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ARTISTS' WRITINGS, LETTERS AND INTERVIEWS

PUBLISHER
Bad Dimension Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 6.5 x 9 in. / 272 pgs / 20 color / 10 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2020 p. 115   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781942884583 TRADE
List Price: $29.95 CDN $41.95 GBP £27.00

AVAILABILITY
Out of stock

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BAD DIMENSION PRESS

Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976

Edited with text by Dan Nadel.

Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976

An epistolary history of postwar American art through the weird and wonderful mind of Peter Saul

A New York Times critics' pick | Best Art Books 2020

Painter Peter Saul (born 1934), considered one of the founding fathers of pop art but certainly not reducible to that movement, is best known for his cartoonish paintings in Day-Glo hues satirizing American culture. Saul was born and raised in Northern California, attended Washington University, lived in Europe from 1956 to 1964, and then settled in Marin County from 1964 to 1976, where he found a community and began to make his reputation.

The story of Saul’s development in these crucial years is narrated by the artist himself in Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976. The letters in this volume, first to Saul’s parents and then to his dealer, Allan Frumkin, are intimate and wide-ranging, full of the same kind of observations that make Saul’s work so compelling.

Throughout this period Saul was concerned not only with making his work but also making his life as an artist. The book is therefore very much the story of an artist finding his voice and then attempting to understand and participate in “the art world,” as Saul worked first through pop, then “funk,” and then essentially created his own category. Taken together, the letters in this book form not just an autobiography of the artist, but a memoir of American art history at a critical moment.


Featured image is reproduced from 'Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

New York Times

Roberta Smith

Epistolary autobiographies are possible only if one writes letters often and well — like the maverick painter Peter Saul. This book contains over 100 letters from his correspondence with his parents and his first dealer, Allan Frumkin, whom he met in Paris in 1960. Both sets of letters are equally “professional,” in that they are smart, heartfelt reports from the studio about his progress, his place in the art world and his desire for success. Frumkin’s commitment jump-started Saul’s career. Two days after they met, the artist wrote to his parents about the dealer: “He said that it’s almost impossible to disappoint him except by dropping dead.”

Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976

STATUS: Out of stock

Temporarily out of stock pending additional inventory.

FROM THE BOOK
Excerpt from the Chapter "Mill Valley, 1965–1974

Vicki has often accused me of just wanting to shock people. I naturally disagreed, but it’s true, I hope that I am always working toward shocking people someday, not so far, and not so easy. For me, “shocking” means “talking,” just that. Talking to people who don’t want to hear the words being said, is “shocking” to them. To be not shocking means to agree to be furniture. There are different levels of furniture: on the lowest level, ordinary chairs, etc., then up to custom-built stuff, then into the low-class abstractions and on up to actual quality products of “modern art”—not usually considered as any kind of furniture because the objective is not simply to decorate but to make the owner “feel”—good, bad, elated, sophisticated, perceptive, college-educated, brave, etc. What I have in mind is aside from that, a “talking to,” a “lecture,” a “cold shower” are close words to what I want to give, not an invitation to participate in feeling-perception, but to “listen to it,” “read it,” like a message from me to this person. That is why even artistically I feel close to T. H. Benton, Grant Wood, the Mexicans, the Chinese + the Russians and really apart from the cultural goings-on of the States. Except as there is an even greater pressure to be “cool,” to have a “hands-off” attitude, from magazines, artists, collectors + schools, there becomes a tremendous temptation for me to be “hot,” to have my “hands on.”

Because as it becomes obvious to me that my work is written off as “bad” or unimportant—and there’s no reason to believe that these highly thoughtful and intelligent people are wrong and that my work will be liked better later—then I must really get worse, less important, if I’m going to continue to pick up the small change that is reserved for “the wrong kind of thing,” the “side issue.” Just like the important artists have to become more important or look for a job. My progress is part personal, part practical. I’m going to get worse as fast as any of them can get better. In any case this country doesn’t deserve any further cultural embellishment because of its criminal actions—if it were in its power to have any cultural embellishment—which it’s not, except in our opinion, which is fading out as our way of life holds less and less attraction for people in the rest of the world. —February 1967

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

LACY SOTO | DATE 9/16/2020

Peter Saul, Dan Nadel and Aaron Curry to launch 'Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence' with a virtual conversation and signing at Artbook @ MoMA PS1

Peter Saul, Dan Nadel and Aaron Curry to launch 'Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence' with a virtual conversation and signing at Artbook @ MoMA PS1

Wednesday, September 23 at 7PM EST, join Artbook @ MoMAPS1 Bookstore and Bad Dimension Press for an online book launch, discussion, and signing with artist Peter Saul, who will be in conversation with Aaron Curry and Dan Nadel, discussing his new book Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976.
This event is free with registration here. Email booksmomaps1@artbook.com to order a signed copy of Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976 with free shipping in the U.S. continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 9/22/2020

'Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976' is NEW from Bad Dimensions Press!

'Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976' is NEW from Bad Dimensions Press!

Featured image is reproduced from Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976, launching virtually Wednesday, September 23 (click here for details.) An excerpt from a typical letter, dated February 1967, reads, "Because as it becomes obvious to me that my work is written off as 'bad' or unimportant—and there’s no reason to believe that these highly thoughtful and intelligent people are wrong and that my work will be liked better later—then I must really get worse, less important, if I’m going to continue to pick up the small change that is reserved for 'the wrong kind of thing,' the 'side issue.' Just like the important artists have to become more important or look for a job. My progress is part personal, part practical. I’m going to get worse as fast as any of them can get better. In any case this country doesn’t deserve any further cultural embellishment because of its criminal actions—if it were in its power to have any cultural embellishment—which it’s not, except in our opinion, which is fading out as our way of life holds less and less attraction for people in the rest of the world." continue to blog


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