UMBRELLAvol.20 no.1

Artist Book Reviews

Most of the books in this section are available from Printed Matter, 77 Wooster St., New York, NY 10012 unless otherwise indicated.


Artist's Book Yearbook 1996-97 is the second edition of this amazing resource. Produced by Tanya Peixoto, editor, the reference tool includes artists' pages, has articles on Book Arts and Education, the South Pacific Islands, Research at Camberwell, an Interview with Cathy Courtney, an overview of JAB, an article about the Idaho Center for the Book by Tom Trusky, Bob Cobbin and Performance, Simon Ford's phenomenal article on Genesis P-Orridge and Coum Transmissions; Russian Artist Books by Peter Ford, a review of artist book exhibitions, an amazing list of books produced since 1995, and so much more. This is a must for any collection--public or private--and one to be emulated. Order from Magpie Press, 1 Hermitage Cottage, Clamp Hill, Stanmore, Middx HA7 3JW, England. The price is 15 plus 4 for postage and handling made out to Magpie Press.


Paris out of hand {a wayward guide} by Karen Elizabeth Gordon (San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 1996, $19.95) looks like a real Paris guidebook, but actually remains a tour of an imagined Paris and a great tour de force. Some of the magic is hinted at when the collaboration includes Nick Bantock of Griffin & Sabine fame, as well as Barbara Hodgson. You really have never been to this Paris, but what a Paris it is! The rating guide for the Hotels is so wonderfully conceived: the icons represented are amazing and each hotel, seemingly genuine, is a fantasy beyond your wildest dreams. Just imagine visiting the Caf≠ Conjugal, where you and your partner end up in a spat; you can make up at the luscious and fantastic Museum of Lips and Books, or go to the Church of the Marionettes, one of the most sacred places in all of Europe.
You cannot miss this red cloth binding, the rounded corners, and the upside-down Eiffel Tower on the cover. Give in to it, and your trip will be fantastic!

A Child's Garden of Versus by Jo-Anne Echevarria-Myers (Cape May, NJ, 1996) is a haunting little book in black and white and color Xerox on Abuse. The drawings, many from 1950, were drawn on the white, smooth frontispieces of the artist's collection of hard bound books. As a result, a tiny collection of her earliest work has been preserved for herself and for posterity. These drawings and scribbles have been given new meaning because of the context of abuse. The book really grabs you, since the artist is so willing to "get personal" with the problem. Her father's photographs of her--on the cover, on a bike, and with her mother--add more "personal" to this small book that hits you between the eyeballs! How direct an artist is, and how subverted the theoreticians and sociologists become. This is in an edition of 100. Order from Jo-Anne Echevarria-Myers, 10 Jackson St., Cape May, NJ 08204. It's powerful!

Odyssey of a Feminist Artist: The Personal is Political by Lee Mamunes has as its theme the universal political nature of art and is explored through a feminist lens. Printed offset with Kozo endpapers and with handmade paper covers in coal black, each book contains one 3 x 5" color tipped-in photo image on the last page.
Art has been a panacaea for this woman, showing her self-hood and affirmation of gender, but it has been a struggle for artists growing up in the 1950s. From Eve to O'Keeffe, the artist's text and illustrations (black and white drawings) are revelatory and translate well into the lives of many women artists.
The artist has developed a wall installation entitled: Multiple Recipients which will comprise 100 copies of this book. The book is available from Lee Mamunes, 31 Somerset Dr., Suffern, NY 10901.

Envelope Interior Pin-up Calendar by Erica Horn (Norfolk, Coracle, 1997, ed.200, $25.00) is a meditation on the art of snail mail. In fact, if you look at the interior of some business envelopes (especially airmail ones, foreign ones) there is a graphic design which is repeated--sometimes the logo of the firm, sometimes just a repetitive design. This wonderful spiral-bound calendar for 1997 has an envelope interior for each month--and luckily, umbrellas abound in January, June and October. This wonderful calendar will remind you that graphic designers are still busily at work, not only on the Internet, but also on paper for your ordinary snail mail. Buy this one--it's a collector's item. Order from Coracle Docking, Norfolk, England PE3 18LQ.

Gumigas Zimogs: A World Guide to Rubber Stamps by Erica Horn (Docking, Coracle, 1996, $25.00) covers Australia, Bangladesh, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya (2 different tribes), Latvia (from whence the title), Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Basque, Sweden, Turkey, U.S.A. and Wales. The artist has found or created rubberstamps that spell out "rubber stamp" in the language of the country--of course, the one from Croatia is hand-carved from an eraser. Gumigas Zimogs is Latvian for "rubber stamp". The edition is 200, the book is spiral bound, and your vocabulary will grow page by page.

Single Words for Ian Hamilton Finlay (Docking, Coracle, 1996, $45.00) is a compendium of words in honor of Finlay's 70th birthday submitted by 32 friends and colleagues of Finlay including Thomas A. Clark, Laurie Clark Bob Cobbin, Jonathan Williams, Stuart Mills, Pierre Garnier, Ernst Jandl, Colin Sackett, Maurizio Nannucci, Simon Cutts, Clive Phillpot, Cid Corman, , among others. In yellow cloth with a blue bookmark and blue endpapers printed with "seventy" all through the endpapers, this is a "singular" gift to an outstanding artist. Letterpress in 2 colors, casebound. Ed. of 196

In Three Parts by Stephen Clayton Ellwood (Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1996, $10.00) is a Fluxus-kind of instruction book for actions, all of which can be performed. In-between, there are many blank pages. The text is printed in red. There is something of the influence of Coracle Books in this production. And it is perfect.

The Scarlet Letter: a Romance, edited by Brownie Johnson (New York, 1996, $10.00) takes the Viking Penguin edition of 1983 and abstracts each page which has "Scarlet Letter" or "red" or "scarlet" in its text. With black letters printed on scarlet paper, the whole book is a kind of Tom Phillips' kind of reworked novel, where haiku, poetry, empty pages and all are bound up in a new "Scarlet Letter."

A Rearranged Affair by Anita M-28 (another name for Sally Alatalo (Chicago, Sara Ranchouse Publishing, 1996, $19.99) is another in the Romance Series (Special Collector's Edition) in a paperback format. The book is made up of a collation of pages from all the dime-store Romances that the author has been able to acquire and rearrange and then re-bound sequentially to create new one-of-a-kind meta-romances. Each book is unique, every page is taken from a different source (as witnessed by the running heads). The continuity is up to the reader, since the cast of characters changes from page to page--but it is a "rearrranged affair." The whole plot is seemingly condensed on the back cover; and although the author-artist has used the bits and pieces of various romances serendipitously, each book looks, feels, and even reads like the real thing! Signed and numbered in an edition of 188. As a result, you might even have a good read on the plane. And it's a collector's item too!

A Guide to Art Vandalism: Tools, their history and their use: an illustrated encyclopedia by Steven Goss (New York, 1996, $6.00) is a spiral-bound Xeroxed book which documents the events where people have vandalized art in various museums, galleries, outdoor venues, etc. The tools are drawn, analyzed and documented in the descriptions of the vandalism. They are conveniently listed in alphabetical order in this book, including the historical accounts of art vandals and the artwork victimized. A wonderful contribution!

Sand Circle (flip book) by Patrick Kelley (Minneapolis, MN, 1996, $12) is a wonderful flipbook--one which can draw the circle in the sand with the finger, or destroy the circle in the sand. I love this little flipbook--and so will you. Start collecting, even with this one, and you'll be glad about it. The best interactive game you can play!

Journeys by Louise Odes Neaderland (Brooklyn, 1996, $6) is a large gridded image of Nuremberg, 20 November 1945, with the statement: "Sometimes the end of a journey is not a place on the map." Powerful and raw. Folded sheet in covers. Xeroxed image. Revelations by Louise Odes Neaderland (Accord, NY, Bone Hollow Arts and Brooklyn, 1996, rev. ed., $6.00) is a simulation of a vast space "hole" which was found by astronomers, enough to demand revision of the current theories on how the universe evolved. A small map indicates to the reader/viewer where the "void" is located.

Romance: Spellbound in Soho by Amelia Costigan (New York, 1996, $10) is a wonderful boy meets girl in gallery, eyes take over, and the consequences. Oh, how wonderful it is to see an artist use the computer to do what so many artists in the 70s had to do by paste-up. The page layouts are superb, the story flows, and this little book is a wonderful Valentine's Day present.

Herz ist Trumpf by Sico Carlier (Rotterdam, 1996, $6.00) is the outcome of an exhibition from 12 - 19 June 1996 by phone and fax in Rotterdam. The texts in German, French, English and Dutch are placed on the page much like a Lawrence Weiner text. The exhibition was done by phone and fax and the texts run along the same space on each page, so there are several continuous texts. A nice hommage.

Ork by Heidi Cody (Chicago, 1996, $25.00) is a wonderfully funny book with spiral binding and primary colored cover. Beautifully printed in red, black and white inside, the game has to do with practically all the words in the English language containing the word "ork", increasing in difficulty from page 1 through 44. You are supposed to fill in the blanks on each page. All the answers are on the next-to-the-last page of the book. An evaluation of your game is on page 46. It is amazingly comic and fun to play.

Tuktoyaktuk to Point Home by Eberhard Weyel (Kassel, lighthouse & travels, 1993, numbered ed. of 500, $25.00) is a wonderful first fling into a new series called Travel in time. As a tribute to Jules Verne, this book goes from Albuquerque to Zurich, Cairo to Moscow around the world and back to Albuquerque. Then down to South America and back to Europe--a kind of Around the World in 80 days--with a photograph inserted in the back with the names of the mountain ranges and their metric heights. The end papers look like musical scores, the binding cloth is bright blue and the typography is in that color and in orange. The book celebrates a week's exhibition 17 - 25 June 1993 in Zurich. A conceptual trip around the world.

A Handful of Stones by Thomas Joshua Cooper (Norfolk Docking, Coracle, 1996, $30) is a travelogue of photographs of stones, each with a text in a different color ink describing the shadows or environment or source of erosion. Inspired by Edward S. Curtis' photo, The Mythic Stone, Hidatsa 1908, Cooper has been photographing stones throughout the world. These photos which generate the text were made in Iceland, California, England, Scotland, Israel and Wales between 1983 and 1992. A beautiful book about natural phenomena, funded by the Arts Council, is bound in red cloth and is a wonderful addition to anyone's photography collection or artist book collection.

Depot by Irene Gattiker, text by Martin Jaggi (Zurich, Edition Astra, 1996, $30.00) is the outgrowth of a series of drawings which the artist began, appearing quite similar for a while and then new shapes emerged, seemingly without control. Assuming that these shapes evolved from an unconscious visual vocabulary, Gattiker decided to continue the series in order to explore and exhaust this group of signs. The group evolved over two years, with the artist's attempt to let the shapes come freely without conscious effort, a kind of automatic drawing. She drew on torn-out book pages, thus creating a metaphor for the unconscious layering of meanings on the pages once destined for continuity and narration. With over 2000 drawings, the artist first showed them in a room, with the drawings arranged in rows from floor to ceiling.
Then she imposed an order on the mass of her drawings. 1) They could be arranged via geometrical criteria, but it would go against the primary mode of the drawings; 2)she could consider her work as a clinical experiment analyzing the hieroglyphic scribbles, etc.; but 3) she decided to approach them as a viewer, arranging them according to the most basic biomorphic categories, treating order as play and available for a different order at will. Then she put them all on CD-Rom, introducing and allowing for complex arrangements of visual information. The play of reason and irrationality, of order and serendipity to digital media. The gray covered box contains a booklet with essay by Jaggi and a container for the CD-Rom. A nice way of presenting the drawings, dated and continuous.

Experiment with Dreams by Leif Elggren and Thomas Liljenberg (Stockholm, Firework Edition, 1996, $26.00) began with the blending of reality and vision, and so in 1994 the artists decided to have dream visions take the form of definite messages to various addresses around the world, usually to people who have "succeeded" in one way or another who came back oftentimes with indignant responses.. The responses are not included here. The dreams remain to William Gibson, Cindy Crawford, Richard Gere, Bill Gates, Yoko Ono, Bill Clinton, the Coca Cola Company, the Pope, Bob Dylan, Saddam Hussein, Mick Jaggars, O.J.Simpson, Adolf Hitler, Santa Claus, and so many more. The signatures also have been changed to protect the innocent. But the letters are humorous, serious, and witty . You won't believe this book, this conceptual approach to dreams. It's a wonder.

No. 144: It's by Confining One's Neighbor that one is convinced of one's own sanity by Ann-Sofi Sid≠n (Stockholm, Utica Publishing, 1995, $40.00) is the result of a residency in May-June 1994 in an abandoned townhouse close to Greenwich Village in Manhattan. Previously occupied by Dr. Abraham Fabian and his wife Dr. M. Alice E. Fabian, psychiatrists, the townhouse was full of books about American psychiatry and psychoanalysis, from the early days of psychiatry. In addition, over 20 years of The American Journal of Psychiatry also lay there. The artist took them all and blocked two windows of Mrs. Fabian's bedroom facing the garden as an installation. Found by the Fabians' daughter was a diary which was handed to the artist for examination. #144 Diary written by Dr. Alice Fabian was also recorded, in which the daughter also spoke about family matters in December 1979 on the phone from London, etc. Also found were 8 polaroid images showing details of the street outside the building. The result of all the documentation led to the artist's belief that the Dr. was analyzing her own life. She felt that her own life was being intercepted and eventually destroyed by electronically triggered laser beams. She saved the diary, according to her words, on microfilm which would be deposited in a safety deposit box at a nearby bank. The book is the artist's reaction to the items found in the house at 53 W. 9th Street and documents her installation there in Dr. Fabian's bedroom.
Diary pages, copies of the polaroids, photos of the installations, and much more are included in English and in Swedish texts. A CD Rom translation of the cassettes which Dr. Fabian made for posterity is also included. This is a total experience, one which is seen from the standpoint of the U.S. state of the economy, of the mind, of culture having bought the house in 1956, when the U.S. was a model for economic and social self-realization. The dark core of Dr. Fabian's soul is revealed in this book, which is untouchable by the culture which seemed to have everything going for it.

Mathematical Recreations: Advanced Book by Peter Suchecki (Bloomington, IN, Redstart Press, 1996, $15.00) includes images gathered from Arithmetic Primers (for the most part) and other mathematical sources. The size approximates the standard size of most of the Primers that the artist has been collecting over the years, namely 7 3/8 x 5 3/4 inches. The title page is a facsimile title page for most of those mathematical primers, except that the facts are true. P. Conrad Suchecki, Specialist in Geometric Constructions, Magic Squares and Number Symbolism has done a yeoman's job in this black and white Xerox book with silkscreen cover on red stock.

Reveries of a Spinster: Found Poems by Robin Kahn (Mis Dias Press, 1997, $10.00 (dist. by D.A.P.) is a 60-page book with indigo blue cover and gold embossed title. The artist has left no page unturned in combing female stereotypes. By combining images with texts excerpted from familiar sayings or overheard comments, each page creates a poetic juxtaposition that suggests and explores how women throughout their lives have been indoctrinated to assume the qualities of a superior being; thin yet voluptuous, young yet wise, unfettered yet domesticated. Appropriated images with appropriated text make a wild book. 50 copies have been signed and colored by hand and are available at $40.00 per copy. Available from Susan Inglett, 100 Wooster St., New York, NY 10012.

Matriarchy: Freedom in Bondage, an illuminated novel by Malcolm McKesson (New York, Heck Editions/Gates of Heck, 1996, $14.95) is the renowned "outsider" artist McKesson's first novel. Premiering at the Outsider Art Fair in New York's Puck Building on 24 January 1997, Matriarchy is an extraordinary novel of cross-dressing, dominance and submission. Set in the 1930s in an upperclass Manhattan mansion, this novel touches on such hot contemporary topics as drag, S/M and graphic novels with exquisite Victorian decorum, a kind of cross between Alice in Wonderland and The Story of O.
The author/artist, now in his 80's, has lived alone for years in a Manhattan hotel. He has produced a massive oeuvre of mysterious and compelling drawings of figures in a timeless fantasy world. Here we have a young man's unusual coming of age in New York high society of the 1930s, a summer spent as an erotic captive and cross-dressing maidservant to a sophisticated older German woman. He is educated at the terrifying School of Pages and is ultimately transformed magically into a ladies' maid named "Rose". Gerald/Malcolm learns the joys of "beautiful womanhood," under his mistress' firm guidance, saves his sister from her real-life death, and comes to understand the real meaning of manhood and his own true nature as an artist. There are 103 halftone illustrations by the author, and an introduction by British cultural historian Tony Thorne. This book is distributed by D.A.P. exclusively.

Love Books (Wexford, Eire, Sun Moon & Stars Press, 1996, 30) is a joyous book about the passion and the joy of books that allows the artist, Andi McGarry, to exude about how books are a binding device to relationships as well--a book that is painterly and leaps across the double spreads with color, rhythm and placement--oh, what a joy this book is--with a tinge of sadness and yet the door is open to new relationships, with the love of books as a key. Each book is hand painted--and a beautiful gift to yourself or to someone dear. You who love books will gravitate to Love Books with the leaping joy of one in love. Write to Andi McGarry, Donkey Meadows, Kilmore Quay, Wexford, Eire.

Das Kabinett des Konservators (The Curator's Cabinet) by Johan van Geluwe was an installation in 1991 and is now documented in a book published in 1996 by the Neuer Folkwang Verlag at the Karl Ernst Osthaus Museum in Hagen, Germany in 1996. Located in the old part of the building of the former Museum Folkwang (1902-192) designed by Henry van de Velde, the Curator's Cabinet functions as a focus and turning point of a tour with selected examples of modern as well as contemporary art. A central focus of this installation is "A Junk of Art is a Joy for Never" which is painted on the wall, made up by van Geluwe to remind those who run the institution, which is dedicated to the Good, the Beautiful and the True, that it will be destroyed by itself, if it does not reflect on what it is destined to preserve, and does not try to redefine whatever the Good, the Beautiful and the True might be. Van Geluwe has created a Director's Aid as a multiple, which includes a suitcase containing 21 items necessary and useful to perform and support independent international curatorial work, such as 1 globe, 1 metal ruler (cm), 1 compass, 1 thermohygrograph, 1 slideviewer, 1 hammer, 1 international timetable (Lufthansa), 1 magnifying lens, 1 box of aspirin, 1 box of matches, 1 bottle of liquor, 1 bottle of white-out, 1 personal timetable, 1 nailfile, 1 manual How to Found a Museum, 1 erase, 1 pack of condoms, 1 pair of white gloves (cotton), plaque of "The Museum of Museums", International Council of Artist's Museums (ICAM) Membership Card, owner's certificate. (Female version has in addition: 1 pair of silk stockings, 1 hand mirror and 1 bottle of mace). In an edition of 100, each is individualized with the owner's name by an ICAM-Card and certificate. When one orders the Director's Aid, one gets free associate membership to ICAM which obliges the holder to no further engagement but could at times be helpful in situations unspecified. Subscription price is DM 1.200. Delivery will be in February 1997.. Write to Stifterverband des Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum Hagen e.V., Hochstrasse 73, D-58095 Hagen, Germany. Fax: 49-2331-207-402. The book has color plates of the installation, an essay by Filip Luyckx, and a resume of the artist.


An array of various publications by John Bennett, Robin Crozier, Jim Leftwich, Jeffrey Little, and many more are available from 137 Leland Ave., Columbus, OH 43214 USA. This visual poetry is beyond peer. In the Life: Portrait of a modern sex-deviant by Shawna Dempsey and Lorrie Millan (Winnipeg, Finger in the Dyke Productions, 1995, $15.00) looks like, feels like, has photographs like the vintage Life magazine. Printed in an edition of 2000 copies, In the Life discusses these mannish women called bull-dykes who stick to their own neighborhoods, having evolved codes of behavior that are usually incomprehensible to the uninitiated. Besides the basic sexual instincts, the bull-dykes seek power as well. They usually have tremendous physical strength, handy with tools. Lots of pitfalls are portrayed such as police harassment, street violence, eviction. The photographs are documentary photographs much like those appearing in the real Life magazine, citing a day in the life of a bull-dyke. "Passing" over to the other side is also portrayed. This is a powerful document, one which reveals more than it conceals. It seems to relate so much more with the photographs than an academic text. And the large size of the pages allows for powerful imagery. In 15 pages, you get alot of information presented in a photo-journalistic manner. This is tough information, aesthetically presented. The photo credits are superbly shown on the back cover with shoe advertisements. A marvelous transformation of a format that really works for the subject matter. Well done!

Re-enactment by Eran Schaerf (Gent, Snoeck-Ducaju & Zoon; Frankfurt, Neudorfer, 1996, $20) is a re-enactment of ZaunTown, an exhibition and accompanying book at Portikus Frankfurt am Main. This book has been published on the occasion of Schaerf's exhibition at Goethe House in New York City. This is a full color re-enactment of an event The characters are I, He, She, Car, Child, Man, Tourist, Retired man. The crowd appears as the Choir, much like a Greek Chorus. The architecture is striking, the texts, sometimes in French, speak of baptismal clothes, wedding veils, and business gifts. The text is enigmatic, but with some effort, it means something. There is a synagogue which seems to become a bank during weekdays. The Dalai Lama, Benazir Bhutto, Audrey Hepburn. The first half is in color, the second half in black and white. Gorbachev is on the back cover. It's a small price for a book that can continue to puzzle the reader and finally make sense after time.

Head Shots by Aura Rosenberg with essay by John Miller and fiction by Gary Indiana and Lynne Tillman (Reykjavik, New York, Stop Over Press, 1996 dist. by D.A.P., $24.95) is a book concerned with the visible expression of ecstacy or sexual desire. Yet this is not pornography, which captures orgasm on camera for an audience of voyeurs, the hidden witness. What Rosenberg has done is to present herself as the public witness with the lens, inviting a number of men into her studio to reenact the ecstasy of release, the moment when potency and vulnerability coexist. The result is a remarkable series of photographs that cover the whole spectrum of psychosexual expression. What you can ask is whether the artists and poets and other men were faking it or really submitting to wild abandon and doing what usually is so very private for an unknown public. Rosenberg's subjects invite us to step far beyond voyeurism into a world of beautiful, exciting and erotic images. Some of the images were done by the men themselves, since they could not be in the same place as the bi-national artist, Rosenberg, who lives part-time in New York and part-time in Berlin. Of course, the question of women faking orgasms has become a point of order in psycho-sexual discourse and in the news, so one can easily ask the same question of men play-acting too, but for some reason the power of these images makes one feel that a majority of the men psyched themselves up for this "happening" and really did respond to the lens. Yet this is not documentary photography. Aura Rosenberg is not a Nan Goldin. She uses the camera as a means toward art, toward poetry, and toward a conceptual project in which she herself was involved, yet on the other side of the camera. She plays with the confusion between fantasy and reality, between what could possibly be performance and what is most intimate, what could be hidden and what is revealed. She in a certain way is breaking taboos long held in our culture, for she is witnessing that which has been a personal experience, and now she challenges that on a sociological as well as a personal basis. You may recognize some of the faces--they are world renowned artists, but you may not. Yet the viewer is an essential part of this experience, for the experience, the feelings, the fantasies are in the minds of the viewer--all you get is a head shot, a face, and you can fill in the blanks, as do novelist Gary Indiana and Lynne Tillman who describes first-time lovers who want desperately to get it right. This is a great artist book, one which should be in every collection. It is a rare experience to find such a well-made book with a subject that can be understood by all. And some images are even funny!

The Venetian's Wife: A Strangely Sensual Tale of a Renaissance Explorer, a Computer and a Metamorphosis, written and illustrated by Nick Bantock (San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 1996, $22.95 hardcover) is an adult fairy tale, based on historical facts and contemporary technology, an illustrated novel where the illustrations become part of the thread of the narrative. This time, Bantock wants to make the pictures "more information carriers in their own right." This became a big challenge, because the art had to fall not only on the correct page but exactly in the right place on the page. And he did it!
We find ourselves in a quasi-mythical kingdom of a real, wealthy Renaissance merchant and indefatigable traveler Niccolo Dei Conti, who having died in 1469, contacted Sara Wolfe, who finds herself inexplicably attracted to a drawing of the Hindu god, Shiva in the museum where she works. The message from Dei Conti comes to her via e-mail asking her to find a few remaining pieces of a 15th-century adventurer's renowned collection of Indian sculpture. This is a job offer, and although she is somewhat disbelieving, she takes it. She then begins a whirlwind of travel in search of the artwork that Conti desires to have for his collection. Her travel companion becomes Marco, a fellow museum worker, who joins Sara on the search for these mysterious pieces, and together they document it as diary entries on the computer and between them via e-mail, faxed documents and artwork, and downloaded archives. T
he mysteries unfold the identity of Dei Conti and his ultimate purpose in reassembling his collection, all suspensefully maintained, enhanced by Bantok's rich and often sensual illustrations. Epistolary novels are not new, but ones which use all the technological tools of our day certainly are. and Bantock is indeed a wonderful storyteller creating a contemporary illuminated manuscript!


The Little Cock That Could, a fable by Patty Sanders (San Diego, HOB Press, 1996, $5.00) is the first in a series entitled Pocket Erotica. This is the artist's first work for adults, having done three children's books. This black humor with a vengeance. Available from HOB Press, 507 D Ave., Coronado, CA 92118-1727.

The Truth by Chatman Lee (New York, 1996, $1.00) is a Xeroxed little book with black and white xeroxes of photos with hilarious captions. The aesthetics is 1970s, but the technique is typically 1990s. Believe it or not, $1.00 buys The Truth! Good for alot of laughs.

Free or And DNA by Chris George is a miniature book dealing with fingerprints, captioned Mother, Father, Genetic Predisposition, with text continuing: Through You I am Me. An interesting essay on "Freedom". $2.00

Free from Ignorance or No Body by Chris George (New York, $8.00) is a small leporello marked with black vertical lines about an inch apart throughout the book. Across these vertical is a horizontal running text about being the man child of parents. This journey through life leading to the Path to Perfection from Buddhism, Plastic Surgery, struggle through life breathing and no one is around to see it all. A moving little book.

Scaled Down: A Handbook for fishes about humans by Rebecca Hackemann (Stamford, CA, 1996, ed.100, $10.00) is a scaled down version of a book previously created in Cambridge, England in 1989/90. This version is page after page of exposure-sized images about Back Swimmers with a text under each print. This edition was created by a copy machine. To imagine doing a book for fishes about human is humorous enough. To see it is hilarious but amazingly credible.

It's Shifting/Hank by Goat Island (Goat Island, 1992, $8.00) is a flipbook that really works as a dual flipbook. One way, it shows one man turning around and another figure on the right with a text that says that Tom should bring the boat nearer. The other shows Hank masturbating. And it all works.

Sheep's Wool by Christopher Karl (Die Peitche Press, 1996, $28.00) is a miniature bound book with a photograph of a group of men on the cover, and a complex series of pages which coalesce, separate, fold down, fold up, combine all about Good; then the next half does the same about Bad. In the centerfold is a group of children wearing 3-D glasses. The outside centerfold is Christ preaching to sheep. The book changes from drawings, photographs, and diagrams, but it is a haunting book about Germany--from Nazi youth to Communism, from old ways to new ways, from Church to Devil. The book, seemingly playful, deals with serious business. A powerful interactive experience.

it was the pusher's plaything _ thanks to wendy's mom by topher sinkinson (Portland, OR, Swallow Press, 1996, $5.00) is a smallspiral-bound visual book with images which have been appropriated, butall leading to pressure, both physical and psychological, and the trials and tribulations of a young boy/man. The reader completes the meaning almost on every page. Available from Printed Matter and from the artist at 2086 NW Kearney #7, Portland, OR 97209. Add $1.00 for postage when ordering from the artist.


Ma chi ... Bruno Munari? by Valeria Tassinari (with liberal comments by Munari himself) is an expos≠ of one of the great icons known to many in Europe, Japan, the U.S. A great designer, he is also a book designer, copy artist, innovator, genius. This little book strewn with photos of the artist from youth on captioned by the artist is a wonderful introduction, albeit in Italian. (Mantova, Corraini Editor, 1996, $10.00)

Il Mare come Artigiano by Bruno Munari (Mantova, Corraini Editore, 1995, $12.00) is the artist's homage to Hokusai, for he considers the sea as a Craftsman. What he suggests is that the sea provides works of art from the detritus it throws up on shore. He has photographed his "findings", his found art created by the sea. This is a glorious combination of text and image and respect for Hokusai as a master of the sea.


Consider the Alternatives: 20 Years of Contemporary Art at Hallwalls, edited by Ronald Ehmke with Elizabeth Licata (Buffalo, NY, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 1996, $20.00) is a hefty (276 pages) wondrous guide to 20 years of making history not only in Buffalo, but throughout the world. Hallwalls was an alternative space known throughout the art world for its accessibility, its cutting edge programming, and its artists. The exhibitions, the performances, music, video, film, literature and political art have made history. Names such as Robert Longo and Charles Clough founded the place, but Tony Conrad, Cindy Sherman, Michel Zwack, Linda Cathcart, and so many more put the space on the map. Hallwalls was host to artists such as Vito Acconci, Kathy Acker, Laurie Anderson, Barbara Bloom, Eric Bogosian, Jonathan Borofsky, Glenn Branca, Chris Burden, Robert Creeley, Nancy Dwyer, Karen Finley, Eric Fischl, Philip Glass, Mike Glier, Jack Goldstein, Dan Graham, Group Material, Holly Hughes, Robert Irwin, Mike Kelley, Komar & Melamid, Tim Miller, Joseph Nechvatal, Tony Oursler, Rachel Rosenthal, David Salle, Andres Serrano, Paul Sharits, Michael Snow, Sun Ra, David Wojnarowicz, and so many more, often early in their careers.<BR>
But there is so much more in this historic volume. This is a candid, in-depth look at the origins, evolution, and continued survival of one specific "alternative" over 2 decades, from the viewpoints of over 100 visiting artists, current and former staff, critics, collectors, and audience members. The book contains an extensive timeline, photo documentation, catalog statements, reviews, journal entries, newly commissioned essays and interviews, and other archival materials to construct a complex portrait not only of Hallwalls and its "hometown", but of the 20 years of changes in the cultural and political climate of the country at large. If you ever want a history of the "alternative" scene from its beginnings, this is a good place to start. This is a monument to dedicated artists and it's a bargain!


Unica T: Ten Years of Artists' Books (Frankfurt, Museum fur Kunsthandwerk, 1996) is a hardcover exquisitely designed exhibition catalog which documents the output of five women in Germany who have collaborated under the title, Unica T. This catalog is a work of art in itself, both graphically and conceptually. Beginning with two pages of epigrams about books by Reinhardt Jung, even the preface by Arnulf Herbst is a joy to read. <BR>Anja Harms, Doris Preussner, Uta Schneider, Ines v. Ketelhodt, and Ulrike Stoltz have all helped in the design of the catalog itself, which reflects their own work. Their books are exquisitely photographed and described in the catalog, and interpretations by Stefan Soltek, Judith A. Hoffberg, Hartmut W. Honzer, Gisela Kraut and Harriet Watts lend themselves both in German and in English in understanding the art and the concept of this Collaborative that has been making books for 10 years and has been recognized with an outstanding exhibition in a major museum in Germany. If any of you have gone to the Frankfurt Book Fair any October, you may have talked to them at their Stand. Their books certainly speak for them as well. Well over 100 books, many of them honored with distinguished awards for their creative and artistic vigor, are testimony to their cutting edge talents. This catalog with 228 pages and 106 illustrations is a tribute to 10 years of work. DM 78 plus DM 15 for surface or DM 30 for airmail postage. You can translate that into $55.00 plus $10 surface and $20 for airmail postage. Orders plus payment should be sent to: Unica T/Anja Harms/Austrasse 7/D-61440 Oberursel, Germany. You can also order the catalog from Galerie Druck & Buch.

Artists' Books + Multiples Fair '96 at Brisbane, Australia from 7 - 8 September 1996 (Brisbane, Grahame Galleries/numero uno publication, 1996) is an exhibition catalog from the Fair, with essays by Judith A. Hoffberg and Anne Kirker, as well as a detailed description of hundreds of books by artists. And many plates as well. With a wonderful wrap around cover by Juli Haas, this black and white catalog in an edition of only 300 is a knockout! For more information, contact Graham Galleries, P.O. Box 515, Paddington Qld 4064, Australia.

Spines & Spirals: The Norfolk Books 1990-96, although a dealer's catalog of a sort, is really a portable exhibition of the output of Coracle Press from 1990 through 1996. A spiral bound, laminated cover booklet, it includes photos of the studio interspersed with texts telling us about their process of making books, the catalog being an example of their office wire-binder and the lamination of paper with plastic, as is indicated in the cover.

Books include work by Simon Cutts, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Colin Sackett, Erica Van Horn, Bernard Lassus, Thomas Joshua Cooper and more. It also includes a pamphlet series and a postcard series. For more information, and to get this catalog, send $5.00 to Coracle Docking, Norfolk, England PE318LQ.


House Organ, a magazine of the arts, vol. 1, no.1 has as its theme: How I Spent my Summer Vacation includes work by M. Kasper, Norman Conquest, Keith Miller Tosh Berman, Sheila Young-Pell among others. There is a review section for books. This is published irregularly, but one for $3.50 you shouldn't miss. Available from Hob Press, 507 D Ave., Coronado, CA 92118.

JAB #6 has a stunning handset cover with images cut in linoleum and the whole printed letterpress by Jules Remedios Faye. Inside, wow! A terrific interview with pioneer Canadian experimental poet Steve McCaffery whose work concerns books, writing, visuality, and the metaphysical/theoretical investigations of these topics. Anne Moeglin continues her response to Johanna Drucker, and Johanna Drucker writes on The Art of Political Ephemera. Artist's pages galore. Editor Brad Freeman reports on his tour of the Pacific Northwest, and reviews books (never a price appears, if anyone wants to order them and then occasionally it does). It keeps getting bigger and better! Buy it, subscribe to it, send it to your friends from JAB, 324 Yale Ave, New Haven, CT 06515 USA for $18.00 (North America and Mexico) and $20.00 for the rest of the world. 2 issues a year, packed full!

Unmuzzled Ox (vol.14, nos. 1-4) is dedicated to Canada A to Don't with participation of Margaret Atwood, Anna Banana, Dan Berrigan, Bill Bissett, Leonard Cohen and lots more. Many of the contributors for this issue include Richard Kostelanetz, John Evans, Norman Conquest, Geoffrey Hendricks, Alison Knowles, and many more. Eugene McCarthy is featured in the Political section. Still edited by Michael Andre, this resurrected Unmuzzled Ox is still an amazing literate journal bridging the arts in an intelligent way. Cover illustration is a John Wesley drawing. $8.95.

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