Friday, October 31, 2014

Derek McCormack | Grab Bag



Derek McCormack
Grab Bag
New York City, USA: Akashic Books, 2004
200 pp., 5 x 8", softcover
Edition size unknown

Edited by Dennis Cooper, Grab Bag is comprised of two interrelated novels, Dark Rides and Wish Book, both are set in the same small rural city, in different eras. The cover features an illustration by Ian Phillips (Pas de Chance), which recognizes McCormack's ongoing obsession with Halloween.

The title was chosen as one of the Village Voice's Best Books of the Year in 2004, and has received considerable praise elsewhere:

"Anyone interested in the more wicked, crafty forms of Canadian writing would be well advised to spend time with McCormack."
- Toronto Star

"Boy, can Dennis Cooper find ’em! Grab Bag will grab you, all right; plain, simple, and hard."
- John Waters

"Grab Bag culls the best of the perverse and innocent world of Derek McCormack. The mystery of objects, the lyricism of neglected lives, the menace and nostalgia of the past – these are all ingredients in this weird and beautiful parallel universe."
– Edmund White


"[A] kaleidoscopic look at a world of cheap furbelows and carnival flash, a place where childlike wonder goes hand in hand with cruel cynicism, and where even the promise of heaven appears as tawdry as an eyeshadow case."
– Ryan Brooks, Chicago Reader


"[A] rare treat ... Weird, inventive, wonderful."
– Jorge Morales, Village Voice


"The first U.S. outing for the sexy, edgy Canadian novelist, steered your way by the gratifyingly dark-souled Dennis Cooper."
– The Advocate




Available from Amazon, here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hi Red Center | Bundle of Events









Hi Red Center
Bundle of Events
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1965
56.2 x 43.2 cm (un-crumpled poster)
Edition size unknown

Like many early Fluxus editions, George Maciunas had conceived this as a "complete works by" project. Edited by Shigeko Kubota and designed by Maciunas, the double-side poster features documentation of the Japanese group's various "events and exhibits". These include performances such as Cleaning Event, where the trio washed city streets by hand.

Continuing Genpei Akasegawa’s series of bundled objects wrapped in rope or fabricated 1,000-Yen-Notes (and possibly referencing Marcel Duchamp's poster design for the DADA 1916 - 1923 exhibition, below), the poster was also sold crumpled and rolled, tied together with rope.

The poster version seems to have sold for fifty cents, and the crumpled version for $5.00. It was also included in various Fluxus anthologies and kits. The above examples are in the collection of the MOMA and Harvard, including the third image, which is Genpei Akasegawa’s prototype.

Hi Red Center consisted of Akasegawa, Natsuyuki Nakanishi, Jiro Takamatsu. The name was based on the meanings of the first kanji of each of their surnames — “taka” (high), “aka” (red) and “naka” (center).

Genpei Akasegawa died last week. Brief obituaries can be read in ArtNet, here, and The Japan Times, here. Details of a retrospective of Hi Red Centre activities at the MOMA last year can be found here. Their Mystery Can multiple can be seen here.








Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Genpei Akasegawa, RIP







Genpei Akasegawa, perhaps the only artist to be best-known for an exhibition invitation, has died at the age of 77.

Genpei Akasegawa, with the Hi Red Centre group he founded, mailed a reproduced 1,000 yen note as an invitation to their 1963 exhibition. The card contained a monochromatic reproduction of the bill on the front and the verso had information regarding the exhibit. A year later they were noticed by the police and he was indicted on charges of counterfeit forgery. In August of 1966, the case went to trial and was dubbed the "Thousand-Yen Bill Incident." Part of the artist's defense was to wrap the jury in string. He was found guilty in 1967, appealed twice and twice lost.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens | Tools That Measure The Intensity of Passionate Interests






Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens
Tools That Measure The Intensity of Passionate Interests
Montreal, Canada: Horse and Sparrow Editions, 2012
40 pp., 17.6×25 cm, b&w risograph, staple binding
Edition of 200

Two of my favourite works from the Montreal Biennale are The Prophets (at the MAC) and The Golden USB (at VOX), both by the collaborative team of Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens. The former is a thirteen-metre-long table displaying graphs, diagrams and models crafted from various everyday materials such as wire, string, paper, coloured acetate, netting, etc. The latter updates the Carl Sagan Voyager Golden Record as a trade catalogue of earthly goods, which becomes a framework for an exhibition consisting of multiple videos and objects.

The above book, published by their own imprint in 2012, is available for $10 CDN from Art Metropole, here, and Librairie Formats, here.

For more information, see the AGYU Artist Book of the Moment shortlist, here, or the artists' website, here.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hans Eijkelboom | 10-Euro Outfits





Hans Eijkelboom
10-Euro Outfits
Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Photonotebooks, 2010
[32] pp., 21 x 12 cm., softcover
2nd Edition of 500 copies

"From August 2005 to June 2006 I bought 32 new outfits for myself, initially once a week, later once a fortnight. The only criterion for my choice was the price: it couldn’t be higher than ± 10 euros.”

Available from the publisher, here, for 10 euros.