Books Archives

Down Under? Is that dorky? I think so. I apologize, it's early. I just came across some books from a small Australian press called Serps Press. So far they only have two titles but they are both beautiful. I recommend buying them right now.

Westside is a new book from photographer Conor O'Brien and chronicles his time living near the beach in Perth in lovely landscapes and portraits.

Homemade Tattoos Rule is a book of photographs by Thomas Jeffe which explore the aesthetics and techniques of homemade tattoos. After all, homemade is where the heart is. I feel like that's a quote from something. Is it? If you're interested in giving yourself a homemade tattoo—a practice i wholeheartedly endorse btw—check this out.

Doris Book: Anthology 1991-2001
6.5"x8" 320 Pages
B/W Paperback

I just came across the website for my old friend and penpal Cindy Ovenrack Crabb. She's been doing a brilliant zine called Doris for the last 15 years. When I worked at Epicenter, my friend and I were serious fans and had every issue of Doris as well as all the little comics she made like "67 boyfriends" and the one about the ice cream shop. She came back to town around that time and started dropping by. We became friends after she showed up to a dinner at my house that wasn't happening, invited by a person who didn't live there.

All the issues of Doris have been collected and released as an anthology. It's so exciting! Everyone should read it. It really actually will make you laugh and cry. Cindy tells the fascinating stories of her life honestly, sweetly, and smartly and manages to include helpful tips, history and information on all manner of topics ranging from feminism and politics to travelling and making art. It's very close and immediate like a friend telling you stories and secrets but you also come away knowing all about the history of political collectives in Philadelphia or something like that.

Buy it from Cindy directly or from Microcosm Publishing.

Psychic Soviet


psychic.jpgIan Svenonius
The Psychic Soviet
300 pages

This book is nuts. I just picked it up yesterday and, I confess, I'm not quite finished with it but I'll talk about it anyway. I bought it because I've read some of Ian Svenonius' writing in Index before and was also a total fan of Nation of Ulysses and a mostly fan of The Make-Up, PLUS the book has a durable, all weather, pink plastic cover that smells really good.

Let me say it again, this book is nuts. In the intro, Svenonius says, "This volume should clear up much of the confusion regaring events of the last millenium—artistic, geo-political, philisophical, et. al." And a reader from Amazon says in her review, "Vampirism, vodka and dialectical materialism are stimulating topics, but this set of essays reads like a half-baked dissertation written by a precocious over-medicated narcissist. Often verbose and incomprehensible--I highly recommend it." So far I am in agreement. Anyone else have any thoughts?



Matthias Herrmann
Published by Art Metropole
6.3" x 4.72", 46 pages
Full Color

Those Germans. Matthias Herriman's photographs are bold, shameless, sometimes disturbing and often hilarious. He's an ex-dancer with a fabulous body who stars in his own photos. His cock is also a major subject, really as a separate character to himself. He is also the president of Secession, an institute of contemporary art in Vienna. It's awesome to see someone in that kind of position in the art world not taking himself, or "art" so seriously. According to his Butt interview he actually prefers presenting his work in books rather than exhibits - an opinion we totally share.

His book Hotel_Tricks is available at Art Meropole (as are his other books).

skupre.jpgGood morning! I went out last night to various parties and events, including the release party for the new issue of LTTR. I just woke up to post the pictures and tell you about it but I'm having camera problems and will have to figure that out first.

So in the meanwhiles, here is a large book (264 pages, black and white) full of crazy sharpee drawings by this guy Mike Giant who writes graffiti, skateboards, draws, and does a blog for fecal face. Included in the book are his zines Pagina Vilot, Shim Rot, Flood Bart, and Dairy Hicks. As well as a new one called Passive Moles. Expect to see funny wordplay, tattoo style drawings, weird little characters, religious icons, and graffiti and stuff. Buy the book at arty bookstores, or Last Gasp, or direct from the man himself.

arktip.jpgNow You Know
5.25" x 7"
64 pages plus cover
Offset printed, notch bound
Packaged in their own slipcover and self seal poly bag

ALife's co-founder Tony Arcabascio and Arktip just put out this slim, amusing volume of Tony's 'Alife How To' column that he wrote in for Arktip from 2003-2006. It's like a manual for how to be a cool skate kid. In general, I'm sorta bored with stories about drunk dudes breaking shit but this is a funny read. And I like that it's small enough to carry around in case you're in a jam and need to know how to torch a car or something like that.

Buy it at an arty bookstore or from Arktip direct.

IHeartDrknss_cover.jpgI Heart Darkness
Natascha Snellman
8 x 5.5" 122 pages
Edition of 500.

I like Natascha Snellman's interview style and the overall feeling of this book. Opening the book with a few pages of Natascha's own collage work sets a casual, familiar tone which definitely continues in the interviews. She interviews 14 artists about their ways of making art. Interviewees include: Ami Tallman, Sue De Beer, Ashley Macomber, and Gus Van Sant. After the interviews is 30 pages of examples of the artists' recent work.

The publisher, 2nd Cannons Publications, says on their site: "Limited deluxe version with an additional volume of Natascha's collages coming soon!" And I'm into that. I love limited editions, more handmade versions, and books that come with prints or a package of cute items.

Buy this book from 2nd Cannons Publications directly or from the New Museum shop.

tiam.jpgOooh, this looks cool! Someone buy me one, ok? Ok! It's a big book of issues of the online zine "this is a magazine," which is also sometimes called "this is not a magazine." The editors are from Italy. They take submissions and say they try to respond to everyone eventually. The books also include the submitted art projects that didn't work online and were better suited to print. Their site is a bit confusing but if you keep clicking around you'll eventually find past issues available for download.

comrtbusbacissuesetbig.jpgIt's comforting to have Cometbus around, like an old friend who drops by once in a while and always has a ton of new good stories to tell. Like me, he enjoys life's simple pleasures: beer, coffee, water, the Sex Pistols, 24 hour donut shops, girls, travelling, and the Clash. I remember once a million years ago, I was staying over at the House of Failure on Valencia St. and Aaron showed up to sleep in my friend's room while she was away. We got some beers and shared some cigarettes. Then Holly and I went up to the roof to talk and enjoy the night and he settled down, kicked his shoes off, and read a book. At some point, up on the roof, we noticed a weird smell and couldn't figure out its origin for the longest time. Eventually we surmised that it must have been Aaron's socks. Siick!, we giggled knowingly. It's hard to keep your socks clean on the road.

He put out an issue recently with 7 new New York stories and some nice short interviews and I was psyched to sit down with it and a coffee. The Needles & Pens store is selling a set of twentysome back issues. At $88 it's not cheap but it's awesome for someone just getting into Cometbus or a rainy weekend trip down memory lane for an old fan. I have all the issues in the set of Cometbus back issues and pleased to note that it contains a few of my favorites.

This collection is available at Needles & Pens. You can also buy single issues and other Cometbus collections from Little Type and Last Gasp.

Open-Book Store


Yesterday we went to The Armory Show and it was seriously overwhelming. I figured the massive pier full of art would be easier to handle if we travelled in a pack and with beer. It helped. I'm not going to get into what I thought were the highlights and lowlights of the show, because honestly I have no idea where to begin. As we were leaving a friend asked me what I liked the most and all I could say was, "Hey wasn't it nice to run into Franklin at Peres Projects. What a cute hat he was wearing!" So instead I'll show you photos of the Open-Book store, the Armory's temporary art book store designed by the Acconci Studio and produced by Deitch Projects and D.A.P. The store was made from big swooping sheets of plastic anchored by wires that shocked you when you touched them. Ow! According to the Steidl site, "The Acconci Studio design takes as its starting point a horizontal plane which has been suspended, cut and folded." Steidl Books was there showing some of their big special editions including Ed Ruscha's enormous and beautiful THEN & NOW.


Continue Reading Open-Book Store

Cheap Date!


proof1-23.jpgMan, I don't know how I missed this. The hilarious and fabulous fashion/anti-fashion zine Cheap Date came out with a best of book last month and I'm going to rush out and get it at once. I do have a couple issues of it somewhere... I promise when I get an intern in here, I'll find and scan some of my misplaced zine collection for your viewing pleasure. But anyway, until then, you can pick up The Cheap Date Guide to Style at your good bookstore or here. This quote about Cheap Date magazine in Mark Pawson's zine reviews for Variant cracks me up and manages to sum up the feeling of the mag nicely: "The contents are just as varied and unpredictable as a junk shop or jumble sale. Interviews with people off the telly jostle with an eulogy to the Stylophone, celebrity pin-ups fight for space with Old Bangers. Editor Kira has assembled an ultra-eclectic gang of contributors, skip-scroungers, ketchup dispenser historians, ex-teenage Goths, dandies on the dole, Anti Consumerism Campaigners, Oxfam obsessives, crap collectors, zinesters, junk shop addicts, obsolete technology aficionados, inspired entrepreneurs, the fashion-victimised and assorted celebs."

Skate Graphics


29.jpgLately I've been going on about how bored I am by all the millions of bro-y skater painter dudes in the art world, so I think it's only fair that I come clean here: I too, like many California kids, grew up skating/being obsessed with skating/following my cousin and his friends around trying to learn the tricks they did. My dad also had a friend who worked at Thrasher sometimes and would give me Skate Rock tapes, and stickers and posters and things. I wish I still had some of them. Actually wait, I think there's still a Bones Brigade sticker on my parents' bird feeder. Anyway, so I was perusing Fecal Face this morning, maybe having a bit of a homesick for SF moment, when I saw Andreas Trolf did a studio visit with the god of skateboarding graphics himself Jim Phillips. Whoa. In the words of Andreas, he is "the man responsible for pretty much all of the most recognizable and iconic skateboard graphics pretty much ever." In the late '80s, he was head of the art department of Santa Cruz Skateboards. This is the dude responsible for the slime balls wheels logo, that screaming blue hand, the independent trucks logo, and many many other awesome things which feature lots of drool and big teeth and eyeballs and skulls. Cool! The 12 year old me is super excited to see this. According to Fecal Face, Jim Phillips has a new book coming out but I can't find any information about it. So keep a (winged, fanged, and drooling) eye out for it.



By Bob Colacello
Published by Steidl
33 cm x 23.5 cm
232 pages, 211 tritone plates
Plastic softcover

Out, a book of photographs by former Interview editor Bob Colacello will be out early next month from Steidl Press. Bob was the editor of Interview from 1971 to 1983 and wrote a column called Out about his life going out all over town—from art openings, to dinner parties, to after hours. Two years into his documentation of the crazy '70s New York art and social scene, some Swedish art dealer gave him a camera, one of the first miniature 35-mm cameras to come on the market, a black plastic Minox small enough to hide in his jacket pocket. I love these cameras. I have one of their 8x11 spy cameras. So he started carrying around his secret pocket camera and he got these cool party photos of everyone kind of off their guard. They are very much photos taken by someone in the middle of the fun, not looking at it from the sidelines. The party guests included such fabulousness as: Diana Vreeland, Jack Nicholson, Raquel Welch, Mick Jagger, Yves Saint Laurent, Nan Kempner, Gloria Swanson, Anita Loos, Willy Brandt, Joseph Beuys, Robert Rauschenberg, Truman Capote, Halston, Studio 54’s Steve Rubell, Egon von Furstenberg, Tina Chow, and Warhol himself. Oh and not really related, I was searching around for information on Bob and found this totally bizarre interview he did with Warhol Superstar Viva.



nyjsdb.jpgNY JS DB 62
Photographs by David Bailey
Essay by Martin Harrison
Published By Steidl
26 cm x 33 cm
72 pages, 3 colour plates, 24 tritone plates
Clothbound hardcover with a slipcase

I feel like I've been on a bit of a Steidl Press Love Fest lately but I don't care, I want this book. There's something electrifying about your first trip to New York and the excitement of walking around and photographing the streets even without Jean Shrimpton as your model/girlfriend. These photos make me smile. The joy of getting out of the studio and in the streets is there and contagious. Also Jean Shrimpton looks amazing. Also I think it's hilarious that the people at British Vogue told Bailey that as a representitive of the magazine, it'd be better if he didn't wear his leather jacket at the St. Regis Hotel. Heh. Here are some of Bailey's photographs from that period. And there's a pretty good Women's Wear Daily article about Bailey and the book where he's quoted as saying, "Now fashion shoots are like Spielberg films—perfected mediocrity!" And after the jump are some shots from the book...

Continue Reading NY JS DB 62

outNo One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories
By Miranda July
Published By Scribner
224 pages
$23.00 ($15.64 on Amazon)

released: May 2007

I tend to write about things I've already read or seen on Print Fetish - but Miranda July's website for her upcoming book No One Belongs Here More Than You actually does it's job in making me want to get the book. It makes me think she's cute and fun - which usually makes me give someone the benefit of the doubt. I didn't really like her film Me and You and Everyone We Know - but it made me think she might be a better writer than filmmaker. I think she knows people I know, so I'll check this out.

dishwasherbook.jpgDishwasher: One Man's Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States
By Pete Jordan
384 pages
5.25" x 8"
$13.95 ($11.16 on Amazon)

I love zines about jobs, like Temp Slave, Guinea Pig Zero, and especially Dishwasher. I used to always look forward to a new issue from Dishwasher Pete. And with this new collection, you too can enjoy his epic tales of cross country dishwashing. The blurb on the back of the book sums it up nicely: "Dishwasher is the true story of a man on a mission: to clean dirty dishes professionally in every state in America. Part adventure, part parody, and part miraculous journey of self-discovery, it is the unforgettable account of Pete Jordan's transformation from itinerant seeker into "Dishwasher Pete"—unlikely folk hero, writer, publisher of his own cult zine, and the ultimate professional dish dog—and how he gave it all up for love. "

Buy it at Amazon.

I'm on a road trip with my sister, The Ballerina, and for the next few posts I'll be talking about the stuff I find as we go. Right now we're in Tulsa, Oklahoma, setting for The Outsiders and home of Oral Roberts University, The Tulsa Ballet, a pretty good taco truck (I have my priorities straight), the seriously bizarre Dennie Willis museum of dolls, miniatures, trains and robots, and my new favorite bookstore: Gardner's Used Books and Comics. At 23,000 square feet, it's the most enormous used book store in the state of Oklahoma. For you New Yorkers who are used to calculating your bookstores in miles, it's about 4.3. So, wow. Gardners' Books. They have a huge comic book selection, mostly of the superhero variety. Without Mr. Mcginnis' expert advice on what to buy, I got overwhelmed and passed on the comics section. They have a 100 Greatest Mysteries of all Time Wall, which included many of my favorites. They also have the largest selection of train magazines and kung fu magazines I've ever seen in my life. Not sure where to begin, I picked authors names at random and looked for books. I found almost everything I looked for, including Love in a Cold Climate, Travels with my Aunt, The Thin Man, The Royal Family, and Spring Snow. When I bought this stack, I struck up a conversation with the schlubby guy behind the counter. He corrected my grammar and that made me totally happy. Gardners' Books also has a ton of sticker vending machines, a self-serve coffee bar, a tex mex restaurant and an income tax service. This place rules, I'm moving in!


In his first solo show in Germany The End of Living, The Beginning of Survival at Berlin's Contemporary Fine Arts, Dash Snow reminds us of an important alternate use for a stack of books: a fort! I'm going to add it to my own list of things to do with books. This list includes but is not limited to: ammo, room dividers, shields, hard hats, ways to make my bag heavier, places for the cat to sleep, fashion accessories, and step ladders.

33.jpgWriter, editor and Print Fetish interview subject Kate Schatz has a new book out. Rid of Me: A Story is the newest in Continuum's 33 1/3 series—each book takes on a single, seminal album, in this case P.J. Harvey's Rid of Me. From the SF Bay Guardian review, "The best musical covers occur when some kind of alchemy takes place. What starts out as an act of homage or repetition turns into revelation as the new version throws light on, say, the lyrical subtext or rhythmic potential that seem to have been hidden within the original. Kate Schatz magics a similar sort of transformation in her fictional cover — revolving around two outlaw-lovers, Mary and Kathleen — of PJ Harvey's 1993 album Rid of Me." Buy it at Amazon or at a cool bookstore near you.

The Kin Series


book003.jpgThe Kin Series
Published by These Birds Walk Press
4 books, editions of 300
5" x 7", full color, 40 pages, perfect bound
$75.00 for unsigned subscription
$150.00 for signed subscription

The Kin Subscription Series is the fourth effort from These Birds Walk, a small press started by photographer Paul Schiek out of Oakland, California. The Kin Series is a set of four books released quarterly throughout the year. You can buy them signed or unsigned. Each book is the work of a single artist exploring Schiek's idea that "all lessons of photography are handed down through the
generations, inter-linking all photographers knowingly and unknowingly." Looking at the books all together, I can see what he means. It's obvious--conscious or not--that Mike Brodie's polaroids of train-hoppers have learned something from Magnum photographer Jim Goldberg's amazing Raised By Wolves series from the '80s. I first saw Brodie's photographs while working at Nerve. They were putting together a gallery of his work and it was love at first site. I'm so happy to see his work again in book form. In some way, all the photographers are also looking at notions of family, biological or contructed. I love Ari Marcopoulos' kids. They are such scrappy little dudes--always bruised and cut up, running around, making forts, etc. The first two images in his book--a wall with pin-ups of sexy ladies and the wreckage of a plane crash--make me think of how fleeting boyhood dreaming can be. This is the first time I've seen Paul Schiek's work and I like it. I'd say he seems to like these kind of boring off-moments but because of flash blow-outs or other camera weirdnesses they become almost surreal, definitely pretty, abstract sometimes. Ordinary moments are captured and printed in a way that allows deeper emotions--sadness, aggression, loneliness--to bubble to the surface. You can buy The Kin Series from These Birds Walk's site. The Jim Goldberg book comes out September 8th and we'll keep you posted about the party they're having for it.

Continue Reading The Kin Series

booksale3.jpgDUMBO's PowerHouse Books kicks off their big summer sale tomorrow but rumor has it, it's already begun. They have tons of art, fashion, and pop culture books as well as limited editions, weird objects and children's books. According to their site, the sale includes books by Larry Fink, Danny Lyon, Patrick McMullan, Jeff Bridges, Helen Levitt, Bruce Gilden, Ari Marcopoulos, David Yellen, Janette Beckman, Martha Cooper, Ricky Powell, Richard Hell, and the Beastie Boys, among many others. Get down there and buy yourself some end of summer presents. 37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY. For info, call 212 604-9074 x101 or check the site.

lcdwfmu.jpgThe Best of LCD - The Art and Writing of WFMU-FM
Edited by Dave the Spazz
Princeton Architectural Press
7.6 x 10 inches, Paperback, 256 pages
150 color illustrations; 300 b/w illustrations

I don't listen to the radio unless I'm in the car. But then when I am driving, it almost seems like cheating to bring CDs or tapes along. I leave the car radio on WFMU and am excited to hear whatever strange or awesome or horrible thing they might be playing when the car lurches to life. Then I drive around and listen for a bit. Well, actually, I sit and listen while double parked with coffee and a bagel waiting for street cleaning to finish so I can move the car back. It's a good station. I take notes for future record buying sometimes. I didn't know until today that from 1986 to 1998, WFMU published their program guide as a print magazine called LCD (lowest common denominator). The Best of LCD - The Art and Writing of WFMU-FM is a wonderful collection of comics, covers, articles, and stories from these program guides by the likes of Luc Sante, Nick Tosches, Daniel Clowes, Daniel Johnston, Harvey Pekar, Gary Panter, and a bunch of others. I love that this is packed with so many great comics. Other favorite things include the bios of forgotten radio personalities, crackpots and visionaries trading cards, an article titled The Devout Fornication Agenda of Wayne Newton, record buying tips and tips on remaining unemployed.

This book comes out tomorrow, November 1. Buy it directly from Princeton Architectural Press or at a cool bookstore near you. You can also see some LCD back issue content on the WFMU site.

foto.jpgFoto en Copyright
By G.P. Fieret
32.8 x 24.9 cm, 160 pages
Published by Uitgeverij Voetnoot/
Fotomuseum Den Haag

In this book there are pictures of naked women on beds, taking their shirts off in rooms, sitting with cats in chairs. There are women on the street, friends talking, the photographer dressed and laughing, naked and posing, cars parked outside, abstract forms that seem to be made of things like car windows but echo the shapes and angles of the arms and legs of some of the nudes. Fieret has such an amazing energy and warmth. He's always shooting and we see everything from very intimate moments to a glance out the window. Then he gathers all this stuff and takes it into the darkroom and starts messing with it. Some are pretty straightforward, others have fogged paper, are solarized, made with sandwiching multiple negatives, moved around, etc. Then he signs and stamps his name all over them. The result is so dreamy but has this forward moving rhythm throughout it. It's in the way he edits and organizes. You can tell that Fieret was also trained as a graphic designer and a poet. This book is a document of a man's life, a time, and a city. The images were taken in the '60s and '70s and they look like that moment—a friend's mom looked over my shoulder and said "Oh the 60s!" while I was leafing through—but they still feel modern to me.

In addition to the gorgeousness of its contents, Foto En Copyright is a good smelling and beautifully printed book. Available at art books stores. We bought ours at Spoonbill & Sugartown. It may also be possible to buy it here, in German. Our resident German just left the house wearing my lucky sweatshirt, so I can't say for sure.

Continue Reading Foto en Copyright by G.P. Fieret


Magazine Books Clockwise: As the years relentlessly pass me by, I-D remains the magazine constant in my life.This book Is fat (unlike cover model Kate), hot and from $65 (used, alas) at Amazon, or £25 at the I-D store; Paper Magazine and New York used to be interesting and this collection reminds me why. New Copies are only $12.57 at Amazon; Mad was once a really hilarious, subversive and highly influential magazine–it was also graphically gorgeous, which it probably doesn't get enough credit for. This is an excellent history of the magazine from 1991. Used copies from $8.95 at Amazon; Found Magazine is always a masterpiece. The second collection of some of the more interesting found items illustrates the dreamlike qualities of everyday life. New Copies are only $11.20 at Amazon; The Believer has the best interviews in all of American magazindom.The pairings are fun like Interview but minus the vapidity. This collection of 23 interviews, The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers, has a pretty self-explanatory title. $12.24 at Amazon; The Butt Book. Yes, we have almost all the copies that are collected in this 5 year compilation - but who cares... It's BUTT! Oh, and you don't have to be gay, this is the best magazine ever, so read it! $29.99 at Amazon.

Continue Reading Print Fetish Holiday Gift Guide 2007 Part 2


Viva La Marriage (or Mandrills Don't Need Love)
By Frank Olive and Rudy Shepard
Edited by Gabrielle Giattino
Published by Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art
8.5" x 11"
260 pages, Black and white, Softcover

I've never worked in a gallery, but I can imagine from my years of working on magazines that hours of sitting around in the office is probably required. Frank Olive and Rudy Shepard are both artists who manage galleries (The Swiss Institute and The Drawing Center). Viva La Marriage is a collection of a year of their faxed correspondence. I love faxes. I love the way they look: the weird feeling paper, the messy print quality that varies greatly from machine to machine, the transmitting of visual information over the phone lines, etc. This book is great. I like the rhythm of it—back and forth between Olive and Shepard, between simple notes about office annoyances and diagrams of boredom, riffing off each other's drawings, word plays and inside jokes. The length of the book and the volume of drawings also helps to kind of put you in that stuck in the office all day mindset. Viva La Marriage originally accompanied a show at The Swiss Institute called, "Do You Like Stuff?" Every day the show was up, a new fax from Shepard was tacked to the wall accompanied by a response drawing from Olive.

Viva La Marriage is available from The Swiss Institute Shop for $20.

UPDATE: Frank and Rudy also have a blog.

mark.jpgNo Mark Will Shine
By Mark Borthwick
Published by the journal and
bagged with their issue #21.
64 pages, full color, soft cover.

the journal, a Brooklyn-based quarterly art magazine, includes some kind of art object with each issue. Their most recent is bagged with a beautiful book and poster by artist/Brooklyn resident/hippy Mark Borthwick. Our friend LVS was so taken with the book that she asked to write a guest post. Below are her thoughts on Mark Borthwick's No Mark Will Shine. Before we get there, I'd like to mention that this issue of the journal also has a selection of zines in the back. They're not so much reviewed as displayed, but if you're looking for some new little mags to buy check there. Also, on behalf of Print Fetish, I'd like to wish you all a happy new year! Back to the review:

Lately I return home from vacations with a couple rocks. Yesterday I came back from a vacation in Colorado with two white quartz stones shot through with red seams. These stones are more exciting to me than the pepper grinder or fancy sweatshirt I received as christmas presents.There are certain things that are simply beautiful—gold, sunsets, flowers, and stones to name a few. Looking at Mark Borthwick's book No Mark Will Shine, I am sure he is a kindred spirit. Inside are photocopies of his collections of feathers and dried flowers as well as photographs and words. Among the photographs are images of a little child with messy long hair building a teepee out of sticks, a exalting woman with flowers on her head, and a group of people (including Borthwick) wearing wreathes and capes. The scenarios are child's play or drug induced psychedelic joy. Pastoral scenes of friendly donkeys and running horses are interspersed with intimate portraits of a young naked woman. Each figure is repeated many times and in different forms. We see the donkey in color, as a stencil, as a close up with a hand, then as a word and an ink drawing. Typed and handwritten words, photos, paint, scans, photocopies and music (the book comes with an audio cd) seem interchangeable. The images fade in and out of reality taking on the semblance of memory or a drug haze. They become symbols of joyfulness like constant reminders that beauty is always present and natural. Throughout the book images and words are crossed out or obscured by paint, other words images or what looks like burn marks. This obstruction can take the form of decoration, obscuring, or highlighting. By collecting beautiful objects and memories and re-envisioning negativity, Borthwick constructs his own joyful world.

Where to buy: the journal website, or various cool newsstands.

Common Folk


comcar.jpgCommon Folk Illustrated Journal
Published by Garrett County Press
Design by briarmade,
Photography by Thomas Hancock
5.5" x 7", 200 pages, softcover
$14 + shipping

Far more than a nice portable journal for notes, doodles and drawings, the Common Folk Illustrated Journal is an inspirational sketchbook. Some of its pages are blank, some are photographs, others have crosshair guides. The photographs are of every day wanderings, common moments you could say... graffiti on walls, street signs and sky, bikes, abandoned furniture, empty bars, etc. Only a couple of them stand out for me as strong single images, like the store window with polaroids of shoplifters or the pipes and umbrella leaning against a wall in the sun. Otherwise, these images are mellow. They, like the rest of the book, have a nice brown tone. They let the mind wander, serving as a tool to get your own brain working. This is your journal, after all.

Common Folk, a collective of Brooklyn graffiti artists, put this together with photographer Thomas Hancock and New Orleans-based publisher Garrett County Press. Buy it directly from them, or at cool bookstores around town. (Pictured above is one of the inside photographs, chosen because I like to look at cars.)

image_2336.gifDwelling Portably 1980-1989
By Bert and Holly Davis
Published by Microcosm Publishing
5.5" x 8.5", 176 pages, BW

It's been ages since I've hitchhiked anywhere, or slept outside, or lived out of my car. I've been settled into my own apartment with a cat and a girlfriend for years. But now that I'm looking for a job in the hot beginning of a New York summer, the thought of just packing up and wandering off holds a certain appeal.

I picked up Microcosm's Dwelling Portably at Left Bank Books in Seattle and read it on a road trip to Boulder. The book is a collection of 10 years of Bert and Holly Davis' newsletter, Message Post: About Portable Dwelling and Long Camping. For the past 30 years, they've been cranking it out on a manual typewriter in their yurt. They share tons of fantastic useful information and stories about living a nomadic life with fellow travelers, who also frequently write in with their own two cents. You'll find diagrams and notes on how to make tools, portable showers, find seasonal jobs, stay warm at night while Winter camping; hitchhiking and freight train hopping guides; suggestions from people who live in their car, in tents, yurts, tipis, or nowhere at all. And perhaps my favorite thing about Dwelling Portably are the personal stories that surround the helpful information. I've talked about this before in reference to Straight To Hell... you have a zine with a really specific topic—gay sex in Straight to Hell and camping and nomadic living in Dwelling Portably—and people write in with their stories, and around the relevant information are these sort of mundane details about their lives, their likes and dislikes. These intimate details are the things that make the stories human and connect them to readers like me, someone who is neither a gay dude nor a person who camps or even leaves the city.

You can buy Dwelling Portably for $7.00 at Microcosm Publishing

Holes and Halos


holes.jpgHoles and Halos
Photographs by Paul Schiek
Published by these birds walk and Stephen Wirtz Gallery
11x17 newsprint, B/W, 24 pages
Free (Given out at his show at Thomas Erben Gallery in NY)

Paul Schiek's new book Holes and Halos, made in conjunction with a show at Thomas Erben Gallery, is the best thing I've seen by him so far. This book is a closed circuit of holes and halos, absence and echoes, light and dark. The images are organized in such a wonderful way. The book begins where it ends, with a hole and a halo. Everything in between—the trees, the waves, the hands—appears as if it's leaning toward the center so it rushes forward and then pulls itself back around again. Looking at Mr. Schiek's lovely newsprint catalog is a calming experience. I love this reoccurring shape, more like a gesture i guess, made by hands and bodies and trees and water. It's both strong and tender. I love whole pages of newsprint that are mostly covered in ink. I love getting books in the mail.

Holes and Halos is unavailable at press time but Mr. Schiek tells us that it will be back and buyable once his new site launches next month. In the meantime we have some images from the book after the jump. And you can look at his current website for other books and projects. The next installment of The Kin Series—the first of which we reviewed here—is in the works, so stay tuned!

Continue Reading Holes and Halos

letterscover.jpgLetters to a Young Artist
Darte Publishing/Art on Paper
96 pages, Color cover/BW inside

A painter friend of mine came by to discuss a project/eat dinner and left me this pocket-sized book for dessert. Letters to a Young Artist started as a special issue of Art on Paper magazine and expanded into this little book of 23 letters from various established artists to a fictional younger artist. Fresh out of art school, our young artist asks his/her heroes this question: "Is it possible to maintain one's integrity and freedom of thought and still participate in the art world?" The answers are varied, some are funny (Gregory Amenoff: "Stay away from Art Fairs,"), some are encouraging (Joan Jonas: "The answer is the Work. To Work. To care about the Work.") and some are critical (From great photographer/known crankypants Stephen Shore: " may be using your moral dilemma as an excuse for not engaging in your work... Cut it out!"). Each artist approaches the question differently and it seems to me that you get a sense of who they are and how they work. For example, Adrien Piper cautions, "You will develop a reputation for being "difficult," "uncooperative," "inflexible," even "self-destructive;" and treated (or mistreated, ostracized, or blacklisted) accordingly." Nevertheless, I enjoyed and was inspired by this book. I get a strong feeling of community and support in these letters--several of them explicitly instruct our young artist to find and support like-minded fellow artists. "Good luck to us!" says Jimmie Durham. "I love you!" says Yoko Ono.

Buy directly from Art on Paper or your local cool bookstore.

The Last Days of W
Photographs by Alec Soth
48 pages, 12 x18, color newsprint

The Presidential Inauguration is days away and I'm reading about past Inaugural addresses in the New Yorker, stressing out about layoffs at all magazines everywhere, feeling nervous, confused, dismayed, hopeful, hungry and amused at a sudden interest I'm developing in American history and politics. As usual, I waited until the last minute to think about this. After the intense joy and relief of election night, I wasn't quite ready to interpret every move, word, appointment and photograph of our soon-to-be president.

So now, a week before the Inauguration, I sit in my living room looking over The Last Days of W by photographer Alec Soth. Mr. Soth and Little Brown Mushroom published this nice big unbound newsprint selection immediately following election day. The book's title is the last line of a poem inside by Lester B. Morrison. Mr. Morrison's poem talks about the aftermath of the last 8 years--a kind of quiet, an almost boredom. I get it. I have an empty feeling looking at the empty spaces in Soth's photographs knowing the realities behind them are too enormous to process. He's gathered images from a decade of projects including the mortgage crisis in Stockton, California, mothers of Marines in Iraq, and the world's largest landfill. Moments of that old Weird America (tm) show up in some images--an awkward motivational Jesus poster, a papier maché terrorist, a prom king and queen in front of a mural of the Pyramids--but they're not sensational or grotesque or hilarious really. Everything kind of flattens out. Whether dawn or dusk, the book repeats a few times, wondering if this is The end, the beginning, or both. I'm not sure.

The Last Days of W is available directly from Little Brown Mushroom, at Spoonbill & Sugartown and other cool bookstores.

We have been reviewing wonderful books and zines from Microcosm Publishing for some time now. Not too long ago, I dropped by our old offices to pick up some mail and to my very happy surprise there were two large packages from Microcosm. They'd been sitting around long enough that we'd reviewed some of their contents already but I'd like to take this opportunity to say that nothing thrills me more than really good mail. So, thanks Microcosm! See our reviews here: Doris, the book; Dwelling Portably; Ker-bloom!.

There were two books in the package that we hadn't yet seen and they deserve some posting... In Search of the Lost Taste is a cookbook from Joshua Ploeg, traveling vegan chef extraordinaire. We've written about him before and are fans. This slim volume is full of well-crafted recipes for interesting fare such as lavender soda and soup in a pumpkin. It will remind any of us, not just vegans, to look beyond the basics and have some fun in the kitchen. It should also be noted that Aaron Renier did the cover.

Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills is another small manual for good living. In it, Raleigh Briggs offers easy to use instructions for things like household cleaners, herbal salves and tinctures, how to compost and what to plant in your garden. The book is divided into three sections: Health and First Aid, Nontoxic Cleaning and Body Care and Gardening. Each recipe is detailed by adorable drawings and is accessible to even someone as spazzy as myself.

And now for the gift idea... While looking for the links for the above reviews, I discovered that Microcosm sells $20 "superpacks" on a variety of subjects, including veganism, queer stuff, bicycles and DIY crafts. For $20 you get a selection of zines on each topic. Perfect for your younger sibling who just went vegan or your neighbor who is obsessed with his bicycle, par example.

Order all this stuff directly from Microcosm or find select titles at your local cool bookstore.



lists_1.jpgLists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art
by Liza Kirwin
7 x 10", Paperback , 208 pages

There is something cool/illuminating about seeing the process behind an artist's work--the diagrams, early sketches and notes. And for me, perhaps even more so, there's a thrill in seeing the way an artist or writer whom I admire deals with the more mundane, day-to-day details of her life: the grocery lists, address books, doodles, to-dos and schedules. Liza Kirwin, manuscripts curator at the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, has collected notes and lists from some major artists (Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Vito Acconci) and historical moments (Paula Cooper's pre-gallery opening to-do list, an early version of Ludwig Sander's list of members of The Club-an art discussion group who's members included Ad Reinhart and Willem de Kooning) into this very nice looking book. Franz Kline's humble taste in food and enormous appetite for booze give me tender feelings toward him. Adolf Konrad's great attention to sartorial detail makes me jealous/psyched. In a list of expenses torn out of a notebook and given to Sam Wagstaff, Gordon Newton includes $5 for "Bad Habits." If only mine cost so little. I pour over this book with both a voyeur's sneaky excitement and an eye for art historical details.

The collection is also a show entitled To-Dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art and it runs through Sept. 27 at the Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture's Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery in Washington DC.

Lists is available directly from Princeton Architectural Press, Amazon and your cool neighborhood bookstore.

Spreads from the book.

Continue Reading Lists

Check out The Exquisite Book, a modified version of the exquisite corpse surrealist game, played by one hundred contributing contemporary fine artists, illustrators, designers and comic artists. Put together by one of our favorite bloggers, Julia Rothman. I love, love, LOVE this book. One of the best covers of the year.

Also, this Saturday:
An Exquisite Handmade Crafternoon with Julia Rothman: Sept. 18th!

The Exquisite Book
100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game
by Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski and Matt Lamothe
foreword by Dave Eggers


follow us

blogs we love

small press