Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall News

E X H I B I T I O N S 

Art of the Book: Artist Books and Altered Books

Lower Link Gallery
Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County
115 South Avenue
Through December 9, 2012

Material Meditation on Mending Al Mutanabbi Street, my contribution to the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition Project, is on display in "Art of the Book: Artist Books and Altered Books." This is the second annual juried exhibition sponsored by the Rochester Public Library in keeping with its 100 year history of promoting books and reading.

Anita Wahl and Corinne Clar at the Central Library had the idea of displaying my book re-configured as prints depicting the recto and verso of each page. I provided the files and they generously printed and framed the lot, now on display along the Link Gallery corridor that connects Rundel with the B&L library building.


ImageART Twenty20

Visual Studies Workshop Gallery and Bookstore
31 Prince Street, Rochester New York
September 29 - October 20, 2012

In celebration of ImageOut's twenty year anniversary, ImageArt invited past winners of their juried competition to exhibit in a "reunion" exhibition hosted by Visual Studies Workshop Gallery and Bookstore. It gave me the opportunity to display two installation works that don't often see the light of day: "Junk Mail," and "Scout."

"Junk Mail" doesn't need much interpretation. Anyone with a mail box has no doubt seen the proportion of unsolicited mailings to personal correspondence weigh heavily towards the former. The shred featured in this iteration is from financial and tax records, two sources too sensitive for blue-box recycling.

"SCOUT" was conceived as a comment on gays in the military before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed, but still resonates with the Boy Scouts of America's discriminatory policies. 

A Q U I S I T I O N 

George Eastman House 
International Museum of Photography and Film
has approved "Digitalocomotion: Let Your Fingers Do The Walking" for inclusion in their permanent collection.

"Digitalocomotion" was conceived in 1981 as a piece for "BANANACO", a correspondence art project I started in the early 1970s.  It was realized as a DIY postcard printed on the storied AB Dick duplicator at Visual Studies Workshop. The post card exhibited some of the patina of Muybridge's  "Animal Locomotion" collotypes, but ultimately it exposed my abject failure as an offset printer. Though Muybridge is the obvious referent, I would not have made the piece without exposure to Hollis Frampton and Marianne Faller's "Vegetable Locomotion" series. 

"Let Your Fingers Do The Walking Through the Yellow Pages" was a jingle used by the phone company for many years but is no doubt obscure to persons of a digital age (as soon the printed phone book will be). In this print, my walking fingers traverse a spread that features the logo for "let your fingers . . ." plus an ad for direct mail (chosen for the mail art aspect of the original project). More archaic references can be found in the background grid which illustrates the basic layout of a two-page spread of the printed yellow pages book attached to a drawing board with push pins. The layout of the photos surrounded by a tinted frame and the text along the bottom is patterned after the Muybridge plates.

Many thanks to Jamie M. Allen, Assistant Curator of Photographs, for initiating and facilitating this transaction.

C I T A T I O N S   O F   I N T E R E S T 

The title of my summer show at Visual Studies Workshop, "Reversing the Catastrophe of Fixed Meaning," was picked up by Adbusters as a theme for their September/October issue. Adbusters has a publication exchange program with Afterimage, which included my catalogue as an insert in Vol.39 No.6. I was cited as an "art contributor" to the Adbusters issue for "title concept and inspiration." This honorific should be shared with, if not totally attributed to Cyril Reade, the curator of the VSW exhibit, who came up with the awesomely inspiring title. (Well, perhaps the work had something to do with it, too.)

Learning Bookbinding Online

Last year my good friend Jeanne Verdoux asked me to be a "virtual" guest lecturer in bookbinding for her online Process & Skills class at Parsons New School. I made some instructional videos at my drawing table, provided a tools and supply list and a short bibliography. By all accounts it has been pretty successful. Read her take on it here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer News
Reversing the Catastrophe of Fixed Meaning

A nice review of my show at VSW appeared in CITY Newspaper. You can read it here.

Here are some installation views of the exhibit. A shout out to Kris Merola and Dan Varenka for their help fabricating furniture and installing the work.

Megan Charland posted some nice photographs of the work on her blog. Check them out here. You might remember I cribbed her images of the Light Work exhibition for the Winter edition of smARTnews. (I'd say her posts are always interesting if it didn't sound so self-serving.)

State Library of Queensland

Keith's and my trip to Australia in June was a great success. Our lecture at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane was recorded and is available on the SLQ website by clicking here. The pictures from our presentation are from Victoria Cooper + Doug Spowart's blog. The page with their impressions of the talk can be found here.

The workshop was a treat once we burned off the jet lag. All the participants were acquainted with the book arts and brought a full range of skillful art disciplines to the table.  Helen Cole, Librarian of the Australian Library of Art at the SLQ (and our host), curated a selection of artists books from the Library's special collection for us to study in the "white gloves room" every afternoon.  Quite a few of the books on display had been made by our workshop participants.

Many thanks to the Siganto Foundation who sponsored our visit, part of their support of the Library's artists book education and acquisition programming.


Coming attractions:

The 2012 New York Art Book Fair will open at MoMA PS1 on Thursday September 27 and run through Sunday September 30. I'll be sharing a table with skĂșta, most likely on the 2nd floor. Here's a link to the Fair site which will be updated with all the pertinent poop soon.

Keep cool! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spring News


New Books

Material Meditation on Mending Al Mutanabbi Street

On March 5 in 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, a mixed Shia-Sunni area and the heart and soul of the city’s literary and intellectual community. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. Al-Mutanabbi Street is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling with bookstores, outdoor bookstalls, cafes, stationery, tea and tobacco shops. The al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition issued a challenge internationally for book artists to “re-assemble” some of the “inventory” of the reading material that was lost in the car bombing, honoring al-Mutanabbi Street by creating work that holds the memory and future of what was lost that day. 

My contribution to the project, Material Meditation on Mending Al Mutanabbi Street, consists of fifteen two-sided loose-leaf prints made from collages constructed from remnants of found books, rubbings from book bindings and photographs. The leaves are gathered into a tar paper folder like pages picked up in the street and slipped into a convenient sheath. It is a meditation in that I can only imagine the physical sense of being in a war, of having life change in the blink of an eye, of losing neighbors, community, income, and intellectual nutriment in a bombing. 

The elements of this book are fragments assembled with staples, tapes, and glue. It speaks to the reconstruction of life, literature and culture; of memory suspended, disjointed and reassembled into some sense, albeit of an altered whole. It is also a metaphor for the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition, whose projects brings poets, printers, artists, curators and readers together to pose questions, lend support to one another and bring grace back to all our Al-Mutanabbi streets. 


Google Vanitas

Autobiography #7

The word vanitas is Latin meaning “emptiness” and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity. Paintings executed in the vanitas style are meant as a reminder of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death. They also provided a moral justification for many paintings of attractive objects. (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Google Vanitas is part of my ongoing series of autobiographies drawn from collections of personal ephemera — my own personal paper trail. The internet is a new frontier for obsessive information gathering and infinitely easier to mine than metal cabinets filled with dusty files.  
Google Vanitas contains image search results for “scott mccarney” found on December 25, 2011. Each printed page represents a screen capture containing pictures that reference the artist up to the point where no direct references were found on a screen. 


Coming to Terms: An Abecedarium

A final resolution of this work, which has been shape-shifting ever since it's inception in 1999. I created an "abridged" edition for Contact Sheet 164 (the catalogue for my bookworks exhibition at Light Work last fall) which put it back on the radar. Each page spread is an individual folio bound in a Japanese double-album style, related to the "board books" we read as kids. 

From the colophon: 

The text appropriated for Coming to Terms is a lexicon of psychological terms entitled Psychiatric Word Book: A lexicon of terms employed in psychiatry and psychoanalysis designed for students of medicine and nursing and psychiatric social workers by Richard H. Hutchings M.D., D.Sc. published by The State Hospitals Press, Utica NY, in 1943. Its lengthy title belies its unassuming size (9 x 13.5 cm) but clearly describes the dictionary within. The vocabulary reflects the influence of Freudian theory on the field at that time, especially in the understanding of human sexuality. 

The portraits of me imbedded in the page spreads are matched to terms that appear imposed over my eyes. The terms have resonance to the time, place, posture or surface of the photographic portrait. I may seem to be looking through the terms, or the terms may seem to blacken my eyes. This melding of language and image is part of the ongoing autobiography project, reflecting the shifting views that culture and science have on the construction of personhood.

Exhibition / May 18 - July 9, 2012

Reversing the Catastrophe of Fixed Meaning: 
The bookworks of Scott McCarney
Curated by Cyril Reade

May 18–July 9, 2012
Visual Studies Workshop Bookstore and Gallery (enter at 31 Prince Street) 
Opening reception: Friday, May 18, 6-9 pm
Regular Gallery Hours: Thursdays 5–8pm, Saturdays–Sundays, 12–5pm and by appointment

For more info click here.

This exhibition has been supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts Visual Arts Program.

Reversing the Catastrophe of Fixed Meaning: The Bookworks of Scott McCarney is presented in conjunction with the Photo-Bookworks Symposium at VSW from June 28-30, 2012. McCarney and guest curator Cyril Reade will be in conversation as part of the symposium on June 28 at 7pm in VSW’s auditorium.
For more info click here.

Workshop / May 23 - June 15, 2012

Artists' Books with Keith Smith and Scott McCarney,
State Library of Queensland

Keith and I have been invited by the State Library of Queensland to lecture and teach in Brisbane, Australia. Some info about the workshop here, and our talk here.

Workshop / June 25-27, 2012

Bookbinding in the Age of Digital Production
A three day workshop concentrating on binding solutions inspired by digital print production. An offering of Visual Studies Workshop's Summer Institute. More info here.

Exhibition / Through August 17, 2012

Springing to Life: Movable Books & Mechanical Devices
Rare Books and Special Collections Department
Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester

One of the nice things about putting books out in the world is you never know where they may pop-up. A copy of "Alphabook 3" is included in this exhibit, curated by Leah Hamilton, which features more than 50 examples of pop-up books, bibliographic mechanisms, and amazing feats of paper engineering. The exhibit continues through August 17, 2012 and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. More info here.