HENDERIKSE, Jan. Broadway. New York/Rotterdam: Jan Henderikse/Uitgeverji Bébert Edition, 1983.
Oblong 4to.; long accordion foldout illustrated in b&w throughout; housed within printed cardboard covers; string-tied, with Manhattan bus map inserted. Near fine.
First edition; one of 100 copies. Henderikse’s artist’s book documents Broadway in 249 images laid out horizontally, three images to a panel, on 83 individual panels, each attached end-to-end so that it becomes an uninterrupted continuum of street views tracing New York City’s most celebrated thoroughfare as it travels the length of Manhattan from its Southernmost point at The Battery all the way to the Spuyten Duyvil. Folded out in full it is 99 feet long. Broadway, with its horizontal layout, foldout binding, and wide format was quite evidently modeled on Ed Ruscha’s book Dutch Details, which he had published 12 years earlier as a project related to Sonsbeek 71 at the Groninger Museum. This exhibition, which also included Henderickse’s work, focused on site-specific work, non-traditional media such as artists’ books, and other new forms to which the era’s conceptually oriented art practices were giving rise and so Ruscha made Dutch Details as a consciously American take on the typically Dutch-looking streetscapes and vernacular architecture he encountered in the area near the museum. Henderikse, a Dutchman who later took up residence in New York, responded in kind, documenting the typical streetscapes of “New Amsterdam.”
War Pictures. New York: Artists Space, 1980.
Menthol Pictures. Buffalo, NY: CEPA Gallery, 1980.
Menthol Wars. New York: Self-published/Printed Matter, 1980.
8vos.; illustrated wrappers; stapled. Light wear at spine edges, else fine.
War Pictures came first, published in February, 1980. An excerpt from its first page of text reads, “We are emigrants or experiments in transition. We were born in zones like ‘the white,’ ‘Panama,’ ‘the 96th.’ We adapt by distorting.”
Menthol Pictures was next; it was made for a show in Buffalo in June, 1980. It has a few more pages and a different girl on the cover. An excerpt from its second page of text reads, “He found the fact that the war had come to his ‘doorstep,’ ‘interesting.’ He found it interesting because he didn’t feel fear when he thought he should.”
Menthol Wars was last. It came out in October, 1980 to coincide with an installation in the window of the old Printed Matter space on Lispenard Street. It has a few more pages than either of the first two and has a different girl on the cover. Unlike the others it is paginated and has a table of contents. An excerpt from page three reads, “We went out with the same girl once and never got wise to her. What was bizarre about it was that we both had pretty intense relationships with her. I mean you have to understand this is true.”
Andy Warhol. Buenos Aires: Galeria Rubbers, 1965.
8vo.; three unbound leaves folded together; monochrome screen-print illustrations.
First edition. This slender pamphlet is a very scarce early Warhol publication which accompanied one of his first solo exhibitions, held in Buenos Aires from July 29th to August 14th, 1965. The film Thirteen Most Beautiful Women was shown concurrently at Cineteca Argentina. The exhibition followed his first Sonnabend show in Paris by only a few months and was part of a surge of international exposure for Warhol in 1965. Leo Castelli had by then mastered the art of combining the international promotion of his artists with the interests of American cultural ambassadorship and this exhibition was organized under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Culture and Information, which helped produce this slender but lavish catalog in which the images reproduced are beautifully screen-printed throughout.
The show is also evidence of Buenos Aires’ flourishing contemporary art scene in the mid- to late 60s. In fact the city was home to some of the earliest Conceptual Art exhibitions held anywhere when Sol Lewitt, Lawrence Weiner and others produced exhibitions and artists’ books for CAYC (Centro de Arte Y Communicacion). This period of cultural cosmopolitanism coincided with a brief era of moderate civilian-led governments but largely came to an end (or went underground) with the political unrest and ‘dirty wars’ that beset Argentina beginning in the early 70s.
Los Angeles: Self-published, 1971.
First Edition. 4to.; Thirty-five loose 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets printed offset, recto only, in translucent orange plastic covers and blue plastic clamp spine as issued. Fine. Signed by John Chamberlain on the final page.
RAND Piece began as Chamberlain's contribution to the historic 1971 Art and Technology exhibition at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The piece is a questionnaire consisting of both 'questions' and 'answers' that Chamberlain composed and handed out to employees of The RAND Corporation, the Southern California think tank where he briefly worked in residence. While there Chamberlain developed a number of ideas for a collaborative work with RAND as part of the Art and Technology project but he was ultimately frustrated by the differences between his own artistic practice and RAND's methodologies. RAND Piece reflects the philosophical divide which persisted (and, if anything, increased) throughout his residency. The questions themselves sometimes allude (however ambiguously) to technological issues, but others are non sequiturs, riddles, or language games. With this book Chamberlain, an artist best known for massive sculptures in crumpled metal often thought of as a kind of three-dimensional abstract expressionist, shows a kinship with such Conceptualists as Robert Barry, Lawrence Weiner and Joseph Kosuth, whose de-materialized, text-based work derived from philosophy and often dealt with the possibilities and limitations of language.
The RAND Corporation was culturally prominent in the 60s and 70s—Kubrick satirized it in Dr. Strangelove, Joan Didion writes of its conservative cachet in The White Album. Its studies were often funded by government programs and so despite its ostensibly objective intellectualism and relaxed Southern California setting, the RAND Corporation was considered by many, especially on the left, to be a sinister organization populated by the best deep-thinkers the military industrial complex could buy. It is in this context that Chamberlain’s piece resonates. His approach, which was intentionally confounding, emphasizes the limits of technology and human understanding and thus frames the RAND Corporation’s blandly authoritative intellectualism as hubris.
RAND Piece was mounted on the walls during the LACMA Art and Technology exhibition and Chamberlain subsequently self-published a very small edition of them to be distributed among the RAND participants. Surviving copies are truly rare.