Fischli and Weiss
Lisa Gabrielle Mark
An Open Book. The show examines how sequencing, a characteristic of time-based media, manifests itself in various ways within artists' books. Borrowing its title from an undated, limited-edition Raymond Pettibon book, the exhibition highlights conceptual strategies and formal processes, and explores how the ordering of information - visual, textual, and material - affects meaning in books. More than 100 artists are represented by over 130 works, which are drawn from the permanent and library collections as well as several public and private local collections.
First Museum Survey of Artists’ Books in Los Angeles Since 1978
Includes Online and Interactive Components
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), presents To Illustrate and Multiply: An Open Book, the first large-scale museum survey of artists’ books in Los Angeles since 1978. Organized by MOCA Librarian Lynda Bunting and MOCA Director of Publications Lisa Gabrielle Mark, To Illustrate and Multiply highlights a diverse range of conceptual strategies and formal processes, exploring how the ordering of visual, textual, and material information into book form affects meaning. More than 100 artists are represented by over 130 works, which are drawn from MOCA’s permanent and library collections as well as several public and private local collections. To Illustrate and Multiply is on view at MOCA Pacific Design Center from October 19, 2008 through March 1, 2009.
“Since the 1960s, making books has been a significant part of contemporary art practice,” said MOCA Director Jeremy Strick. “Artists such as Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Douglas Huebler, and Al Ruppersberg, among many others, have created beautiful and iconic works in book form. In addition to being the first major museum show of artists’ books in Los Angeles in 30 years, To Illustrate and Multiply features an interactive reading lounge and a distinctive web site where viewers can access information about the show and watch videos of selected books set in motion. These unique components help to bring the medium to life for viewers.”
Borrowing its title from an undated, limited-edition ’zine by Raymond Pettibon, To Illustrate and Multiply: An Open Book presents many different book forms, from spiral-bound and accordion-fold books to photographic portfolios and boxed books of loose pages. The exhibition includes work dating from 1965 to the present by both established artists who view bookmaking as an integral part of their artistic practice and emerging artists who have begun to experiment with this media.
Contemporary artists’ books—as opposed to the classic livres d’artiste, which refers to traditional, limited-edition books illustrated with original prints by well-known artists—began to emerge in the 1960s. Early examples were often associated with conceptual art and Fluxus, both of which sought to challenge institutional hierarchies and present art in new ways. Artists’ books, easily disseminated and often made with inexpensive and/or unconventional materials, posed a stark contrast to the unique, high-priced artworks typically prized by museums.
At the show’s core are a number of important early examples of the genre, including Ray Johnson’s Paper Snake (1965) and Dieter Roth’s Kinderbuch (1957/1976). In addition, To Illustrate and Multiply showcases well-known works such as Tom Phillip’s A Humument: A Novel After W. H. Mallock (1970), Edward Ruscha’s Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966), and Michael Snow’s Cover to Cover (1975), alongside the work of a new generation that is revitalizing the practice of making artists’ books, including Darren Bader, Luca Buvoli, Douglas Gordon, David Horvitz, Brendan Lott, and Euan Macdonald, among others. Evoking the dynamic community that surrounds the creation and reception of the genre, some books were produced by artists who also serve as publishers and distributors of other artists’ books, including Jan Voss of Boekie Woekie in Amsterdam and Brian Kennon of 2nd Cannons Publications in Los Angeles.
Some works, such as Adam Janes’s drawing pad for living room (2008), were created specially for this exhibition. This dramatic piece consists of a 20-foot scroll drawing mounted on two six-foot tall cylinders. The drawing can be turned via two large wheels that resemble helms. Also featured in the exhibition are book works by artists who are well known for their work in other media—such as Fischli and Weiss, Rodney Graham, Ann Hamilton, Rebecca Horn, Harmony Korine, Barbara Kruger, Robert Morris, Olafur Eliasson, Sigmar Polke, Richard Prince, and Jim Shaw.
To Illustrate and Multiply features an interactive reading lounge where viewers are invited to physically engage with a number of the works in the exhibition. These include books by Fernando Bryce, Matthew Chambers, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Allen Ruppersberg, and Raymond Pettibon. To further expand the content of the exhibition, a special web site has been developed at moca.org/openbook. Launching on October 17, the web site will include Quicktime videos that allow viewers to experience selected works from the exhibition; an audio conversation between award-winning book designer Lorraine Wild and 2nd Cannons Publications founder Brian Kennon, moderated by the exhibition curators; installation images; essays by the curators; a checklist of the exhibition; and an extensive bibliography.
These informal discussions of current exhibitions feature artists, curators, critics, writers, and other arts professionals. Unless otherwise noted, talks take place in the exhibition galleries, attendance is free with museum admission, and reservations are not required. INFO 213/621-1745 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SUNDAY, OCT 19, 3pm—MOCA Pacific Design Center
Lynda Bunting, MOCA librarian and exhibition co-curator, leads an opening day walkthrough of To Illustrate and Multiply: An Open Book.
SUNDAY, NOV 9, 3pm—MOCA Pacific Design Center
Lisa Gabrielle Mark, MOCA director of publications and exhibition co-curator, discusses To Illustrate and Multiply: An Open Book.
Elizabeth Hinckley Tel 310/854-8199 email@example.com
Lyn Winter Tel 213/633-5390 firstname.lastname@example.org
250 South Grand Avenue - Los Angeles MOCA Pacific Design Center is open 11am to 5pm Tuesday through Friday; 11am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday; and closed on Monday. Admission to MOCA Pacific Design Center is always free.