Here are some highlights from our March 2012 newsletter. Email us at publishers at half letter press d o t c o m if you would like to receive our e-news every month or so! (img above: Fan mail being sorted at the Federal Radio Commission, 1929, found at the Library of Congress site)
Half Letter Press News
“Art does not exist in a vacuum; it is borne out of a particular political, economic, and social situation and has to be seen in that context.”
- Liberate Tate, from the essay “What’s Wrong With Oil Sponsorship Anyway?”. Included in Not if but when: Culture Beyond Oil
Thanks as always for being a fan, a supporter, and a reader of the books, etc. available from all of us here at HalfLetter Press. We’re always excited to hear your input and well wishes. This month is full again of some great new stock, some fun upcoming events, and some free stuff for you to download and read!
We are currently working with Sarah Ross and Ryan Griffis, who are helping us create the next installment of Reading Room. Their first selection, Surface Tension, is already available on our site. Scroll down for a description. We’ll be in contact again when the installment is ready for your perusal. Looking forward to sharing this great group of readings with you!
A former associate, Stephanie Pereira (one of our collaborators on the Chicago Ravioli Project) is now working for Kickstarter. We were excited when Stephanie invited us to create our own “curated page” on this fundraising site, and we encourage you to check it out and support some new and innovative work!
Chicagoans: we’ll have a table at the Chicago Zine Fest (March 10, 2012). On Saturday, March 10, Marc will be tabling for HLP, and is a guest on the panel “Distributing and Marketing Your Zine”, along with Ayun Halliday (East Village Inky; Bust magazine contributor; former Neo-Futurist Theater performer) and Amy Leigh (twelveohtwo distro). It’s moderated by Billy of Loop Distro and happens at 4 pm at Columbia College Chicago. More information about this panel and the rest of the Fest is here.
People who celebrate March as Women’s History Month (or all of us who celebrate Women’s History each day!) might be interested in The New Woman’s Survival Catalog, a 1973 guidebook to the feminist movement co-edited by Kirsten Grimstad and Susan Rennie. Thanks to Let’s Re-Make for making it available! Find it at http://halfletterpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=page&id=2 (scroll to the middle of the page)
You’ll see below that we have many new titles for you to choose from. Overwhelmed and unable to make a decision? We can relate. We now have gift certificates in the amounts of $5, $10, $20, and $50. Surprise your favorite reader, or give yourself a little HLP love. Contact us with shipping concerns, for gift ideas, and to chat about books you would like to see at HLP by emailing email@example.com. You can also socially network with us through the magic of the internet - be our Facebook fan, follow us on Twitter, or check out our Tumblr posts. Let us know how we’re doing!
NEW & NOTABLE
Not if but when: Culture Beyond Oil
co-edited by Liberate Tate, Platform, and Art Not Oil
96-page full color perfectbound book
This publication is an interrogation of oil companies’ sponsorship of the arts. This single issue and limited edition publication features artworks in dialogue with the BP Gulf of Mexico catastrophe and articles that set out the compelling arguments for an end to BP and Shell’s murky involvement with many of Great Britain’s favorite cultural institutions.
Each copy of this full color book is numbered and daubed with oil from Gulf of Mexico beaches by featured artist Ruppe Koselleck, as part of his ongoing Takeover BP project, in which Koselleck sells artworks to buy shares with the aim of ultimately taking over BP.
The groups Platform and Liberate Tate co-published Not if but when with the group Art Not Oil, as part of an ongoing collaboration. Liberate Tate is an art collective exploring the role of creative intervention in social change dedicated to taking creative disobedience against Tate until it drops its oil company funding. Platform is an arts and research organization bringing together environmentalists, artists, human rights campaigners, educationalists and community activists to create innovative projects driven by the need for social and environmental justice. Art Not Oil encourages artists – and would-be artists – to create work that explores the damage that companies like BP and Shell are doing to the planet, and the role art can play in counteracting that damage.
FASHION ILLUSTRATIONS BY D. ‘JAME
published by Public Collectors. Drawings by D. ‘Jame, courtesy of the collection of artist Michael Thomas
12-page full color stapled booklet
These drawings by a fashion illustrator or designer named D. ‘Jame come from the collection of Michael Thomas, an artist based in Chicago. Thomas found the drawings at a thrift store in Chicago, and writes: “They were priced at $5 per drawing. I could only afford one and was unable to decide. The owner of the store said he was tired of having them around and I could buy them all for $20. There are thirty-three drawings. He said there had been more, but they had been sold.” The drawings are dated from 1970-77. The store owner purchased the drawings as part of a lot at an estate sale in Northern Indiana. No other information about D. ’Jame is known.
This booklet was produced for the exhibition “Archival Impulse” at University of Illinois at Chicago, which includes all of D.’Jame’s drawings from Michael’s collection, as well as additional collections on loan from other Public Collectors participants.
PHONEBOOK 3: 2011/2012. A DIRECTORY OF INDEPENDENT ART SPACES, PROGRAMMING, AND PROJECTS ACROSS THE U.S.
co-edited by threewalls. Includes essays and documents from Group Material, Renny Pritikin, Susan Sakash, FEAST Brooklyn, Ox-bow, Faheem Majed, Chances Dances, Paul Durica, Dara Greenwald, Amy Franceschini, Pilot TV, Jon Brumit and Sarah Wagner, PLAND, Andy Sturdevant, Robby Herbst and more.
216-page softcover perfectbound book
This latest volume of Phonebook is the biggest yet! Tons of useful information, good clean and clear design, and a resource you are sure to use. Phonebook 3 is a directory of independent art spaces, programming, and projects throughout the U.S. It also includes critical essays and practical information written by the people who run these spaces. From the editors:
“PHONEBOOK 3 includes artist-run spaces, public programming, unconventional residencies, alternative schools, and community resources; all of the projects that form and support art ecologies across the nation, as well as historical documents marking their past. Featuring essays and documents from Group Material, Renny Pritikin, Susan Sakash, FEAST Brooklyn, Ox-bow, Faheem Majed, Chances Dances, Paul Durica, Dara Greenwald, Amy Franceschini, Pilot TV, Jon Brumit and Sarah Wagner, PLAND, Andy Sturdevant, Robby Herbst and more.
With over 750 listings of artist spaces, residency programs, financial and administrative resources, and event series across the United States, this book is the essential guide to the current national landscape of artist-run culture. Including everything from nonprofit and community institutions to flexible and self-organized art spaces…”
THE UNHOLY BOW
by Terence Hannum
50-page softcover perfectbound book
After countless ‘zines and other editions, this is Terence’s first perfect bound book, published by 5nakefork. It’s a series of visual and verbal meditations on headbanging.
“Slowly the crowd gathers, heads hung as the musicians pick up their instruments. Upon the first note of feedback the heads start moving. Both performer and witness begin a ritualized dance in a flurry of hair, a profane genuflection. An unholy bow.”
5nakefork says: “THE UNHOLY BOW is the final publication in artist TERENCE HANNUM’s bi-monthly publication series for 2011 following his issues PURIFICATION, DARK MATTER/DUNKLE MATERIE (w/ Alexander Binder), DEATH POSTURE, ABLATION and NEGATIVE LITANIES. This issue focuses on the group ritual of the headbang ubiquitous in heavy metal culture, by cropping drawings and digital photo collages into a printed cadence and features a brief musing cadence from the artist.”
ART GANGS: PROTEST & COUNTERCULTURE IN NEW YORK CITY
by Alan W. Moore
185-page softcover perfectbound book
Artist and Art historian Alan Moore worked with the artists’ group Colab and helped start the cultural center ABC No Rio. Meticulously researched from the small journals and alternative press of the time as well as artist’s archives and the author’s own personal experience, this book is a thorough, street-level history of artists’ groups and collective activity by artists in New York from 1969 to 1985. Most of these groups avowed a political purpose, were informed by leftist political thought, idealized collective action, and used art to advocate for social change. Many of the forms of artists’ organization pioneered by these groups have become standard practice in today’s art world. Others continue to remain invisible to the mainstream. By making art that engaged with questions of social justice, and working to enact social change through art, these groups helped invent many of the new forms that appeared in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Worth it for the footnotes alone, this book tells the story of innumerable collectives, artists, alternative spaces and journals, including such landmarks as The Artworkers Coalition, The Guerilla Art Action Group, Art & Language NY, The Times Square Show, Colab, PADD, and Group Material.
TRAUMA 1-11: STORIES ABOUT THE COPENHAGEN FREE UNIVERSITY AND THE SURROUNDING SOCIETY IN THE LAST TEN YEARS
by Copenhagen Free University (co-founders Henriette Heise and Jakob Jakobsen)
24-page staplebound booklet (dimensions 4 1/8” x 5 3/4”)
We are big fans of the work of the Copenhagen Free University. They made some excellent publications during their decade or so of work together. We offer a handful of these publications and are the only place in the U.S. that sells them.
From the back cover of the booklet:
“Trauma 1-11 is an exhibition based on the Copenhagen Free University, a self-organised institution that was established by artists Henriette Heise and Jakob Jakobsen in 2001. This exhibition is made in collaboration with Emma Hedditch, Howard Slater and Anthony Davies who have close links to the Copenhagen Free University. Trauma 1-11 will be a personal journey through the period 2001 to 2011. It will be a staged interpretation of events in and around the Copenhagen Free University in a dramatised sequence of acts.
The Copenhagen Free University unfolded as a space for research and knowledge sharing within the domestic settings in a small flat in Copenhagen. The institution was dedicated to the production of ’critical consciousness and poetic language’ until 2007 where it ceased its activities. In 2010 the Heise and Jakobsen received a letter from the Ministry of Science noting them that if they ever wanted to conduct educational activities under name the Copenhagen Free University it would be breach a new law outlawing self-organised universities. This new law will in August be challenged with the opening of a new free university in a flat or in a park or in a square.”
LISA ANNE AUERBACH
Exhibition catalog, with an essay by Julia Bryan-Wilson, and including a conversation between Lisa Anne Auerbach and Jacob Proctor
64-page softcover perfectbound book
Through an arrangement with our good pal Lisa Anne Auerbach, we were able to obtain a bunch of discounted copies of this great, color photo-heavy catalog from her 2009 exhibition at UMMA in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
This exhibition catalog includes two bodies of work. The first is Auerbach’s photo series “Small Business.” While riding her bike around Los Angeles, as well as parts of Florida, Auerbach stops to photograph tiny buildings that house enterprises like a BBQ joint, a key-maker, insurance office, a psychic reader, a thrift shop, and even a mini-post office. These all appear to be single-person operations.
The book’s other focus is Auerbach’s knitted sweaters and skirts which bear messages (some of which are in deliciously bad taste) on a range of topics that include 9-11 memorializing, abortion rights, the death of Michael Jackson, suicide bombing, riding a bike versus driving a car, Presidential elections, and booze. Well over a dozen of these sweaters and outfits are documented here.
GAAG: THE GUERILLA ART ACTION GROUP. 1969-1976: A SELECTION
by Jean Toche, Jon Hendricks, and Poppy Johnson
368-page softcover perfectbound book
At long last, this classic compendium that documents all of this amazing radical group’s actions, statements and manifestos is back in print. For years this book was exceptionally hard to find and expensive. The reprint is faithful to the original in absolutely every way and looks terrific. We are hugely thankful to all who labored to produce this reprint, and happy for our friends Jean Toche and Jon Hendricks that this is finally available again. May it inspire and provoke future generations of shit-stirrers and starters!
Here are the details from Printed Matter’s website:
“This is the reissue of the long out-of-print publication GAAG: The Guerrilla Art Action Group, 1969-1976: A Selection, first published in 1978. The book serves as the primary text to the significant work of the activist artist group GAAG (Jon Hendricks, Poppy Johnson, Silvianna, Joanne Stamerra, Virginia Toche and Jean Toche), both as a document of the group’s ideological and logistical concerns, and more broadly as a historical record for 52 of the many political art actions they carried out through the late Sixties and early Seventies.
Guided by their belief that art and culture had been corrupted by profit and private interest, GAAG formed in October 1969 as a platform for social struggle. Their work asked how artists could work effectively towards meaningful change, most often through direct provocation and confrontation–symbolic, non-violent actions staged in protest and ridicule of the ethical failures by the art and media establishments, as well as the US government. Their activities defied the brutal, close-minded workings of an artistic/political system that traded in dirty money, served the elite, established a trivial cultural canon, and perpetuated bloody wars abroad.
GAAG: The Guerrilla Art Action Group, 1969-1976: A Selection collects the manifestos, letters and press communiqués issued by the group (to Nixon, Hoover, The Secretary of Defense, Museum officials, and others). Their missives are printed as facsimiles, alongside other print material, including handwritten expenses, and related documents, that stand as statements of purpose and protest. Photographers Ka Kwong Hui, Joanne Stamerra, Jan Van Raay and others were often on hand as many of the actions unfolded, offering a remarkable and candid visual history to the group’s activities and confrontations GAAG: The Guerrilla Art Action Group, 1969-1976: A Selection is a tremendous resource on the important work of the group, providing insight into social action and political art activities with lasting implications. The book stands both as a historical documentation as well as a model for contemporary and future critique and practice.”
SURFACE TENSION: PROBLEMATICS OF SITE
Edited by Ken Ehrlich & Brandon LaBelle. CD track selection by Stephen Vitiello
328-page perfectbound softcover book with CD
Surface Tension examines the conversations that occur as negotiations between cultural production and the place of its reception. Such conversations are underscored as inherently complex, embodying intersections of the imagined and the real, and the intensities surrounding art, performance and architectural productions that seek public potential. The anthology explores site-specific practice and its legacy through critical and creative essays by leading theorists, architects, and artists from around the globe, including an insightful interview with Gordon Matta-Clark from 1976, a controversial essay by Juli Carson on the lingering debate surrounding Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc, Margaret Morgan’s plumbing of Modernist depths via the semiology of the toilet, and Kathy Battista’s unearthing of women artists’ groups in London from the 1970s. These are complemented by rarely heard audio works by Bruce Nauman and Yoko Ono, documentation on the Dutch artist Paul Panhuysen’s architectural and installation works and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s recent and highly-acclaimed public project in Rotterdam, excerpts from Eyal Weizman/Rafi Segal’s censored contribution to the World Congress of Architecture from 2002, as well as works by LA-artists Michael Asher and Simon Leung whose contextual practices address the politics of representation and public space.
Surface Tension looks towards proximate space and experiences of locality to tease out the tensions between global consciousness and the site-specifics of everyday life. This entails a consideration of the desires and impulses that occur within and against the contexts of cultural arenas, and how such interactions perform within the dynamics of spatial organization. Out of these relations comes the radically diverse ways space can be negotiated, manipulated, and traversed.
Additional contributions by Kim Abeles, Carol Brown, CopenhagenOffice, Octavio Camargo, Jeremiah Day/Concrete Steps, Dispute Resolution Services, Jennifer Gabrys, Jen Hofer/Melissa Dyne, Lucy R. Lippard, Colette Meacher, Christof Migone/Alexander St-Onge (undo), Laurie Palmer, Lize Mogel, Michael Rakowitz, Jane Rendell, Lizzie Scott, Atau Tanaka, and WochenKlausur.
AND MORE! CLICK AWAY TO READ DESCRIPTIONS…
TALES FROM THE SUSTAINABLE UNDERGROUND: A WILD JOURNEY WITH PEOPLE WHO CARE MORE ABOUT THE PLANET THAN THE LAW
NOTES FOR A PEOPLE’S ATLAS: PEOPLE MAKING MAPS OF THEIR CITIES
ESCAPE THE OVERCODE: ACTIVIST ART IN THE CONTROL SOCIETY
DARK MATTER: ART AND POLITICS IN THE AGE OF ENTERPRISE CULTURE
AREA CHICAGO #11: IM/MIGRATIONS
EXPECT ANYTHING FEAR NOTHING: THE SITUATIONIST MOVEMENT IN SCANDINAVIA AND ELSEWHERE
KOSHKA ISSUE 01
HOW TO RIDE A BIKE IN PITTSBURGH
FILTER DETROIT: VOLUME 1
VISIONS FOR CHICAGO: A HIGHLY POLITICIZED PUBLIC ART PROJECT
PORTRAITS FROM ABOVE: HONG KONG’S INFORMAL ROOFTOP COMMUNITIES
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ATTENTION STORES, DISTROS, SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES!
We offer volume discounts to schools and libraries and wholesale pricing to stores and distributors on some titles. We would especially like you to consider the books that we have published under the Half Letter Press imprint, including:
Revolution as an Eternal Dream: The Exemplary Failure of the Madame Binh Graphics Collective.http://halfletterpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=20_3&products_id=244