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ISSN 0160-0699

Volume 30, No. 1, Mar 2007

Artist Books - Reviews

Most of the books reviewed here are available at Printed Matter, at 195 10th Ave. (between 21st and 22nd St.), New York, NY 10011.


Notes for an Art School by Dexter Sinister, edited by Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt (New York, 2005)

Dexter Sinister (Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt), editors, $15.00 paper) is the culmination of Manifesta 6, where in Nicosia discussions of what an art school could be were put into practice. Rethinking the goals and structure of an art school, its ideological contexts, the position of its students to the art world, its relationship to social and political conditiions, and the level of its discursive involvement, drawing on specific examples and on their experience to interrogate the appropriateness and validity of existing school models. With essays and interviews by international artists, curators, theorists and educations on the topic of art education include Mai Abu ElDahab, Babak Afrassiabi, Julie Ault, Martin Beck, Liam Gillick, Boris Groys, Olaf Metzel, Haris Pellapaisiotis, Tobias Rehberger, Walid Sadek, Nasrim Tabatabai, Jan Verwoert, Anton Vidokle and Florian Waldvogel.

Artists in Artist-Run Centres: Ontario 1971-2006 by Craig Leonard (Kingston, Canada, Roboutique Press, 2006, $30.00 paper) is basically a research project in which the artist has created a very neat spreadsheet cataloging the activities of artists in artist-run centers for over 30 years through last name indexing and venue coding. This book could only be done by someone who felt the need for it and who obsessed over the problem by creating the solution. This demonstrates a dedication to visually capturing the diverse participation of individuals in this large art center of Canada.

Small Books

Scott Blake has something going that is hilarious, current, and ingenious. He has used barcodes from found files to create amazing flipbooks.

Bar Code Oprah is a digital mosaic made using hundreds of barcodes to represent light and dark pixels. Blake has made this 24 x 24 inch portrait on a computer with Photoshop. You have to let your fingers do the walking, but it’s wonderful. $10.00 signed by the artist

Bar Code Reagan is another in the series. $10.00

Bar Code Ozzy is a digital mosaic of Ozzy Osbourne made entirely of barcodes from music CDs which the heavy metal performer created. $10.00 signed by the artist

Paper Rod no. 1 by Noah Lyon, Cory Arcangel and special guest scrawling from DJ Jazzy Jess and Dr. Ninja (Brooklyn, NY, 2006, $9.99 paper) includes 16 pages of full color almost phosphorescent scrawling from this wild group who doesn’t want to be categorized as “art comics”.

American Schizo: Phonetic Poetry of American Psycho by Hardbody (London, 2006, $10.00 paper) is the second book in the Chemical Poetry trilogy by Hardbody, American Schizo consists of dark, abstract poetry, developed in tandem with digital speech experiments. Taking its raw material from the Periodic Table of American Psycho (from Chemical Poetry of American Psycho), words are distorted and phonemes re-arranged to create deranged content and unexpected rhythmic structures. An accompanying mini-CD contains digitized ’readings’ in many voices from which the rationale for the grammatical arrangements can be deciphered.

Sonnet 154: Fahrenheit 451 or How to Make a Book Bomb by Hardbody (London, 2006, $10.00 paper) is the third book in the Chemical Poetry trilogy by Hardbody in the UK. “This is a subtle interplay of appropriated verse and structural typography, juxtaposing Shakespeare’s final sonnet on the incendiary nature of love with spot-varnished explosives diagrams. Issues of censorship are intimated, with the numerical reversal of the title referencing the combustion temperature of paper (from Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi classic), and the substitution of combustible chemical compounds with elements from the Periodic Table of American Psycho (from Chemical Poetry of American Psycho).”

Turkish: A Dictionary of Delights by Adnan Adam Onart, edited and introduced by Roger L. Conover (Zurich, JRP/Ringier, 2006, $15.00 paper) is a lexical tour de force which uses the dictionary genre to inject polemic into certain forbidden discourses that are currently suppressed both within and around the subjects of Turkish language, politics, sexuality and history, making the book extremely timely in light of contemporary debates around the question of Turkey’s entry into the European Union. The A - Z definitions are presented with wit and political incorrectness that one does not usually associate with Ottoman subjects such as the hamam and revered political icons such as Ataturk. The irreverence generated a refusal by postal authorities when the book shipments arrived in Istanbul, ironically contributing to the cult status the book quickly acquired in the artistic circles of Istanbul, where it can only be purchased ’under the counter’ at certain galleries. The book was part of an exhibition in 2004 in Istanbul.

Johan Svensson: Collection (Stockholm, Biondi Books, 2006, $20.00 paper) creates drawings for album covers, including Laurie Anderson, Beatles Bjork, the Kinks, the Grateful Dead, etc., all hand drawn and painted. Reason enough to know that he sells out his art and his books.

Far War by Marc Ganzglass (New York, 2006, $6.00 paper) is a flipbook of Luke Skywalker looking at a battle occuring off in space from a scene never used in the movie, Star Wars. It was conceived after a thought by Steve Earle on the activities of an artist during times of war. Powerful black and white full-size flipbook.

Ron Jude: Postcards 1991-2006 includes 22 matte-finish color postcards in a slipcase, published by A-Jump Books, in Ithaca, New York. The photographs by this accomplished photographer and teacher include found detritis, the poetry of the eye wherever it may rove in landscape, nature and manmade environments. Shot over the past 15 years in places as culturally and geographically diverse as Italy and Louisiana, these photographs subvert tourism. Not “picture postcards” but the minutia of private experience dominate these photographs. The artist has quite an eye, and this modestly priced portfolio of images is a fine way of presenting these photos which tell a story by themselves with a little help from the “viewer”. (Ithaca, NY, A-Jump Books, 2006, $10.00) from Printed Matter.

The States: Poems by Craig Foltz consists of Picture Postcards perforated and ready to tear with sky photographs contributed by 51 photographers throughout the USA. On the back of each image is a poem by Foltz which is short-titled by an allusion to a person, a thing, or familiar phrase. The small portfolios of accordion-folded postcards ready to tear and send off, and all banded with a paper band to create a “collection” of images and poems. Published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2006, this wonderful collection of poems and images is available for $20.00 from UDP, Ugly Duckling Presse, The Old American Can Factory, 232 Third Street, #E002 (corner Third Avenue), Brooklyn, NY 11215


Marc Joseph: New and Used, edited by Marc Joseph and Damon Krukowski (Gottingen and London, Steidl, 2006 $60.00 hardcover) is a group of stunningcolor photos by Joseph of books and records, and some of the locations where they are sold. Together with editor Krukowski, the artist has assembled a set of essays, short fiction, and poetry by contemporary writers and musicians, all responding to the new and used of their own experiences.

Growing up in Ohio in the 1970s, photographer Marc Joseph’s first exposure to art, writing and music came from the eccentric smaller book and record shops of downtown Cleveland. Saturday afternoons were mecca for combing through stacks in anticipation of a future purchase or studying coves of George Orwell’s Animal Farm or Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.

The seeds had been sown for a life-long interest in books and records, both as public artworks and as meditative private experiences.

This book is a nostalgic meditation on that which we collectors loveand the images are messy or organized, piled up or beautifully shelved, boxed or stacked in an increasingly endangered environment such as independent book and music shopsand the coterie of writers and musicians reminisce about their New and Used experiences. A beautiful book, a wonderful topic, a great book for justifying what we all docollect! 60 color images.

Now You Know (spoken in New York City) by Tony Arcabascio (Hollywood, CA, Arkitip, 2006, $13.00 with slipcase) is a series of witty and sometimes useful instructions on how to deal with friends on drugs, getting married, keeping a job, making the girls love you and breaking into cars cleanly, among others. The typography is all caps in typewriter font.

Housing by Lieven de Boeck (Maastricht, Jan van Eyck Academie, 2003, $29.00 paper) is the five-year saga of de Boeck’s nomadic existence floating from friend’s house to another, with an occasional stopover at his parents, for the total of five years. This is a kind of journal of writings and crisp drawings of layouts of architecture in which he experienced space and life. There is a kind of outsider’s perspective on other people’s apartments and houses, yet a keen understanding of the relationship of architecture and personal identity. Nicely designed bookwork.

The 2007 Calendar by Claude Closky (Paris, onestar, Galerie Laurent Godin, 2006, $27.00 paper) is a verbal calendar where Closky plots days against dates and every month’s narrative calendar produces a promising positive trend, if only of time marching steadily on.

ETC.: Projects arranged by Matt Keegan at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, 9/05-1/06 (New York, 2006, $10.00 paper in portfolio with elastic-banded slipcase) contains three booklets. The color booklet documents each part of the Etc. Project with installation images and event details, which concisted of 12 events that took place at the andrew Kreps Gallery between September 2005 and January 2006. Initially, the project featured programming in dialogue with the shows that were on view. But there were self-sufficient lectures and events that used the gallery as an evening lecture hall, screening room, or meeting place. The goal of Etc. was to insert dialogue and conversation into a commercial space normally lacking programming specifically designed to generate discussions. The artists invited were Ei Arakawa, Basekamp and Lars Fisher, Fia Backstrom, but there were panel discussions, excerpts from Morgan Fisher’s lecture “What to Do about Painting” and Scott Rigby and Lars Fischer’s presentaiton “Making Room for Redundancy” among others.

The two black-ink booklets provide further textual documentation, sometimes transcripts of discussions. The discussions, illustrations, and comments are more than the sum of their parts. Fascinating and important.

The Colors of Berlin (Die Farben Berlins) by Celia di Pauli, Philipp Schwarz and Jesse Shapins (Munich, Prestel, 2005, $20.00 color fan book) presents the “blind spots” of Berlin that are on the mental maps of Berlin. It opens up the diversity of the city with image, colors, theme, map and text from Mitte to Hellersdorf. The color tones (like paint samples) come directly from the photos and allow one to see these everyday situations with new eyes and feelings. The themes present ground, urban furnishings and brazeness. On the back pages, the often overlooked details are locate din urban space. There is a small outline of Berlin showing the district and orients the visitor in the exploration of the city. The texts are quotations from a diversity of urban descriptions from the Berliner Morgenpost daily newspaper to the Dalai Lama.

Don Quixote by Gareth Long (New Haven, CT, G. Long, 2006, $75.00 softbound) is an extension of the basic theme of the self-reflexive, tale-telling nature of the original book by Miguel de Cervantes with a new translation by Edith Grossman (a conceit showing the cover of the audiobox originally purchased by the artist). What the artist has done is use a text generated through the playback of an audio version to a dictating software program. The narrator is George Guidall. The artist labored to train the program to recognize the book-on-tape’s voice, but the software still tripped over silences and pauses. The word “Quixote” also proved elusive for the computer’s comprehension as the name doesn’t appear anywhere in this version. Even the verso of the title-page where the information gets mangled gives you a hint. Signed and numbered in an edition of 100. Should this be called an audiobook?

The Quickening by Sue de Beer (New York, Sue de Beer, Marianne Boesky Gallery, 2006, $10 paper) includes production stills and character monologues from the video installation, The Quickening, comprising the central focus of this American Gothic book. The texts and images draw on literary andhistorical sources including works by Jonathan Edwards, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Joris Karl Huysmans. Puritanism rears its ugly head in this kind of B-movie lens with its emphasis on teenage sexuality. Full-color images with a die-cut cover. Essays by Kim Paice ad Susan L. Abreth.

Like Ghosts by Adam Shecter (Gent/New York, Imschoot/Printed Matter, 2006, $24.00) uses a format that marries cinemascope with the illustrated book. There are technicolor double-page spreads hinting at narratives that are woven together, non-sequentially, to reproduce a vision at once child-like and more than that, profound. It is an exquisitely printed book and its sequencing will get under the reader-viewer’s skin. There is no text, but there are many texts.

State of the Union: Live/Evil/Vile by Scott McCarney (Rochester, NY, 2006, $30.00 paper) is a full color series of images taken from the TV screen of President Bush speaking to the nation in the State of the Union speech in January 2003. The texts laid across each page are generated from the Internet Anagram Server ( includes phrases such as “not a sheen outfit” or “so thin a teen tofu” all generated from “state of the union” using that server. The book comes encased in protected plastic and duct tape inspired by the Department of Homeland Security’s readiness guidelines. Edition of 100.

Hello My Name is Scott by Scott, Autobiography #6 by Scott McCarney (Rochester, 2006, $40.00 paper) is one of a series of autobiographies constructted by the artist from collections of his ephemera. Some of the other titles are “Things to Do (#1)”, “Homemade Maps (#4), and “Rejection Slips (#2)”, among others.

This book is made up of badges and tags used in conventions, conferences, expos and panel discussions, among others. Many of us have such an accumulation as well. The artist assembled these images on a MacBook Pro and sent it to for production. It was rebound as a two-section, 64-page pamphlet by the artist.

I Heart Darkness by Natascha Sofia Snellman (Los Angeles, 2nd Cannons Publications, 2005, $24.00 paper) are a series of interviews conducted during Fall and Winter 2004, a particularly gothic-impued period of contemporary art. Snellman sought out artits whose work relates to concepts of darkness and the uncanny. She asked similar questions of each artist, probing the influences in music, books, and memories to unearth elements of influence. Included are collages by Snellman as well as a selection of artwork reproductions by the participating interviewees, who are: Nina Bovasso, Brenden Clenaghen, Ami Tallman, Jamie Isenstein, Sue de Beer, Sterling Ruby, Kevin Christy, Gus Van Sant, Jess, Brian Kennon, Jeanine Jablonski, Ashley Maccomber, Alex Hubbard, and Storm Tharp.

Seven Suns by Jen Denike (New York, Oliver Kamm, 5BE Gallery, 2006, $25.00 paper) is a colalboration with Peter Coffin, Adam Helms, Amy Smith Stewart, Justin Lowe, Anat Ebgi, Aaron Young, and Mike Rottenberg. Inspired by Ed Ruscha’s Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass, Seven Suns is a meditation on vernacular, nostalgia, repetition, vacancy and mortality. Denike mimics Ruscha’s choice of fonts, images and then blank pages, sequencing the same number of image pages with blank pages, from front to back, and in reverse, prompting a formal compositional rhythm. The back cover says: Five Artists, Two Writers on Mortality. Emulation is the best example of flattery.

Short Story Piece by Sarah Dobai (London, Chelsea School of Art & Design, 1,000,000mph project space, 2005, $10.00 paper) was published to coincide with a 10-minutefilm work made up of 50 stills with the same name. There are annotated facsimile pages from stories by Tennessee Williams and Raymond Carver (What We Talk About When We Talk About Love), as well a sketchbook excerpts. Ice, mirrors and glass penetrate many of the images, and with disruption of narrative and aesthetic of realism, the images are powerful penetrating memory and recollection in the viewer. The essay is by Esther Windsor.

En Cuenta by Gabriel Kuri (Gent, imschoot, 2006, $40.00 paper linen cover) lets us know that we are what we eat. These gorgeous color photographs produce a journal of the artist’s dirty dishes left after each meal for a period of 6 months. A day in the life of….kind of journal which reveals an visual autobiography, a self-portrait somewhat in the negative, a kind of meditation over the food consumed, a kind of Spoerri-type of portrait of the remains of a meal (but he used resin, making each assemblage a work of art on the wall), but here we can turn pages of each day and guess what the artist ate for energy and for enjoyment. A wonderful journey in color, ed. of 1000.

Wonderfoolworld by David Sandlin (Kilkenny, Ireland: Butler Gallery, 2006, $25.00 paper) commemorates Sandlin’s first show in the country of his birth, Ireland. Due to his immigration to the U.S. in 1956, he has not shown in his native land until now. This book is also an introduction to his monumental painting, Sorrow Falls, Joy Rises, which allows him to become more private with his feelings at the death of his father and the birth of his son. Using autobiography, popular imagery, narrative devices and historical references, Sandlin’s work feels like sand under your sock, uncomfortable but you know what to do to understand the problem and find the solution.

Sandlin’s work has allusions from Bob Dylan to T. S. Eliot, dealing with images not only on the surface but beneath into the darkness, from pulp fiction even to religious iconography. There are Blake-like resonances, as well as comic-strip vibrations. In the book, he can zoom in on details of his monumental painting to allow the “reader” to understand the vastness of symbols, feelings and techniques portraying the private Sandlin and the public artist. What ensues is a painting and many other paintings that create an epic cosmology creating awe, wonder, and horror in the viewer. With essays by John Carlin and Carlo McCormick, alongside interviews with Sandlin discussing his long-term involvement with artist books as well as delving deeper into his painting Sorrow Falls, Joy Rises, this volume is truly a major contribution. What a combination of Crumb and Blakeonly Sandlin can express it.

Alphabetical Ballad of Carnality, written and illustrated by David Sandlin (Seattle, WA, Fantagraphics Books, 2006, $14.95 hardcover) is drawn in the tradition of classic pulp comic tales. Here we have Carl Bob deVille visiting various pit stops on the road to damnation, from adultery to avarice, from venality to zealotry. It’s quite an alphabet using titillating, tongue-twisting rhymes on each luridly illustrated page, which flows into the next. This is the fifth installation of Sandlin’s series, “A Sinner’s Progress.”

Swamp Preacher by David Sandlin (Seattle, WA, Fantagraphics books, 2006, $5.95 paper) is the sixth volume of Sandlins ongoing project A Sinner’s Progress, an epic series of lore surrounding characters involved with a religious novelty company, Pur-Ton-o-Fun Co. Moving back in time, Swamp Preacher uncovers the unearthly origins of Carl Bob deVille, Pur-Ton-o-Fun Co.’s charismatic and mysterious founder. Metamorphosed through the absorption of others’ sins, Carl Bob deVille must be reborn from swampy depths. The legend of Swamp Preacher draws on rich sources from the Southern gothic tradition to pulp fiction comics.

The Josephine Meckseper Catalog no. 2 by Josephine Meckseper (New York/Berlin, Sternberg Press, 2006, $29.95 paper) is a square-shaped catalog using the iconography of fashion magazines to present selections from Meckseper’s recent installations and pieces. She primarily concerns herself with the vampire methodology of consumerism undertaking the symbols of political and social radicals for the operational techniques of capitalist systems. This all leads to empty gestures such as those Palestinian kuffiyeh or scarves which became fashionable and the Communist scythe and sickle as a T-shirt logo. Meckseper appropriates the mirrored surfaces and presentation techniques used for luxury brands for her own installations, presentations and conceits of re-prsentation. I kept feeling I was reading a copy of Arforum. Includes list of images and biography.

Gran Bazaar by Katie Holten (Mexico City, Mexico, Tup Institute, 2006, $15.00 paper) is the result of a residency in Mexico City by the artist, who became fascinated with the consumerism and buying habits of the Mexican population within its winding urban streets. She collected detritis, took notice of the popular ways of advertising and selling through drawings, snapshots and then went to work. She created all kinds of objects from the collection of detritis each day. Newspapers, take-out packaging, toilet paper tubes, and other leftovers were turned into handmade books, such as pet toys. She then created a “Gran Bazaar”, which obviously was a kind of mall which combined performance art along with object-making. The whole “action” created a combination of anthropology, journalism and the arts. She documented through drawings, photos and note-taking. The book also contains texts by Nestor Garcia Canlini (anthropologist, Mexico City), J. Frederick Janka (curator, Mexico City), and Sally O’Reilly (writer, London). Canclini writes about the the informal aspects of international mega-cities; Janka outlines the ways the “outsider” interprets the experience of new surroundings, new habits, new experiences; and Sally O’Reilly (writer, London) interviews Holten on her techniques concerning art, trade and object making with all its problems and solutions. A wonderful event!

Soccer Half-Time Cookery Book /Kochbuch fur die Halbzeit Pause by Rirkrit Tiravanija (Nuremburg, Verlag fur Moderne Kunst, 2006, $35.00 paper) is the result of an exhibition “Das Grose Rasenstuck” in 2006. The chapters are divided into Kick-Off, Round of Sixteen, Quarter Final, Semi Final, 3rd Place Play-off, Final and Extra Time. This food artist has 16 recipes for half-time and more than likely served these meals during the course of the exhibition to all who entered. The recipes are amplified with photographs of friends watching the World Cup. What a wonderful “catalog”, an artist book! Dist. by d.a.p., New York.

Learn to Draw by John Lurie, Volume One (Cologne, Buchhandlung Walter Konig. 2006, $40.00 paper) anthologizes 65 surrealistic black and white drawings. Over a period of twenty years, Lurie, who is an actor and musician, has been making these drawings but never exhibiting them until 2004, when he received instant acclaim. Even the New York Time’s Robert Smith wrote that “music’s loss may turn out to be art’s gain.” You can judge for yourself, now that the book is published, which is the first to document the black and white line drawings.

Yale MFA Product Catalogue 2006-2007, edited by Carlo McCormick (New Haven, Yale University, 2006, $4.99 reflects the creativity of 14 very special imaginations from the painting, sculpture, graphic arts and photogrphy departments of the MFA program at Yale University who have produced a mock catalog of hypothetical artist multiples and aesthetic commodities for a non-existent manufacture and market.

“We here at Product Catalogue appreciate the discerning consumer. Like you, we understand that while what we buy defines us as individuals, it is our common pursuit of novelty that makes us all the same. It is towards this higher calling of brand identity, the sublime greed that transcends need, upon which Product Catalogue was founded. Using the most sophisticated demographic analysis and cutting-edge market research available, our skilled artisans have been able to anticipate your desires and direct them to the perfect products.”

…from the book’s introduction.

Featuring the work of Tomas Celizna, Jennifer Davis, Petrova Giberson, Daniel Harding, Hilla Katki, Wolasi Kono, Andy Lane, Evan Levine, Elisheva Levy, I-Ling Lin, Vasken Mardikian, Patrick McElnea, Sasha Rudensky and Robert Vanderpool, as well as a personal “Dear Valued Customer” letter by Carlo McCormick, Product Catalog is a must for everyone who needs desire.

Idea Art for Kids by Mark Rodriguez (Oakland, CA, 1984 Publishing, 2006, $5.00 paper) shows how the artist, Rodriguez, draws on strategies of performance, project-based, interventionist, and conceptual artists who have worked within the last 40 years. The book allows children of all ages to enter the mindset of a contemporary artist. Methods are using “heavy research, appropriating certain living models, inventing monumentally impossible ideas, investigating systems, exploiting processes, and utilizing or creating phenomena.” Proscribing actions from “Make a monument to yourself, and place it in a public place where you think it would fit appropriately” to “Obtain free condiment packages from restaurants and use them as art supplies”, various whimsical projects are described alongside examples from young artists. Printed on discontinued paper with soy-based ink.

Aunt Maud’s Scrapbook by Sydney Hermant (Vancouver, BC, READ Books, Charles Scott Gallery, Emily Carr Art Institute, 2006, $26.50 paper) is a series of collaged pages of notes, clippings, drawings, and photos which draw on a secondary character from Vladimir Nabokov’s 1962 novel, Pale Fire, making textual and visual references to the novel’s narrative. This simulated diary is very successful, because the pages incorporate biographical details and historical events that took place during the writing of the book by Nabokov, interweaving internal and external factors in the weaving of the story. At the same time, the layered intricacies of the images and notations make a wonderful intimate experience for those unfamiliar with the source novel, but learn so much about Sydney Hermant, the artist.

Regency Arts Press

A New York-based art press which is dedicated to offering to artists and curators a place to publish without the restraints of the ordinary art publishing world for experimentation and exploration, Regency Arts Press has forwarded the cause with an interesting array of new titles:

Mug by Bill Adams, known for his ballpoint-pen ink drawings of cats, shows them in their majestic as well as cunning guises in this lovingly printed bookwork. $15.00

Visiting Artist by Amy Sillman, the illustrious artist, who documents in text and image the exploits and experiences of residencies held by her in various institutions with comic relief, as well as feelings of isolation and social confusion.

A rarity for this kind of exploration and exposure. Funny and frightening at the same time. $15.00

The Searchers by Miranda Lichtenstein is a series of her photographs interspersed with found photographs to lead the viewer-reader into worlds of spiritualism and consciousness-raising, as well as darkness and confusion. The printing is beautiful and although a small bookwork, the images suck you in. $15.00

Blow Up by Michelle Segre continues the artist’s use of complex drawings which are “blown up” to see the denseness of the line and the poetry and lyricism which makes you meditate on each page. $15.00

Cartoons by Sean Landers resurrects an exhibition in 1991-1992 at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York City with 134 cartoons by this well-recognized artist now in mid-career. This is the first time these cartoons have been published, and Regency Arts Press should be proud of this small but thick book. Now distributed by d.a.p., this volume costs $35.00 paperback. The cartoons are one-liners about art, society and everything else. A must!

Drawings: Simple, Obscure and Obtuse by Michael Smith chronicles a lifetime of drawings by the performance/video/installation artist Michael Smith, best known for his alter ego, “Mike”, whose blend of satisfaction and yearning, humor and pathos, makes him an all-American anti-hero. Smith’s wide range of art activities in television, performance, stand-up and puppet shows, as well as installation, sculpture and video, have influenced a generation of young artists.

This bookwork is composed of mostly unseen material from private notebooks: sketches, notations, diagrams and storyboards, as well as finishing and childhood drawings, giving us a visual autobiography of a wild and creative mind. 144 pages with 143 color beautifully printed illustrations. $35.00 paper (dist. by d.a.p.)

2nd Cannons Publications (

This publishing house is certain to make inroads into artist-created bookworks, as it has in the past few years:

Untitled #1, 2006 (Mike Kelley, Silver Ball) by Brian Kennon is the first in an ongoing series of untitled books which take a close look at each artist. This one concentrates on Kelley’s “Siver Ball” from 1994 with sharp detailed color photos leading into Duchamp and leading into Albert Oehlen’s Bäume (2004). (28 pages, ed. 500, $28.00)

Foul Mouth by Bruce Hainley (Los Angeles, 2006, ed. 500, $14.00 paper) is the product of the Associate Director of Graduate Studies in Criticism and theory at Art Center College of Design and a writer for several art journals, as well as being a curator. He also collaborated with John Water in Art-A Sex Book available from Thames & Hudson.

But this is differentan all-text book full of lovingly excremental language working its way from Keanu to Michael Jackson, Liza Minelli to Robert Irwin and Morandi to Matt Dillon and mitigating prose with poetry, Hainley seems to be in the shadow of celebrity and clawing his way out of it with words, which he so ably utilizes.


Lazy Daze Issue 2, edited by Charwei Tsai, is dedicated to André Breton’s almost century old Surrealist Manifesto with a collection of artist’s writings and artworks. With contributions by such artists a AA Bronson, Santiago Cucullu, James Hoff, Lee Mingwei, Lesley Ma, Julian Seidl, Su-Mei Tse where each artist and writer has sufficient space to show some wonderful work or write an essay or a poem. This beautifully designed journal is published twice a year in imited editions. Contributors: Azra Aksamija, Jesse Alexander, Dimitrios Antonitsis, Aaron Bennett, The Bread&Puppet Theater, Kelly Carmena, Alex Dodge, Juan Carlos Donado, Sarah Dunbar, Max Gleason, Butt Johnson, Aude Jomini, Pali Kashi, Ian Kazanowski, Catalina Len , Mariana Lpez, Lesley Ma, Zo Mendelson, Paper Rad, Cristina Rodriguez, Sabrina Shaffer, Charwei Tsai, Su-Mei Tse, Jordan Wolfson, Andrew Jeffery Wright, Diego Yturbe.

Lynne Valley #1 by Richard Prince (Vancouver, Presentation House and Bywater Bros. Editions, Toronto, 2006, $24.00 paper) features images selected and arranged by the artist. Lynn Valley will be produced three times a year, and the next issue by Cologne based artist Johannes Wohnseifer will be announced soon. Upcoming issues are planned with Beijing based artist Cao Fei and Berlin based artist Jonathan Monk.

This presentation has 46 images in full-size covering photos from Prince’s collection, photos taken on the road or nextdoor, source materials, tattoos and T-shirt paintings, and so much more.

Leisure: An Art Journal #0 (irregularly published 1-2 times a year) previews the journal and sets the stage for the work, ideas and attitudes this journal will be exploring in future issues, which will take the form of a curated project space.

This issue is in the form of a questionnaire to artists, writers and gallerists about the nature of radness and artistic production. Included are Evan Holloway, Bruce Hainley, Lawrence Weiner, Michael Smith, AA Bronson, Julie Lequin, Meg Cranston, Monique Prieto, Elk, Tom Allen, Betty Tompkins, Kathe Burkhart, Ami Tallman and others. The formats, answers and approaches are as diverse as the many artists. Published by 2nd Cannons Publications, Los Angeles, $12.00 paper)

A Gem

Clifton Meador in his inimitable style just happened to hand me a gift at the end of a Conference on Mallarmé in Pomona one Saturday afternoon–and I have just indulged myself in its beauty, its straightforward message, and its sublime offset printing–he paints with ink! Here is a long, boring car trip made to be forever etched in his memory, mine and even Blake’s. Here the printer-painter uses the press in such a unique way to make me stand up and cheer! Here Cliff Meadow intertwines Blake, images through his windshield, texts that encounter other texts, and finally an explanatory text citing the fact that a narrative is unveiled about our senses, reading, and desire. Not bad for a small book with more image than text, not bad indeed. It ends with a question: “How is a long, boring car trip like a badly printed book?” And you turn the page to ”& why should we care?” I really like “this badly printed book?”–it isn’t–it asks the right questions and you should know it was printed at the Center for Book & Paper, 2006. It was a gift–so go ask him for a copy–or buy it before there are no more.