[Table of Contents] [Search]


[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Out West catalog?



Is a catalog available for the show?


On Thu, 28 Jan 1999, Paul T Werner wrote:

> Out West: The Artist's Book in California. Part I, Northern California
> (November 21 - February 27, 1999)
> Center for Book Arts
> 626 Broadway at Houston Street. 5th Floor, New York City 10012.
> (212) 460-9768.
> Mon - Sat, 10:00-6:00.
>
> "The idea of the book, which always refers to a natural totality, is
> profoundly alien to the sense of writing." Quote, unquote, Jacques
> Derrida. This is a show that seems quite aware of the paradox - even
> consciously aware, if I properly followed a discussion with Melissa
> Slattery, one of the artists.
>
> On the one hand, the first sentence in the catalog speaks of "A vision of
> the total BOOK;" on the other, almost none of the artists involved have
> sacrificed content to form, all-over image to developed narrative or
> meaning. The one exception, Bonnie Cohen's "Golden Pheasant Book," which
> consists of a few feathers in a feathery binding, is so thoughtful it's
> hard to think of it as formal to begin with. And if the catalog's call for
> totality represents a certain fear of appearing provincial, it's a
> misplaced fear. These works may fail to unite the two poles but they fail
> so gracefully, so intelligently, that it's hard to fault them for that.
>
> Ultimately, though, one might fault them for the reverse: the show begins
> with a few of the early classics of California visual poetry, like Richard
> Brautigan's "Please plant this book" (1968), printed on seed packets. The
> collaged chapbooks of the beat poet Wallace Berman are here - or rather,
> not here: they're presented in slicked-up reproductions that give no sense
> of the raw curiosity about incidentals and accidents of the 'sixties. Some
> day, I suspect, the sixties will seem more happily po-mo than the
> 'nineties.
>
> Melissa was showing me her own book, whose semi-transparent pages reminded
> me a little of those great mediators between the All and the incidental,
> the stained-glass windows of Chartres. The pages are attached to a series
> of dangling eggs, and the whole thing is meant to expand into the gallery
> space, incident into totality, writing into reader. The work is not to be
> touched, as are all the works in this show, of course.
>
> Not to be touched? A book? The beats would have flipped in their graves...
>
>
> ***************************************************************************
> Paul Werner, New York City
>
> For Courses, Lectures and Dragonsblood - and WOID:
> Pour cours, conferences et sangdragon:
>
> http://pages.nyu.edu/~ptw1
>


[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents] [Search]