There’s Stripped hanging at the Ed Ruscha, Books & Co. show at Gagosian Gallery. The opening was packed and I was happy to see so many friends turn out. This little print-on-demand book that I made in just a few days ended up surrounded by a massive production, and I’m still not entirely sure how it happened. At any rate, it was an honor to be there and see this massive body of work by over a hundred artists connected in time and space by the presence of Mr. Ruscha himself.
The show itself is epic and worth a visit (through April 27, 2013).
Top image—Gagosian Gallery.
On my way home from Weymouth last summer I met up with Andreas and Jonathan in London, who encouraged me to make a quick contribution to ABC‘s first collaborative project, ABCED—a set of books inspired by Ed Ruscha’s work, on the occasion of his 75th birthday in December 2012. (ABC + ED = ABCED.)
My book is Stripped (Sixty-Six Sunsets Stripped), a work that reinterprets Ruscha’s classic Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) with a Google image search of the word sunset. The book follows Ed’s layout and the total length of the pages is 25 feet (as was his work, which folded out into one long strip).
Fast forward to March 2013. After several book fairs and various exhibitions, our little print-on-demand box of books will be included in “Ed Ruscha / Books & Co.,” a show of book works by Ed Ruscha and many artists influenced by him. The exhibition opens March 5 at Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue. Stripped will be one of ten books featured from the set.
Stripped is available for purchase at Blurb.
- I’ll launch “Apparition of a distance, however near it may be” at Printed Matter’s first annual LA Art Book Fair at the Geffen Contemporary at MoCA, Los Angeles. Look for me at the ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative table (January 31–February 3).
- Several of my books will be featured in “A Fair,” an exhibition curated by Travis Shaffer at the University of Kansas Art + Design Gallery, Lawrence, KS (January 22–February 15).
- Stripped will be featured as part of the ABCED project at Gagosian Gallery, 980 Madison, NYC in “Ed Ruscha: Books & Co.” (March 5–April 27).
Progress photo of the Kansas installation by Travis Shaffer.
Last summer, Wendy Richmond asked me to be a guest writer for her long-standing Design Culture column in Communication Arts. I was getting ready to leave for England to realize Weymouths for the b-side arts festival (part of the London 2012 Festival), so we agreed that I would think about the assignment during my time there. Soon after the work began it was obvious to me that I would want to write about the performative part of the project, which was new (and difficult) for me.
The result is “The Generosity Echo,” which appears in the total redesigned Jan./Feb. issue of Communication Arts (which also happens to be the 2013 Typography Annual). They’ll post the piece on their site in mid-February and I’ll link to it then.
Some news to share: I’ll be presenting a preview of Weymouths at the Book Live symposium at London South Bank University, 8–9 June 2012. The event “will bring together theorists, researchers and practitioners to stimulate a dialogue across disciplines on the ability of the book to keep up with digital culture and the emergence of new modes of writing, of photographing, of reading, or archiving and of disseminating ‘on the page’ work. The purpose of this conference is to examine the current ‘transforming’ and ‘expanding’ of the book rather than its virtual disintegration.”
Here’s a one-page PDF with a full list of participants and more information.
Also, you can now find a brief description of Weymouths on the newly updated b-side festival site. Weymouths will be installed in Weymouth, England from 27 July through 12 August as part of the Maritime Mix — London2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea.
For the next several months I’ll be focused on Weymouths, a 12-book project I’ve been commissioned to produce for the 2012 b-side arts festival in the UK. The work will be installed during the summer Olympics in Weymouth, a seaside town in Dorset, England, where the official sailing competitions will take place.
From the project proposal—
Weymouths explores memory, geography and cultural identity through site-specific books that draw upon the linked histories of Weymouth, Dorset (UK) and Weymouth, Massachusetts (USA). Created for the 2012 b-side Multimedia Arts Festival and installed on-site at festival locations, 12 publications will be released to visitors during the 13-day festival. Among the goals for Weymouths is to create moments for rich, page-by-page engagement in the environment for the ambulatory visitor—the printed book as a participatory art project.
The 12 volumes will be produced and presented as reliquaries of collective memory—bound containers holding text, color and imagery. Historical records, lists, archival imagery, on-site photography, tweets, interviews, maps, street names, Google Street View, Wikipedia and other raw source material will be assembled into open, thought-provoking narratives—real and imagined.
Beginning with the 104 citizens of Weymouth, Dorset (UK) who crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1635 to found Weymouth, Massachusetts (USA), the 12 books will be a celebration of temporal connections, disconnects and other trans-geographic structures that continue to hover between the twin towns, as well as a chance to “re-see” cultural identity in real-time.
Each volume will be produced using a print-on-demand Espresso Book Machine (EBM). Limited editions of 20 (a total of 240 books) will be installed at various festival locations. Each day during the festival a new volume will be revealed and installed, beginning with Vol. #1 on July 30 and ending with Vol. #12 on August 10, 2012. The books will be free to anyone exploring Weymouth during the 13-day period; they will slowly disappear from the installation sites as they are discovered and enjoyed by their new owners. Weymouths will encourage a slow, alternative presentation of time and space for visitors as they explore.
Weymouths is part of an exploration that began with Venetian Suite and continued last year with Memory Palace and 273 Relics for John Cage. Each draws together ideas about memory, place and the image within the contained book form.
Someone recently described Memory Palace as a spectral archive, which I define as traces and histories, memories of or like a ghost, collected and contained. This articulation of my book works appeals to me. The spectral archive favors the forgotten and conjures a shapeless narrative, more liquid than linear. A book of associations, loaded with suggestion and unspecified meaning; a dream tool. A rumination machine. The spectral archive is crafted with specificity, but it’s experienced on the user’s own terms, creatively and without restriction.
I want to produce this work publicly, like I did in Rome. As I generate stuff, even fragments of ideas, I’ll post them here.
I’m addicted to Khoi Vinh‘s new social collage-making app, Mixel. This is one of a small handful of apps that gives my iPad its reason for being — always on and I don’t even have to think about using it. Something that just lets me use my finger to cut up images and push pixels around feels so natural, but it’s also unlike any creative tool I’ve ever used. It’s intuitive and easy and dream-like; they’re ripe for interpretation.
And the sharing/social/remixing aspect of Mixel just takes it to a whole other place.
Soon I’ll find out; a few weeks ago I submitted a few collages to a juried photography exhibit at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, which was calling for digital works made with mobile devices. The jurors were Brian Clamp of ClampArt in NYC and Chuck Mobley of San Francisco Camerawork and they selected the two car images.
So next week I’m going to review proofs at small (4″ x 6″) and larger (16″ x 24″) sizes and make a decision, get them framed and send them to Denver and maybe fly out for the opening on January 13. The show will be up until February 11.
I’m so pleased to announce that I’ve been asked to write for The Manual, “a new, beautifully crafted journal that takes a fresh look, in print, at design on the web.” It’s published by Andy McMillan, edited by Carolyn Wood and designed by Jez Burrows — and it began as a Kickstarter project!
It’s an honor for me to be in the company of folks like Liz Danzico, Frank Chimero, Jeremy Keith, Duane King, Ethan Marcotte, Tiffani Jones Brown, Nina Stössinger and others who have already written or will be writing for future issues. Look for me in issue #3 (early 2012).
Details have been posted for ReViewing Black Mountain College 3 — John Cage’s Circle of Influence, “a 3-day gathering of scholars, performers, and artists presenting ideas and performing works related to John Cage. The weekend program includes music, performances, installations, exhibitions, films and scholarly presentations. Keynote address by Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust. Co-sponsored by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, University of North Carolina at Asheville and the John Cage Trust.”
I’ll be presenting JC273 at John Cage’s Circle of Influence as an installation at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, October 7–9, 2011.
Talking about my upcoming trip with friends (or strangers) I’m frequently asked if I’m prepared, what am I doing to prepare, etc. In terms of the actual work, I don’t feel very prepared at all. All I know is that I’m going with open eyes, mind and heart. I’ll interact with the place when I arrive and I have faith that something will come of it.
But in the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of reading and I would say that this is an important kind of preparation. Perhaps the best kind. Several of the books and essays have come to me fortuitously, the result of chance meetings or introductions. I’m learning to pay close attention to what appears to be the random stuff — things I encounter that don’t quite fit into my normal scope. This in itself is a great way to prepare for travel.
So here are some choice pieces that have influenced my thinking about the trip. They’re not all directly related (to each other or to what I’m doing right now) but if it’s on this list it’s because something about it feels like it’s working on me. Letting a story, an idea or even just a word resonate for awhile can be enough stimulation.
- A good friend insisted that I read Damon Galgut’s In a Strange Room. “A journey is a gesture inscribed in space, it vanishes even as it’s made … The very air closes behind you like water.”
- From this post on Liz Danzico’s always-inspiring Bobulate I learned of the adjacent possible: “The spaces we occupy, the tools we use, and the ideas in our consciousness cast this ‘shadow future’ over us each minute of the day.”
- From the guy sitting next to me at City Bakery on December 4 I learned of the fantastic Greek word “eudaimonia.” It’s at the end of the first chapter of Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel, the book he was reading, which I am now reading.
- At 192 Books I picked up Edmund White’s NYC memoir City Boy and I’ve been thinking ever since about how we write our own stories.
- In City Boy White writes of his life-long friendship with poet James Merrill. I picked up Selected Poems and then Familiar Spirits. “Merrill eventually described his poems as ‘chronicles of love and loss,’ and that term aptly stresses his sense of a life lived and understood over time, and links his two recurrent themes. From his college days on, Merrill’s favorite writer had been Proust, for whom the only true paradise was a lost paradise. Love, for both writers, is not fully itself until it is lost, until it becomes memory, becomes art.”
- I haven’t read An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris by Georges Perec yet, but the concept of focused and deliberate observation is core for me: “My intention in the pages that follow was to describe…that which is generally not taken note of, that which is not noticed, that which has no importance: what happens when nothing happens.” The book is described as an artifact of the street.
- A tweet pointed me to this inspiring essay (a speech given at West Point, actually) on solitude and leadership by William Deresiewicz. “So solitude can mean introspection, it can mean the concentration of focused work, and it can mean sustained reading. All of these help you to know yourself better. But there’s one more thing I’m going to include as a form of solitude, and it will seem counterintuitive: friendship.” This also looks good: “The End of Solitude.”
- Steven Heller kindly introduced me to artist Wendy Richmond, whose residency at the American Academy in Rome will overlap with mine. We met recently and thankfully, she instilled on me the importance of cherishing the time and space of the artist’s residency. Her book Art Without Compromise* is an important read for anyone cultivating the state of not knowing.
- Next up: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience, mentioned by Wendy in an email. Here’s the TEDTalk where he speaks about flow and ecstasy, or “standing outside oneself.” Very much worth watching.