BOOKS FROM THE SHELVES BY PRINTED MATTER
If you ever find yourself in New York then a visit to PRINTED MATTER'S inspiring stock of more than 15,000 artist books and zines is a must. This is how we met James Jenkin, director of the longest standing non-profit organisation dedicated to self-published projects. Printed Matter's mission is to look at what's out there besides exhibition catalogues and "livres de luxe", and to foster artist books as unique works in their own right, "narratives" intended to be seen in a printed, bound, and widely disseminated format. Printed Matter is the initiator of the annual New York Artbook Fair at MoMA PS1.
As well as being great help for the MA-research project of one of our team members, James also dug out three must haves from Printed Matter's current stock for us. Thanks James!
WILLIAM E. JONES | Halsted Plays Himself | MIT Press. 2012
WILLIAM E. JONES, an artist and filmmaker from California, follows on from Tearoom and Killed with another incredible new title, Halsted Plays Himself. As the name suggests, the book documents the identity of Fred Halsted, the self-taught filmmaker who created the 1972 gay porn experimental masterpiece of the same name. What is interesting to me is not only Jones' attempt to capture the rather fascinating public as well as the very private persona of Halsted, but the project's indirect documentation of the long (and for many sadly) gone days when there was arguably a true gay underground to provide a genuine context for Halsted's experimental filmmaking ambitions. A very interesting experimental film artist exploring the works of another results in a truly fascinating book.
YOKO NAITO | Maybe See You? | Y. Naito. 2012
From one extreme to the other, in the spirit of Spring I'm going to give a bit of love to the delightful new book by YOKO NAITO, a young Japanese book artist who recently formed part of the Young Japanese Artists' Book Fair we held here. It's called Maybe See You and it's just a pretty book, and fun. I'm feeling far less conceptual these days and surprising myself by picking up books I maybe previously wouldn't have been interested in. I'm particularly liking the romantic quality of balloon rides in this one. It's a book for when you're inside but want to be outside.
JON HENDRICKS & JEAN TOCHE | GAAG : The Guerrilla Art Action Group. second edition | Printed Matter Inc.. 2011
It would be remiss of me not to include one of our own publications, so I'm chucking on my list the recent re-edition of JON HENDRICKS & JEAN TOCHE's second edition of GAAG : The Guerrilla Art Action Group. First published in 1978, the book served as the primary text to the significant work of the activist artist group GAAG (Jon Hendricks, Poppy Johnson, Silvianna, Joanne Stamerra, Virginia Toche and Jean Toche), outlining 52 political art actions they carried out through the late Sixties and early Seventies. The GAAG were guided by their belief that art and culture had been corrupted by profit and private interest, yet ironically this first edition of their book has become so rare it is now in the hands of a few collectors and the bougie establishment they were fighting against. So together with the authors, Printed Matter decided to give this awesome book another life and re-edition it in a more democratic way at a price people can actually afford.
CECILIE BJORGAS JORDHEIM | partitur | Glemmeboka Forlag. 2010
I also enjoyed a recent artists’ publication by Norwegian artist CECILIE BJORGAS JORDEIM. The book is entirely made up of faded images of the same mountainscape, with the orientation of the images changing throughout. The artist built a whole project around the book, where he took that scene and the form of the mountain peaks as a kind of notation on a musical staff. She later composed a piece for string quartet which he workshopped and performed last year in Oslo. I like the idea that the book is just one small part of it, beautiful in its own right, that doesn't quite give up the expanse of the project. Besides being a score in musical sense, which it literally is, it is also this key to the larger piece the whole production of the performance.