So many many - bukowski poem made into an artist book (1 Viewer)


lothario speedwagon
does anyone have this or has anyone heard of it? (scroll to the bottom of the page).

i don't really like the sample illustrations shown here, and the price is awfully steep if you're only interested in the buk poem, but people pay more for the single-poem burn again press books, so i suppose it's all relative. i'd really like to see a copy in the flesh, but that seems unlikely given the size of the limitation (20 copies).
but people pay more for the single-poem burn again press books...
Because they are among the most limited and scarce items Black Sparrow ever produced. I don't think this compares, it's an entirely different category that appeals to a different audience: collectors of Fred Hagstom's art or collectors of that St. Paul press.
mjp that was my point - collectors of bukowski and black sparrow press pay insane amounts for those burn again items, just like fine press collectors can swallow a $700 item much more easily than most. and i'll say this - i bet a whole fucking hell of a lot more time, effort, and energy went into making that book than any of those burn again press books... it's not my cup of tea, sure, but it is quite a production.

one of the reasons i want to see it is to see how they work the bukowski tie-in... if you read the artist's description online (new ways of finding narrative in art after being exposed to art by indigenous cultures), it seems like it has almost nothing to do with bukowski's work. if the description didn't mention that the poem was reprinted with permission, i would kinda think about in almost the same camp as the "bukowski poem set to music" atrocities that pop up from time to time.
I went to Oak Knoll Fest last weekends and say similar books that were being offered for $700 - $1200. I do not get it. I'm not sure who the audience is for these things, but many of the books that I saw there were by completely unknown authors, many times self published and were almost always priced in the hundreds or thousands.

don't get me wrong. They were amazingly bound and works of art (book art), but at that price? I could bind them that well (I do not bind that well, but if I was offering these books for thousands, I would have to do it). Maybe they are after the rich guy that buys what he wants and has money to burn, maybe the university, who knows. The most famous of these people are probably Whittington Press out of England (They publish Matrix) and Bird & Bull Press (out of Newtown, PA). Both of these publishers have waiting lists and probably sell out immediately at any price.

As I read it, it indicated that the publication was based on a poem by Buk. Does that mean there's a Buk poem in there, or something based on a Buk poem?

For $700 it should come with a blowjob (no teeth), a six-pack (tall) and a roast beef sandwich.
If you calculate that a silkscreen print is the result of printing 4 times the same image with a different color, these twenty somewhat pages turn to 1,500 prints and more. I doubt that all pages were treated that way. But i can see that someone would appreciate the quality of such a book and the content being what it is. I would love to create such a thing.
For $700 it should come with a blowjob (no teeth), a six-pack (tall) and a roast beef sandwich.
That reminds me of an old Gary Shandling joke. When told the price of the rent on an apartment in NYC and how it had a great view, he said that for that price, he expected to open the shades and see a pair of tits pressed against the glass....
whittington press is usually cheap compared to a lot of those books - even the deluxe edition of matrix is around $500 if you get it straight from the publisher. matrix also has the benefit of being a book you can read over a long period of time, unlike a lot of these books where it's one poem printed over 4 pages, and somehow costs $1000. the codex fair in berkeley every other february is the same deal - books by completely unknown authors selling for an average of $1000 - $1500. i love going to the fair to look at them, but i couldn't imagine ever buying something like that - it's the kind of book i would look at a few times after i bought it and then probably once a year after that. i don't understand the market for fine press books, either, to be honest. unlike the market for contemporary art or even rare first editions (and i mean *rare* first editions, not firsts that have 50 copies available online at any given point), there has been no resale potential ever demonstrated for fine press books. they don't sell at auctions unless they're from one of the long-established fine presses (whittington, bird and bull, rampant lion's, arion, etc.), and so i wonder who has the money to buy them... because even the super-rich who collect stuff like this are buying things that can be considered "investments," and if you bought the book in question for $700, you would never EVER be able to resell it for that amount or even close.
I think there's an old thread about this book. I remember talking to the guy who put it out. He still had a few copies left he was trying to sell at $600 or thereabouts.
and now we come full circle... the book i linked above has sold, and justine and i got to enjoy another edition of the codex book fair last weekend. it was a fun time - one woman snorted at me when i asked if the 8-copy book she was showing me with white gloved hands ($20,000 each - for the book, not the hands) would ever be published in a trade edition (since she was going on about how the author was a modern genius, and i was asking if there would ever be a monograph of his work that more than eight people could own). a lot of people were nice, including the german guy who showed us a book he published where the illustrations were actually part of the paper (a more reasonable $11,000). from a different press, for a mere $10,000, you could get a book about the rare trees on the author's ranch, complete with reduction prints of cross-sections of their bark (which had been meticulously shaved down to type-height for use in the press) as well as a clamshell display box with hand-filed cubes of each tree's wood.

fine press certainly is a rare animal. the thing i find most annoying is the people who feel they have to defend the price as soon as you ask. i know WHY it's expensive, i'm just curious HOW expensive. they should take a cue from the fine art world and just make you feel stupid for even asking in the first place, rather than getting defensive and snippy about how elaborate the books are. IT'S A FINE PRESS BOOK FAIR, I GET THAT IT'S LABOR INTENSIVE. i'll stick to my copies of matrix, thank you very much.
They're snippy because it's a con. I am a big fan of small press stuff; I try to buy everything from writers and printers I like...but this is too much. The point is to REACH people--not exclude them. Who gets into the small press business to publish something no one can afford/read/buy? The fact that 8 copies of a $20,000 book were made means the author and the publisher knew 6 people for whom money is no object. This way each could own a "$20K book" AND still sell out the entire print run...

Either that or they could only sell through Amazon and were forced to mark-up the books so they could cover bark-shaving costs and international shipping...
if you consider the books as pieces of fine art - containing original silkscreen and intaglio prints as well as the
production aspect (and the artist involved having an audience), the prices don't seem that outrageous.
<opinionated rant>

$20,000 for a book by an unknown artist is high, no matter how you look at it. These people must be targeting Universities as I cannot see many people that have the money and would buy something like this. There is little to know chance of any return on this "investment". As soon as you drive the $20,000 book out of the showroom, the real value becomes 1/10th of that. Don't get me wrong, some of these people do amazing work, but it is not worth $20,000.

It is like those guys that you see at state fairs that have their art gallery set up in a booth and are asking $50,000 - $75,000 for paintings that look like they were done by Henry Hill. I have always thought that they were insane and that this gave them the sense that they were accomplished artists. I am 100% sure that they have never sold a painting. Their only goal, in that case, is to sell a painting and then they can claim that they art a famous artist whose paintings sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

</opinionated rant>
i don't think the price is outrageous if you look at it from a cost/labor standpoint. even the tree book took the printer/artist 3 years of his life to make, and i bet if you add up all the hours, it doesn't even sniff minimum wage. it's not that they're expensive... it's more that they just seem kind of pointless to me. and this is coming from a collector of fine press books - but like i've said, the fine press books i collect are either fairly cheap, or they are books like matrix that actually reward you with tons of content, and not just <500 words of some poem, or a description of trees, or whatever. i like the codex fair because i like looking at these books - but what i didn't like was the attitude that i was some sort of philistine for even suggesting the idea that such art could be reproduced in a $500 edition that some people might actually be able to buy.

and, i completely agree with bill - except for the very established fine presses, there has been no resale market demonstrated for these books. there are some dealers who specialize in fine press (lux mentis is one, and vamp and tramp is another, although vamp and tramp works only on consignment, so they're basically an agent for the primary market), but i don't really know how they make their money (especially because lux mentis maintains a laughably unrealistic markup on most items). no one is buying or selling these at auction - so you need to be even more rich to afford them, since they're expensive to buy but also don't really enhance the value of your collection all that much, either. if you love it and have to have it, of course it's worth the money - anything is. i think books like this are worth their price tags way more than a damien hirst painting where he had his assistant paint a bunch of rows of identical colored dots, but the hirst will sell at auction for more than you paid larry gagosian for it.
I had the luxury of attending the Berkeley Codex Fair on the 6th of February and then the San Francisco Antiquarian Bookfair the next weekend. The Antiquarian Fair had by far the most expensive books, way out of the range of even wealthy collectors or institutions [numerous items over $50K] but most of these expensive items were scarce because of their antiquity [copy of Marco Polo diary, first edition calf-bound Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith from seventeen hundreds, etc] not because of a self-induced scarcity by only producing 10 copies.

d gray's comment that these items should be treated as works of art is one I agree with. Some of the work in these books [often way more than just a "book'] is extensive - the tree book with cubes of wood is an example. Not my cup of tea - but an amazing blended work of art and science and agriculture! And hand-painted or constructed items are art, which is really priced by the beauty in the beholder's eye. Not some extrinsic "reality."

At the Codex I saw a beautifully printed book where the author/publisher had invented several unique fonts, wrote the text and drew and printed a four color frontis-piece map in a book all about the history etc of an inscription on the wall of a house in Rome! Beautifully bound, paper, end pages, etc. Cost many many thousands, over 25 thousand, and only about a dozen copies. Beautiful beautiful book that I would love to hold and inspect closely - but it seems a waste to me because the item itself is printed and many could be made, perhaps with less expensive covers, etc so that a lot more people could enjoy the work.

I actually found a few items I could afford at Codex, including a limited-edition letterpressed broadside of a poem by Thich Nhat Hahn with fine complementary illustration for under $25! I treat most of these book fairs as traveling museums anyway; my eyes are much bigger than my shelves. Or my wallet.
I'm still not sure if he is really a hoax or real (I know that he is a real person...) Certainly he sells art, but it all seems like the joke is that anyone with the right buzz can be seen as a great artist, even when he/she pays a team of people to photoshop images for him while he throws a couple splashes on the finished product.

I am leaning to it being a hoax by Banksy...

Watch the movie David mentioned, Exit Through the Gift Shop. He's a real guy. He's just out of his mind.

Great movie, by the way.
I agree with both Bill & mjp. Mr. Brainwash is a real guy, his art is made by assistants, it's bullshit that sells for big bucks, it's probably a joke by Banksy. The contemporary art scene seems like a complex mix of talent and scam. Conning rich people into buying stuff that often is pretty cool but is it really worth THAT much money?
it is when it's only value measurement is as something that shows how rich someone is. it can't not be priced like that - it either costs a million dollars or is worthless.
Great documentary. Mr. Brainwash is an opportunist who has transgressed some unspoken rules that needed to be broken. In the process, he has betrayed the beloved underground.
Time will tell, as he seems determined to prove, if he has real talent or not.
In Brighton (where I occasionally reside) there is a lot of Banksy's graffiti. The local council put together a team of cleaners to clear up the graffiti that covers the city walls, and they were given a list of Banksy pieces that should not be touched (i.e. the kissing policemen etc). Now, if I was in charge of clean up in LA, the first thing I would do is give the cleaners a list of all the places Mr Brainwash's work appears and tell them to start there first.

Despite the crap he produces, I can't help but find him endearing though.

Oh, and I'm currently living on a small backward island where I picked up a handsomely bound book on religious revolutions (in german) for 30c. Everything about the book excites me in terms of the binding and print, as for the content, well, I need to learn german first. But I did enjoy the pictures! That's the magic for me, finding a treasure in a charity shop. Selling my home to buy a book doesn't have the same appeal, however tactile it is.

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