial made clear that the magazine stood in opposition to FILE: 

“Here we are at the 5th issue of VILE, and finally an issue which satisfies my original conception of the magazine — a merging of literary and artistic works into a parody of everybody's favorite alternate art magazine — FILE”. 

The issue features collages, drawings, photographs, artworks, essays, letters and advertisements for non-existent products. Contributors include Alison Knowles, Bill Gaglione, Wolf Vostell, Genesis P-Orridge, Maurizio Nannucci, Monte Cazazza, Ray Johnson, Robin Crozier, and others. 

VILE often featured a nude subject on the cover. Here, the artist and art collector Guglielmo Achille Cavellini is seen writing on nude male.

Banana produced seven issues of VILE over nine years, ending in 1983. 

VILE Vol.3 available from Re/Search publications, for $80, here

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Music for Fulfilment Centres

Music for Fulfilment Centres
London, UK: Moonside Tapes, 2021
Audio cassette
Edition of 25

On the cover design for the outer sleeve of Music for Fulfilment Centres the Amazon logo is replaced by the word 'Ambient', to further reinforce the connection to Brian Eno's watershed LP Music For Airports. The 1978 recording was subtitled "Ambient 1" and was the first in a series of four titles under the moniker that Eno released between '78 and '82 (the others being The Plateaux of Mirror with Harold Budd, Day of Radiance with Laraaji and On Land - which was released as a solo record, but featured Bill Laswell, Jon Hassell, Michael Brook and Daniel Lanois).  

Eno had previously released ambient recordings - including the superior Discreet Music from three years prior - but codified the practice in '78, effectively coining the term to describe a genre that now dates back over a century (Erik Satie's "Furniture Music" of 1917 had similar goals of producing engaging background music). 

The connect to a particular place came when Eno was stuck waiting in a German airport for several hours and found himself irritated by its uninspired atmosphere. The project was originally conceived of as an art installation, featuring continuously looped sounds to defuse the tense, anxious atmosphere of an airport terminal by avoiding the derivative and familiar elements of standard "canned music". Eno's goal was to create music that would "accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."

On this release calm! find a location even more cavernous than Cologne's Bonn Airport, which is approximately 65 660 square feet in size:

"Around 800,000 square feet in size, [Amazon] sortable fulfilment centres can employ more than 1,500 full-time associates. In these buildings, Amazon employees pick, pack, and ship customer orders such as books, toys, and housewares. Thanks to the innovations of Amazon Robotics, associates often work alongside robots, allowing them to learn new skills and helping create a more efficient process to meet customer demand." 

Music for Fulfilment Centres is available from Bandcamp, here, for £5 GBP or more. Price includes the cassette, downloadable MP3/FLAC files and unlimited streaming via the Bandcamp app. The page lists the cassettes as being "individually dubbed in real time", which might suggest that each cassette is, emptying as looping system similar to Eno's. However, a track listing (see below) counters the idea, making it unclear why the short blurb about the project noted the dubbing process. 

Track listing: 

1. Safe Stow 03:26
2. Hazmat 03:57
3. Tote Poem 02:35
4. Tramadol 07:20
5. Smoking Area 02:54
6. Mass Receive 07:22
7. Communal Area / Lockers 09:36
8. Clean Scanner 03:30

Beverly Glenn-Copeland | Transmissions [Sackville Edition]

Beverly Glenn-Copeland
Transmissions [Sackville Edition]
London, England/Sackville, Canada: Transgressive Records/Struts Gallery, 2021
12” LP w/7” single, gatefold sleeve
Edition of 200 signed and numbered copies
$35.00 CDN

Roula and I are leaving Struts Gallery in a few weeks, but we're very glad to have this release out before our final days. Yesterday we launched the Sackville Edition of Transmissions, by one of the small town's most celebrated residents, Beverly Glenn-Copeland. Transmissions is a career retrospective 12” LP in a gatefold sleeve housing an additional 7” single. The Sackville Edition contains a letter-pressed statement by the artist that is signed and numbered. 

The album presents Glenn-Copeland’s work in a non-chronological order, featuring music from throughout his five decade-long career. It also includes his first new song in fifteen years, “River Dreams”, which Pitchfork cited as one of the best 100 songs of last year: 

“The pioneering experimental musician sings rich and soft invocations that encourage reflection, accompanied by circular piano melodies and synthetic orchestral chords. The meditative track speaks to finding fulfillment out of what little you have around you, learning to tune into the universe when it speaks, and grounding yourself in small moments of serenity—necessary reminders amid a year of unprecedented turmoil.”

Beverly Glenn-Copeland moved from Philadelphia to Canada in 1961 to attend McGill University, becoming the first black student to study in the faculty of music. After representing Canada at Expo 67 with his three-octave vocal range, he decided to make the country his permanent home. 

A self-titled debut album followed three years later, and soon after that he began a two decade-long stint as a writer and performer on the children’s television program Mr. Dressup (as well as contributing to Sesame Street and Shining Time Station). 

In 1986, he self-released the electronic album Keyboard Fantasies on cassette, which very slowly acquired a cult following. Before Glenn-Copeland's 2002 gender transition was publicly known, the recording was selected as one of the 70 greatest recordings by women by the publication The Stranger. Last year the Polaris prize awarded the album their Polaris Heritage Prize, determined by a public vote. 

In a now-legendary story, the influential Japanese collector and record store owner Ryota Masuko contacted Glenn-Copeland in 2015, asking to buy up any remaining stock. Thirty copies of the almost-thirty-year-old cassette sold in three days – almost as many as in the previous three decades. 

“Inside of a month, I had offers from 10 record companies,” Glenn-Copeland told the New Republic, in 2020. Other international press followed, with stories appearing in the New Yorker, The New Statesman, The New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, The London Telegraph, and Artforum. 

A 2019 documentary about his work screened at MoMA’s PS1 in New York and a performance video is set to debut at the Guggenheim later this year. 

In 2017, BGC returned to the stage for the first time in decades, as a part of Sackville’s annual Sappyfest event. Performing at the Vogue Cinema gave him a “renewed sense of purpose.” He told Exclaim magazine: 

"It's almost like I had never been on stage before with that spiritual and emotional attitude. One, I needed to thank the audience. And two, I needed to talk to people. My music is about who we're trying to be as humans on this particular planet. I can finally talk about that with the audience understanding what I'm saying, because they're saying the same things!"

Transmissions [Sackville Edition] is available through Struts Gallery, here, in a limited edition of 200 copies. 

Praise for Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s music: 

“A type of art that feels like a secret once you come across it.”
          - Dev Hynes, Blood Orange

“Across Glenn-Copeland’s songbook are pearls of wisdom about grace, forgiveness and spiritual ablution. ” 
– Pitchfork

[“Don’t Despair” is] one of those songs where the melody is something you had in your imagination but could have never written yourself.” 
– Lafawndah

“Like his contemporaries Leonard Cohen and Arthur Russell, with whom he shares a knack for writing melodies so satisfying they sound as if they’ve been unearthed from ancient memory, he sustains a singular voice no matter his setting.” 
- Artforum

"Listening to Glenn's music, I heard a way of taking things that are difficult and making something positive, affirming, reassuring, and comforting out of them." 
- Dan Snaith, Caribou

“Perhaps its Glenn-Copeland’s example of boldly living as a transgender man or his dedicated Buddhist practice that imparts a sense of calm and perseverance. His music draws on the European classical tradition, but it’s delivered with the full weight of the African American spiritual tradition, as on his stunning version of “Deep River.” 
– Washington Post

“Music to be held close and to be cherished”
- Steve Lambke

Sun Ra was born on this day, in 1914


Friday, May 21, 2021

David Hammons: Body Prints, 1968-1979

[David Hammons]
David Hammons: Body Prints, 1968-1979
New York City, USA: The Drawing Center, 2021
136 pp., 22.6 x 15 cm, softcover
Edition size unknown

Before the assemblages, installations and performances (Bliz-aard Sale, for example) for which he later became known, David Hammons began his career making monoprints of his own body. These were made by greasing his own body - or the body of another person - with margarine and baby oil, and pressing or rolling body parts against paper, then sprinkling the surface with charcoal and powdered pigment. The technique was often combined with silkscreens and collaged found objects. 

David Hammons: Body Prints, 1968–1979 is the first title to focus exclusively on these early works on, presenting thirty-two body prints which introduce the major themes of the artist's fifty-year career. The publication features a conversation between curator and activist Linda Goode Bryant and artist Senga Nengudi, as well as a photo essay by photographer Bruce W. Talamon, who documented David Hammons at work in his Los Angeles studio in 1974.

Available for $28 US, from the publisher, here.