Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tristan Perich | Noise Patterns

New release by composer Tristan Perich. Read today's Pitchfork review, here, and see his previous chip-based release, 1-bit Symphony, here

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Victor Burgin | Family

Victor Burgin
New York City, USA: Lapp Princess Press, 1977
14 pp., 15,2 cm x 8 cm., softcover
Edition of 2000

Co-published by Printed Matter, the second Lapp Princess Press booklet borrows the format of a child’s primer to comment on contemporary family life.

"Burgin makes photographic work like no other artist, but his themes and motifs are drawn from experiences common to us all – the modern city, the structures of family, language as something that forms and reforms us, the power of images, principles of government, memory and history.  And yet, encouraged by the media to look to art for quick messages, some audiences and critics have found his work ‘inaccessible’. Actually Burgin’s work is among the most accessible I know, if by that we mean ‘easy to get into’. It’s the getting out that’s tricky. To be truly challenged and changed is to find yourself unsure, slightly lost, forgetting where you came in but pleased you did. As Roland Barthes once put it, ‘To get out, go in deeper.'"
- David Campany, Aperture Magazine no. 210, 2012.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ed Ruscha Books & Co.

Ed Ruscha Books & Co. Press Release:

"Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present “Ed Ruscha Books & Co.,” an exhibition of artists' books by and after Ed Ruscha. The exhibition is organized by Gagosian director Bob Monk.

In the 1960s, Ruscha was credited with reinventing the artist's book, producing and self-publishing a series of slim volumes of photography and text. By turning away from the craftsmanship and luxury status that typified the livre d'artiste in favor of the artistic idea or concept, expressed simply and in editions that were unsigned and inexpensively printed, Ruscha opened the genre to the possibilities of mass-production and distribution. “Ed Ruscha Books & Co.” presents Ruscha's iconic books together with those of more than one hundred artists from all over the world—from Russia to Japan to the Netherlands—who have responded directly and diversely to his lead. Many books are installed so that viewers can browse their pages. After presentations in New York, Munich and Paris (2013–15) the exhibition run will conclude in Ruscha's home city of Los Angeles. The exhibition will be presented in conjunction with “Ed Ruscha Prints and Photographs.”

Inspired by the unassuming books that he found in street stalls during a trip to Europe, Ruscha published his first artist book in 1962, Twentysix Gasoline Stations under his own imprint, National Excelsior Press. Priced at $3.50, it is exactly what its title suggests: twenty-six photographs of gas stations with captions indicating brand and location. Initially, the book was received with indifference, and was even rejected by the Library of Congress for its “unorthodox form and supposed lack of information.” However, over time it acquired cult status, and by the 1980s it was hailed as one of the first truly modern artist books. Ruscha followed this up with a succession of similarly self-evident and deadpan photographic books chronicling aspects of Los Angeles, or his round-trip drives between Los Angeles and Oklahoma, including Some Los Angeles Apartments (1965), Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass (1968), and Real Estate Opportunities (1970). Their use of photography as a form of map-making or topographical study signals a conceptual, rather than documentary, thrust.

2016 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966)—the 25-foot long, accordion-folded book. One of his most iconic artist books of all time, the past half-century has seen the importance and meaning of this book expand and evolve, pulled into new light by changing historical contexts, yet always retaining an enigmatic influence over new generations of artists. His artist books have been deeply influential on peers and followers—from Bruce Nauman's Burning Small Fires (1968), where Nauman burned a copy of Ruscha's Various Small Fires and Milk (1964) and photographed the process; to Julie Cook's Some Las Vegas Strip Club (2008), which turns the lights on nocturnal haunts.

In Rew-Shay Hood Project XIV (2008–11), the British artist Jonathan Monk airbrushed a car hood with the image of Rimmy Jim's Chevron, Rimmy Jim's, Arizona, borrowed from Twentysix Gasoline Stations, remaking the book-based photograph in an industrial form. For the first time in this exhibition, nine works will be shown from Amy Park's Ed Ruscha's Every Building on the Sunset Strip, an ambitious series in which the entirety of Ruscha's original artist book is enlarged and rendered delicately in watercolor, refining and refracting the images, fifty years after the fact—watercolor having been widely used as the preferred medium to document building elevations and topography pre-photography. Mark McEvoy has created Utopian Slumps, a suite of seven prints that are “foxed,” or distressed book covers of Ruscha's books, the titles having been changed to plays on the originals—Some Los Angeles Apartments becomes Some Loser's Apartment and Nine Swimming Pools is changed to Pissing in Pools. This irreverent homage carries over in John Waters's 12 Assholes and a Dirty Foot and Louisa Vanleer's Fifteen Pornography Companies. Theo Wujcik, meanwhile, has created etchings of lounging figures who have fallen asleep reading Ruscha's books—and Dave Dyment made a painstakingly researched book called Every Building in the Sunset Strip, using Ruscha's accordion format, which chronicles stories about the history of every location photographed in Ruscha's original. As this celebratory exhibition attests, the pace at which working artists continue to pay homage to Ruscha, and the intimacy of the book and print medium as he defined it, continues to grow. At play here is not just Ruscha's long legacy, but also the continued impulse of young and contemporary artists to produce works that are tactile and immediate: in many cases hand-made and unique books, in the face of the pervasive presence of mass produced and distributed images. Ruscha's magnetism intensifies as artists from different generations and cultural contexts discover his books, outspreading into related areas of artistic endeavor.

Opening reception: Thursday, July 28th, from 6:00 to 8:00pm

456 North Camden Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

T. 310.271.9400 F. 310.271.9420

Summer Hours: Mon–Fri 10-6pm"

Monday, July 25, 2016

Every Building In The Sunset Strip in Gagosian exhibition opening Thursday

Dave Dyment
Every Building In The Sunset Strip
Toronto, Canada: MKG127, 2015
54 pp., 14 x 18 cm. [book], accordion fold
Edition of 95

Ed Ruscha’s classic book Every Building On The Sunset Strip, remade twice: as text and with scenes from television and cinema.

The bookwork recounts stories about every property included in Ruscha’s original (which was titled The Sunset Strip on both the cover and spine), from Schwab’s Pharmacy at 8024 Sunset Blvd (the site of many Hollywood legends, a few of them true) to the Jaguar Dealership that remains fifty years later, at 9176 Sunset. The entries range from the banal (once a beauty salon, now a vacant lot) to the sensational (racketeering, murder, celebrity scandal, etc).

The book is housed in a silkscreened stiff envelope which contains a unique print. The prints couple close-up scans of Ruscha’s photographs with similar views found in film and television shows, ranging from Charlie’s Angels to Scarface.

Taken together, they form a portrait of the 2.4 km stretch of the famous boulevard, and how it has changed over the past half century.

The bookwork and several of the framed images are included in the exhibition Ed Ruscha Books and Co., which opens this Thursday night from 6 to 8 pm at Gagosian Gallery (456 North Camden Drive) in Beverly Hills. See following post for details.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Crown Point Press

Crown Point Press opened in 1962, with a mandate to "use traditional printmaking techniques for new art ideas”. Founded by printmaker Kathan Brown, it began in a storefront in Richmond California, moved to a basement in Berkeley, spent a few years in Oakland and in 1990 relocated to the building where they currently reside, at 20 Hawthorne Street in San Francisco.

Crown Point typically invites four or five artists a year to produce works in their large studio, assisted by their master printer, which are then sold in the adjacent gallery. Over a hundred international artists have participated in the program, including Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, Chuck Close, Richard Diebenkorn,  Anish Kapoor, Sol Lewitt, Kiki Smith, Pat Steir, Wayne Thiebaud and Ed Ruscha (the subject of their current exhibition). John Cage, who had never worked with etching before, decided to produce prints using "earth, air, fire, and water”.

"It seems like the artists have selected us more than we selected them. I mean, it isn’t really up to us. I think that we got something going and one artist will tell another and they really appreciate what we did with somebody else and then the person says, “Oh well, I think so and so would like to come.” It’s kind of a snowball thing,” Brown told Katrina Traywick in 2011.

Valerie Wade, who showed us around, began at the press in 1988 as a sales representative. In 1993, she became Gallery Director, and in 2006 assumed her current position as director, overseeing day to day operation of the press and sharing the management of artist projects with Brown.

The store features a small selection of catalogues, artists’ books, and artists’ writings, with several titles from artist Tom Marioni, who has been married to Brown since 1983.

Marioni was the editor of the art journal Vision, which the press published in the mid-seventies. The store offers copies of the periodical, with issues two through five available. Vision #4 is a 3 LP box set record titled Word of Mouth, which features Cage, Burden, Laurie Anderson, Marina Abramovic, Brice Marden, Joan Jonas, Daniel Buren, and others. It’s available for $75 US. Vision #5, from 1982, is a boxed set of photographs Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, Christo, John Cage, Joan Jonas, Sol LeWitt, Richard Tuttle, Richard Long, and Dorothea Rockburne. It is available for $50 US. Both of these prices are well below secondary market pricing.

The store also stocked issues of View: A Series of Interviews with Contemporary Artists, including John Baldessari, Iain Baxter, Terry Fox, Al Held, Judy Pfaff and several others. They were priced at $5.00 US.

For more information, or to order online, visit the Crown Point Press website, here.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Artist Book Talk tomorrow

I've spent an insane amount of time sourcing and editing photographs for my talk tomorrow, which has morphed into a narrated slideshow, with almost 600 images. The presentation focuses on the area where the artist book and monograph overlap, or the artist book and multiple hybridize, the periodical as artist book as multiple, etc. etc.

It takes place at 1pm at the SF Art Book Fair. Details here:

Please drop by.

871 Fine Arts

871 Fine Arts opened thirty years ago at 871 Folsom Street in San Francisco. When the building was slated for demolition following the 1989 earthquake, the bookstore/gallery moved to 250 Sutter, and then spent 13 years at 49 Geary. Their current location is 20 Hawthorne Street, in a building owned by Crown Point Press (who also have Gagosian as their tenant). It’s a few minutes walk from SFMOMA.

Specializing in books on contemporary art, 871 carries both new and out-of-print books, along with artists’ prints, posters,  drawings, ephemera, and multiples. Special sections include the Something Else Press, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, the intersection of art and poetry (several Kenneth Patchen titles), Ed Ruscha afters, and Artists’ writings. Their flat files include artists' books by Richard Tuttle, multiples by Cary Leibowitz, Tom Sachs and George Maciunas, publications from SMS, pop art and minimalism ephemera, buttons by Sol Lewitt and Yoko Ono, etc. etc.

The store is without a website, and owner Adrienne Fish shares a name with a Toronto comic, making Google searches that much trickier. But they can be reached at and are participating in the San Francisco Art Book Fair this weekend.

The store is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:30am to 5:30pm.