America's decoration frenzy: graveyard cemeteries, ghosts, guillotines, skeletons in coffins, dismembered body parts, giant spiders and creatures turn up on the front lawns and exteriors of suburban homes in America every year. Families across the country decorate and stage their porches and gardens with horror themed scenes to celebrate Halloween on October 31st. In 1984, American artist Cameron Jamie started photographing these front exteriors in his old neighborhood in a suburban area of Los Angeles. Even while living full-time in France for the past fifteen years, Jamie continued to travel back to Los Angeles each year, just to continue this photographic ritual. One aspect of what makes these photographs extraordinary is the fact that they were all shot during the day rather than at night, which changes the meaning and whole context of how we normally perceive the horror and death culture surrounding Halloween. Thus, Front Lawn Funerals and Cemeteries is not a book about Halloween, but rather about the opposing tensions of themes and imagery of death staged in these daylight domestic environments, between feelings of something at once very calm, humorous, violent, and uncanny.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Edited and with text by Lynn Kost.
Over the course of his two-decade career, Cameron Jamie (born 1969) has repeatedly explored the theme of the mask. Inner Planets is a group of 43 clay masks. This publication documents the series with installation shots of its presentation at the Palmenhaus de Alten Botanischen Gartens in Zurich.
Published by Walker Art Center. Foreword by Kathy Halbreich. Text by Philippe Vergne. Excerpt by Charles Bukowski
Cameron Jamie's work--a blend of video, sound, performance, photography and drawing--confronts the dysfunction of European and American society. His critical gaze often focuses on ritualistic practices in popular culture, such as hot dog eating contests and backyard wrestling. Taking suburban phenomena of this sort as his primary material, Jamie explores the dark underbelly of the American dream in drawings, film and performance. This artist-designed exhibition catalogue features more than 60 works in various media, illuminating the artist's process with selections from his personal archive of clippings and ephemera, as well as raw sketches for his projects. An essay by exhibition curator Philippe Vergne, a foreword by Walker director Kathy Halbreich and a reprint of a poem by Charles Bukowski selected by the artist provide context for this first large-scale, museum presentation of Jamie's work.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Essays by Gary Indiana, Mike Kelley and Ralph Rugoff.
Cameron Jamie's calling is tracking down extreme social phenomena and presenting them in short documentary films. His best known film, BB, documents "backyard wrestling" among working-class kids in his native San Fernando Valley. In Spook Houses, he explores a suburban Chicago community that takes a little too much pleasure in the macabre at Halloween, transforming front lawns into cemeteries and kitchens into mausoleums. And in Kranky Claus, a film about Krampus rituals in Austria, he accompanies those legendary demons on their nightmarish pre-Christmas tour, thrashing frightened children. As Jamie says of his subjects and as he proves to his audiences, "The creepiest things in the world are always the things that are considered to be the most normal.'"