Saturday, June 25, 2016

Anna Banana | Vile: Vol. 1, No. 1

Anna Banana [ed]
Vile: Vol. 1, No. 1
San Francisco, CA: Self-published, 1974
56 pp., 8.5 x 11", velo binding
Edition of 200

The February 14th, 1985 issue of VILE magazine was released eleven years earlier, in January of 1974. It was the debut issue of the large format artists' magazine project by mail artists (and romantic partners) Anna Banana and Bill Gaglione.

Visually, the periodical is a parody of General Idea's influential FILE megazine, which itself parodied the format of Life magazine (at least initially - eventually Life's lawyers cried trademark infringement and demanded a different logo). Other responses to FILE include BILE by Chicago artist Bradley Lastname, which published 25 issues between 1978 and 1984, and SMILE, an open-concept magazine started by Stewart Home in 1984.

The content of VILE was also a response to FILE, and it's "growing disdain for mail art". FILE had began publishing two years earlier, and - with it's close ties to Image Bank - was extremely important to the mail art community in Canada. The inclusion of an Artist Directory in the magazine was responsible for growing the 'network' of mail artists across the country.

But by the time of the September 1973 issue, General Idea were beginning to disengage from the 'network' and growing skeptical of its growth. The issue included a mock obituary announcing the "death" of Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence School and a few scathing comments about the over-proliferation of the genre. For example, Robert Cummings wrote:

“I get stuff every day that makes it barely out of the envelope and into the trash it’s so terrible. Its not the terribleness of the art that worries me, but the enormous waste of paper. I can no longer answer a bad piece of mail with a letter or photo. I used to answer everything I got, but now find myself ignoring 3/4 of it out of principle and lack of energy. There’s too much of it.”

"Maybe those guys were just pushing buttons, trying to get a rise, but whatever their intent, their comments inspired me to create VILE," said Anna Banana, later. "I believe it was the influence of FILE that grew the network at an exponential rate, perhaps part of the “too much” problem. From Vol. 3 No. 3, Spring 1977 on, FILE moved into covering the more mainstream art and music scenes with their New York issue. By then, most of us had our own mailing lists well established, and with the ongoing publication of both the Banana Rag and VILE magazine, the problem was more how to keep up with it all, than how to make more contacts.

VILE began at Speedprint, a small instant print shop in San Francisco where it became apparent to Banana "that anyone could be a publisher." The first issue featured an image of the bare-chested Monty Cazazza tearing out his own heart.

The contents featured examples of international mail art, texts & manifestoes, letters, performance documentation, articles on individual artists & their projects, and faux-advertisements. Each issue featured an introduction by Banana. VILE continued for nine years, until 1983, producing seven issues.

Copies are available from the artist, here, though Vol 1, No. 1 is only available as part of the complete set of seven for $1,750.00. The above copy is from the Banff Centre Library.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cary S. Leibowitz | I will make a cubist painting

Cary S. Leibowitz
I will make a cubist painting 
New York City, USA: Candyass, 2003
15 × 19 × 10 cm.
Edition of 100 signed and numbered copies

A plush teddy bear with a shirt that reads “I Will Make A Cubist Painting Someday But Right Now It Is Not Important”.

Available at Art Metropole, here, for $500 CDN.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Franziska Brandt and Moritz Grünke | Brick Wall

Franziska Brandt and Moritz Grünke
Brick Wall
Berlin, Germany: Gloria Glitzer, 2014
164 pp., 20 × 9.2 × 2.2 cm., boxed
Edition of 20

Referencing So Lewitt's 1977 book of the same name (below, and here), this three-colour Risograph printed book consists of a stack of 160 different bricks.

The first edition was limited to twenty copies, which have sold out. For more information visit the artists' website here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

John Lennon | Flux Tickets

A series of tickets for Fluxtours conceived by John Lennon and designed and printed by George Maciunas. Other tickets produced or announced in Fluxus newsletters include "Roundtrip ticket by air to Fort Chimo, Huson Strait", "Roudtrip ticket by air to Goose Bay, Labrador", "Tickets to a Chinese Theatre", "Tickets to Abandoned Buildings", "Tickets to Desolate Places", "Tickets to Miserable Shows", "Tickets to Narrow Streets", "Tickets to Street Corners", "Tickets to Unknown Places" and "20 Hour Bicycle Trip to New York City". 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Angela Marzullo | Homeschooling

Angela Marzullo
Rome, Italy: NERO, 2016
232 pp., 12 x 20 cm., hardcover
Edition of 700

From March to June of 1975 (a few months before his brutal and still-unsolved murder), filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini published a number of articles under the umbrella title Gennariello. Written as a series of pedagogical letters from an old man to a young boy, the essays served as a criticism of contemporary Italy and of Italian youth. "The new generation is infinitely weaker, uglier, sadder, paler, more ill than all the preceding generations," wrote the director of Salo, who also aimed his vitriol at Christian Democrats ("corrupt, lazy incompetents") and the Communists, for their wholehearted acceptance of consumerism.

Concettina is a 2010 video work based on these letters, shot by Angela Marzullo in the parking lot of the Villa Borghese in Rome, starring her two daughters. Lucie and Stella are also the protagonists of Proletarian Theatre for Children (2006), where they skateboard around the Vieusseux estate in Geneva, and read texts by Walter Benjamin. 

In other performative video works the young girls read from Valerie Solanas' SCUM Manifesto and The Crisis of Culture by Hannah Arendt. Marzullo also directs her daughters in recreations of classic video works by other artists, such as Martha Rosler's seminal Semiotics of the Kitchen

Released in late January of this year, Homeschooling looks at a decade of works by Marzullo, all involving her daughters and appropriation. Part monograph, part artist book, the volume repurposes text and dialogue from the films and also includes essays by Anna Cestelli Guidi and Francesco Ventrella.

Available from the publishers, for 15 Euros, here

Monday, June 20, 2016

Emmett Williams | The Voyage

Emmett Williams
The Voyage
Stuttgart, Germany: Edition Hansjörg Mayer, 1975
130 pp., 17x17 cm., softcover
Edition of 1000

A broken verse narrative poem that diminishes in size until the grid appears as small as a punctuation mark.

Available from Bow Windows Bookshop, here, for £80.00.