Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Claudia de la Torre | Ten (unknown) Gasoline Stations

Claudia de la Torre
Ten (unknown) Gasoline Stations
Berlin, Germany: Backbone Books, 2012
12 pp., 14.8 x 21 cm., saddle stitched
Edition of 500 numbered copies

Part tribute, part mystery novel, this title pays homage to Ed Ruscha's iconic first artist book, which is now 54 years old. Whereas Ruscha listed the location of the stations in his photographs, these images are anonymous - found online, uploaded by a man seeking help in identifying them.

Available for 15 EUR from the publisher, here.

PLEASE NOTE: Backbone Books founder Claudia de la Torre has offered that 100% of all sales today will be donated to organizations responding to the devastating earthquakes in Mexico.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Katie Paterson | Fossil Necklace Postcard Edition

Katie Paterson
Fossil Necklace Postcard Edition
Glasgow, Scotland: Self-published, 2013
342 pp., 14.3 x 19 x 9 cm., boxed
Edition of 100

Fossil Necklace consists of 170 carved, rounded fossils, spanning and representing geological time. Each fossil on the necklace, excavated from around the world, represents a major event in evolution. For a full listing of each stone, visit the artist's website, here.

The clothbound boxed postcard set features a micro lens portrait of each bead, with the relevant information printed on the verso. It is available for £250, here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Meredith Monk | Key

Meredith Monk
San Francisco, USA: Tompkins Square Label, 2017
12" LP, 36:42
Limited edition. Edition size unknown

Meredith Monk Awarded 2017 Gish Prize

Record store release of the reissued classic, originally from 1971 (Increase Records) and later available via Lovely Music.

Monk's debut record contains her earliest compositions for voice, composed and performed between  1967 and 1970. The disk features vocals from Fluxus artist Dick Higgins and photography by Peter Moore.

“In Key I wanted to create a constantly shifting ambience. Each song dealt with a different vocal character, landscape, technical concern or emotional quality. I was trying for a visceral, kinetic song form that had the abstract qualities of a painting or a dance. I knew that I didn’t want to set music to a text; for me, the voice itself was a language which seemed to speak more eloquently than words. I chose certain phonemes for their particular sound qualities. In a sense, each song became a world in itself with its own timbre, texture and impulse.”

- Meredith Monk

Monk has just been awarded the quarter million dollar Lillian Gish Prize, which will be honoured during a ceremony at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on October 26. She was chosen from among more than sixty-six finalists in the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, and arts administration. Previous recipients of the award include Trisha Brown, Laurie Anderson, Frank Gehry, Peter Sellars, and Bob Dylan.

“I am humbled and grateful to receive the Gish Prize,” Monk said. “It’s exceptional for being a prize that a great artist decided to give to other artists, and even more special for the values that Lillian Gish expressed when she said it should recognize contributions to ‘the beauty of the world.’ I believe, as she did, that art can be a healing force, a source of light during dark times. With boundless admiration for her, and profound respect for the artists who received this prize before me, I am thrilled to have been chosen for this one-of-a-kind award.”

- Meredith Monk

Friday, September 15, 2017

Endre Tót | Total questions by Tot

Endre Tót
Total questions by Tot
Berlin, Germany: Edition Hundertmark, 1974
16 pp., 21 x 14.7 cm., softcover
Edition of 300

Reproduction of the questionnaires answered by Marina Abramovic, anonymous c/o Marylin Monroe, George Brecht, Jacques Charlier, Hervé Fisher, Ken Friedman, Dick Higgins, Pierre Restany, Takako Saito, Mieko Shiomi and Wolf Vostell, and not by Marcel Duchamp.

A second edition from 1982 is available from the publisher, here, for 16 Euro.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pierre | David Nuancier

Pierre David
Paris, France: RVB Books, 2015
96 pp., 28 x 6 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

Brazilian anthropologist Gilberto Freyre wrote in 1933 that race was uniquely insignificant in Brazil, that the country was the world's only true “racial democracy”. Generations of miscegenation, he argued, had made skin tone irrelevant.

This became a point of pride for Brazilians, and as late as the 1950s, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) funded research into Brazil’s racial relations, hoping to discover “an alternative model for the racial conflicts found worldwide.”

The notion is considerably more contentious now, challenged by both activists and academics. Examples can be found here, here and here.

But for some, the central premise is still worth exploring. French artist Pierre David moved to Brazil in 2009, and was struck by the variety of skin colours, and Freyre's observations.

“Brazil has a better attitude to skin colour than other developed nations,” he told The Guardian,  “There’s no doubt, because the concept of skin colour difference was recognised very early in their history. Now, it even appears on identity documents. In France, it is forbidden to define someone by his colour; in Brazil, that’s not the case. Everyone can claim his skin colour and be proud.”

Produced while in residence at the Museum of Modern Art in Salvador da Bahia, his colour chart book Nuancier documents the skin pigmentation of forty employees of the museum. David took photographic scans of 15cm of skin from the back of each member of the installation crew. The scans are presented as a fanned book of swatches, with topless portraits of each on the verso.

The artist also worked with the paint manufacturer Sikkens and to industrially produce each of the men’s skin tones. The forty paint cans were displayed alongside the colour chart, and the museum walls were painted with their colours.

Nuancier is available from the publisher, here, for 28 €.

Watch the book unfolded on Youtube, here, and hear the artist speak about the project (in French) here.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Jenny Holzer | Laments

Jenny Holzer
New York City, USA: Dia Art Foundation, 1989
VHS tape housed in a plastic clamshell box.
Edition size unknown

Often packaged with the book of the same name, this video documents Holzer's installation at DIA in March of 1989, in which thirteen texts were engraved into a continuous row of stone sarcophagi that recounted what Holzer identified as “voices of the dead.” These lamentations expressed the "before death" thoughts of an infant, two children, and ten adults. LED lights affixed to columns within the space echoed these meditations, constructing an architectural installation of spotlight tombs and didactic pillars.

“This videotape is based on the installation by Jenny Holzer of thirteen stone sarcophagi and thirteen vertical LED (light emitting diode) signboards at the Dia Art Foundation.”
- VHS label