Tag Archives: Artist books

New York On Making

ARTICULATE II: What is an Exhibition-in-Print?

Liz Nurenberg, The Rape of Persopina, Self Portrait as Sculpture, 2013

Liz Nurenberg, The Rape of Persopina, Self Portrait as Sculpture, 2013

I am currently working with a group of artists on an exhibition-in-print. Because people don’t quite know what to expect, it warrants some further explanation. This is neither a regular gallery group show catalogue (essay and images, not a precious object) nor a traditional artist’s book (one artist, doing their thing within the book form, often very laborious and a small print run). It is close to a literary journal for art, but a smaller run and with even less money. Articulate II is the third project in a series of art books that I started with Emily Smith in graduate school. In a book artists are able to do things that wouldn’t make as much sense in a gallery setting—the format is more personal, less formal, and can ask for extended contemplation from the audience.  Plus, we love books and well crafted objects, so why not combine the two?

On a couple of occasions, creating work for one of our books has opened a new door in an artist’s practice and a fresh body of work has arisen as a result. A book can also act as a space for documentation or exploration of the process, hopefully allowing the reader/viewer something of a “behind the scenes” experience. (There has recently been a boom in books about creativity aimed at the non-artist, but probably one of the best ways to learn about creativity is to see it in action.) This particular edition centers on love.The original call asked artists to think about art and love together–how the two concepts relate and respond to one another–but also to address love as a focus for its own sake. One of the reasons for this was the number of exciting art works I saw talking about love, but where the artist felt embarrassed about taking this as subject matter– love was not conceptual or complex enough.

Dai Toyofuku with edits by Alex Moore, Haiku for Fall

Dai Toyofuku & Alex Moore, Dirty Writing: A Haiku for Fall, poetry, annotation and edits, 2013

In the finished work there is a broad range of interpretations and approaches but a recurring theme is the challenge of completely grasping or articulating a complex thought or emotion. A number of the pieces look explicitly at the relationships intertwined within the art making process: between artist and work, artist and subject, artist and editor, or artist and viewer. Our goals with this project are to facilitate creative exploration by the artists, encourage art viewing outside of the gallery setting and maybe even sneak original artwork into people’s lives. In this case, the expanded folio version will include original work by Sarah NewmanJayoung Yoon, and Michelle Carla Handel. For now, the only way to experience this exhibition and receive a copy of either the book or the folio is through our Kickstarter campaign, ending November 15th. More details about each of the contributors are below.

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Alex C MooreI am an artist and writer. I am interested in art as a social phenomena–an action that humans undertake to attempt communication and connection. I am endlessly fascinated by our emotional quirks and our creative thought pathways. Articulate is one product of these explorations.

Azadeh Tajpour is currently the Artist in Residence at Boston Center for the Arts. Her work is about how our perception in regard to the “other” is shaped by the medium of representation. For Articulate II, her work is a digital print, which is part of a series of work based on images of women from the 19th or early 20th c. Iran. While examining the notion of representation and labeling, the work also reflects upon intimate relationships and gender ambiguity.

Carmine Iannoccone: In an old Craftsman Bungalow, I paint, draw, build things and compose the seminars that I teach. My wife and I spent twenty years restoring this structure; it’s where our children were born and grew up. It was always my ambition to have the house, the family, the marriage and the studio all be the same thing. I couldn’t make that work. But there were times when it happened anyway – by accident, by surprise, without my control, almost without my even knowing, or noticing. My drawing for this issue of Articulate is about one of those times.

Dai Toyofuku lives and works in Los Angeles. His work imagines and attempts to create an ongoing dialogue in which human culture and wild nature are intimately connected. Dirty Writing: Haiku for Fall expands these ideas through collaborative/editorial dialogue with Alex Moore.

Jayoung Yoon is a New York-based artist born in Korea. Her work represents a cleansing of personal and social memories. For Articulate II, she read current issues of the ‘New York Times’ dealing with conflicts, judgments, hatred, etc., and as a healing gesture, peeled away the destructive imagery and words with tape, leaving a purified thin remnant of paper. She then transformed the peeled layers of ink, negating it all, by creating a symbolic image of beauty, growth and harmony.

Lindsay Nevard is an industrial designer and design researcher. She focuses on asking the right questions to uncover people’s otherwise invisible motives. The Ghostface project was an interspecies collaborative effort between Lindsay Nevard, Dai Toyofuku and a cat named Ghostface.  After exhaustive research and testing, we prepared an afternoon meal for Ghostface and a handful of his closest human friends.

Liz Nurenberg: The Rape of Proserpina, Self Portrait as Sculpture, is one in a series of photographs that plays with the portrayal of the goddess in the history of sculpture, and the presence of an artist’s ego in their work. Through these photographs I am exploring intrigue, sensuality, vulnerability, absurdity, play and humor — all of which are key elements in a great love affair.

Melissa Zimmermann is an artist and mother based out of Los Angeles, CA.  As she negotiates between these two realms of selfishness and selflessness, she encounters a great deal of inner turmoil and tension. The goal of these artistic studies with her daughter is to alleviate this inner conflict through sharing her process. Through out this effort, her daughter, Eluisa Schulitz, is seen as an equal collaborator. She is expected to contribute to and guide the creative process as much as her mother. In this particular instance, Eluisa dictated the layout of the image as well as who would use which stencil shape.
Michael Carter: Los Angeles-based metaphysician, project-based artist, entrepreneur, and emergent capitalist.   #hansemelycrookston

Michael Haight is an artist based in Los Angeles, Ca. His work in Articulate II is an investigation of the accuracy and explanation of art (poetry) and relationships via astrological star charts. His video and sound work can be found on youtubevimeo and soundcloud.

Michelle Carla Handel was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. She received her MFA in Fine Art from Claremont Graduate University in 2011. Recent exhibitions include Shapeshifters at ACME; The Familiar Unfamiliar, curated by Manual History Machines; and Some Fine Women at VAST Space Projects in Las Vegas. She curated a group exhibition, Tête-à-Tête, at RAID Projects in September of 2013. Michelle Carla Handel lives and works in Los Angeles.

Sarah Newman’s photographic works engage ideas of physical and psychological spaces. She works in a combination of black and white and color, in analog and digital, and often incorporates pieces of found text into her work. She currently splits her time between San Francisco and Boston, where she is a fellow at metaLAB at Harvard University. Danger: Stay Back is an excerpt from a larger work-in-progress by the same title. Made on a beach in northern California, the work is comprised of black and white photographs and text that has been taken from warning signs on the beach.

Tatiane SchilaroI’m a Brazilian-born art writer and artist living in Bronx, NY. I’ve been working with translation and language to elicit an experience in-between understanding and irreconcilability. I work against written fluency to replicate to the reader a state of not being able to grasp meaning or to comprehend language.

 

Art Books Los Angeles

Join The Art Nerds, We Have Cookies

Hello Victims: Ad Reinhardt by Brian Kennon, 2005, edition of 100

Hello Victims: Ad Reinhardt by Brian Kennon, 2005, edition of 100

My ideal Saturday afternoon might involve unending cups of tea, a rotating selection of simple but gourmet cookies, interesting art, beautiful books and stimulating conversation. This weekend, For Your Art, the hole in the wall art gallery/project space that sits across the street from LACMA supplied all of these except the tea—though coffee and tequila were reasonable substitutes.

From 11am until 8pm the space hosted a series of presentations by artists, designers and curators on the topic of art books. For the three hours that I was present, the vibe was relaxed, with presentations lasting between 15 and 45 minutes. The arrival of a new type of cookie every hour—a premise which could have been overly twee or cloying–conjured the indulgence and intimacy of artists books while conveniently keeping the audience engaged through the constant injection of sugar.

Though a cousin of the zine movement, the artist book tends to be a labored, almost fetish level product and FYA’s event highlighted the attentiveness and commitment (dare I say obsession?) that fuels this particular brand of art practice. Having collaborated on a limited edition book last year, I was just as interested to learn more about the nuts and bolts of collaborative efforts, book design and distribution as I was to explore the content of the pieces presented.

Brian Kennon, the artist behind 2nd Cannons Publications, talked about a number of his own works as well as the books by others that he has produced. I appreciated his hijacking of the catalog format to make a case for Ad Reinhardt as a herald of the zombie apocalypse, and was intrigued by the mixture of scrapbooked history and art world memoir that he created with New York based curator Bob Nickas. The pages of Bob’s anecdotes range from an artist’s advice that “people in the art world are basically sociopaths” to his own description of a Robert Smithson collage: “the earthwork as sci-fi monster movie.”

Spread from Heliogabalus by William E. Jones. Published by 2nd Cannons in 2009, edition of 500.

Spread from Heliogabalus by William E. Jones. Published by 2nd Cannons in 2009, edition of 500.

Following Kennon, came a conversation between artist William E Jones and LACMA curator Rita Gonzalez. This was my first in-depth introduction to Jones who’s conceptual and experimental work explores marginalization, often specifically in reference to American gay subculture. He discussed his Tearoom project–a film and accompanying book that re-purposes footage of men having sex in a public toilet, that was shot surreptitiously by Ohio police in 1962—as well as his book of censored WPA negatives, his tribute to decadent Roman Emperor Heliogabalus which intersperses official portraits with adverts from 70s magazine After Dark, and his footnoted parody of academic writing. I plan to consume them all.

Among others, I missed Lisa Anne Auerbach’s talk, but I was happy to discover that her project Bookshelf–a meander of a book, dedicated to the personal relationships that book lovers build with their collections–is available for download on her website.

An excerpt (K after the description refers to her decision to keep the book):

City of Quartz by Mike Davis
This seminal book about Los Angeles came out just before I moved here. Dan gave me this hardcover copy on my birthday in 1991. The inscription reads, “Happy Birthday and thank you for coming with me.” This is the first book I’d ever read about Los Angeles, and a great introduction to the area. I’ve re-read various chapters since I’ve been here, and always find something new and amazing out about the city. K

The Cyclist’s Manifesto by Robert Hurst
My father got me this book, which is really sweet. I haven’t read it. The book is subtitled “The Case for Riding on Two Wheels instead of Four” and I’m not sure I need to read that case. I’m pretty much convinced already. K

The Business of Charity: The Woman’s Exchange Movement 1832-1900 by Kathleen Waters Sander
I had never heard about this chapter of women’s labor history until I found this book. I bought it somewhere east, either Baltimore or Philadelphia, I don’t remember which. Women’s exchanges were a venue for selling hand-crafted goods on consignment. K

I found myself reading through almost all 21 pages of book descriptions and ephemera collected from within their pages, compelled by curiosity and voyeurism to hear her thoughts, see what she has read, and compare my own mental notes. I don’t know Lisa Anne well, but I admire her work and I adopted my cat from her, so I am probably at just the right distance to devour her bite-size reviews. I don’t know if a complete stranger would be interested.

This event at FYA was a town hall meeting of the local art world nerds: people who slave away on books that will have tiny audiences and make negligible profits, at best.  So what is the appeal? As Lisa Anne’s book demonstrates, one strength of the artist’s book is that a limited edition or cheaply produced object only needs to appeal to an enthusiastic niche audience. I am drawn to the medium because art books are handheld art objects that get multiple private viewings. Making a book can enable an artist to write their own version of history or to engage in a form of institutional critique. To create and distribute a book doesn’t need approval from any higher power so the work can be irreverent, playful, pornographic, confusing, extremely personal–anything goes. The artist can have complete control.

I hope we see more events like this and that more artists explore the medium; it is fertile ground and there is plenty of room for newcomers.  Join the art nerds! We have cookies.