Untitled (September Magazine)

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Tony White | No Comments

While at the Berlin Art Book fair in late September I made a point to visit with all of the 95 plus book vendors. One that stood out was Vanity Press. I picked up a new edition of Fiona Banner’s “All the World’s Fighter Planes” and a photo book/magazine by Paul Elliman, Untitled (September Magazine), co-published by Vanity Press and Roma Publishers. It is a delightful send-up of the September issue of Vogue magazine. But what is nice about Elliman’s version is that, like the Ruscha photobooks of the early 1960s, this includes no descriptive text, if you don’t count the barcode on the cover. In essence it is a distillation or reduction of this infamous issue of Vogue that arrives at the newsstand and in mailboxes early in the fall season, but this rendition is purely image based; only the sumptuous full page, full bleed photos of models, clothing, nudity. What we secretly enjoy and are drawn to in fashion magazines. There are even fold out pages of this glossy magazine. My only regret was that there were none of the perfume pages that stud fashion magazines. But that is a minor regret.

IMAGES: click here for a link to the Vanity press website where you can view images of Untitled (September Magazine).

Copies can be purchased at a premium from the publisher in pounds Sterling, or I just found two copies on Amazon.com USA, for $57.00.

Here is copy from Vanity press about this publication:
Untitled (September magazine)
Paul Elliman is a London based artist whose practice is frequently referenced by graphic designers. His work with typography, using found objects and industrial débris in which no letter-form is repeated, is legendary.

Paul Elliman’s publication takes the form of a 600 page glossy magazine, completely absent of any editorial text. Instead, it is only comprised of heavily cropped and juxtaposed images collected by Elliman over many years. The publication conveys in itself a kind of text spelled out in body shapes, signs and gestures. “In photographed fragments, the body seems both to correspond to the shapes of letters and to assume writing’s inanimate agency. Or maybe another spirit altogether is communicated by the perverse range of images, a secret map of the inner territory of language conducted by the body…Some of the shapes and lines resemble script or alphabetical signs: vertical, diagonal or horizontal limbs; straight, arching or crossed arms, the curve of the back or the neck. But in most cases they seem even more abstract, whether moving or still, even while enacting gender or other socially-specific coded gestures or posture”

Untitled (September magazine) Published by The Vanity Press, London and Roma Publications, Amsterdam, 2013



An Opportunity…?

Posted by on Oct 8, 2013 in Tony White | No Comments

Association of Art Historians 40th Annual Conference 10-12 April 2014

The Royal College of Art, London

Call for Papers: Expanded Photography

Session Chair: Dr. Lucy Soutter, The Royal College of Art

Contemporary artists are transforming our understanding of photography by combining it with other forms and activities. Many recent works incorporating photography have material or spatial aspects, overlapping with painting, sculpture, installation or architecture. Others emphasize action or the passage of time, combining photography with elements of moving image, performance or audience participation. Digital technology provides yet further hybrid manifestations of photography within art. While many such works have roots in the conceptual art of the 1960s-70s or in the more recent activities of “new media” there are many that could not have been conceived before the present era. How are we to undertand such practices? What is their relationship to the history of photography and the history of art more broadly?

The panel considers the current extensions of photography within the expanded field of contemporary art. Papers may address questions including: to what extent do contested notions of medium remain useful? Should we follow George Baker in regarding photography as merely one form among others, no longer a destination in itself? Is it productive to consider practices that combine photography with other forms alongside one another, and what might it contribute to our understanding to do so? How do these concerns relate to existing theories of the photographic? What are the implications for the future study of photography?

Abstracts of less than 250 words + CV or short bio may be sent to lucy.soutter@rca.ac.uk before 11 November, 2013.

Responses will be sent by 20 November.

Recent Acquisitions: Personal Library

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in Tony White | No Comments

As noted earlier, I had the pleasure to attend both the NY Art Book Fair and the Berlin Art Book Fair in the same weekend. Unfortunately I did not have time to adequately browse the fair in NY in a manner suitable to collecting and acquiring new titles. I did, however, pick up the Eve Fowler book (see recent post) and the three books I will discuss in this posting. In a future posting I will share and discuss books I received as gifts from Michael Lailach, Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Sammlung Buch – und Medienkunst, from the Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. He presented me with a publication and a large ziploc bag with ten artists’ publications by a German artist (stay tuned).

The New York Art Book Fair 2013

This first entry is for The New York Art Book Fair program/fair/conference guide.  It is a small publication measuring 15×10.5 cm, and 1.5 cm thick.  The fair is managed by Printed Matter and held at MOMA PS 1.  This year the fair was September 19-23, 2013, with an opening preview on Thursday evening.  This small publication is arranged as follows: two pages of front matter; descriptions of New Editions commissioned by Printed Matter for the fair; a description of the New Publication by Eve Fowler commissioned by the Conference planning committee (of which I am a part of); an overview of the Conference; an overview of the Classroom (a curated series of conversations, readings, and various other events); a schedule of Book Signings; listings of Featured Programs & Performances; (each year the NYABF focuses on a country or theme, this year …) the Focus on Photography, included a room of just photobooks and photo magzines; The Schoolyard (zinsters and innovative publications), including Friendly Fire (politically minded artists), and Flaming Creatures (queer artists and zine makers); and featured exhibitions as part of the fair; and a focus on Swiss publishing.  The remainder and majority of the publication is reserved for ad listings for each of the nearly 300 publishers/vendors included in the fair.

Booktrek, Clive Philpot

As part of the Conference there were two Keynote presentations.  The first was at 7pm Thursday night as part of the Fair preview.  This keynote featured a conversation between Clive Phillpot, director of the MoMA library from 1977 to 1994, and Christophe Cherix, MoMA’s Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, who contributed to the introduction of Phillpot’s new book published by JRP: Booktrek.  This is a book of selected essays on artist’s books from 1972 to 2010, penned by Phillpot.  The table of contents include the Forward, a conversation between Clive Phillpot, Lionel Bovier, and Christophe Cherix; an Introduction titled “from N.E. Thing Co. to Anything goes?”; 28 essays, starting with a short piece in 1972 through to an essay on Sol LeWitt in 2010; 246 pages in total.  Back matter includes a “Bibliography: Twentysix Valued Volumes, 2002”, Index of Names, and acknowledgements. The interview is worth reading as it puts Phillpot’s essays into context.  This publication measures 21 x 15 x 2.5 cm.

the book on books on artists books

The Book on Books on Artists Books, is by Arnaud Desjardin and published by The Everyday Press, London, 2011.  The copy I have in hand is a second edition of a book originally published as an artist’s book.  In the Forward, the author encourages the reader to “get in touch” if they “notice any mistakes, mis-attributions, and mis-descriptions.”  Part of the aim of this publication is to introduce new works to each reader.  Following the Forward is a brief introduction about the book including information about bibliographic data, bibliographic hierarchies, and bibliographic information; the history and roles there of, and the relative importance to the entries within this volume.  This is essentially a reference bibliography on the topic of artist’s books.  (I encourage you to read the Introduction before reading or browsing the following entries in this book, should you decide to purchase it).  The bibliography is organized into the following categories: Exhibition Catalogs, pp. 11-74; General Reference, pp. 75-120; Collection Catalogs, pp. 121-132; Artist Monographs, pp. 133-164; Publisher Monographs, pp. 165-176; Artists’ Books on Books, pp. 177-184; Periodicals, pp. 185-196; Publisher Catalogs, pp. 197-222; Yearbooks & Fair Catalogs, pp. 223-230; Dealerships, pp. 231-307.  There is a “caveat” by the author explaining how this arrangement is not traditional.  Also, I should mention that each of these preceding categories includes a short description, or explanation.  There is also an Addendum, pp. 308-319.  This includes all of the publications that were left out of the first edition and are not included in the preceding categories.  The author acknowledges these omissions may be significant, but that they did the best they could to compile known titles at the time of publication.  If you are interested in the literature of or about artists’ books, you should consider adding this book to your collection of reference resources.  It is not exhaustive, but does include important titles, known and unknown.  This publication measures 22 x 15 x 2.3 cm.

Photobooks and NY Art Book Fair

Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in Tony White | No Comments

Each year since 2008 the Contemporary Artist’s Books Conference has commissioned the publication of an artists’ book — sales help underwrite the costs of the conference.  For this year’s edition the Conference Organizing Committee worked with Eve Fowler to create a new book: ANYONE TELLING ANYTHING IS TELLING THAT THING.  The book includes an essay by Lita Perta and Corrine Fitzpatrick.  The book documents Fowler’s use of text based posters in public places (see details below); the text on the posters comes from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons.  The book is available at Printed Matter

A free download of Tender Buttons can be found on the Project Gutenberg website.

Even Fowler, 2013

Even Fowler, 2013

.Eve Fowler, detail

Eve Fowler, detail


Eve Fowler, detail

THIS WEEKEND — 1st Annual Detroit Art Book Fair

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Tony White | No Comments

I just discovered this announcement in an email this afternoon.

The Detroit Art Book Fair will be located in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood. The fair is being hosted by DittoDitto and you can contact the organizers here.  The dates, location, and events information, below, are taken directly off of their website.  Most of the vendors are from MI, but a handful are from Toronto, one from AR and PA, and a couple from IL.  At present there are 29 vendors listed on the website.  If you can’t make this fair, or the others mentioned in a previous post, check out the Fair websites and browse the links for each of the vendors.  For the Detroit Fair there are representative examples of current publishing: independent, artists’, and self-.  From photobooks to comix to handmade books.

Saturday, October 5 — 12PM-6PM
Sunday, October 6 — 12PM-4PM

Fourteen-Eighty Gratiot Gallery
1480 Gratiot Ave.
Detroit, MI 48207

Saturday, October 5th:
7:30PM Reading by Leigh Gallagher (Brooklyn, NY) at 1480 Gratiot Ave.
7:30PM Reading and book launch by Matthew Polzin (Detroit, MI) at 1480 Gratiot Ave.
8:30PM Mystic Places book signing by Justin James Reed (Richmond, VA) at 1420 Gratiot Ave.

Book Fairs – Up Coming & Recent

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Tony White | No Comments

Up Coming Book Fairs
Vancouver Art/Book Fair, October 5-6, 2013, Vancouver
Salon Light #10, October 5-6, 2013, Paris
OffPrint Paris, November 14-17, 2013, Paris
KIOOSK vol.2, November 16-17, 2013, Kraków
Rookie Book Fair, December 7-8, 2013, Poznan
LA ART BOOK FAIR, January 31 – February 2, 2014, Los Angeles

Recent Book Fairs
LE BAL Books week-end, September 6-8, 2013, Paris
The London Art Book Fair, September 13-15, 2013, London
MISS READ, September 19-22, 2013, Berlin
NY ART BOOK FAIR, September 20-22, 2013, New York
The Tokyo Art Book Fair, September 21-23, 2013, Tokyo
Unseen Book Market, September 26-29, 2013, Amsterdam

Last week I had the pleasure to attend the NY Art Book Fair, and the MISS READ Berlin Art Book Fair, in the same weekend.

Just Received in the Mail

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Tony White | No Comments
book cover
Book cover – front

I just received a preview copy of this recently published book (full disclosure, I was invited to write a short essay that is one of ten in this book).

Matthew Carson, Russet Lederman, and Olga Yatskevich edited the book, in association with the International Center of Photography Library, Photobook Facebook Group, and the Tokyo Institute of Photography. 10 x 10 Photobooks & bookdummypress published the book. Additional information can be found at: www.10x10photobooks.org.

The book includes two newsprint inserts. Tuomas Korpijaakko & Pierre Le Hors designed one. Ihiro Hayami & Rie Imanaka coordinated the other one.

The book is in English and Japanese. The table of contents for 10 x 10 American Photobooks includes: an Introduction, Essays, Reading Room Selections, English Language Online Selections, and Japanese Language Online Selections. Following a statement of introduction by the three co-editors, are the essays. The ten authors include, in order: David Levi Strauss, Tony White, Miwa Susuda, Ken Schles, Evan Mirapaul, Andrew Roth, Bernard Yenelouis, Michael Saur, Bryan Formhals, William E. Jones.

The Reading Room Selections include selections from the following people: Alec Soth & Brad Zellar, Harper Levine & John Gossage, David Solo, Shannon Michael Cane, Leigh Ledare, Larissa Leclair, Bruno Ceschel, Christina Labey, Lindsey Castillo & Rebecca O’Keefe & Grant Willing, and David Senior. Each person or group selected his or her top ten selections for this chapter.

For the English Online Selections chapter, the following ten people listed their top ten photo books: Adam Bell, Tom Claxton, Jorg Colberg, Matt Johnston, Melanie McWhorter, Eric Miles, Jame Pomerantz, Heidi Sanders, Douglas Stockdale, Philip Tomaru.

For the Japanese Online Selections chapter, Ihiro Hayami the Japanese chief editor for PhaT PHOTO, and as part of this collaborative American/Japanese publication, encouraged readers to review the ten selections made by all of the contributors. And I implore you to do so as well. Check out the selections from each of the following contributors: Yoshikatsu Fujii, Sawako Fukai, Yumi Goto, Ihiro Hayami & Atsushi Hamanaka, Akira Higashikata, Taka Kawachi, Mika Kobayashi, Takayuki Kobayashi, and Kazuhiro Yamaji.

All of the essays and selection essays are published in English and translated into Japanese as well.

Studio Visit: Maureen Drennan

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Sara Macel | No Comments
Yesterday, as the sun set over my studio by Cooper Park and my time as guest blogger for Camera Club also came to an end, I spent a few hours talking about photography, love, and the pleasures of getting lost with one of my favorite photographers Maureen Drennan. During our visit, Maureen shared with me her artist-produced book of the project “Meet Me in the Green Glen” that is currently seeking a publisher and gave me a sneak peek at her latest work made this summer in Portland.
"Meet Me in the Green Glen" book by Maureen Drennan

“Meet Me in the Green Glen” book by Maureen Drennan

SM: As you know, I’m a huge fan of your work.  Your projects tend to follow the theme of exploring small worlds or communities and asking questions like: who are the people that inhabit this space and what is their connection both to each other and to the land?  What draws you to your subjects?  And how does your status as an outsider change (if at all) over the course of working on a project?
MD: I am a big fan of your work as well! In a word, or two words, you are a bad-ass.

I am intrigued with exploring small worlds and communities and I’m curious about the people who live there and their connection to the environment. All sorts of things draw me to my subjects, its an intuitive feeling of attraction. Usually its people’s vulnerability as well as resilience that really resonates with me. I’m attracted to that and want to talk and photograph them. Its funny you ask that about being an outsider, I am in the beginning for sure but then it quickly changes. I feel fortunate because almost everyone I photograph lets me into their life in some intimate way. They will literally invite me into their home or we will have a deep, intimate discussion and then connection right away. Some of my subjects lead such inspiring lives. Of course the reality is that I will always be an outsider but photography allows me to enter the community a little and get close to people.
From "Meet Me in the Green Glen" by Maureen Drennan

From “Meet Me in the Green Glen” by Maureen Drennan

I used to do a lot of hitchhiking around the United States and Europe with my boyfriend at the time and part of the “code” is that in return for the driver giving you a ride you chat with them, keep them awake during long stretches. But often this thing would happen, particularly at night, with the road feeling rhythmic and meditative, after talking and me asking lots of questions, where the driver would be so open and honest, brutally truthful, about some experiences in their life. I felt so fortunate to be having  this encounter with this perfect stranger. The fact that this person was opening up to me, as though I were a priest, was remarkable. And then, we would reach our destination, the driver would let us out and you never saw them again. But for a brief moment there was this very intimate connection. I love that. And now, as a photographer I’m able to continue having these amazing encounters with strangers. People are naturally guarded and I like recreating that experience of getting people to open up.
The people I seek out and photograph are not polished, they are outsiders and are usually existing in out of the way places. The outsider status resonates with my own feelings of alienation and though photography I am able to satisfy my need to connect with others.

SM: You are one of my favorite people to talk about photography with, and we have had many conversations about our work so, I know a lot of the stories behind some of your photographs.  On your website, I noticed that you don’t have any artist statements or text other than image titles accompanying your projects- was that a conscious choice?
MD: Absolutely, I don’t want the viewer to get caught up in the text. Ideally, I want the viewer to understand the story without a text explanation. Of course, that could change depending on what project I’m working on. Not all photographic projects can be text free.
SM: As much as your work revolves around communities, there’s an overriding sense of loneliness to your work.  Or maybe quiet solitude is a better description for it.  I know when I’m out making pictures, it can be a very meditative experience.  What are your thoughts on that?
MD: It’s true, there is definitely a pervading sense of isolation in my work and it stems from a few ideas. The people and communities I’m drawn to tend to be remote and vulnerable, either economically, socially, or environmentally. My own feelings of alienation and solitude also come through in the imagery, though so that sense of isolation may have more to do with me and less about the subject matter.  For example, with “Broad Channel,” that is a community that is legitimately vulnerable as we saw with Hurricane Sandy, but the people there have a lot of love and pride in their community.
Photo by Maureen Drennan

Photo by Maureen Drennan

Photo by Maureen Drennan

Photo by Maureen Drennan

SM: And to follow that same thread, how does being born and raised in New York City, a place steeped in photographic tradition and also a place where you can feel alone even when surrounded by people, factor into your process as a photographer?  I personally have a hard time making pictures in the city- what are you?
MD: I’m from Manhattan, born and raised here in New York. I’m really attracted to and curious about remote places and communities because it’s so different from what I’m accustomed to. I also find it hard to make images here because a huge part of my process is relying on serendipity and the kindness of strangers. New Yorkers (for good reason) are more guarded and I feel it’s harder for them to open up and for us to make a connection while I’m photographing them. But, of course there are exceptions, I have met some wonderful people on the subway and took this man’s portrait this summer on the subway.
SM: We both still shoot film for our personal work.  What is it that keeps you shooting film despite the cost and time-consuming process of scanning negs?
MD: I love the rich color and grain of film but mostly its the medium format that I can’t imagine life without! When I started photographing, I was making images with a large format camera (4×5) and as wonderful as that process of image making is, to come off the tripod was liberating. I really enjoy scanning negatives, I listen to music and take my shoes off, I feel like a kid.
SM: Your most recent body of work, “The Sea That Surrounds Us,” is a contemplative look at your husband that combines portraits of him with images from Block Island.  What is the metaphorical connection between the two?  I love that you took the same sensibility of your previous work in exploring a community and turned it inward on some level to explore the tiniest and most intimate of communities: your own marriage.  Have you always photographed him?  Is this still a work in progress?  And how has working on this project together affected your relationship?
MD: The title comes from a love poem by Pablo Neruda and suggests the remoteness one can experience, island-like, but also feeling surrounded and protected within a relationship. We are surrounded but separated as well.The idea that we can never comprehend ourselves fully or loved ones as much as we might want is humbling. There are vast, never ending portals contained within us. In trying to comprehend my husband’s vulnerability due to a severe depression, I made images of him and a landscape familiar to me, Block Island, RI. I felt untethered watching him and trying to comprehend his inner turmoil, I used the island as a metaphor to describe my feelings of isolation. I was an outsider to his experience. Block Island is a place I lived for one year when I was seven with my father during my parent’s divorce. During that winter I felt particularly cut off and alienated from people. I have always photographed my husband, but this feels different, like I’m watching him more carefully, trying to understand him, the impenetrable other. We are particularly connected, even through his depression, we both worked so hard to understand it and grow from it, so working on this with him has been recuperative.
Photo by Maureen Drennan

Photo by Maureen Drennan

Photo by Maureen Drennan

Photo by Maureen Drennan

SM: You recently completed an artist residency in Portland – can you talk about that experience?
MD: I felt exceedingly fortunate to do an artist residency at Newspace Center of Photography for one month. It was an incredible experience to only work on my photography for such an extended period of time with no other obligations or distractions. I felt spoiled rotten actually. On the advice of my good friend Matt Baum, I read “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” by Rebecca Solnit and it provided the backdrop for my time there, I tried to “get lost” in Oregon. I wandered a lot and made imagery responding to the idea of being lost.
Contact Sheets of photographs by Maureen Drennan

Contact Sheets of photographs by Maureen Drennan

SM: You are also an adjunct photo professor.  What are your thoughts on teaching photography?  What’s the best advice you’ve received as a photographer?
MD: My life has changed in such a positive way due to photography. It allows me to interact with the world in such a serendipitous, stimulating way. I love sharing my excitement for the medium with my students and they teach me a lot as well. One of the most important ideas I try and teach my students is how to be visually literate.
To see more of Maureen Drennan’s work, please visit her website http://www.maureendrennan.net