Home » Art Books: A Collector’s Bookshelf Part Three

Art Books: A Collector’s Bookshelf Part Three

VoCA contributor and artist book collector Bill Clarke is back with a third installment from his collection, this time of books that take the form of exhibition catalogues. Check out parts one and two HERE and HERE, and stay tuned for part four, coming this week.

Moderna Museet exhibition catalogue, 1968. Image: courtesy Bill Clarke.

Bill Clarke edits Magenta Magazine Online, a great new publication which you can read HERE.

A rare first edition of Andy Warhol’s classic artist book “Index” published by the Random House, NY in 1967.
Image: franklinbook.com

ANDY WARHOL: Moderna Museet exhibition catalogue, 1968 (second printing, 1969).

Warhol’s first retrospective took place at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in February – March, 1968. It has been argued by Germano Celant that this publication is the first example of the artist book-as-exhibition catalogue. Warhol was handed control of the layout and image selection, and he organized the book’s contents into three sections: a collection of his now-famous quotes, followed by page after page of images of his work arranged in a serial manner, and then a collection of photographs of the goings-on at Warhol’s New York studio, the Factory. For this second printing of the catalogue, a section with photographs of the exhibition’s opening party was added. Printed only as a soft cover and on cheap newsprint-quality paper, this book has become, again in Celant’s words, a “prototype of information as artwork…because of its linguistic use of photography as opposed to using photographs as documentation.

Images from A document, from denniscooper-theweaklings.blogspot.com

From Paul Thek (with Edwin Klein): A document, 1969. Image: courtesy Bill Clarke.

PAUL THEK (with Edwin Klein): A document, 1969.

The American artist met the Dutch designer and photographer Edwin Klein while Thek was preparing for a retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in May, 1969. The result of that meeting is this tabloid-sized book that served as the exhibition catalogue for Thek’s exhibition. Co-produced with the Moderna Museet (where the retrospective travelled), the book consists of a photomontage using pages of the International Herald Tribune with arrangements of objects and photographs overtop. Thek and Klein would go on to produce other book works together, but ‘A document’ marks an interesting stage in Thek’s career. At this point, Thek was turning away from the idea of the ‘single authorship’ of an artwork, and Klein’s idea of what book works could be seems to have provided Thek with an opportunity to experiment. In photographic form, then, Thek constructed a cryptic diary – a visually complex mix of the personal and political that went on to inform much of his later work.

Click HERE to read a lovely review of the Document exhibit by Holland Cotter in the New York Times. In it, he draws comparisons between what Thek was doing and today’s artist collaborations such as Dearraindrop and Royal Art Lodge.

2 Responses to “Art Books: A Collector’s Bookshelf Part Three”

  1. Thanks, Bill, for sharing – I really enjoy these posts and ended up ordering my own copy of Gareth Jones’ ‘A Young Man of Extraordinary Personal Beauty’ after your last bookshelf sharing. Only wish I could get my hands on ‘A document’ here, it looks amazing!

  2. Bill says:

    I am so glad to hear that, Stephanie! It’s the reason I write them! Thanks!

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