Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Julie Doucet, Kirk and Spot & Charming Periods, photocopy, c. 1988

In 1988 I was in communication with Julie Doucet, who even in this early period was obviously a very talented artist. Doucet would later break out with her Dirty Plotte zine with its extraordinary drawings and intimate subject matter. During our postal exchanges Doucet sent me this accordion which is made up of two of her early strips taped together in the middle to create this one long work. These two stories reflect both her irreverent and feminist view of the world combined not only with a startling honesty but also a bravery in tackling a variety of difficult subjects in both her drawings and comics.

8 pages at 4" x 2 3/4" and open 22".

Monday, December 12, 2016

Michael Bartalos, 29 Degrees North, San Francisco: San Francisco Center for the Book, 2012, 2nd trade edition, ed. 200

A curious little 8-page accordion that illustrates a poem that references a degree of latitude shared by all the six eastward journey's described inside - mexico to morocco, india and china, to japan and hawaii. There's a fun and quirky quality to the imagery that gives this small accordion a unique charm. 

8 pages at 2 7/8" x 3 6/8" and opened up 23", includes poem on translucent paper and interwoven into the first couple of pages.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Beatrice Coron, Prayers for the Unfaithful, New York, 1997 [open edition]

A humorous and smart publication that serves as "a talisman for the non superstitious. Just hang it and you will be protected effectively." This delicate book comprises the traditional accordion, but threaded down the center is another type of accordion called a 'clamshell' accordion. Divided into four sections corresponding to the silhouetted figures, each part comprises a prayer for the non superstitious with the themes of: Health Goddess (protects against the flu and bad breath), Love (let us always remember names and birthdays), Wall Street (may we never endure data loss), and finally, Jetset Lady (help us to travel in style and within budget...). 

The little medallion at the bottom that helps to hold the book open when hung, has two cryptic letter-type markings on either side but when you superimpose the two parts it read "shit happens."

Beatrice Coron was born and raised in France. She has lived in Taiwan, Mexico & Egypt and has been living & working in New York since 1984 [Béatrice Coron]. A big shout out to Bert who kindly gave me this accordion. 

8 pages, individual pages 1.25" x 2.75," when opened it's 1ft 10inches.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Alcatraz and Beyond, San Francisco: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, 2014.

A nifty little publication printed on thick boards that gives the book a certain heft. One side juxtaposes photographs of assorted inmates with images highlighting what was happening outside in the larger culture throughout Alcatraz's history. The other side presents a written history of Alcatraz (1934-1963) accompanied by photographs that show prisoners engaged in a variety of activities all of which were associated with a number of different prison rules.

This is a thoughtful publication that provides a good introduction to the rich history of the nation's first maximum-security prison.

30 pages, double-sided, 6" x 4", fully extended 10'.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Some Breath King, PFCA International Artist Residency, Minneapolis: Aesthetic Apparatus, 2013 [edition 99]

All of the accordions that I put up on this blog usually have something we can learn from. But this publication is the exception as its a mess and at $45 a copy it's an expensive one at that. But it still can teach us something about face-to-face pairings and then their sequencing across the width of the accordion. 

The premise amongst this international and domestic group of 20 artists gathering in Minneapolis is that they would be randomly paired off and then each of them would be required to choose a character from a prepared list. Then each pair were required to collaborate in creating a one-page work that reflected an interaction between the two characters. I have no issue with this model of art making and indeed some of the individual pages are cool. So at this point the group had 10 works sequenced into 5 pairings. Presumably the accordion format was chosen as the most expedient and economical way to present this project. But this is where the problems start. The 5 pairings are awkward with the works seeming to resist each other, and these tensions carry over into the final sequencing of the pairings across the accordion. Additionally the paper the work has been printed is not suited to this type of folding as it leaves rough and uneven spines on the folds which effects the experience of holding the books in one's hands. The final result is a disjointed and jarring accordion that probably would have been better presented in the traditional book format!

10 pages, 8.5" x 7", total length 5' 10'.

Front and back covers.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Alden Viguilla, What the Baku?, New Jersey: Alden Viguilla, 2014. [edition: 28]

Another very individual accordion from Viguilla. Pasted into its cardboard folder this silkscreen accordion sits at the edge of being just plain weird, wonderful, otherworldly and I have a strong suspicion that kids would love it.

5 pages at 5.75" x 3.5" and total length 1' 11".  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Paula Kemper, Toni, Zurich: Nimbus. Kunst und Bucher AG, 2012

A nice pocket-sized accordion by this young German artist and illustrator. The tale being told is certainly an enigmatic one with its central characters being a man, a woman and a bear. The characters wander across the pages in and out of different situations. Either way this is a really smart work that takes full advantage of the characteristics of the accordion format.

19 pages at 3.75" x 4", and fully extended 6ft 4".

Friday, July 8, 2016

La Jicara (The Gourd), #8, 1999, Chiapas, Mexico

I just came across another copy of this fantastic magazine created by indigenous Mayan women in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico to promote Mayan culture. La Jicara's format, and this one is an atypical vertical accordion, embodies both pride, and resistance as it's modeled on the codices created by the women's Mayan ancestors that were all but destroyed by the Conquistadors and priests during the Spanish conquest. This periodical is only one of a number of publications produced by Taller Lenateros (The Woodlander's Workshop) which was founded in 1975 by an expatriate American, Ambar Past to promote Amerindian culture. The full range of their beautiful artists' books, prints and other publications can be seen, and purchased at: Taller leñateros - papel hecho a mano.

I'm uncertain as to whether La Jicara is still being published but their current catalogue lists #8 (1998). In the summer of 2003 in Oaxaca I had the memorable experience of finding an almost complete set in the public art library near the main church. Silk-screened cover with 16 pages at 8.75" x 5.5", fully extended 11ft 4".