Friday, July 31, 2015

Franz Erhard Walther | The Body Decides

Franz Erhard Walther
The Body Decides
Brussels, Belgium: WIELS-CAPC, 2014
116 pp., 18 x 22 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

"A pop up book for adults, this catalogue on the work of Franz Erhard Walther sought its inspiration in the artist’s work in order to determine the publication-form that might most appropriately convey the centrality of action to the artist’s oeuvre. The performativity at the heart of Walther’s more than a half century long practice is underscored through the appearance of six brightly coloured elementary pop up forms spread throughout the book."

Available for €50.00 from the publisher, here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bruce Naumann | Walk with Contrapposto

Bruce Naumann
Walk with Contrapposto
Berlin, Germany: Edition Deutsche Guggenheim, 2003
15 x 15 x 2 cm
Edition of 20 of signed and numbered copies

In this sixty-minute video from 1968, Nauman attempts to maintain the contrapposto pose (counterpose) associated with classical sculpture, while walking down a long, narrow corridor of his own making. In the position, the figure stands with most of its weight on one foot so that its shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips and legs.

The video was issued on DVD for the first time by the Deutsche Guggenheim to coincide with their exhibition Bruce Nauman: Theaters of Experience in 2003. It was housed between two pieces of embossed wood and priced at € 540.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jenny Holzer | Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise

Jenny Holzer
Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise
Halifax, Canada: The Press of The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1983
[136] pp., 8.5 × 8.5 × 0.5", softcover
Edition size unknown

An early artist book by Holzer, whose full title is Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise - Truisms and Essays, featuring texts in English, French, German and Spanish.

Holzer celebrates her 65th birthday today.

Volumes Book Launch tonight

In 2003, Catherine Crowston and Barbara Fischer co-curated an exhibition called Re-Play that featured myself, David Armstrong Six, Joanne Bristol, Stan Douglas, Raymond Gervais, Rodney Graham, Pascal Grandmaison, Instant Coffee, Tim Lee, Ian Murray, Shannon Oksanen, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, Kevin Schmidt, Steven Shearer, Zin Taylor, Ron Terada, Althea Thauberger, and Holly Ward. Re-Play was part of a larger touring exhibition of sound art shows called Sounstracks, that also included Come a Singin' (curated by Andrew Hunter), See Hear! (by Timothy Long and Ben Portis), and Video Heroes (curated by Sylvie Gilbert).

A catalogue for the Soundtracks exhibitions has been in the works every since.

A decade later Christof Migone curated an exhibition called Volume: Hear Here. It featured myself, Alexis O'Hara, Darsha Hewitt, John Oswald, Ian Skedd, Charles Stankievech, Mitchell Akiyama, crys cole, Marla Hlady, Neil Klassen, David Lieberman, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Sylvia Matas,
David Merritt, Ryan Park, Juliana Pivato, Alexandre St-Onge, Chiyoko Szlavnics and John Wynne.

Part of the impetus of the second show was to renew efforts to complete the original catalogue, which would now serve as a document of both. It launches tonight at Hart House (7 Hart House Circle, St. George Campus, University of Toronto) from 5 to 8pm. The book (and accompanying 10" vinyl record" is available for sale for $50, and the launch will feature DJ sets by Martin Arnold, Marc Couroux, Mitchell Akiyama.

If you're coming by car, please note the Pan Am games have closed off sections of Harbord Street. For more information, visit the facebook page here:

The Last Days of Kathy Acker

An excerpt from Jason McBride's forthcoming biography Kathy Acker: Her Revolutionary Life and Work can be read at Penguin/Random House, here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

MEDALLION: A portfolio in honour of Jeannie Thib

Jeannie Thib died in Toronto, on Oct. 26, 2013, of cancer, aged 58. The Medallion portfolio, published by Katzman Contemporary, is inspired by an incomplete piece that Thib was working on at the time of her death. It features a collection of editioned multiples by thirteen of Thib’s close friends, - artists from Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands. Produced in an edition of 50, the handmade solander box includes 8" x 8" work, each printed on archival materials ranging from rag paper to wood veneer. Techniques include: digital print, screen print, laser etch, drawing, embossment, and photography.

The contributing artists to Medallion are:
Alison Alder
Millie Chen
Allyson Clay
Noëlle Cuppens
Doug Guildford
Libby Hague
Patrick Mahon
David Merritt
Olaf Mooij
Ed Pien
Penelope Stewart
Joy Walker
Johannes Zits

"As Thib’s practice was informed by her love of pattern, ornament, and architecture, the multiple was an integral part of her aesthetic, and thus is fitting as the theme for this collection."

Proceeds from the sale of MEDALLION: a portfolio in honour of Jeannie Thib will go to the Open Studio Jeannie Thib Memorial Fund. Purchase a box here, or donate here.

Bas Jan Ader | Fall

Bas Jan Ader
Los Angeles, USA: Self-published, 1970
[48] pp., 19 x 19 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

An artist book with no text, Fall contains two photographic sequences, composed of 11 images each, from the artist's films Fall 1, Los Angeles, and Fall 2, Amsterdam. The former begins with Ader seated in a straight-backed chair on the roof of his house and the latter sees the artist cycling into the canal in one of his most recognizable actions.

The rare title is available here, for US$ 1,518.04.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Book about Collecting and Exhibiting Conceptual Art after Conceptual Art

Sabine Folie, Georgia Holz, Ilse Lafer [editors]
A Book about Collecting and Exhibiting Conceptual Art after Conceptual Art
Cologne, Germany: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2014
540 pp., 23.5 x 18.5 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

"This comprehensive reader gathers a broad spectrum of perspectives on the essence of conceptual art, its standing today, and ways in which conceptual art is collected and exhibited.

In this volume, twelve curators and art historians examine the past, present, and future of conceptual art and institutional critique, which are simultaneously in a ‘moment of historicisation’ and in the process of being absorbed into the institutional mainstream.

Included is a converstation between Hal Foster and Helmut Draxler.

Featuring the work of over 30 artists including Robert Barry, Valie Export, Martha Rosler, Hans Haacke, Dan Graham, Gordon Matta-Clark, Marcel Broodthaers, Heimo Zobernig, Hélio Oiticica, Mary Kelly and Stephen Willats."

 - press release

Available for 45,00 Euro, here.

Erik Dietman | Project

Erik Dietmann
Remscheid, Germany : Vice-Versand, ca. 1969
16.6 x 22.7 cm.
Edition size uknown

One of the more obscure editions published by Wolfgang Feelisch, this work consists of a laminated piece of graph paper cut into the shape of an isosceles triangle. The bottom right corner of both sides is stamped "Etc*." A string is attached to the top, suggesting it be hung.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sebastian Black and Robin Cameron | __________.

Sebastian Black and Robin Cameron
New York City, USA: Bodega, 2013
68 pp., 13.7 × 21.5 × 0.4 cm., letterpressed cover
Edition of 125

Cameron and Black began an email correspondence regarding the nature of their shared 2012 exhibition at the Bodega a few months ago before it's opening. They discussed language and art, deciding that the former would form the predominant theme of the exhibition. Cameron's side of the conversation was typically earnest and direct, with Black more oblique and humorous.

The eventual exhibition featured a large, tall wooden table at the center of the gallery, two chairs at either end, and a bouquet of flowers at its center. It also included sculptures, paintings, a slideshow and this bookwork.

The publisher lists the title as out of print, but it is available from Art Metropole at it's original price of $15.00, here.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

ACBA: Lawrence Weiner for Of Factory New York

[Various artists]
Of Factory New York
Brussels, Belgium: Factory Benelux, 2014
double 12" vinyl LP
Edition size unknown

Michael H. Shamberg has collaborated with a variety of artists and filmmakers including Robert Frank, Robert Longo, William Wegman and Chris Marker, but remains best known for his longterm work with the band New Order. He was the founder and former head of Factory Records U.S., and produced some of the group's best known videos, including "Blue Monday" and "True Faith". Shamberg was diagnosed with a progressive neurological disease in the early 2000s and died on November 1st of last year. New Order released a statement on their website that read:

"We are very sad to learn that our friend and colleague Michael H. Shamberg passed away on Saturday 1st November after a long illness...Michael was the founder of Factory US and New Order’s video producer, alongside his own work as film maker, teacher and director of Turtle Salon...His video production of "True Faith" earned "Best Music Video" at the Brit Awards 1988. We will miss him dearly and send our condolences to all his family and friends." Former bassist Peter Hook told the Manchester Evening News, "His work on our videos, so important at the time, defined our image and an era. He was a true revolutionary."

In 2011, New Order performed several benefit concerts for Shamberg and this double LP was released six month before his death, with the proceeds going towards the costs of his medical treatment. Put out by the Belgian counterpart of Factory Records, the disk features tracks by A Certain Ratio (who Shamberg made the short film Tribeca about), Cabaret Voltaire, Section 25, Quando Quango and others. It also features a live New Order song unavailable elsewhere.

The cover design is based on a New Order concert poster from 1983, designed by Lawrence Weiner, as seen below in Weiner's Posters: November 1965 - April 1986. 

ACBA: Jazz At Massey Hall by Arnaud Maggs

Jazz At Massey Hall: Volume One
New York City, USA: Debut Records, 1953
10" vinyl LP
Edition size unknown

Recorded live at Massey Hall in Toronto, on the 15th of May, 1953, this forty-seven-minute LP marks the only time that Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker (credited as Charlie Chan for contractual reasons), Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach recorded together as a unit. It was also the last recording of Parker and Gillespie together.

Mingus, who co-owned Debut records, reportedly later overdubbed his bass lines to make his sound more prominent.

The cover graphic is by artist Arnaud Maggs, who worked as a successful designer until 1973, when - at the age of 47 - he gave it up to focus on his work as a visual artist.

“It was exciting to meet Mingus at his home and listen to the tapes with him. I created the cover on the subway ride back to my studio at 58 Park Avenue. Little did anyone know how famous this recording was to become” he later told Canadian Art magazine.

Friday, July 24, 2015

ACBA: Colourbox by Wolfgang Tillmans

Music Of The Band (1982-1987)
London, UK: 4AD, 2014
Audio CD
Limited edition (Edition size unknown)

Compiled and designed by Wolfgang Tillmans, this CD accompanied an exhibition of the same name, at Between Bridges, Tillmans' Berlin non-profit gallery last year. The space was equipped with a high-end hi-fi sound system playing the same selection of 16 songs as the disk. The original master tapes and LPs (with artwork by Vaughan Oliver) were also on display, alongside a list of the original samples used by the band.

The cover art for the recording is from an unseen series of Tillmans' featuring the Canon Colour Laser Copier that he purchased with his Turner Prize winnings in 2000 (he was the first non-English artist to win the award). A decade later the machine was beyond repair so the photographer dismantled it as a 'deconstruction'.

"Brothers Martyn and Steven Young together with Ian Robbins, Lorita Grahame and Debian Curry were pioneers of experimental pop music. They created an eclectic sound drawing from reggae and soul influences, beat-box driven hip-hop rhythms, blue-eyed soul, as well as a fusion of far-ranging influences spanning from classic R&B, to dub and industrial. Using montages of analogue magnetic tape pieces and experimenting with tape machines, Colourbox were at the fore-front of sampling, which in it's digital form would become ubiquitous in the course of the 1980's. The band worked in a seeming contrast of pure artistic research in the studio and an anti-intellectual stance towards the outside world."
- Wolfgang Tillmans

ACBA: The Orwells | You Needs You

The Orwells
You Needs You
Fullerton, USA: Burger Records/East-End Records, 2013
10" vinyl EP, 45 rpm
Edition size unknown

A four-song EP with a cover by regular collaborator filmmaker/photographer Eddie O'Keefe, whose second book, Young Ideas, was published earlier this year by Bywater Bros editions, and is available from Art Metropole, here.

ACBA: Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber for Stephan Eicher

Stephan Eicher
Paris, France: Barclay, 2012
12" vinyl LP
Edition size unknown

The 16th solo album by the celebrated Swiss singer features cover art by Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber.

Instant Coffee Pink Noise poster launch

Instant Coffee
Pink Noise
Vancouver, Canada: Self-published, 2015
21.5 x 33"
Edition of 400

Tomorrow evening MKG127 hosts a launch party for Instant Coffee's Pink Noise poster project. The launch takes place within the current exhibition by Geoffrey Pugen and features a performance by Dan Colussi of The Pinc Lincolns.

The posters are available for $20.00 each.

MKG127 is located in Toronto at 1445 Dundas St. West between Dufferin St. and Gladstone Ave. on the south side. The event runs from 7 to 9pm.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Shigeko Kubota, RIP

Japanese Fluxus artist (and widow to Nam June Paik) Shigeko Kubota died today in Manhattan, at the age of 77.

ACBA: Beck's Sea Change by Jeremy Blake

2002's Sea Change was Beck's 8th album, and first since the break-up of his long-time girlfriend stylist Leigh Limon. The sombre songs and more acoustic arrangements led to lowered commercial expectations, but strong reviews (Rolling Stone called it his best album and later one of the best of the decade) and a tour in which the Flaming Lips were both his opening act and backing band, helped the record reach number 8 on the Billboard chart. The disk was eventually certified Gold, selling approximately 700,000 copies in the US alone.

For the cover graphic, Beck commissioned artist Jeremy Blake to create four different images, overtop a portrait by Autumn de Wilde. Beck himself is credited with art direction. Blake's "digital paintings" also appear in the video for the lead off single "Lost Cause". Information about the collaboration is scarce, overshadowed by the story of Blake's death, and conspiracy theories that implicate Beck and the Church of Scientology.

Blake discovered the body of his girlfriend of twelve years, filmmaker and computer game designer Theresa Duncan, in their apartment on July 10th of 2007. The official cause of death was an overdose, assumed to be a suicide. Ten days later a woman called 911 to report a naked man walking into the ocean. Blake's wallet and clothes were found at the shore, alongside an apparent suicide note scrawled on the back of a business card: "I am going to join the lovely Theresa."

A fisherman found the 35 year old artist's body five days later. Blake's work had, at this point, already shown in three Whitney Biennials and had reached a larger audience via sequences he created for Paul Thomas Anderson's 2002 film Punch Drunk Love, starring Adam Sandler. Duncan was 40 at the time of her death. She had also been featured in the 2000 Whitney Biennial, and had created three pioneering video games aimed at girls, one of which featured voice-over work by a then-unknown David Sedaris. Entertainment Weekly called it the "CD-Rom of the year" in 1995. Her writing appeared in Slate and Artforum and she penned a well-respected blog.

According to statements by acquaintances of the couple, Blake said that he and Duncan were being followed and harassed by Scientologists. He had reportedly amassed a 27-page "chronicle" of these allegations which he was preparing for a lawsuit he hoped to file. “I got the sense that they were genuinely afraid,” a friend told Vanity Fair, “It wasn’t just weird party conversation. There was a real fear there.”

The couple told friends of repeated late night phone calls, mostly hang-ups but sometimes ominous questions like “Did you have a good meeting today?”. They often spotted men watching them outside their house, or following them in cars. Duncan began obsessively photographing out-of-town license plates. One day while she was walking her Yorkshire terrier, a man approached and said, “What a sweet dog. It would be too bad if something happened to it.” Shortly afterwards they found a dead cat on their roof.

These intimidation tactics do not seem far removed from those later documented in Lawrence Wright's 2013 book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief and the widely seen HBO documentary of the same name, released earlier this year. But testimonials from neighbours and onetime friends also paint the couple as becoming dependent on alcohol and increasingly unhinged.

Duncan believed that Tom Cruise used his clout at Paramount Pictures to get her debut feature film Alice Underground cancelled. Beck had been set to star. Cruise is the highest profile adherent of the religion, and Beck is a second-generation member, as is his wife Marissa Ribisi (twin sister of actor Giovanni Ribisi). Beck's father, the Toronto-born composer and arranger David Campbell has been a member of the church for forty-five years. (Beck is also grandson to Fluxus artist Al Hansen).

“Beck and I met repeatedly to discuss the film,” Duncan wrote a friend, though the singer denied this in a Vanity Fair article (below): “We never met to discuss doing her film. I did read her script eventually.” He described his relationship with the couple as a "passing social acquaintance” in the article: “I met Jeremy in summer 2002 when we worked on the Sea Change artwork. After that, I saw him out a handful of times.… We exchanged occasional e-mails. The last time I heard from them was 2004.”

Photographs of Duncan, Blake, Beck and a pregnant Ribisi  relaxing on a Malibu beach might suggest otherwise. More troubling is an interview from August 2003, originally overlooked as it was published in Italian. Speaking with Sandra Cesarale, Beck spoke of a his forthcoming film debut:

"It will be full of energy and full of characters: some kind of Alice in Wonderland set in the 70s. It still doesn’t have a title. The director is a friend of mine and it will be her directorial debut. But I trust her. We will begin shooting in the Fall."

A film based on Alice in Wonderland, directed by a woman as her first feature certainly sounds like a description of Duncan's project. Beck has never acknowledged the discrepancies between the two accounts.

Another mysterious aspect of the story feeding the conspiracy minded is that the Vanity Fair article’s original author, John Connolly, was reportedly pulled from the story and replaced by Nancy Jo Sales, the ex-wife of Father Frank Morales, a friend to Duncan and Blake who was there when Duncan’s body was discovered. Connolly, an ex-NYPD detective and stockbroker, has subsequently been accused of covertly working on behalf of the church, infiltrating media outlets (for more, click here).

A season 18 episode of Law & Order was apparently based on the case (the Scientologists are replaced by a group called the Systemotics) and author Bret Easton Ellis was said to be writing a screenplay about their deaths, with Gus Van Sant attached to direct. More recently Italian-Argentine filmmaker Gaspar Noé has been listed as the potential director. He is reportedly in negotiations with actor Ryan Gosling to star as Blake.