Wednesday, December 28, 2011

David Park, The David Park Scroll, San Francisco: Bedford Arts, 1989

Another smart book from Bedford Arts published during Stephen Vincent's tenure as series editor - this was the fourth accordion to be published in this unique publishing experiment. 

The book includes a useful essay by Paul C. Mills about David Park's (1911-1960) career, artistic development and his place within the San Francisco Bay Area's New Figurative style that germinates in the 1950s. Mills relates how in 1960, due to extreme back pain, Park had to give up painting and was confined to a chair or bed. Wanting to continue his work his wife purchased a set of felt-tip drawing pens and a roll of paper. This remarkable scroll, created in an unfamiliar medium, depicts memories and events from Park's childhood in Boston. Mills suggests a connection between the free and improvisational style of this drawing to Park's interest in jazz, as well as noting that Park had been a longtime jazz drummer himself. Certainly there's a refreshing spontaneity and sense of play to this 2-sided accordion as well as the perfect blending of this panoramic drawing with the accordion format. 

20 pages (including cover title page), individual page size 7" x 11", fully extended 7" x 18' 4" (excluding title page: 7" x 17' 5").

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christo, The Accordion-Fold Book for The Umbrellas, Joint Project for Japan and U.S.A., San Francisco: Bedford Arts, 1991

Front cover photo credit: T. Delaney [T Delaney Seam Store]

A double-sided accordion of Christo's painted photographs that served as studies for this project between the USA and Japan in which 1340 yellow umbrellas were installed on the West Coast, and 1760 blue umbrellas in Ibaraki, Japan. The project opened on October 9th, 1991, but sadly on Oct. 26th one of the umbrellas in the USA was uprooted by a strong wind and killed a visitor. Christo ordered the entire project taken down, but disaster struck again when one of the workers taking down an umbrella in Japan touched a power line and died. The following link to Christo's website includes more preparatory drawings, as well as photographs of the work installed (Christo), 16 pages, individual page: 9" x 11", fully extended 14" x 7' 4" 

This book also includes an interview with Christo by Masahiko Yanagi that was  recorded in January, 1991. The section below provides some interesting insights into how the publication came about and Christo's response to the accordion format. 

Masahiko Yanagi: There are more than 40 books and many catalogues about your work. But, this book is unusual not only because of the accordion-fold format, but also because it consists of reproductions of only one type of your works on paper: painted photographs. Can you explain how this book project came about?

Christo: The basic idea and the format of this book were proposed by Stephen Vincent, the director of Bedford Arts. They have done several accordions books before. But I decided to use only my 14-by-11-inch vertical painted photographs, the smallest works on paper I usually make, because I wanted the works to be reproduced on a one-to-one scale. I have always thought that reproductions of my works on paper in their true scale would have great quality. To do this, I asked the publisher to use a book format larger than the one originally proposed. Further, this is not simply a book about my works on paper; it is also about a proposal that I am about to realize. I think the black and white prints that I use in my painted photographs will enhance the real-life dimension. I enjoy having a book that is specifically about one work of art which will exist only for a short time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Roy De Forest, A Journey To The Far Canine Range And the Unexplored Territory Beyond Terrier Pass, San Francisco: Bedford Arts, 1988

This is a really wild and fantastic double-sided accordion illustrated with Roy De Forest's (1930-2007) usual cast of unusual characters — especially dogs with glowing eyes. A long time teacher at the University of California, Davis (1965-1992) he studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and San Francisco State University. Individual page: 12" x 9", extended: 12' 6".

Researching this publication I came across a blog that described the genesis of this book by Stephen Vincent, who was an editor at Bedford Arts at the time. The text below is from Vincent's blog dated May 24, 2007 and he's announcing the death of Roy De Forest at the age of 77.  

"The way I met Roy, and the closest I got to knowing him, was through making a book together. This was about 1987 when I was the Director of Bedford Arts, Publishers. It was a well-funded Press (Real Estate was the source of its coin, and ultimately the cause of its sad downfall and closing in 1991). But for awhile I could bank my imagination on any book project that deemed my fancy. I was bound and determined to make a trade book with original art by artists in a format that would simultaneously function as an art object. After much research and investigation, I settled on the development of a unique design for an accordion-fold book that could also include a signature for an essay. (I was much assisted in the fulfillment of this process by an anonymous Japanese book design engineer at Dai Nippon Printing in Japan, Tom Ingalls, a local San Francisco designer and Hal Belmont at Overseas Printing, San Francisco).

This [sic] were big books. 12 1/4 inches high by 9 1/2 inches wide, the accordion fold panels extended out 13 panels, with art on each side. I invited Roy to be the first artist. I liked the playful characters in his work (the dogs, the eccentric characters, the folks you might run into on a run-down Western ranch), and I also sensed there was a storyteller in the works, somebody who could stretch a visual yarn through an extended space. We met in San Francisco in our first Offices on Pacific near Montgomery Street. I showed him the dummy accordion fold format. He did not speak much. But I liked the way his light blue eyes lit up. He agreed and then I did not hear from him for a couple of months, until one day I got a call that he was coming in with some work. And, indeed he did, two substantial rolls of art – like a scroll – one under each arm.

Each of the panels was 36 x 27 inches (to be reduced by a 1/3). When we stretched out each side of the book out into two rows of side by panels – the whole length of the office space – I was suddenly astonished that we were being presented with 58.5 feet of art. The work was like a neo-western panorama mountain campsite infused with a wonderfully crazy, color concotion of family surrounded by dogs, Indians, spooks, tall-tale mythical figures and what have you. When I asked him the title, he had written it out:

Journey To The Far Canine Range And The Unexplored Territory Beyond Terrier Pass

Roy, indeed, was a man of letters. He loved to collect and read books. He was particularly a student of the West, deeply imbued in the spirit and work of Mark Twain. I knew him as a quiet man, not given much to lengthly articulation. He talked through his work. A incredible draughtsman. Miriam Schapiro said to me once, “Roy can draw in his sleep.” In fact he probably did draw in his sleep!

In the brief period that I knew him, Roy was generous to a fault. Though a kind of career and success came to him, I do not think he was ever interested in manufacturing a career in the contemporary manner. I think he was always in it for the challenge and the pleasure of the work. One day there will be a big retrospective and people will go into like going into a Red Grooms show and we will be able to get fully back into that imagination, that intense, otherworldly dog/eye energy – and we will again have, at least, something of what crossed Roy’s soul everytime he picked up a brush." Stephen Vincent

Here's a link to San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker's obituary of Roy De Forest. Roy De Forest

Nikki McClure, Take Care, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2009 [perforated accordion postcards]

A sharp set of 17 paper-cut images published as postcards in an accordion strip. Nikki McClure is a self-taught artist who has been making paper-cuts since 1996. Individual page: 5.75" x 4", total length: 5' 8" For more information about the artist Nikki McClure 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Child's View From Gaza, perforated accordion postcard strip, MECA, Berkeley, 2011

A Child's View From Gaza is a traveling exhibit of drawings and paintings created by children in the aftermath of Israel's three-week assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-09. The pictures show what they saw and experienced, their fears and their dreams for the future. 

Children's Art Censored The Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) arranged for the Oakland Museum of Children's Art (MOCHA) to host the exhibit for two months in 2011. Then the museum abruptly canceled "A Child's View From Gaza," following intense pressure from pro-Israel groups who did not want the art to be shown. But hundreds of people have seen the art at a rented storefront and thousands view it on online. 

Let the Children Play and Heal is a MECA supported project where most of the art was created. This project helps tens of thousands of children in Gaza cope with trauma and fear by engaging them in the arts and sports; educating mothers and teachers about children's psychological needs; providing referrals for therapy; and written information on trauma for families and communities. [above text accompanies this postcard strip] 

Catalogue (see last photo) available from: "A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship" book | Middle East Children's Alliance For further information, and documentation of the alternative exhibition venue and opening events on September 23, 2011 see: MECA Opens "A Child's View From Gaza" Exhibit on Schedule at New Venue in Oakland, 9/24/11: photos & video : Indybay

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Deb Sokolow accordion books

Briefcase Exchange, Men’s Bathroom, McDonalds, Washington, D.C., 1986, 2010.
 Graphite, acrylic, ink, collage on acid-free paper, 
accordion fold, hard-cover 
6" X 9". 
Unique edition of 5.
Whatever Happened to the Pentagon (restaurant)?,2007.
Toner with ink and marker on cardstock with manila folder cover, 11 3⁄4” x 9 1⁄2”. Edition of 100.

These two accordions are from a group of seven that can be viewed at Western Exhibitions, a contemporary art gallery in Chicago that represents Deb Sokolow: Deb Sokolow Western Exhibitions The accordion format offers her quirky conspiratorial drawings/maps/diagrams/comics a wonderful panorama through which these complex, and multi-layered stories, can be seen and read.

Check out this charming video of her talking about her work, A look inside the artist's studio, a commission for the lobby of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, that was part of the exhibition Production Site: The Artist’s Studio Inside-Out, February 6 - May, 30, 2010. Deb Sokolow @ MCA, Chicago - YouTube

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stan Shellabarger, Dragging Book, 2009, drypoint prints on paper
 MDF cover with steel printing plate

A fascinating artists' accordion book by this body & performance artist who uses different processes, including walking, to create his conceptual and time-based sculptures, drawings and bookworks.

For this book "Stellaberger hung ten galvanized steel plates end-to-end horizontally on a wall. Wearing gloves whose fingers were covered with coarse grit sandpaper, he paced back and forth, dragging his hands across the plates. He printed the resulting plates like one would a drypoint print. The prints were then trimmed, hinged together, accordion folded and placed between two waxed MDF covers with one of the steel plates attached to the front cover." [text from a description of the work at Western Exhibitions, a contemporary art gallery in Chicago] 

Edition of 10, individual sheet size 7.5” x 13.5”, open size 7.5" x 120" Western Exhibitions