Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gilbert & George | Reclining Drunk

Gilbert & George
Reclining Drunk
London, UK: Nigel Greenwood Gallery, 1973
4.5 x 24.0 x 12.5 cm.
Edition of 200 initialled and numbered copies

This ashtray/collapsed bottle sculpture was auctioned at Sothebys last year for £5000. Four years prior a Christies auction fetched £4,375 ($6,869 US).

In an obituary for potter Reg Moon (written by his daughter Carey Moon) published in the Guardian, here, Moon is credited with creating these, and Gilbert and George are said to have bought "a gross" of them. However, Carey Moon attributes them to the mid-eighties, a decade after the Gilbert & George event pictured above.

Most other online references to either Moon or the work quotes from this source, but further research turned up the following information:

"Between 1969 and 1971 local artist Reg Moon made hundreds of Squashed Bottle Ashtrays in the pottery at the rear of the Torquil Shop in Henley-in-Arden.

Reg enjoyed his gin and one day (maybe after one too many) he tried firing an empty gin bottle in the kiln. The result was a rather pleasing “Squashed Bottle”. After much experimentation, Squires gin bottles seemed to melt into the most aesthetically pleasing Salvador Dali-like shape, which could be used as an ash tray.

They proved to be very popular so Reg began to buy the empty bottles by the gross from the manufacturer. They were on sale in the shop for 7s 6d (about 35p) but also distributed wholesale to other shops around the country, including Heals in London. Soon the whole family (including daughter & son aged 11& 13) were engaged in wrapping and packing these bottles into specially made cardboard boxes which had “The Squashed Bottle” printed in purple all around.

One day Reg received a phone call from a very well spoken gentleman called Gilbert (or was it George) who wanted to order a gross or 2 of these bottles. Reg had never heard of this couple but of course, Gilbert & George were emerging artists of the time and to become household names in the 70s, with their slogan ‘Art for All’. They adopted the identity of ‘living sculptures’ in both their art and their daily lives, becoming not only creators, but also the art itself.

Reg therefore decided to deliver the consignment himself, so drove down to London in his Landrover with his then assistant, Patty. They found their way to the Fournier Street address in East London. Reg was cordially greeted by the artists and when he presented his bill, George said “My dear man, there seems to be no charge for carriage”. Reg implied that it was ok, but they insisted and suggested that the price could be in guineas instead of pounds to compensate for the carriage costs. And the deal was done!

Being the talented and innovative artist that he was, Reg soon tired of melting hundreds of glass bottles every day and went on to become one of the country’s best studio potters of his generation. How surprised and tickled he would have been to hear that a Squashed Bottle Ashtray, produced here, then signed and numbered by Gilbert and George recently sold at Sotheby’s for £4,750!!

Although Reg passed away in 2009, the Torquil pottery in Henley-in-Arden continues in the capable hands of daughter Carey Moon who also runs “The Gallery Upstairs” with her brother Paul. They too are now promoting “Art for All” by running ceramics workshops and courses to the general public at Torquil year round. They also hold two art exhibitions each year featuring work from little known emerging and nationally renowned artists alike. Their next exhibition opens on May 24th 2011."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Museum Top 20 of 2015

Herbert Pfostl is the buyer for the New Museum's bookstore, which is one of the best-curated museum shops in North America. When visiting NYC I often fail to make time to see their exhibitions, but I never miss a visit to the store.

Pfostl has just announced his top twenty titles of 2015. The list includes the two recent Harry Smith catalogues, a great memoir from Werner Herzog, another by neurologist Oliver Sacks (who died shortly after its publication) and Find a Fallen Star by Regine Petersen.

Read the full list here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Art of Typewriting

[Marvin Sackner, Ruth Sackner]
The Art of Typewriting
London, UK: Thames & Hudson, 2015
352 pp., 25 x 31.5 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

Released earlier this year, no two covers of The Art of Typewriting are alike.

See full review, here.

Monday, December 28, 2015

John Waters | Tragedy

John Waters
Zurich, Switzerland: Parkett, 2015
46 x 46 x 12.5 cm
Edition of 25 signed and numbered copies

Scalp as sculpture, for Parkett magazine issue #96. Made of acrylic, synthetic hair, painted silicone, and urethane, the work is accompanied by a certificate signed and numbered by artist and filmmaker John Waters.

When Jayne Mansfield died in a car accident in 1967 it was reported that she was decapitated. Twenty years later the New York Times sent a reporter to interview the undertaker, who clarified that it was only her wig that came off in the crash. Shortly afterward another report claimed that part of her scalp was separated from her skull, also.

"Wouldn't Jayne Mansfield appreciate the irony of my appalling taste inside a tony swiss art magazine with highbrow credentials?"
- John Waters

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ellsworth Kelly, RIP

According to the New York Times, here, Ellsworth Kelly has died, at the age of 92.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sara MacKillop | Argos 1976

Sara MacKillop
Argos 1976
London, UK: The Everyday Press, 2014
[unpaginated], 24.7 x 19.7 cm., softcover
Edition of 40 [+2 AP] , numbered copies

A complete facsimile of the Argos Catalogue 1976. Full colour digital print on paper, perfect bound.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas card to Joseph Cornell

John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Christmas card to Joseph Cornell
New York City, USA: Self-published, 1971
13 x 9 cm.
Edition size unknown

From the Archives of American Art, Joseph Cornell papers: a Christmas card sent from Yoko Ono and John Lennon to Joseph Cornell, on his second last Xmas (he died December 29th, the following year).

A near-identical postcard was included in the Sometime In New York City LP packaging, with "Happy Xmas (war is over), Love John & Yoko" replaced by the album's title.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Recommendation Guest Post #17: Mark Pawson

"For over 20 years I've sold a selection of self-published print creations which span the territory from zines to artists books, and recently I've been reminiscing about some inspiring publications from the 90s, and wondering if any of them were still available, with the intention of getting hold of copies and making them available to a new younger audience and people who missed them first time around. Most of the titles I searched for had been unavailable for years, but I was delighted to find that DUPLEX PLANET was still available.

In 1979, fresh out of Art School in Boston, USA, David B. Greenberger took a job as activities coordinator at the Duplex Nursing Home. As he chatted to the elderly residents and got to know each of them individually he became fascinated by their conversations, they had led long and varied lives, many had lived through the great depression and two world wars and had a wealth of experience and viewpoints that they were happy to share.

He realised that this was a unique opportunity to talk to older Americans who he would not have met in other circumstances and began recording their conversations. Side-stepping the conventions of oral history, David's method was to start conversations with offbeat questions such as :

What would you do if you were Governor?
Did the future turn out the way you thought it would?
Tell me about bowling
What does a sharp dressed man wear?
What makes you really mad?
Did the pilgrims play bingo on the Mayflower?

He selected a variety of the responses, typed them up, printed a small self-published magazine and named it the Duplex Planet. When the magazine was ready he gathered the Duplex Nursing Home residents together and gave them copies. They were interested to see their names in print, but when they realised that David was just giving out magazines and not sandwiches or cakes they quickly lost interest and drifted away. This lack of interest from the target audience was disheartening, but later that evening he showed copies to his art school friends, who appreciated it immediately and were soon reading it aloud to each other. Greenberger realised that Duplex Planet did have a readership after all, and made the inspired, audacious decision to keep publishing it. And he continued publishing Duplex Planet for over 30 years!

Duplex Planet appeared up to 9 times a year, containing a mixture of conversations, poetry and musings from nursing home residents and day centre users across the USA, accompanied with photographs. There were themed issues, issues dedicated to particularly talkative contributors and tribute issues to much-loved contributors who had died. Throughout this time Duplex Planet remained the same modest size and format, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, 16-20 pages, offset printed with a fairly utilitarian layout. The most recent issue I have is #187 from 2010.

'Touching on the humorous and sometimes philosophical, the (stories) focus on thoughts, feelings and insights about life, loss and the passage of time but especially life lived vividly in the present'

Duplex Planet grew to encompass a range of publications and other media including book length compilations published in the UK and USA, a series of Duplex Planet Illustrated comic books published by Fantagraphics and several CDs, with David Greenberger reading monologues from the Duplex Planet with musical accompaniment as well as compilations with assorted Indie bands and musicians using texts from Duplex Planet as lyrics. These are all good and they're all on my shelves, but for me the original magazine itself is indispensable, because of the unique take on life it shares with readers, self belief in the original concept and impressive longevity.

Several times during quiet periods at book fairs or zine festivals, I've picked up an issue of Duplex Planet from my table to read and afterwards put it aside to keep for myself - an ultimate accolade."

Back issues of Duplex Planet are available here for $2.50 each or a giant Duplex Planet package of 50 different back issues, plus a free CD, is available for $35.00 - $65.00.

Mark Pawson is a self-confessed Image Junkie, Photocopier Fetishist and Print Gocco Fiend. He's a one-man production line and since 1987 has created a constant stream of artists books, postcards, badges, multiples and other essential ephemera. He has collaborated with jewellers Tatty Devine and worked with Levis Vintage Clothing. His publications are in the collections of the Chelsea College of Art Library, London, MOMA Library, NY and Bjork.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dave Dyment | No You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore

Dave Dyment
No You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore
Toronto, Canada: Self-published, 2015.
Audio CD, 3:19
Edition of 25 signed and numbered copies

Undecimals is mail art group that invites twelve artists a year to each produce a work in an edition of eleven copies or more. Each artist is assigned a month and the participants receive artworks in the mail for the full calendar year. This year I took part, alongside Gina Badger, Maura Doyle, Annie Dunning, Lucien Durey, Maggie Groat + Jimmy Limit, Jesse Harris, Tomoyo Ihaya, Hannah Jickling + Helen Reed, Kegan McFadden, Andrea Pinheiro and Emiliano Sepulveda.

The project I prepared didn't pan out, so I was late with my work, but (with the pile below as evidence) the replacement project was mailed out this morning, with a little over a week left in 2015.

It's a hand-made CD 'digipack' containing a three and a half minute turntable duet and a nine minute narrated powerpoint presentation. The latter tells the story of the origin of Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand ballad, which began life as the theme song for a failed Norman Lear sitcom, and then a mash-up made by a radio program director for his wife, whom he was divorcing.

For the duet, two copies of the 7" single are played simultaneously, manually on two turntables, attempting to stay synchronized.

Listen to the audio track here:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Prints as Last Minute Presents (Toronto, Vancouver, New York City, Edinburgh)

Mungo Thomson
Negative Space (STScI-PRC2012-26f)
Vancouver, Canada: Contemporary Art Gallery, 2015
22 x 22", Archival inkjet print
Edition of 20 signed copies

Available for $200.00 here, where you'll also find affordable editions by Damian Moppett, Kay Rosen, Rodney Graham and others.

Kelly Mark
Frankfurter 5 
Toronto, Canada: Nothing Else Press, 2013
30.5" x 31" inkjet on archival paper
Edition of 20 signed and numbered copies

Available for $350, here, alongside multiples by David Shrigley, Jonathan Monk, Micah Lexier, Cary Leibowitz, Jon Sasaki, Vanessa Maltese, and many others.

Maggie Groat
Fragmented abstractions, non-representational visions, one-sided cubes, forms, lines, and other moments of mystical clarity 
Toronto, Canada: Paul+Wendy Projects, 2013
22 x 30" Archival digital print (Ultrachrome HDR Ink on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Paper)
Edition of 20 (+ 2 AP) signed and numbered copies

Available for $150, at Paul + Wendy Projects, here, where you'll also find affordable prints by Kay Rosen, Michael Dumontier, Daniel Eatock, Neil Farber and many others.

Katie Paterson
All The Dead Stars
Edinburgh, Scotland: Merkske Books, 2012
uncoated paper offset printed in black, sleeve
99 x 66 cm (map sheet)
12.4 x 22 cm (folded)
Edition of 100 signed and numbered copies

A map documenting the locations of just under 27,000 dead stars – all that have been recorded and observed by humankind.

Available here, for 120.00 pounds.

André Saraiva
New York I Love You
New York City, USA: Creative Time,
22" x 30"Silk print on coventry rag.
Edition of 50 signed copies

"This print is based on my Dream Concert series. For Creative Time, I wanted to create a fantasy lineup of the city's iconic figures. The people included are the reason I always dreamed of coming to New York."
- André Saraiva

Available here, for $350.00 US.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Printed Matter One Day Sale

Printed Matter Bookstore is holding a single day sale today, offering discounts of between ten and forty per cent. They'll also be serving hot cider, mulled wine and home-made cookies. The store (normally closed on Sundays) is open from noon to 6pm today.

As of this autumn, Printed Matter is located at 231 Eleventh Avenue in New York City.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Recommendation Guest Post #16: Matt Olson

"I'm sure I must have a thousand favorite books but :) my favorite is definitely For The Blind Man In The Dark Room Searching For The Black Cat That Isn't There. Designed by Will Holder for a 2009 exhibit of the same name that was curated by Anthony Huberman for the Contemporary Art Museum in St Louis, it's not a typical show related catalogue at all. Though the text wanders all over through various histories, it's somehow able to "focus" convincingly on the great knowable/unknowable, speculative vastness with which art and science often concern themselves. And it does so with gentle, everyday plain language that makes it feel almost conversational. If I had to pick one word to describe it I'd say "poeticllaysmilinghumbleness" and in my experience that is fairly rare in art writing. You couldn't buy a better gift for your loved ones. It's out of print but you can find copies for $300 and up.

And if you're looking for something inexpensive, Jonas Mekas "The Major Works" 6 DVD Box Set released a few years ago by agnès b. is fantastic.

Or the also affordable vinyl copy of Whispered Art History by Robert Filliou."

Matt Olson was co-founder and creative director of RO/LU. On 1/1/16 he begins a new project called OOIEE (Office of Int.\Est.\Ext.) to work on art and design projects related to furniture and objects, landscape architecture and environments, communication, curiosity and love. He'll be a guest lecturer at Cranbrook in January and will produce a performative piece at the Aspen Art Museum in February.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Recommendations Guest Post #15: Miles Collyer

Laurie Kang
Toronto, Canada: Colour Code, 2015
124 pp., 7.5 x 10",
Edition of 150

A Risographic book featuring screenshots from a video of mating flatworms, with script by Tiziana La Melia.

Available from Art Metropole, here, for $25.00 CDN.

Miles Collyer is a visual artist and arts administrator. His work has been published and exhibited across Canada, the United States, Australia, Switzerland, Germany and several curated exhibits online. From 2005 to 2012 he worked as Shop Manager at Art Metropole. In 2016 his photographic and sculptural work will be presented in a solo exhibition at YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Recommendation Guest Post #14: Sarah Nasby

Eunice Luk
Waiting in line
Toronto, Canada: Slow Editions, 2015
60 x 46 cm.
Edition of 50

Eunice Luk
Half the time...
Toronto, Canada: Slow Editions, 2014
60 x 46 cm.
Edition of 40

Eunice Luk
Scattered in Darkness
Toronto, Canada: Slow Editions, 2014
60 x 46 cm.
Edition of 40

Eunice Luk
Toronto, Canada: Slow Editions, 2014
60 x 46 cm.
Edition of 40

"I love Eunice Luk’s black and white silkscreen posters. You can find them for sale through Slow Editions. Luk creates her drawings intuitively, pulling from many diverse references such as architecture and people, and responding to a moment or feeling. I love how Luk uses form, such as how the letters in B-O-D-Y are treated more as shapes than letters. The overlapping elements and composition create a feeling of movement – as if it were a body in motion."

Sarah Nasby is an artist working primarily in sculpture and drawing. She received an MFA from NSCAD University and a BA from the University of Guelph. Her work has been shown recently in Para//el Rooms at DNA Artspace, London; Taking [a] part at Mercer Union, Toronto; Who’s Afraid of Purple, Orange and Green? at the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina. She lives and works in Toronto.

Nasby's recent edition, Squiggle Pendant (HRGP #4) can be purchased at Art Metropole, here.