Sunday, November 12, 2017

Fall 2017 News

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EXHIBITIONS / EVENTS
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Going (. . . Going . . . Gone!) Bananas In New York
Artbook @ MoMA PS1, Queens NY

     skúta picturing Jan and me in the midst of transition. Photograph by Philip Zimmermann.

Artbook hosted a closing reception for my 2016-2017 BANANACO Editon and the launch of Jan Voss's 2017-2018 Artbook Editions during this years New York Art Book Fair. I ceremoniously passed the baton of time-limited print editions to Jan, a great artist, friend and co-proprietor of Boekie Woekie in Amsterdam.  Artbook has a larger, newly designed location on the first floor of the museum featuring dedicated space for programming and a relaxed atmosphere for browsing their fantastic selection of books.
 

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43: VSW Project Space Residency report
Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester NY

I was fortunate to spend the month of April as a Project Space Resident at Visual Studies Workshop. The Project Space Program provides artists the opportunity to experiment with new work or new display strategies, and to have discussions with the community about works in-progress. I spent the time analyzing research I have gathered over the past three years about 43 students who were "disappeared" from the rural  teachers college in Ayotzinapa, Guerreo, Mexico. (A good summation of this tragedy appeared in The California Sunday Magazine  (A synopsis of the event can be found in the colophon of two books noted below.)  My time was primarily spent working towards a publication (which is logical and progressing, as you'll read below), but the physical space offered an opportunity to present my research as an installation.


The murals, stenciling and wheat-paste posters I have photographed since 2009 in Oaxaca City reflect a deep commitment to issues of fairness and social justice.  Since 2014, much of this visual protest in public spaces (as well as museum exhibitions) have addressed the missing 43 students.


I photographed a series of posters produced by Comuna Oaxaca that papered the walls of the colonial center of Oaxaca City. The city center is a tourist mecca where unofficial wheat pasting is not allowed. Most posters are torn down or painted over, re-performing the students' disappearance for the benefit of tourists.


I re-presented these posters by electronically removing the background and printing only the visual residue of the messages. My prints were wheat-pasted on the studio walls in the manner of the originals in Oaxaca city. These images are gathered in the book "NOS FALTAN 43" illustrated below.


I read everything I could find regarding the 43, but exhausted what could be found in English as the 24/7 news cycle moved on. In good faith, I took a Spanish language class at our local community college to expand my research into Spanish language media. Learning some basics of the language was helpful, but much of the vocabulary in news reporting was not taught in Spanish 101. The words I had to look up became a vocabulary of violence.  My initial idea was to produce a set of flash cards consisting of the typography dropped out of images I made in Oaxaca. I started proofing the cards on lined notebook paper which made formal sense and ultimately was a nicer idea. Stringing the prints together and hanging them in the gallery was inspired by the papel picado flags you see displayed for fiestas in Oaxaca.


The central piece in the gallery consisted of a large papel picado, originally meant to be a festive table covering, "pouring" from a gas can suspended over a pile of paper bullets. I'm always impressed with the creative reuse of plastic you see in Mexico, which is where the idea for this piece came from. It references the "official" story of the student's fate, though there is no forensic evidence to support it. I did not notice the formal relationship it has to the hanging index pieces I've made since the mid-90s until it was installed.



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POINTS of DEPARTURE: Meditations on Mapping
September 5 - 30, 2017, Mercer Gallery @ MCC; Sunken Gallery @ RIT


I was pleased to participate in two of the venues of this multi-sited exhibition curated by Colleen Buzzard and Karen Sardisco. "When we began this project we were certain that putting together visualizations across different disciplines would uncover interesting resonances. . . . From way-finding to envisioning the unknown, mappings record our thinking and compel us to take imaginative leaps. . . . Both collage and conversation, mapping at its best offers points of departure with destinations unknown." -- from the catalogue produced by the Mercer Gallery at MCC.


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NEW BOOKS / PUBLICATIONS
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NOS FALTAN 43
2017; digital printing; 6.5 x 10.25
64 pages perfect bound


[From the colophon] On 26 September 2014, students from the Rural Teachers College in Ayotzinapa, a town in the Mexican state of Guerrero, boarded buses for a trip to Mexico City to join a march commemorating the Tlateloco Massacre of 1968 in which hundreds of students lost their lives at the hands of the military and police.

On their way they passed through Iguala where the mayor's wife was holding a political event in support of her campaign to run for her husband's office. It is reported that the Mayor, in fear of the students disrupting his wife's event, dispatched his police to intercept the caravan and detain the students. Police accomplished this goal by firing on the unarmed students, killed several outright. In the confusion 43 of the students went missing and unaccounted for.
 

The official story provided by the government states the students were handed over to the Guerreos Unidos, the local drug cartel, who then killed them, burned their bodies at a dump and tossed their bagged ashes into a nearby river.

Parents were skeptical of this version of the story partially because it was based on police detainee's testimony. An international committee of experts reviewing the case determined that there was no forensic evidence to support the government’s conclusion.


This incident, though not atypical in Latin America, has become enigmatic of the corruption, violence and collusion of government and organized crime in Mexico.

The posters in this book were photographed in Oaxaca, Mexico, the state just south of Guerreo, in December, 2014. They were among myriad visual responses to the missing 43 students seen in the streets, museums and galleries of the city.



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el vocabulario del 43

2017; HP Indigo printing; 7.75 x 10.5 inches
44 loose leaves bound with rings in board covers


This book grew out of the list of words I needed to look up while researching Spanish language media. The photographs were made in Oaxaca, Mexico between 2009 and 2016. It functions like flash cards with English translation of the Spanish words on the verso.




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Searching for Myself

2017; 8 x 8 inches
28 pages saddle stitched in mylar cover


I stopped into the Cary Graphic Arts Library at RIT one afternoon and ran into David Pankow (Cary curator emeritus) who was researching an exhibition about photo gravure. He was trying to figure out the origin or provenance of a book illustration that had no attribution. Amelia Hugill-Fontanel (current Cary assistant curator) suggested he perform a "reverse Google search", something neither he nor I had heard of. David made a cell-phone picture of the mystery illustration and dragged it into the Google® search field and the magic of the internet provided him with a reasonable answer.  I wondered, "What would happen if I performed a reverse Google search with an image of myself?"  This book is the answer to that question.




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The First 100 Days

2017; HP Indigo printing; 8 x 8 inches
32 pages saddle stitched


When I renewed my membership to Franklin Furnace ("On A Mission To Make The World Safe For Avant-Garde Art") I received a small daily planner as a gift and acknowledgment of their 40th birthday (Lordy, Lordy . . . The Furnace is Forty!). I started using it as a diary to record headlines from news stories pertaining to POTUS 45. A bit cathartic, but painful all the same. I don't know if we'll ever have the distance to make this book easy, but it is what it is (Lordy, Lordy . . . ). The only short-term redeeming factor is the photo-collage on the end pages of protest signs from Rochester's Women's March.  I had this book on display at the VSW Pub Fair in October and it was like Kryptonite to Superman.




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*annotate: criticism, witticism, narcissism

summer 2017; 4 x 7 inches
28 photocopy pages saddle stitched


This local 'zine was initiated and edited by Tara Nelson, Robert F. Gross and Dan Varenka (all associates of Visual Studies Workshop) "to provide a playground for thoughtful and creative responses to art in our community." A noble act in light of the dearth of ink art receives in our local press.

I was flattered to see Tara's contribution consisted of notes she took while attending the lecture I gave at VSW at the end of my residency.



My contribution is an extension of the 43 project. I recently came upon a trove of black & white negatives of images I made in the '80s while walking around Rochester. I'm electronically wheat pasting the Oaxacan posters onto local architectural specimens that have also disappeared. The next issue's subtext: "Criticism, Eroticism, Fascism." Stay tuned.


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UPCOMING EVENTS
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John Cage, Variations III

Live Performance
Friday December 1, 7 pm
Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince Street, Rochester NY

In 1962, John Cage conceived a method for one or any number of people performing any actions to create unique scores using a process of indeterminancy. VSW is organizing a performance of the piece and I'm looking forward to being one of the participants. An image of my score is below. I hope if you are in the area you'll come for the experience.



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Philadelphia Museum of Art Workshop
Saturday, May 5 2018
in conjunction with Keith Smith's exhibition

Amanda Bock, the curator of Keith's career survey of books and prints (opening February 17 and on display through July 8, 2018) is programming a series of afternoon workshops in conjunction with the exhibition. She asked me to facilitate one in May, content to be determined. I believe the events will be free and open to the public (but don't quote me). If you're in the area stop by and say hello -- and don't miss this exhibition of which much thought and care has gone into the making.

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Hybrid Textual/Visual Books Workshop
Wells Book Arts Center
July 15 - 21, 2017

I've had the idea for a workshop like this for a while now, and was happy that Richard Kegler, the Director of Wells Book Art Center, liked the pitch. It grew out of an excess of blank books I have made while teaching which rarely inspire my visual bookmaking practice. So I started binding re-purposed pages from printed books while demonstrating bindings in class, which inspired a whole series of projects ("Found and Bound"; "Headless Scrapbooks"; "Collected & Bound" among others). It is an experiment in simultaneity and chance through materials and binding – How a book's format and structure can inform and, indeed, create content. We'll bind pre-printed substrates, i.e., maps, placemats, joss, proof prints, . . . anything that can be pierced except blank paper, and take it from there.

       Headless.6 (Speechless): A Scrapbook Twice Removed
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Have a good winter and thank you for clicking. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring 2017 News

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R E S I D E N C Y
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Visual Studies Workshop Project Space
April 10 - May 6, 2017

I'll be in residence at VSW's Project Space working on the project described below. There will be a presentation and talk towards the end of my stay, most likely the first friday in May. I'll send out more info when that's settled.


"43"

On the night of September 26, 2014, in the city of Iguala, in the state of Guerro, Mexico, 43 students "disappeared" after their buses were ambushed by uniformed police officers. Their fate is still unknown but history does not make one optimistic about their fate. Keith and I have been visiting Oaxaca, Mexico since 2009, and we were struck by the grief, concern and outrage expressed by the city after the abduction of the 43. The quantity and immediacy of street art and actions were indicative of the shock that reverberated throughout Mexico.

I made photographs while in Oaxaca and have been collecting information about this situation for two years, but have been unable to make much sense of it -- mostly because it is such a difficult subject. My thought of making it a residency project was to utilize the physical and mental space provided by VSW to find some purpose in the materials. It is a vastly different way of working for me, but the residency encourages experimentation, so we'll see.


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E X H I B I T I O N S
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AMPLIFY & MULTIPLY: Recent Printed Activist Ephemera

March 31 to April 17, 2017
Coburn Gallery, Colorado College, Colorado Springs CO



AMPLIFY & MULTIPLY  is an exhibition of activist/social/political printed posters, protest signs, objects, fundraiser publications, and other ephemera, made in (roughly) the last 6 months, advocating for social and environmental justice, equality, and the rights of oppressed people. This is a show that "stands in opposition to fascism, racism, white supremacy, misogyny, and every other horrible tool that power uses to maintain its killing grip. Work included has been deployed in the real world as opposed to being made just for this show and created by people who felt compelled by recent events to produce and share their message in print medium." (from the prospectus). I sent a copy of a fake New Yorker cover which quotes Art Spiegleman's haunting Sept. 24th, 2001 cover for the magazine, the first issue produced after the Twin Towers fell. My work was made for "A Crack," a publication organized to gather responses to the Trump Administration that didn't get off the ground. The title of the publication was from Leonard Cohen: "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."


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Booknesses: Artists Books from the Jack Ginsberg Collection

University of Johannesburg Art Gallery - APK Campus
Johannesburg South Africa

Two of my works are exhibited in this exhibition of historical and contemporary book objects from South African and international artists, one of the largest and most comprehensive exhibitions of artists’ books ever to have been mounted. The exhibition and its catalogue showcase a small aspect of the remarkable Jack Ginsberg Collection of Artists’ Books which is acknowledged as one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of artists' books anywhere. Sarah Bodman, Senior Research Fellow for Artists' Books (UWE, Bristol), sent some snaps of "Homemade Maps" and "The Decider" in situ. Thanks, Sarah!





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P U B L I C A T I O N
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O Livro de Artista e a Enciclopédia Visual
Amir Brito Cadôr
Published by EDITORA ufmg, Belo Horizonte, 2016
(656 pps, 23 x 16 x 3.5 cm.)

I was flattered to be included in this Brazilian encyclopedia of artists books. The text is Portuguese, but even without knowing the language I'm finding it interesting to "read." It is well illustrated and organized by subject categories such as "archeology of knowing," "the art of memory," "reading allegories," and "a world of paper." My book, "INDEX," appears in the "Technologies of Reproduction" chapter. Although there is a healthy representation of Europeans (Tom Phillips, Joan Fontcuberta, Dieter Roth) and Americans (Clifton Meador, Buzz Spector, Sol LeWitt), there are many works by Latin American artists (mostly unknown to me outside of León Ferrari). Because of its encyclopedia format (and my lack of Portuguese), the illustrations are a bit of a tease but do whet the appetite for more research.




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S U M M E R   T E A C H I N G
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Bookbinding for Photographers
Visual Studies Workshop Summer Institute

May 29 - June 2, 2017

I'm thinking of rebranding this class as "McBookbinding."  Not to imply it's fast, cheap, or bad for your health, but I get requests to teach it out and about in a franchise-ey sort of way (see below).  I passionately believe that photographers and artists who plan to make books and take the time to gain knowledge of how books are constructed and work with physical space and real time make much more interesting and meaningful work. Click here for more info.


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Bookbinding with the Photographer in Mind
Peters Valley School of Craft
19 Kuhn Road , Layton, NJ

July 7-11, 2017

Peters Valley School of Craft is located within the picturesque Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. It offers a range of workshops, from blacksmithing and woodworking to fibers and photography.  It will be the first time I have taught there. It looks to be quite the active community and I look forward to seeing how it all goes.  Click here for more info.



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Good Press for Keith Smith
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I have to share this link to a review in Artforum of Keith's current exhibition at Bruce Silverstein Gallery. If you're in the City stop in and take a look.

BRUCE SILVERSTEIN GALLERY, 529 West 20th Street, Third Floor
 
March 9–May 6
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 Happy Spring, and thanks for clicking.