Morgan Fisher (CA) is a filmmaker and visual artist. His body of work has dismantled the process and artifice of filmmaking, even as it further presents avenues for critical dialogue around the avant-garde and conceptual histories of visual representation. His concerns have followed the changing trajectory of culture, as the medium shifts, and as new forms of language and expression become prominent. But always with a logic behind the exposition - whether through self-imposed (or not) rules, the uses of technology, and the limits of the vehicle. There is perhaps no filmmaker that better elucidates the imperative of medium as content and content as medium. But with such a sense of irascible pleasure, too. No tone of pedantry, only a kind of joy one gets from a set of instructions well given and gladly followed.
For further exposition, and insight into style, see Yale Union's (Portland, OR) program Andersen & Fisher (strictly on the filmic works of Fisher and Thom Andersen).
Writings is Fisher's work from 1975 to the present, on his own films, paintings, the work of others (Carl Andre, Andy Warhol, Blinky Palermo, Ad Reinhardt, Edgar G. Ulmer, Alfred Hitchcock), transcripts, and narrations. With a highly detailed bibliography 1969-2012 and biography 1974-present.
Hollywood Babylon, HardcoverPrice: $20
Excuse the Wiki quote right out the gate, but "If a book such as this can be said to have charm, it lies in the fact that here is a book without one single redeeming merit." (New York Times) is pretty much perfection and had to be used.
In his inimitable style, filmmaker Kenneth Anger documents the highly disputed facts of, but not the salaciousness of, Hollywood up to the 1950s. The scandals, affairs, and decadence of that weird world and its denizens, and its impact on the greater culture. Super pulpy and totally rubbernecky, it was originally published in French in 1959 by J.J. Pauvert as Hollywood Babylone. It was published in the U.S. in 1965 by Associated Professional Services, banned ten days later and not republished until 1975 by Rolling Stone's Straight Arrow Press and distributed by Simon and Schuster. Later editions used a censored version of the Jayne Mansfield cover (no nipple). Full sized or pocketbook, both are great.
Design by Tony Lane and Kenneth Anger. Typset in Korinna. Used hardcover.
Katinka Bock: Works. Oeuvres. Werke.Price: $35
With Sabeth Buchmann, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Kim West. Published after several major exhibitions by the artist, it includes over 50 plates, and essays that highlight differing aspects and interpretations of her practice. The installation artist is known for a firm reading of both object and location, which can help in turn contextualize space. In English, French, German. Edition of 1200.
Incomplete DiscographyPrice: $20
Karl Nawrot is originally from France, now resides in Seoul, Korea. Trained in graphic design with an abiding interest in typography and type experiments, but displays the habits of an illustrator. He grapples with the conventional tools and uses of his trade, in both the physical and conceptual sense. By building 3D models, maquettes, paper monuments, anything really, he builds new models for language. Imagination as communicator and storyteller.
Mr. Nawrot often builds his own tools and models; in this case, stencil discs that act as a mechanism for design abstraction, and a cheap option for record sleeve designs. This book shows the beginning and the end. It's hard to say what's a scan, what's a photo, and what's printed. Edition of 500.
Red FlagsPrice: $28
Made by Scanlan for his 2009 exhibition at castillo/corrales, the artist has re-conceived formative economic texts by Thorstein Veblen, Joseph Schumpeter, Milton Friedman, and Edward Said as a kind of epic poem. The original essays range from anti-capitalist analyses to colonialism to the advent of American big business, newly contextualized by Scanlan to address instead the concerns of artists and the state of creative production now. By making these small, significant alterations, Scanlan shifts points—what would it mean to discuss contemporary culture in purely economic terms, think of "markets" as neighbors, or the artist as entrepreneur? A fresh, lyrical approach to subject matter that's often stubbornly pushed to wayside. Edition of 500.
Monolith +++Price: $37
Willem Oorebeek (NL), artist, whose work is based in the myriad techniques associated with the printing process. Multiplicity, seriality, and reproduction are some of the recurring themes emphasized. Image and language are brought together as comparative tools and as combined forms as a way of revitalizing the nature of representation, in both figure and symbol. Monolith +++ acts as the catalogue from his 2008 exhibition (Lisbon, PT), with text by Wouter Davidts and Camiel van Winkel.
Notes on Fulford's Raising Frogs For $$$Price: $8
As special as the book it expands upon, Notes on... takes the form of a study guide, extrapolating on the contexts and motivations behind Jason Fulford's Raising Frogs For $$$. It offers thoughts on the specifics, but may also be helpful in reading other types of non-text-based material.
The Present Order: Ian Hamilton Finlay
The Present Order: Ian Hamilton FinlayPrice: $15
Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) was an artist, poet, and gardner. His work often emphasized the uses of language, applied through the practices of typography, philosophy, and concrete poetry. Wild Hawthorne Press (his publishing imprint) and Little Sparta (the garden he created with Sue Finlay) are the most well-known of long-term works. His preference for neoclassical themes and references can feel exhilaratingly anachronistic, but his deeply physical sensibilities place the works directly in the temporal world. Finlay found a way to ask the "big questions"—what is nature? what is culture?—and in the asking, needed no answers.
All original writings by Alec Finlay, Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, Michael Charlesworth, Marjorie Perloff, Kenneth Goldsmith, Stephen Scobie. Made in conjunction with the exhibition Ian Hamilton Finlay: A Selection of Printed Works (2010-11) (Marfa Book Co. Gallery, Marfa, TX). Design by Flint Jamison.
Here and There
Here and There Vol. 11: Ima KokoPrice: $20
Nakako Hayashi makes a very personal-feeling print piece. Wanting the chance to present the individuals and work that really interested her, Here and There addresses travel and fashion and art and the places they meet. Stories, interviews, and photos, all beautifully, unexpectedly presented. Small moments that contain big ideas in a radical format. Japanese with English translations.
Takashi Homma, Susan Cianciolo, Kei Takemura, Ryoko Aoki, Takehito Koganezawa, Pascale Gatzen, Elein Fleiss, Aoi Nagae, Yukinori Maeda, Suiren Higashino, Erika Kobayashi, Cerda Steainer & Jorg Lenzlinger. Ima (here) Koko (there), not as oppositional structure, but an accepted one. Hayashi asked friends to contribute writing—to think about the practice, its malleable meaning day to day, its meaning as the connective thread of friendship for people around the world. Designed by Kazunari Hattori, Mina Tabei.
Voyeur 6Price: $20
There is a very good Wiki page dedicated to German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann here. It makes a series of good, clear observations that describe his work well.
The next in this artist's book series offers a chaotic compendium of movie stills, photojournalism, ads, amateur photos, pornography, art, scientific imagery, archival imagery, found photographs and more. Feldmann’s touch is in the sequencing. Sometimes its stories, sometimes only associations. Narratives are broken then fused, but there’s always the palpable energy of our times.
G.P.O vs G.P-O: A Chronicle of Mail Art on TrialPrice: $16
G.P.O. = General Post Office of Great Britian
G.P-O = Genesis P-Orridge
The case: In 1975, Genesis mails two postcards to friends/fellow artists. The cards exemplified he/r practice of collage and mail art. The cards in question contained images of pornography and the Queen. Scotland Yard confiscated the cards, and the G.P.O. lodged an indecency prosecution against he/r. Thus began a legal battle, a fantastic public discourse on the nature of art, and a durational performance work that embodies many of the artistic issues P-Orridge and others were grappling with at the time. The ephemera (correspondence, legal documents, articles, trial issuances, more mail art) was originally compiled into a 1976 publication by Ecart, and is reproduced here by Primary Information. Edition of 1000.
Voyeur 5Price: $20
There is a very good Wiki page dedicated to German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann here. It makes a series of good, clear observations that describe his work well.
Number 5 in Feldmann's on-going series of Bilde (Picture) books. Found images, placed deliberately to create associations and fissures. So interesting, well-done, emotional, and precise. As startling and sense-making as ever.
False FriendsPrice: $25
Based on the plot of Murders at the Rue Morgue (1841) by Edgar Allen Poe, Garamond takes on the first detective story every recorded. This contemporary account is set in Antwerp, Belgium, and is split into three languages: Dutch (Flemish), French, and English. The reader's challenge is to understand and interpret.
Yes, But Is It Edible?
Yes, But Is It Edible?: The music of Robert Ashley, for two or more voicesPrice: $50
(Text below from New Documents)
Some years ago, Will Holder and Alex Waterman proposed to Robert Ashley that musicians and non-musicians might produce new versions of his operas, by way of typographical scores. The bulk of this book is a result of that proposal: scores for Dust (1998) and Celestial Excursions (2003). These operas' characters have, until now, been solely produced by and are the stories exchanged between Ashley and his "band" (singers Sam Ashley, Joan La Barbara, Thomas Buckner, and Jacqueline Humbert); in landscapes (technological, imaginary, acoustic, organisational, sonic, ocular) produced by "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Tom Hamilton, David Moodey, Cas Boumans, and Mimi Johnson—the result of a 30-year relationship. As such, any "scores" were written for this intimate readership. It hadn't been considered that any one outside this "band" might produce this work.
The scores for Dust and Celestial Excursions are preceded by a selection of Ashley's work, from 1963 to 2008, drawing attention to the varying relations between instruction and score, and the tones of instructional address. Working with these scores gave us a better sense of how each one produces a specific mode of decision-making, telling us what to put on the pages of the scores, for any reader who follows.
Yes, But Is It Edible? is the fourth in a series of publications produced with or by Will Holder and Alex Waterman that address a musicological perspective on scoring speech and the role of printed matter in collective forms of reading and writing: Agape (Miguel Abreu Gallery, 2007); Between Thought and Sound (The Kitchen, 2008); and The Tiger's Mind (with Beatrice Gibson; Sternberg Press, 2012).
Co-presented with the Western Front, Vancouver. Edition of 2000.
The New Gravity
The New GravityPrice: $15
It's one of those books that holds much more than you might think, as the compactness of it fools you. Great re-prints of images even on the newsprint pages. It makes you think a little of Ways of Seeing (John Berger). Made in conjunction with the exhibition New Gravity (Overduin & Co., September-October 2014), organized by Eli Diner and Olivian Cha. Essays by Heinrich von Kliest, Diner, Angie Keefer, Cha. Artists in the show: Frank Benson, Judith Hopf, Angie Keefer, Kitty Kraus, Mahony, Oliver Payne, Chadwick Rantanen.
George Kuchar Reader
The George Kuchar ReaderPrice: $28
The only comprehensive look at the legendary filmmaker's works. George Kuchar (1942-2011) was one of those directors that had an extraordinary memory for film history, the formalities, banalities, inanities, toiletries, specialties, and especially the ladies. He loved the ladies. He used that knowledge to make films that both subverted and celebrated the form.
A known eccentric, he was also a genius; the ways he approached storytelling and why he wanted to tell those stories, all came from a deeply personal place. Many-layered, and complex in a way that defies all expectations —even within an experimental genre—Kuchar's process could also be looked at as very straightforward. He had an idea, and set about making it happen with whatever means were available.
This book contains detailed notes on his huge repertoire, but also the really interesting stuff, like personal letters, photos, recommendation letters (you WISH someone would write one like this for you), and much more. It's a great tribute to a man that touched so many students, filmmakers, and artists, but hasn't really been given his due until now.
Film Classics Library
Alfred Hitchcock's PsychoPrice: $17
A complete reconstruction of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) in print form—1300 frame blow ups (taken from the film itself), every scene, every piece of dialogue. This book is so effectively made, with a judicious simplicity, that makes it its own entity, separate from the film. Editor Richard J. Anobile notes that he selected Psycho as subject not only for its certainty as a future classic (he was right), but for its plot and process, as rendered by the director. It's a film full of red herrings, crazy tension, visual supremacy—all elements that translate beautifully into print. Secondhand paperback.
F de C Reader
F de C ReaderPrice: $10
(Since F de C can be a bit murky in terms of information and is perpetually in flux, we'd say visit their page to get a direct line (HI ALIN)
This reader covers the fashion and art worlds from a cult perspective and its associative mediums (photography, design, music, critical theory and no doubt more angles in the future). Interviews and essays are presented in the relaxed fashion of realpolitik, it's printed down and dirty in Indonesia in a great size for pulling out while on the train and sticking it in your pocket when you get off. It begs to be read, for content—Cosmic Wonder, Margiela, why fashion is boring and style is subjective—for pleasure, for honesty, for an approach that feels right, now.
F de C Reader 3: Ma—
All Distinctions Are Mind, By Mind, Of Mind (No Distinctions No Mind To Distinguish), Spring 2014Price: $17
"Words, Don't come easy"
That's the essence of F.R.David. In an exceedingly verbal world with very little discernible point to all the talk, the journal adds its own distinctive, (un)welcome? take on the written word as dual companion and servant to the visual. Composed primarily of found texts but original contextualization, it turns words on a flat plane into a kind of trompe l'oeil. Who is in service to whom? What is writing now in contemporary art practice? Its sense of humor and nose for the absurd disguises but very much enhances its ultimately critical analysis of a vital format. Designed by Will Holder, published 2x per year by de Appel Arts Centre (NL).
With John Latham, Kendra Sullivan, Robert Ashley, Charles Olson, Shane Krepakevich, Ricardo Basbaum, Rebecca Wilcox & Sarah Rose, Michael Gazzaniga, Ken Jacobs, David Kindersley, Marina Vishmidt, Rosmarie Waldrop, Tony Kushner, Velimir Khlebnikov, Abra Ancliffe, Ezra Pound, John Kelsey, Sergei Tret'iakov, William Gaddis. Edition of 1500.
The Curse of BignessPrice: $5
Dexter Sinister (New York, NY) (David Reinfurt, Stuart Bailey) is a sometime bookshop and sometime maker of projects that explore the connectivities between print, object, design, and the ethics and impulses of making. More to the point, it's about the uses of language, its presentation, its value, manipulation, failures and glory.
The catalog made for the exhibition of the same name at The Queens Museum of Art (2010) (Queens, NY), organized by Larissa Harris. 272 pgs; 8.5" x 6".
Goofy AuditPrice: $30
Multidisciplinary artist Chris Evans lives and works in London, UK. With Penelope Curtis, Marina Vishmidt, Tirdad Zolghadr. Ostensibly a survey of the artist's work, with expository essays and further detail around the circumstantial thinking behind specific pieces.
Complete Minimal PoemsPrice: $20
Aram Saroyan's minimalist and concrete poems, lots of them, are collected here in a pretty comprehensive way, after their bits and pieces publications have gone out of print. The above poem was blasted by noted jerk/terrible person Jesse Helms after winning an NEA award of $500. Like many of his works, the poem draws attention on multiple levels—the letters themselves, how they are arranged, what the "word" means and what its disruption implies, the ephemerality of its meaning, and our own minds eye that assigns it a connotation even when it's wrong.
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