DATE 12/24/2015

Sylvie Fleury, Santa Baby

DATE 12/18/2015

The Bauhaus: #itsalldesign, Marcel Breuer Children's Chair

DATE 12/15/2015

Henri Matisse, 'White Alga on Red and Green Background' (1947)

DATE 12/14/2015

Picasso Sculpture, Bull

DATE 12/13/2015

ARCANA Launch and Signing for 'The Soviet Photobook'

DATE 12/11/2015

We Go to the Gallery

DATE 12/10/2015

Andy Warhol: Prints, Marilyn Monroe

DATE 12/9/2015

Andy Warhol: Prints, Electric Chair

DATE 12/8/2015

Agnes Martin, Untitled 1959 purple and grey painting

DATE 12/7/2015

International Pop

DATE 12/6/2015

Peter Schlesinger: A Photographic Memory 1968-1989, Amanda Lear

DATE 12/5/2015

Peter Schlesinger: A Photographic Memory 1968-1989, Reto Guntli backflip

DATE 12/4/2015

Hans J. Wegner: Just One Good Chair

DATE 12/3/2015

Martin Hyers and William Mebane's "HERE – 77070019" (2010)

DATE 12/2/2015

Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty

DATE 12/2/2015

Jenny Holzer: War Paintings, Formica 3086

DATE 12/2/2015

Jordan Wolfson & Laura Owens Joint Book Launch at Ooga Booga, LA

DATE 12/1/2015

Modern Taste: Art Deco in Paris 1910-1935, Simone Kahn, Man Ray 1926 portrait

DATE 11/30/2015

Philippe Halsman's Jump Book, Brigitte Bardot

DATE 11/29/2015

Strand Books presents Dan Martensen, Author of 'Wolves Like Us: Portraits of the Angulo Brothers'

DATE 11/29/2015

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes, Lake Superior, Eagle River

DATE 11/27/2015

Vogue: Like a Painting, Paolo Roversi

DATE 11/27/2015

Vogue: Like a Painting, Peter Lindbergh

DATE 11/26/2015

Vogue: Like a Painting, Grant Cornett Still Life

DATE 11/26/2015

Vogue: Like a Painting, Grant Cornett Still Life

DATE 11/25/2015

Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer, Courtyard of a House in Delft

DATE 11/25/2015

Hiroshi Sugimoto Talk & Book Signing at The Strand

DATE 11/24/2015

Walter Chandoha: The Cat Photographer, Gift Kitty

DATE 11/23/2015

Walter Chandoha: The Cat Photographer

DATE 11/22/2015

Henry Leutwyler: Ballet

DATE 11/21/2015

Don McCullin, Sunday Morning, Chapel Market

DATE 11/20/2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: For Kids (& Parents)

DATE 11/19/2015

Leendert Blok: Silent Beauties, Color Photographs from the 1920s, TULIPA, Bleu celeste

DATE 11/18/2015

Artbook Corporate and Executive Gifts

DATE 11/18/2015

ARCANA Presents 'Photography is Magic' Multi-Photographer Signing with Charlotte Cotton

DATE 11/17/2015

Hans Schärer 'Madonnas & Erotic Watercolors' Opens at Swiss Institute

DATE 11/15/2015

Japanese Inspirations

DATE 11/14/2015

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment, Sunday on the banks of the Marne

DATE 11/14/2015

Barbara Kasten: The Diazotypes

DATE 11/13/2015

Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler, ESP Practitioner with Coins

DATE 11/12/2015

Peter Schlesinger: A Photographic Memory 1968-1989 at BOOKMARC

DATE 11/11/2015

ARTBOOK & Swiss Institute to Launch 'Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler'

DATE 11/11/2015

Don McCullin, US Soldier Rescuing Vietnamese Woman

DATE 11/10/2015

'Both Sides of Sunset' Panel and Signing at the Brand Library

DATE 11/10/2015

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment, Punjab India

DATE 11/9/2015

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment, Christian Bérard, Jean-Paul Sartre

DATE 11/9/2015

Chef Mina Stone to Sign and Cook from 'Cooking for Artists' at As Of Now, LA

DATE 11/8/2015

Richard Learoyd: Day for Night, Agnes with Eyes Closed

DATE 11/7/2015

Richard Learoyd: Day for Night, Nancy with Tears

DATE 11/6/2015

Alvin Baltrop: The Piers

DATE 11/5/2015

Joaquín Torres-García: The Arcadian Modern, Construction in White and Black


Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia (Walther König/Koenig Books, London, 2011)

Of the many inspired curatorial concepts that Harald Szeemann devised in the course of his career, one of the most suggestive was “individual mythologies.” Szeemann debuted the term as the guiding thesis of the legendary Documenta 5, 1972; he later explicated it (in an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist collected in the latter’s A Brief History of Curating) as “intense intentions that can take diverse shapes: people create their own sign systems, which take time to be deciphered.” Nebulously broad as this may sound, what Szeemann intended by “individual mythologies” was an art in which a unified system, or world view or cosmology manifests itself across a range of media—via a repertoire of signs and symbols, as in Marcel Broodthaers’ eagles, pipes and bricks, or Matt Mullican’s generic Isotype symbols; or through allegory, as in the cosmologies of William Blake, or Paul Thek, whom Szeemann included in the 1972 Individual Mythologies show. Such cosmologies would operate independently of existing religious, scientific and philosophical systems (though inevitably borrowing from them).

Among the few contemporary instances of “Individual Mythology,” Scottish artist Charles Avery (born 1974)’s The Islanders project stands out for its especial richness and spirit of adventure. In 2004, Avery invented an island (known just as “the Island”) and began to populate it with natives, industries, colonists, philosophical systems and beliefs partly drawn from such thinkers as Kant and Heidegger—all illustrated in large drawings and sculptures.
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
The Islanders is a philosophical allegory, somewhat in the fashion of a Borges parable, with problems posed through encounters between competing or conflicting positions. Much of its thinking takes place through the Hunter, a would-be anthropologist from Triangleland (the name for everywhere that is outside the Island) who pursues a beast called the Noumenon, in a plotline that allows Avery to explore various allegories on the subject of absolute truth. (The Noumenon is a philosophical term associated with Kant’s “thing-in-itself,” i.e. an unknowable entity existing independently of human cognition.)

The Island’s port is named Onomatopoeia, and this second volume in what Avery envisages as a multivolume encyclopedia on The Islanders gives a detailed rendering of what the local businesses and flyposter ads around the port of a philosophical allegory might look like:

Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia

“If the drawings are compelling, it is because of the sheer effort I got to and my earnest attempt to portray a place to the best of my abilities,” Avery told a recent interviewer. “It’s as though I have an intense conviction about how this place and its people look.” The Islanders differs from other artistic mythologies in which symbolism is often privileged over description, as Avery’s drawing skill takes the enterprise almost to the realm of the virtual in its illustrative zeal; perhaps it also helps obviate the hazard of author-centric solipsism particular to individual mythologies. With each new installment in the project, Avery throws open another vista onto a fresh corner or hinterland of his philosophical playground.

Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia

Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia

Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia

Hbk, 9 x 12.75 in. / 80 pgs / 22 b&w.


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