Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002), Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1976

There's a special place in my heart for Niki de Saint Phalle. A long time ago I became entranced with her accordion book "My Love" (1971), which takes as its subject the arc of a romantic relationship. It was this accordion book that sparked my interest in the accordion format and provided the impetus for me to start this blog, and the rest is history! (

This charming accordion catalogue, designed by Saint Phalle and accompanied by her own handwriting, describes two of her built environments for children. The first one was created in Belgium and takes the shape of a monster. The second one called "Golemn" was her first environment for children and was built in Jerusalem (1971). The book includes a catalogue essay in Dutch, and an exhibition checklist. The whole thing is a treat!

34 pages, each 5.75" (h) x 4" (w), and when fully extended 11' 4".

Dinosaurs, Somerville: Candlewick Press, 2013

This is a really fun and educational 3D accordion for kids (and some grown-ups!), with beautiful illustrations by the KJA artists illustration agency, and "paper engineering" pop-outs by Gus Clarke. I don't really know what else to say about this visual delight and expertly conceived accordion book, but its selling on Amazon for around $10, so get one for you and the kids!

13 pages, double-sided, individual pages 4.25" (h) x 4" (w), and when fully extended 5'.



Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Nicolò Degiorgis, Oasis Hotel, Bolzano-Bozen: Rorhof, Italy, 2014, 1st ed. 500

At 36.5 feet in length, this is a massive piece of photographic documentation taken along the length of China's 500km Cross-Desert Highway, that was built in the 1990's to service the transportation of oil from the region. Degiorgis hitchhiked the road and documented all the various peoples and activities he encountered. By turns fascinating, as well as typical of the communities that border such highways, this book is a thorough piece of documentation portraying Chinese roadside culture and the activities that take place in these liminal spaces.

I have posted another of Degiorgis' accordions on this blog, see: La Laguna di Venezia. For further information about Degiorgis' work and activities see:

Individual pages for this one-sided accordion are 6.25" (h) x 9.5" (w) and when fully extended 36' 5".

Billy Ocallaghan, inverted rainbow: hue variations, inkjet print, improper printing, 2017, open edition

A rather unique and visually delightful accordion that the artist calls a "cascading accordion". Ocallaghan explains below the process involved in creating this work:

in an effort to make a more affordable/accessible cascading accordion (to share the idea with more people and hopefully help propagate this form), i am making a new hue variation cascading accordion. i started with a photo i took of a rainbow (cropped full frame at a point where the rainbow is mostly horizontal), inverted this rainbow, stitched together a series of 30 hue variations of that inverted rainbow (every 12 degrees of the 360 degree hue circle), creating a 3 inch high by 120 inch wide print, which i folded into a 60 page accordion book that animates, when played as a cascading accordion, showing the inverted rainbow bleed into a rainbow and back.

The key element to this work is that it's meant to be animated by the viewer so that one experiences the cascading of colors as it moves between your hands. This is the first time that I have come across an accordion in which this hand-held element is foregrounded in such a fascinating manner.  For more about Ocallaghan's work with this format, and short videos illustrating how to animate this book, see his website at:

Each page of this single-sided 60 page book is 3" (h) x 2" (w) and when extended it's 10' long.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Unknown, Untitled, press type and gold leaf, nd

These six accordions were given to me by a friend who purchased them from the estate sale of the Madison based composer, professional pianist and scholar, ellsworth snyder (1931-2005). I am not at all sure that these unsigned works are by Snyder. One knowledgeable friend suggested they could be someone connected to Walter Hamady (1940-1919), the well known book artist, who taught papermaking, letter press printing and bookbinding at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for over forty years. 

ellsworth snyder however, is an interesting man himself. A friend of John Cage, and while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison he wrote the first doctoral dissertation on Cage. Snyder appears to have been loosely associated with the Fluxus movement, but I haven't been able to find his name in the standard Fluxus literature at the moment.

These six individual works are all the same size (do not be fooled by my creating "lenoir" in the first photo) and utilize press type and gold leaf in their production, coupled with words that would seem to suggest the author was living in the midwest, and the reference to 'driftless' pins it down to the western part of Wisconsin in particular. 

Dimensions for all pages are 1.25" (h) and 1.25" (w), with varying lengths when extended.

Please note: if anyone has more information as to the author of these works please contact me at: