Photographing the L.A. Art Scene 1955-1975 by Craig Krull (Santa Monica,
Smart Art Press, 1996, $25.00) is a remarkable documentation
of an art scene that was vibrant, vital and significant--a history
waiting to be written, and now it has a visual component that is
strong and communicative. Yet this is not a comprehensive,
all-inclusive attempt at documentation. Rather it is a bit of the
legend and myth of the L.A. art scene--not the destiny of fame and
fortune. Contributions by Henry Hopkins, Charles Brittin, Eve Babitz,
Peter Plagens, Judy Fiskin, Larry Bell, Monte Factor and others add to
the understanding and the stories behind the photos. Photographs such
as Dennis Hopper, Charles Brittin, William Claxton, Ed Ruscha, Jerry
McMillan and so many more make this more than a photo album--more like
a record of a scene.
Kienholz: A Retrospective: Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz (New York Whitney Museum of Art/ D.A.P., 1996, $45 paper) is the documentation of an exhibition curated by Walter Hopps, a tribute to a great artist, who alas was not able to see this major exhibition of his work in New York. Yet everyone who contributed to this exhibition and its catalog was a friend and an admirer. As a result, the book is far more than a documentation--it is a life story of an artist and his work and the work of his partner since 1972. Essays by Marcus Raskin, Jurgen Harten, Thomas McEvilley, remarkable annotations to the abundant works in the show documented in color as well as in black and white, and a loving chronology by Nancy Reddin Kienholz make this volume a kind of three-dimensional festschrift, with essays by Monte Factor and Richard Jackson, as well as a bibliography and exhibition history. A must for all contemporary collections!
Lari Pittman by Howard N. Fox (with contributions by Dave Hickey and Paul Schimmel) is an exquisitely designed catalog of a major painter in mid-career, who is celebrated in this great catalog, including essays by Fox, Hickey and an interview with the artist by Paul Schimmel. There is exhibition history, selected bibliography and a catalog of the exhibition with rich, color plates. Designed by Jim Drobka, this catalog should win an award. Distributed by D.A.P. $30.00
Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago's Dinner Party in Feminist Art History, ed. by Amelia Jones with essays by Laura Cottingham, Amelia Jones, Susan Kandel, Anette Kubitza, Laura Meyer and Nancy Ring (Los Angeles, UCLA at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art in assoc. with University of California Press, 1996) is an important document on feminist art from the point of view of strategy, conflict, histories, and actual works of art. An important addition to this volume is the Feminist Chronology, 1945 - 95, stunning plates, typographical plays on the page, with a tremendous amount of scholarship (the footnotes in this one are not missing--although they should be abandoned soon, to cut the costs of these "heavy" volumes. $50.00 cloth, $29.95 paper, with 130 halftones and 32 color plates, designed by Susan Silton and printed in Hong Kong. A reference tool as well as an exhibition catalog.
The Things You See When you Don't Have a Grenade! Daniel J. Martinez (Santa Monica, Smart Art Press, 1996, $25.00) is a published retrospective of this mid-career artist who involves himself in political and social issues with a bang! The black velour cover has the title translated into Morse Code on its cover, which invites you into a brilliantly designed volume (by Tracey Shiffman), projects throughout the world being documented on glossy white stock, with a myriad of photographs, both black and white and in color. The writings section is printed on off-white matte stock, with contributions by David Levi Sstrauss, Coco Fusco, Mary Jane Jacob, Susan Otto, Victor Zamudio-Taylor, Robeto Bedoya, and the artist himself, whose "Clowns, Terrorists, and the Town Crier: Manifesto for Art Practice" is a keynote for the whole volume. This artist's work is seen in public, but his whole career began in 1980 with a performance group called ASCO and continues now in collaboration with many colleagues to make statements loudly and clearly out in public. A remarkable volume, one which should be used as a textbook of design and articulation for other artists trying to do a publication to make their careers!
Smart Art Press is located at 2525 Michigan Ave., Bldg. C1, Santa Monica, CA 90404.
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