New York Antiquarian Book Fair. Part 3: Artists’ Books and Special Items.

James Lee Byars – J* Read to Peachy Keen Forme …, 1972 . A beautiful example of a James Lee Byars’ unique original letter art object. Byars’ text, written in his usual stream of consciousness, abbreviated style, communicates several ideas in parallel and extends in a single line along the centre of the sheets for nearly 3 metres. Consists of four conjoined sheets of thick gold metallic paper. An important part of Byars’ oeuvre, influenced by his years living in Japan and the resulting interest in Japanese paper, calligraphy and origami, was the letter as art work, the object and idea in harmony, and the example presented here, to Byars’ friend Jim Butler, with calligraphic text on gold paper with characteristic divagations and abbreviations, is delightfully representative. ‘Byars did, however, maintain communication with many important people in the art world, by means of an artistic correspondence that seems to have been his most consistent practise as an artist. Nearly every day, before dawn, he would rise and begin writing his spectacular letters … They were an extension of the Byars persona, even mirroring his costumes in their strict use of a few select colours and shapes. They were simply mystifying, difficult to read, confusing in their syntax even where legible; Byars was unknown because he was unknowable. One might delight in (or be maddened by) the experience of unfolding a fifty foot long piece of pink tissue paper, only to find the gold writing nearly indecipherable, and the message as much a poetic epigram as a personal communication. One is meant to experience the letters as an aesthetic occasion … ‘. (Frieze magazine, review of the exhibition ‘James Lee Byars: Letters from the World’s Most Famous Unknown Artist’). @Sims Reed Rare Book Shop

Thomas Rose, Wilber H. “Chip” Schilling. Arthur & Barbara – Minneapolis: Indulgence Press, 2011. A portrait of art critic/philosopher Arthur Danto and artist Barbara Westman seen reflected in the space of their New York City apartment on Riverside Drive. This book embodies their life and work in symbolic forms of thoughtful play. Arthur & Barbara is a collection of simple objects, images and games referring to both Duchamp’s La Boîte-en-Valise and to Fluxus Collections. The box contains laser-etched glass with a plan view of the apartment. Beneath the glass, separated spaces hold a DVD with images of Arthur, Barbara and their apartment, a hand-bound codex exploring oral and written language, a glass block laser-etched with an illustration by Barbara Westman, two chairs, handmade dice, and a spinner. A drawer holds a folio of letters written by Sean Scully, Shirin Neshat and Barbara Westman, and an introduction by David Carrier. Priced $2500 @Kelmscott Bookshop

Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books‘ booth stood out with a great amount of wonderfull artists’ books. Sarah Peter. Knockdowns That Stand Up – New York: 2011.The 13 original photographs were printed on an Epson Stylus Photo R1900 as was the text. The text and photographs are Ms. Peter’s autobiographical account to “tell the story of a wacky upbringing in suburban Connecticut on the 1950’s and 60’s.” Priced $1800 @Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books

The Reed. Translated by Zahra Partovi. Etchings by Susan Weil – New York: Vincent FitzGerald & Company, 1989. Illustrated by Susan Weil with 18 original hand-colored line etchings, mirrored on verso in colored mezzotints by Shigemitsu Tsukaguchi. The text was hand printed by Dan Keleher at Wild Carrot Letterpress in Diotima type by Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse with calligraphy by Jerry Kelly and Zahra Partovi. The book reads front to back in English and back to front in Persian in an accordion-style binding. Priced $3500 @Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books

Barry McCallion. Squalls – East Hampton, NY: 2011. This is a most ingenious construction with the two rectos of each folio hand painted in brown and black india inks, cut to reveal the page rectos below. When opened, the “SQUALL” has passed and the versos are the same “landscape” but now painted in bright colors of red, green blue, orange yellow, pink, and purple. Again, when viewed from the last page to first, the colorful versos are visible all the way through; giving the reader / viewer a picture of a colorful road, storm free, cloud free and peaceful. The cut-outs are intricate and the negative space created as much a part of the “picture” created on each page (and the pages thereafter) as the elaborate colored design. There is no text, but Barry McCallion’s message is clear. Priced $3500 @Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books

A Place to Be. Words and Images by Eugenie Torgerson. Niles, MI: 2010. Unique artist’s book, the first of two in a series, comprising lidded outer box with inner, removable open box, visible through small window, inner box with five accordion books with poems and digitally-printed photograph and collaged photograph images, plus another interior box containing single accordion book tied with leather casing containing digitally-printed photograph images with text from 1884 diary entries made by John David Shortess, great-grandfather of the artist, as a young circuit preacher in central Pennsylvania, all images and text except that of John Shortess by the artist / author, Eugenie Torgerson, who has signed the piece on the bottom of the footed stand on which the large outer box sits. She has also signed four of the five books contained in the first box. Priced $3860 @Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books

Lois Morrison. Aeolian Giraffes – Leonia, NJ: 2011. Bound by the artist leporello style in accordion fold with boards covered in white book cloth with outline map of Africa in gold gilt, the book housed in fabric case of black cloth with the same gold gilt map of Africa. The text is hand lettered by the artist. The giraffes themselves are printed on interference-splattered frosted plastic. The artist / author has used a Gocco printer for all, and has hand-touched all with Pigma pens, except the landscape which was color copied. She explains in the artist’s statement that, “the book is based on a fortunate mis-reading of Temple Grandin’s writing about friendships between giraffes, among others, “Aeolian”. Aeolus is the god of winds so they must be the most delicately beautiful creatures on the African plains. Re-reading the passage, I realized the word was “Angolan”, but by then it was too late; the image had taken hold.” The resulting fantasy is this book. Priced $750 @Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books

Sande Wascher-James. Just A Woman – Whidbey Island, WA: 2012. A series of double-sided paper dolls, with the faces of the women on photo paper, and their costumes of Liberty Lawn fabrics. The ‘chain’ of American women – portrayed in paper dolls with their postage stamps pictured and with text elaborating their accomplishments dressed in Liberty Lawn fabrics is an unusual book structure. Much like the accomplishments of these ground-breaking women, it defies categorization but is to be admired. Priced $2500 @Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books

A wonderfull collection of miniature books was presented @Bromer Booksellers. A miniature book is usually no bigger than three inches (76 millimeters) tall, and although some need magnification to be viewed properly, most can be read with the naked eye. To view a full list of the miniature books they have in stock, go here.

Sarah Bernhardt, c. 1909. A complete composite portrait of ten original tinted/coloured photographic postcards with captions, 45 x 28 cm., photographs by Boyer, Downey, Henri Manuel and another un-named artist. The central portrait is from Sarah Bernhardt’s role in Rostand’s l’Aiglon, it shows her in profile to her right leg, the one that was later amputated. Priced $1600 @Maggs Bros

The de luxe Kinora with seven important early Lumière films, c.1900. The Kinora, a miniature or ‘flip-book’ viewer was mainly intended for home use. While the Lumière brothers were working on developing their Cinematographe camera and projector of 1895, they were also developing the Kinora as a parallel product for the home environment. The Lumière’s could not decide if cinema would actually be popular enough to be profitable and created the Kinora as a subsidiary part of their enterprise. As the Lumière brothers cinematographe became more successful they decided not to concentrate their efforts on the Kinora and passed the production to Gaumont in Paris. As the Lumière brothers cinematographe became more successful they decided not to concentrate their efforts on the Kinora and passed the production to Gaumont in Paris. Together with the Kinora are an important group of early Lumière films including a copy of the earliest film comedy Arroseur et arrosé, II. The six other films are also from the earliest period of cinema: Reel 311 Danse égyptienne – Two women perform a belly dancing to a live eastern band eastern at the front of the visitors with attendants providing drinks. Filmed at the Exposition Nationale Genève, 1896. Reel 449 Nègres Aschantis: Toilette d’un négrillon – While a woman breast-feeds her baby, another three woman wash a child Filmed at the Exhibition Humaine, Lyon, 1896 Reel 453 Gymnastes: Saut au cheval en longueur. A number of gymnasts exercise on a pommel horse. Filmed at Lyon, 1896. Reel 461 [or 462] Clowns: Les Chapeaux – After doing some exercises with the aid of hats, the two clowns fool about. Filmed at Lyon in 1897. Reel 898 Jongleur (le parapluie) – A juggler performs a number of tricks with a Japanese umbrella. Filmed at Lyon, 1897 Reel 1045 Transformations: Les Petits lutteurs – Two children vying for a pretend fight, filmed at Paris, 1899. Priced $20300 @Marlborough Rare Books [Read more]

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