Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Peagreen, Ice Crystals, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2015

A very smart Christmas card from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, designed by this design studio based in Winchester, England. Many thanks Davy and Toni Damkoehler for sending this cool card to me!

5 pages, variable sizes, 7"(h), when opened 16.5".

The Mystery Calculator, China, nd

The instructions that accompany this 'mystery calculator' are:

The complete set consists of 6 cards, printed with a series of numbers. Show all the cards to a friend and ask him or her to select one number from any one card. Show the other five cards to your friend asking him or her to say whether the number appears on these cards. Take all the cards on which your friend says the number appears, add together the top left hand corner number of, each card and the total is the number your friend selected.

6 pages, 1.25"(h) by 2"(w) when opened height is 9.75".

Matthew Monahan, Five Years Ten Years Maybe Never, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Los Angeles, 2007

A rather curious exhibition catalogue which consists of 3 booklets joined together in an accordion format. Since I've never seen anything like this before I thought it was worthy of inclusion here. In the last section are 3 accordion fold-outs of the artists' works. I had never heard of this LA-based artist, but this was a substantial one-person exhibition. Following is a text describing the publication from the Moca website: 

"Matthew Monahan (b. 1972, Eureka, CA) creates striking sculptures that are built from drawings, as well as fragments of smaller artworks made with disparate materials, including floral foam, beeswax, glitter, pins, Styrofoam, glass, and drywall. From these unlikely media, he builds freestanding, assemblaged sculptures within which hand-crafted characters—warriors, saints, slain heroes, and demons—seem to express heroic emotions ranging from jubilation to anguish. These figures serve as both icons and iconoclasts in a purposefully allusive narrative from a mysterious unidentified past epoch. Working simultaneously as both chronicle and summation of the artist’s creative processes, Monahan’s sculptures confront the formal issues inherent in figurative drawing and sculpture while addressing his artistic, personal, and political concerns. This MOCA Focus exhibition—Monahan’s debut solo museum presentation—brings together a decade of work never before exhibited in Los Angeles."

Booklet sizes 9"(h) and 6.25"(w), when opened 3ft 2".

back of the catalogue

Annette Messager, Les Uterus Fleurissent (The Uterus Flower), Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, 2017, ed. 100

A really powerful double-sided accordion by this well-known French artist in which she insists on her autonomy when it comes to her own desires and pleasure. The following quote is taken from the description of the book on her gallery's website: 

"Annette Messager has created numerous artist books over the past 40 years. This new leporello-style artist book offers a partial response to the issue that matters of the female body and a concern that women's desire —and especially their ability to openly express it—continues to be met with resistance. Indeed isn't this desire—women's desire—precisely the desire to be able to, as females, manifest, affirm, and express themselves?"

For an excellent review by Joseph Nechvatal of a 2016 show Messager had at the Marian Goodman Gallery in Paris, he addresses how she "...deploys an iconography of anti-patriarchal anger rooted in the female body," see:

20 pages, double-sided, each page 3.25"(h) and 2"(w), when opened 2ft 2".

This text on the back of the accordion reads: 
"To my wish to my desire to my will to my pleasure to my desire to my soul's passions" 

Valerie Linder, Abecedaire de voyage (an alphabet book of a journey), Esperluete editions: Belgium, 2011

A fascinating 'alphabet' book that is made up of images of 27 different objects from which Linder has made graphite rubbings, and on the opposite side of the page is a small list of words that have been crossed, arriving at the bottom to one printed in red. These words have tentative, yet teasing connections to the objects depicted. The larger 'text' of the book is about journeys. The publishers in their description of this book include a quote by Linder about the book stating:

 "Selected words in the dictionary, objects selected: Propose only words related to the journey, to different degrees. Shift the relationship between the chosen word and the object - to weave links, to be amazed, to be a little disturbed, disappointed, astonished ... that's the purpose of the trip."

Alphabet books have a long history as children's books that featured letters of the alphabet alongside words or images that corresponded to each letter, and thus served an educational function. However, Linder's book does not reveal such neat correspondences and she sets up a field of much more discursive interpretations for the reader to meander through. Truly a book that entails a journey through letter, word and image!

One-sided, 53 pages, individual page 6.5"(h) by 4.5"(w), and when open 19ft 7.5".

On the back of the book is the following quote from the artist:
 "Gleaned objects rubbed and words chosen from the dictionary."