INCIDENT AT DESERET | SEE DETAILS IN POST FROM SEPTEMBER 3, 2014

INCIDENT AT DESERET | SEE DETAILS IN POST FROM SEPTEMBER 3, 2014
There are two versions of this new 32-page book completed in Aug. 2014: one is POD, the other is in a limited edition.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Riva Castleman of MoMA passes away at 84

The New York Times announced today that Riva Castleman died last week in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She was the influential curator of prints for many years at MoMA. Although she was a very nice person and did a great deal to bring prints and printmaking forward as a respectable and collectible medium in the art world, she was curiously ignorant about artists' books. Her expertise was for the grand old chestnuts of livres d'artistes and other blue-chip artist-illustrated books from people like Jasper Johns et al. Her major 1994 show called "A Century of Artists Books" (along with a big coffee table book of the same name) was a huge disappointment, and revealed her ignorance of contemporary bookwork and how much things had changed since the days of livres d'artistes. She did present some wonderful work in that show like Matisse's Jazz but that seems to be all she understood or was interested in –or at the very least all she seemed to be aware of. Many of us felt that the show, and the huge amount of publicity it got, was a sadly squandered opportunity to raise the general consciousness about contemporary artists' books in the public eye. That show still to this day makes me pissed off. Thank god that Clive Philpott was there at the MoMA Library at the same time: he took care to collect all of the work that she seemed to dismiss. or did not care to address. Anyway, RIP Riva Castleman.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Symposium - Columbia College Chicago, Nov. 7, 2014


The Fall 2014 issue of JAB (The Journal of Artists' Books) is a special issue on studios and studio practice for book artists. I have an article in there about some of the various studios that I have had over the years and how they have gradually gotten smaller over time.

My studio in Barrytown, NY 1988-1995, summer and winter views, which had a large photomechanical darkroom with 4-color Klimsch process repro camera, stripping areas, prepress design area and an offset plate-making room.

JAB's Editor-in-Chief is Brad Freeman and he has put together a mini-symposium in November to go along with the launch of this issue. JAB is published in conjunction with Columbia College Chicago's Center for Book and Paper Arts. The panel that I will be on takes place on Friday, Nov. 7th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at the CBPA. I will be talking about my studio process, as will Mimi Schaer and Brad Freeman. The Center is at 1104 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60605.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New York Art Book Fair 2014

The ninth New York Art Book Fair (NYABF) will take place from September 25th through September 28th, 2014. As in the past few years, it will take place in the MoMA-PS1 in Long Island City. And as usual Karen and I will be there, but this year Clifton Meador and I are not sharing a table at the fair, we are all just attending. I am honored by a panel being devoted this year to my artists' books at the NYABF Conference, organized by Tony White, the head fine arts librarian of Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore and the perennial director of the conference part of the NYABF. The panel will take place on Saturday, September 27th between 4:00 and 5:30pm. The participants are Cindy Marsh, Leslie Atzmon and Emily McVarish, all folks who I have a tremendous amount of respect for.


August, 2014 | New book: INCIDENT AT DESERET

During my residency at Ucross Foundation, I finished a new book INCIDENT AT DESERET. It's 32 pages and will have two different editions, one printed by archival inkjet on Oatmeal Speckletone by French Paper, and bound using a drum-leaf binding with 3/8" thick board covers. The other version is a digital book printed by MagCloud/Blurb and perfect bound.



On January 5th, 2014, seven book artists were in Salt Lake City to attend the national conference of the College Book Art Association at the University of Utah. A Nissan Armada SUV was rented and the group traveled to Robert Smithson's canonic land-art piece The Spiral Jetty, about an hour or two out of town in the nearby great Salt Lake. To commemorate the visit, we decided that each of us who were there that day would create a book with the Spiral Jetty as theme, and complete it within one year –or earlier if possible. The only restriction would be that all books in the series would conform to a common dimension, 8 inches by 8 inches. Incident at Deseret is my contribution. The other participants are Clifton Meador, Karen Zimmermann, Robbin Ami Silverberg, April Sheridan, Daniel Mellis and Elisabeth Long.



 I am fascinated by faith, and how so many religious people throughout the world are able to ignore what many would think of as logical thinking in order to make the leap to belief. In some ways, I admire that ability as it suggests a certain innocence and magical thinking that I am not able to summon up. The danger is when those folks start to think that they are the only people in the world able to communicate with god and that their faith is the only way to travel the true path to heaven. I think of the location of the Spiral Jetty and Salt Lake itself as ground-zero for the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Mormon faith. Although my book uses terminology that comes from the LDS belief (picked due to the location of the Spiral Jetty) I could have just as easily have used nomenclature from any number of other world religions. Stylistically, I think of this book as the meeting of Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville with The Book of Mormon. Deseret is the original Mormon name for Utah and was originally comprised of a large section of the American West that included not only Utah (and the Great Salt Lake where the Spiral Jetty is) but also large portions of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Brigham Young's petitions to the US Congress to recognize this huge new state were turned down numerous times and eventually became what is now the current, much smaller, state of Utah. Deseret was also a language and an alphabet system that was developed but never widely used during the 19th century by the Mormons. The title also gives a little nod to a classic western book that I was impressed with when I read it in high school, The Ox-bow Incident and another book (and famous short film) called An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge.

If you would like to see a video of the book or see all of the two-page spreads, please go here.

We are hoping that almost all of the seven books in the series will be ready for the New York Art Book Fair at MoMA-PS1 on September 25-28 in Long Island City, NYC.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ucross Foundation Residency

On August 20th I returned from a two-week residency at Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming, way up North near the Montana border.



I got a great deal done during my time there. I finished a new book called Incident at Deseret, and wrote a long first draft of an essay on the cross-pollination of artists' books and photobookworks –and the problems with communication between these two worlds. I also worked on a video that will become part of a two-channel piece on the swifts (birds similar to swallows) of Umbrian Italy, specifically to the town of Orvieto. The videos are part of an installation that incorporates an artists' book, also on the swallows, using them as a metaphor for trans-border migration. The swifts migrate between Europe and Central Africa.

This was my studio area at the Ucross Foundation:

I had a great trip back too, driving through a good part of the Canyonlands of Colorado and Utah, and the Four Corners area of Northern Arizona.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Residency at Ucross Foundation

I will be leaving Tucson on August 1st to take a little road trip up to the Ucross Foundation for a two-week artists' residency. The Ucross Foundation is in Northern Wyoming not far from the Montana border. I will be working on two different books and a video that has been in the works for a while on the swifts (a type of bird similar to a swallow) in Orvieto, Italy. I should be back in Tucson around August 21st.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"From the West" Show at Boreas Fine Art in Chicago

FROM THE WEST  (April 28, 2014 – July 31, 2014) is a show that opened a couple of weeks ago in Chicago at Boreas Fine Art. Their gallery space is at 260 E. Chestnut in the Gold Coast neighborhood, and located between Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive,. Spaceheater Editions has four books represented, two by me (Cruising Altitude and High Tension) plus Keith Smith's String Book and Clif Meador's Book of Doom

As the gallery description explains: "This exhibition features the work of some of the finest book artists currently working today in the western United States or Canada. Although the works vary considerably, from codices to sculptural objects, they all share the characteristic of fine craftsmanship and, when needed, fine engineering. This exhibition is intended to be a survey of the best work still available for purchase by some of the best working artists in this medium."

The website is very elegant and unlike many other book show websites has numerous images of spreads in the book. Please take a look at http://www.boreasfineart.com/current-exhibition.html .

I hope that you will call the gallery owner, Michael Thompson, for an appointment if you are in the Chicago area. He has a very fine selection of artists' books and publications on sale there in addition to the works in the show.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Blue Notebook, Volume 8, No. 2

A couple of days ago I received in the mail the April 2014 issue of The Blue Notebook. The Blue Notebook is the book arts journal (one of the very few international periodicals) with news and criticism on artists books. Sarah Bodman (Editor) and Tom Sowden (Art Editor) put out this important journal from The Centre for Fine Print Research at UWE Bristol in Bristol UK.

I was honored to have the first article in this issue be an insightful piece by Alison Gibbons on my book High Tension. The eight page essay has many photos and the complete text of the book. Alison Gibbons is an interesting professor of at Montfort University in Leicester UK and a well known critic and theoretician who has written on the the work of Mark Z Danielewski and many others on her intriguing blog http://iconnote.blogspot.com/ . Gibbons has also co-edited The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (2012).



My thanks go out to both Alison Gibbons for writing the article and to Sarah Bodman for publishing it.

Nature Abhors Becomes a 3D Animation.

video

Through the efforts of Steve Woodall, of Columbia College Chicago, the very talented photographer and CGI artist, Radek Skrivanek of Axis Point Studios in San Francisco turned my book Nature Abhors (2003) into a 3D animation. Radek was commissioned by Steve to create a number of animated books for a series of lectures he was giving about photo book works that are not monographs. I really like what Radek did with it, it almost seems like the book has come alive.

If you would like to see a larger, higher resolution version of it click here.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The show Binding Desire opens today at Otis College of Art & Design in LA.

The very large show Binding Desire: Unfolding Artists Book opens with a reception this evening in LA at the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis. The show runs from January 25th through March 30th and has many related events happening during the length of the show. If you would like to see the website for details about the show and the related events, please click here.

Binding Desire: Unfolding Artists Books is a group exhibition featuring approximately 120 works from OTIS Millard Sheets Library’s Special Collection of 2,100 artists books dating from the 1960s to the present.  The Otis Artists‘ Book Collection is one of the largest in Southern California. It houses a wide range of works representing every genre of artists‘ books by such luminaries as Vito Acconci, Joseph Beuys, and Ed Ruscha, as well as significant works from major centers of production like Beau Geste Press, Paradise Press, Printed Matter, Red Fox Press, and Woman‘s Studio Workshop. A foundational strength of the collection is its holdings of artists books made in the 1960s and 1970s—a time when this material was often not collected by libraries because so much of it was hard to define, catalog and house. The exhibition also includes a reading room showcasing new work produced by OTIS students in the Fall 2013 semester.
 

Work by: Kim Abeles, Sally Alatalo, Booklyn Artists Alliance, Ant Farm, Emily Artinian, Molly Barker, Michael Bartalos, Carol June Barton, Larry Bell, Barbara Bloom, Sarah Bryant, David Bunn, Chris Burden, Macy Chadwick, Rebecca Chamlee, Julie Chen, Laurie Whitehill Chong, C&C Press/Matt Cohen and Sher Zabaszkiewicz, Billy Collins, Critical Art Ensemble, Joyce Cutler-Shaw, Johanna Drucker, Mary Beth Edelson, Sam Erenberg, Carol Es, Daniel Essig, Eugene Feldman, Fly, Charles Henri Ford, Annette Gates, Cheri Gaulke, Amy Gerstler, Conrad Gleber, Fred Hagstrom, Karen Hanmer, Romano Hänni, George Herms, Dick Higgins, Tatana Kellner, Ronald King, Susan E. King, Ellen Knudson, Karen S. Kunc, Cynthia Lollis, Ken Leslie, Paul Etienne Lincoln, Margot Lovejoy, Sue Maberry, Barbara Maloutas, Cynthia Marsh, Scott McCarney, Paul McCarthy, Marshall McLuhan, Clifton Meador, Bruce Nauman, Katherine Ng, Bonnie Thompson Norman, Robert Oberhand, Dain Olsen, Lisa Onstad, Dennis Oppenheim, Laura Owens, Gary Panter, Werner Pfeiffer, Amy Pirkle, Arnoldo Pomodoro, Rachel Rosenthal, Sue Ann Robinson, Dieter Roth, Edward Ruscha, Niki de Saint Phalle, David Sandlin, Wilbur H. Schilling, Carolee Schneemann, Anat Shalev, Buzz Spector, Annie Sprinkle, Jana Sim, Alexis Smith, Jessica Spring, David Stairs, Gary Sweeney, Jennifer Tee, Barbara Tetenbaum, Beth Thielen, Fred Tomaselli, Rae Trujillo, Jeffrey Vallance, Paul Vangelisti, Kara Walker, Pamela S. Wood, J. Meejin Yoon, Philip Zimmermann, Marilyn Zornado.

If you are in the Los Angeles area during the time the show is up, I hope you will go by and check it out.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Heading to University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri on January 29th.

I will be heading to the frozen wilds of the Midwest on January 29th. The University of Central Missouri has asked me to give a lecture and do some crits with students as a Visiting Artist in conjunction with a show of Spaceheater Editions books at the Gallery of Art and Design there. They are located in Warrensburg, MO, near Kansas City. I will be there between January 29th and February 1st, 2014.

If you would like to see installation shots of the show, please go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/94866004@N04/sets/72157639839751924/

My thanks to Christian Cutler, Director of the Gallery, who has been really helpful.

CBAA Lecture on Ideation Inspiration

In January Karen and I attended the College Book Art Association (CBAA) National Conference at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The lecture/panel was on Ideation Strategies with Julie Chen and Barb Tetenbaum, and I my lecture was called : Too Many or Too Few Limitations, Where is the Balance for Ideation Inspiration? Embracing limitations is known to be an aid in making better work and sparks the creative process. Having no limitations can lead to creative block. Once there are limitations imposed, artists are more creative–and the muse returns. However, too many limitations can make a creative straight jacket. What is the right amount of limitation?"
The panel was very interesting, I thought. If anyone is interested in seeing my part of it, please go to: https://www.dropbox.com/home/CBB_Ideation_powerpoint_etc_Zimmermann