Monday, February 28, 2022

Laurie Anderson | October 1972

Laurie Anderson
October 1972
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1972
[32] pp., 21.6 x 27.9 cm., staple-bound
Edition size unknown

Laurie Anderson's first artist's book is a diaristic calendar, with each page representing a day in the month of October 1972:

"On Canal Street, I do not understand the sexual pantomimes of the dogs trotting by my side. October 1, 1972 / In my dream, I am your customer. October 2, 1972"

"On Mott Street, I am in my body the same way most people are in their cars. October 3, 1972 ... " 

"At my desk, I feel the radio waves vibrating in the wood. October 21, 1972". 

Some of the obervations would reappear in her United States Live performance, and the October 21st text would later become The Handphone Table (below).

October 1972 was later reprinted by Holly Solomon Gallery in 1976. Both versions are scarce. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Robert Filliou | Fluxhair

Robert Filliou
New York City, USA: Fluxus, circa 1966/67
12 × 10 × 1.3 cm.
Edition size unknown

A plastic box (sometimes white, sometimes transparent) with offset label designed by George Maciunas, containing hair. 

The work contains an obvious connection (and label design) with Filliou's Flux Dust (see previous post), but also Ken Friedman's Flux Clippings, which contained fingernails and eventually clippings from calluses and bunions. 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Robert Filliou | Fluxdust

Robert Filliou
New York City, USA: Fluxus, c1966/67
12 × 10 × 1.7 cm.
Edition size unknown

A plastic box with a label designed by George Maciunas containing collected dust and floor sweepings, which was originally offered for $3.00 individually, and as part of the larger collective Fluxkit.

In a 1984 interview Filliou recounted the origins of the edition as likely being a conversation over a beer with George Maciunas when the pair met during the Festival of Misfits. The artist said he then promptly forgot about it entirely, until receiving a Fluxus newspaper advertising his edition. 

A companion piece, Fluxhair, was produced at the same time with a near identical label (see next post). Despite Filliou's importance to Fluxus (and his interest in boxed editions), these two near-identical works appear to be the only multiples by him published by Fluxus. Some others reached the prototype stage - and there is a label design for something called The Obvious Deck - but none of them were produced or distributed via Fluxus. 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Martin Kippenberger

Martin Kippenberger was born on this day in 1953. 

Dan Graham | Films

Dan Graham
Genève, Switzerland: Éditions Centre d'art contemporain and Écart Publications, 1977
28 pp., 23 x 18 cm., softcover
Edition of 1000

A slim booklet that features descriptions and illustrations from eight early film and slide pieces by the artist. The short texts (in both French and English) illustrate Graham's interest in bodily movement and the optical similarities between the camera and the human eye. 

The original is scarce and sells for a few hundred dollars. The title was reprinted by Marian Goodman Gallery in 2001 and remains available for $20 US, here

"Two filmmakers stand within a surrounding and completely mirrorized cylinder, body trunk stationary, hands holding and pressing a camera's back-end flush to, while slowly rotating it about, the surface cylin-der of their individual bodies. One rotation circumscribes the body's contour, spiralling slightly upward with the next turn. With successive rotations, the body surface areas are completely covered as a template by the back of the camera(s) until eye-level (view through camera's eyes) is reached; then a reverse mapping downward begins until the original starting point is reached. The rotations are at a correlated speed; when each camera is rotated to each body's rear it is then facing and film-ing the other where they are exchanged so the camera's ‹identity› ‹changes hands› and each performer is handling a new camera. The cameras are of different size and mass. In the process, the performers are to concentrate on the coexistent, simultaneous identity of both camera's describing them and their body. (The camera may/or may not be read as an extension of the body's identity.) Optically, the two cameras film the Image reflected on the mirror which is the same surface as the box (and lens) of the cam-era's five visible sides, the body of the performer, and (possibly) his eyes on the mirror (In projection what is seen by the spectator).

The camera's angle of orientation/view of the area of the mirror's reflective image is determined by the placement of the cam-era on the body contour at a given moment. (The camera might be pressed against the ehest but such an upward angle shows head and eyes). To the spectator the camera's optical vantage is the skin. (An exception is when the performer's eyes are also seen reflected or the cameras are seen filming the other). The performer's musculature is 'seen' pressing into the surface of the body (pulling inside out). At the same time, kinesthetically, the handling of the camera can be 'felt', by the spectator, as surfacetension, as the hidden side of the camera presses and slides against the skin it cov-ers at a particular moment."

"A stationary inner cameraman slides the back end of his camera while pressing it flat against his body; it moves in a gradually descending helix from eyes to feet so the entire surface area of his body is topologically covered. As the camera rotates, circumscribing the body, it films the outside 360 degrees of the surrounding space. At each moment and point on the body the specific angle of the body’s contour determines the camera’s plane or angle of orientation; each second it is filming the light reflected from the particular environmental plane facing parallel to the camera’s front plane, while the other, obverse, side of the filmed exterior is the negative, the cylindrical hole is the larger 360 degree topology wholly occupied by that person’s body. At a distance on the horizon of the inner filmmakers’ view, a second filmmaker with camera’s viewfinder to his eye walks inward in a gradual spiral whose center is the position of the first filmmaker. In walking he maps in his spiraling the complete topographic surface area in 360 degrees between the inner performer and his initial distance. He reaches the point of the inner filmmaker when this performer has taken his camera to feet or ground-level. The outside man’s aim is to continuously center his camera on the inside camera while continuously having himself centered in the view of that camera. To achieve this as he spirals, he adjusts his forward movement relative to the rate with which the inside cameraman manipulates the camera around his body. "

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Dan Graham | Gift Shop/Coffee Shop Diamond Model

Dan Graham
Gift Shop/Coffee Shop Diamond Model
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1989-1996
22.9 x 81.6 x 61.3 cm.
Edition of 10

A half-silvered glass, clear glass and metal on painted wood base pavilion model, produced between 1989 and 1996. 

One example from this edition of ten recently sold at Christies Auction for ten grand, against an estimate of between eight and ten thousand. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Dan Graham | Shopping Bag

Dan Graham
Untitled Shopping Bag
Toronto, Canada: Art Metropole, 2001
49 x 40.5 cm.
Edition of 1000 [29 of which were signed]

I had dinner once with Dan Graham (w/ Anthony Kiendl, Micah Lexier, Roula Partheniou and a few others) but the closest I came to working with him was when I was at Art Metropole and we published this shopping bag.

We began producing a paper shopping bag to take to the Basel Art Fair in Switzerland each year. The first was War Is Over! by Yoko Ono, and others in the series included Michael Snow, Maurizio Nannucci, Ross Sinclair and Jonathan Monk. This may have been the second. 

John Goodwin approached Graham about reproducing his work March 31st 1966  (see image below, from the MoMA collection). This text had apparently not been reprinted in twenty-five years. It reads: 

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.00000000 miles to edge of known universe 100,000,000,000,000,000,000.00000000 miles to edge of galaxy (Milky Way) 
3, 573,000,000.00000000 miles to edge of solar system (Pluto) 
205.00000000 miles to Washington, DC. 
2.85000000 miles to Times Square, New York City 
.38600000 miles to Union Square subway stop 
.11820000 miles to corner 14th St. and First Ave. 
.00367000 miles to front door, Apart. 1, 153 1st Ave. 
.00021600 miles to typewriter paper page 
.00000700 miles to lens of glasses 
.00000098 miles to cornea from retinal wall"

The work was originally produced in an edition of 31, and was first shown in 1967, at Finch College. It was also included in Lucy Lippard's wildly influential book Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972. 

Graham referred to the piece as "a [solipsistic] insight represented as a one-dimensional point-of-view extension making up a perspective from [at] my [its] limits of inception [...] the 'interior' plane inverted 'outside' as it is 'inside'."

The artist signed bags for each of the staff, as well as copies to sell to raise funds for Art Met's programming. 

The bags were distributed for use as shopping bags at the art fair and therefore many were likely discarded, making them pretty rare. Unsigned copies sell for around a hundred dollars, and The Archive is Limited has a signed copy, here, for 850 Euros. Art Metropole still has a single copy available, for only $500.00 CDN, here

Dan Graham | Rock My Religion

Dan Graham
Rock My Religion
Cambridge, USA: MIT Press, 1993
330 pp., 20 x 27.5 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

Sharing its title with Graham's celebrated 1984 film (scored by Glenn Branca and Sonic Youth), this volume collects eighteen essays written by the late artist between 1965 and 1990. These include articles rejected by magazines such as Artforum, Arts, Esquire, ZG and Screen, and published by Aspen Magazine, Vito Acconci and Bernadette Mayer's 0 - 9, Open Letter (Toronto), Real Life (New York), Parachute (Montreal), Art Press (Paris), and (eventually) Artforum. 

The volume is divided into three sections: "Information: Conceptual Art/Magazines/The Sixties", "Performance: Punk Rock, Popular Culture, Theater" and "Architecture: Art/Design/Urbanism". Each alternates between descriptions and documentation of Graham's own projects with his writings about other artists (Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bruce Nauman) and musicians (The Ramones, Devo, Patti Smith, The Sex Pistols, The Runaways, Lydia Lunch, The Slits). 

The title essay traces the parallels not only between religion and rock music, but between rock music and propaganda, rock music and capitalism, politics, the media, etc. etc. 

Flipping through it today - for the first time in years - I'm most enjoying a text about Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. It recounts the story of the band Adam and the Ants asking the impresario to help "reshape their image". McLaren began by ousting Adam as the lead singer, replacing him with fourteen year-old Annabella Lwin (and briefly, also, George Alan O'Dowd, who would later achieve superstardom as Boy George). Changing the band's name to Bow Wow Wow, he wrote the controversial lyrics to their songs which ranged from the innuendo-laden "Sexy Eiffel Tower" (complete with faux-orgasmic panting by the adolescent singer) and songs promoting cassette piracy (released on the largest record label at the time). 

The book includes Graham's influential interventions in newspapers and magazines, such as Detumesecence (1969) and Figurative (1965), important texts such as Homes for America (1966-67),  performative works like Performer/Audience/Mirror (1977) and early forays into public art, including 
Children's Pavilion (1989), a collaboration with Jeff Wall. 

Wall also provides a blurb for the dust jacket:

"Dan Graham's essays are essential reading for everyone interested in the big issues in art and culture since the 60s - and some of the little issues too." 

as does Kim Gordon: 

"Dan was the first person to encourage me to write. By participating in performance of his involving an all-girl band he also encouraged me to play music. Sonic Youth would never have existed without Dan Graham. Rock My Religion is a fresh momento of Dan's perceptive brilliant and friendship". 

Rock My Religion spans twenty-five years of Graham's work, which would continue for another thirty-two, until his death on Saturday at the age of 79.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Dan Graham, Pavilions: A Guide

Josh Thorpe
Dan Graham, Pavilions: A Guide
Toronto, Canada: Art Metropole, 2008
80 pp., 12.7 x 10.2 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

A pocket guide book to the dozens of Dan Graham's pavilions around the world. Includes an introduction and interview with the artist by the author. 

Dan Graham | One

Dan Graham
Brussels, Belgium: Yves Gevaert Editeur, 1991
7.4 x 9 x 0.7 cm
Unlimited Edition

A plastic portable game with only one outcome. Also available in white. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

Dan Graham | Theatre

Dan Graham
New York City, USA: Primary Information, 2021
52 pp., 5.8 x 8.2", softcover
Edition of 2500

Theatre is an artist book from 1978 that documents seven early performances by Dan Graham taking place over eight years:

Lax/Relax (1969)
Like (1971)
Past Future Split Attention (1972)
Intention Intentionality Sequence (1972)
Performer/Audience Sequence (1975)
Performer/Audience Mirror (1977)
Identification Projection (1977) 

This facsimile reprint was produced by Primary Information just under a year ago, in May of 2021. It is available from the publisher for $12.00 US, here

Graham died Saturday at the age of 79. Obituaries can be found at Artforum, ArtNewsWallpaper, and ArtNet

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Dan Graham | Video - Architecture - Television

Dan Graham
Video - Architecture - Television 
Zurich, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2013
96 pp., 28 x 21.6 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

Dan Graham’s affiliation with the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax dates back to 1969, when he produced two of his earliest film and video performance works (From Sunset to Sunrise and Two Correlated Positions) using the college’s video equipment. He made several trips as a visiting artist and his second solo exhibition was held at the school's Anna Leonowens Gallery in 1970.

"He was a fixture, almost, at NSCAD", noted Garry Neill Kennedy, who was appointed President of the college in 1967 and immediately began transforming the school into an international centre for artistic activity. He instituted an aggressive and well-funded visiting artist program, inviting such artists as Vito Acconci, Sol LeWitt, Lawrence Weiner, Joseph Beuys and Claes Oldenburg to speak and to interact with the students. Professional quality facilities, such as the lithography workshop and new multi-media equipment, made visiting the remote small town attractive to artists. Graham advised that an active publishing press could continue these mutually beneficial relationships.

"Dan Graham was a kind of intellectual ambassador, identifying with this weird place in Halifax. Many people didn't even know where Halifax was. It was more about identifying with a place that makes things happen," says Kasper Koenig, who was hired as editor of the press, at Graham's urging. Along with his brother, bookseller Walther Koenig, Kasper had previously published books with artists such as Stanley Brouwn, Gilbert & George, Franz Erhard Walther, Robert Filliou and Jan Dibbets. At a young age he had curated exhibitions at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm by Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol. The accompanying catalogue for the latter show was an integral component of the exhibition and is now regarded as a classic artists’ publication (with prices ranging from several hundred dollars for later printings and several thousand for signed copies).

Koenig was made an associate professor and offered the role of editor/director of the press. He accepted, he says, because the school was "open and without fear". Between the years 1972 and 1976 the press published nine books with Koenig, under the banner name of "Source Materials for the Contemporary Arts". Five were by visual artists, two by dancers (Yvonne Rainer and Simone Forti), and one by composer Steve Reich (artist and composer La Monte Young was also invited to produce a title, but his proposed project was deemed too costly). The books by artists are all now considered classics: Raw Notes by Claes Oldenburg, Framing and Being Framed by Hans Haacke, two volumes by Donald Judd (one of his writings, another his drawings) and Michael Snow's Cover to Cover

Financial troubles in '76 led to the resignation of Koenig and a two year period of inactivity. In 1978 Benjamin Buchloh from Dusseldorf, then best known as the editor of the influential Interfunktionen magazine, was brought in as editor of the press and part-time faculty member in art history. In addition to finishing up two books initiated before his arrival, he published five titles with the press, including Graham's Video – Architecture – Television

Subtitled Writings on Video and Video Works 1970-1978, the book documents the artist's use of video equipment as a functional tool in sculptural installations, environmental concepts and performative activities. Each work is illustrated with either drawing, photograph, or both, as well as a brief description. The title features contributions by Michael Asher and Dara Birnbaum - both artists Graham had suggested be brought to NSCAD to speak - as well as Graham's own Essay on Video, Architecture and Television, in which he discusses video as a medium distinct from film. 

"Film," he writes, "is a reflection of a reality external to the spectator's body; the spectator's body is out of the frame." Conversely, he calls video a "present-time medium" and argues that "In a live-video-situation, the spectator may be included within the frame at one moment, or be out of the frame at another". The text also examines the difference between private and corporate video production, and argues in favour of the integration of the former into public cable TV stations' programming schedules. 

The book, an important document in Graham's examination of the video medium, has long been out of print and has been selling for upwards of $350. This paperback reprint arrived in 2013 from  Lars Müller Publishers, with a new introduction by Eric de Bruyn. 

It is available from them, here, for €32.00.

Dan Graham died yesterday, at the age of 79. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Yoko Ono

Happy Birthday to Yoko Ono, who turns 89 today. Above are some examples of exhibition invitations from her sixty+ year career.