Ten small, mostly affordable art books to which my initial reaction was something like: "I'm not sure if I understand what this is, but I love it and I must own it at once!"
1. Ron Jude: Alpine Star (A-Jump Books, 2006)
WTF?: An odd selection of B&W photographs from a small-town newspaper, appropriated & edited by Ron Jude (and reproduced with stochastic printing) into something funnier and more cryptic than the original pictures were ever meant to suggest.
2. Sol Lewitt: Isometric Drawings (Paula Cooper Gallery, 1982)
Eye candy: Bold black lines on stark white paper, depicting a sequence of simple (but just slightly incorrect?) geometric forms - pure math with a quirky 'personality.'
3. Paul Kooiker: Room Service (Van Zoetendaal Gallery, 2008)
Guilty pleasure: Faceless women in various stages of undress, photographed in libraries, offices and bookshops, re-printed here rather garishly.
4. Jim Shaw: Dreams (Smart Art Press, 1995)
An old favorite: The vast, mind-boggling collection of Jim Shaw's masterfully executed 'dream drawings,' accompanied by his equally uncanny textual descriptions.
5. Vanessa van Dam & Martine Stig: Any Resemblance to Existing Persons in Purely Coincidental: Stories: Stories of Mr. Wood (Revolver, 2006)Chance encounters: A kind of large-scale photographic 'scavenger hunt' in which the exact same set of detailed instructions were followed in Bombay, and then again in Los Angeles, over the course of ten days, to produce two completely different pictorial 'narratives.' (The instructions are repeated at the end of the book to encourage the reader to create his/her own story.)
6. Terry Winters: Filters in Stock (38th Street Publishers, 2008)
More eye candy: A small notebook of messy, hand-sketched squiggles and patterns, made with chalk or pencil on paper. (Sort of an intimate counterpart to the Sol Lewitt title mentioned above.)
7. Gerhard Richter: Wald (Walther Konig, 2009)
Yes, another Richter book...: An absorbing, self-contained 'system' of photographs (of a dense forest in Cologne) and words (from a forestry magazine, randomly shuffled by a computer program) arranged throughout the book's pages "according to strict parameters" to generate an ingenious ebb and flow of image and text. One of his best books.
8. Richard Hell & Christopher Wool: Psychopts (JMc & GHB, 2008)
Words as pictures: A playful collaboration in which pairs of similar printed/typeset words and phrases have been overlapped, blurring their meanings and sparking new connotations, often to humorous effect. (I'm an addict of word games, word puzzles, books, dictionaries...)
9. Melissa Dubbin & Aaron Davidson: Fallen Books (onestar press, 2009)
Another book about books: Books and bookcases that have been toppled by earthquakes (mostly photographed by librarians), with pages color-coded throughout to indicate the degree of seismic activity that caused the disarray.
10. Michael Schmelling, The Plan (J&L Books, 2009)
Yikes!: Nearly 500 photographs of the stifling, cramped domestic interiors of 'compulsive hoarders.' Printed in b & w on cheap newsprint, it feels like a little phone book and is almost impossible to view without getting ink all over your fingers--a perfect combo of subject matter and materials.
Mike Slack is the author of Ok Ok Ok (2002), Scorpio (2006) and Pyramids (2009). He is also co-publisher (with Tricia Gabriel) of The Ice Plant (www.theiceplant.cc). He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Mike Slack: Pyramids Mike Slack’s Pyramids builds on the striking Polaroid aesthetic of his previous books, Ok Ok Ok (2002) and Scorpio (2006), rounding out a trilogy of stand-alone volumes that together contain 123 pictures. This collection records >>more
The Ice Plant
US $30.00 CAN $35.00 TRADE
Clth, 7 x 9 in. / 80 pgs / 41 color.
Pub Date: 11/30/2009