Archive for July, 2009


Friday, July 31st, 2009


The Clash live at the Royal College of Art on 5 November 1976 (© John Ingham). The show ended when Joe Strummer dropped his guitar, leapt off the stage and attacked the long-haired students who had been pelting them with beer mugs. They were rolling around in front of me while the Stooges’ I Wanna Be Your Dog sucked in all the air –- a synaesthesia of violent confrontation.


The Sex Pistols live at the Notre Dame Hall, Leicester Square, 15 November 1976 (© John Ingham). I’m at the very back left. It’s the first time I’ve seen the Sex Pistols, and I’m fascinated: within two songs I’m up at the front, watching the crowd spitting on the TV crew who are filming the event. (To see the clip, go to


Frame 34, Uninhabited London Series, January 1977 (© Jon Savage). The city seemed poised between Victoria dereliction and Bal-lardian hyper-speed. The only signs of life came from the Punk Rock groups, which is why the sequence ended with this photo taken underneath the Westway. Everything to one point. Black and white, as stark as the choices made.

Jon Savage was born in 1953 and was raised in West London. His books include ENGLAND’S DREAMING: SEX PISTOLS AND PUNK ROCK (1991), TIME TRAVEL (1997) and TEENAGE: THE CREATION OF YOUTH 1875-1945 (2007). He was the writer on the award winning documentary JOY DIVISION (2008). Jon Savage lives in North Wales.


Friday, July 31st, 2009

— My 10 Favorite Biographies of Drug Addicts, Alcoholics & Sybarites
(In No Particular Order)

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay
By Nancy Milford

Nico: The End
By James Young

Lee Miller: A Life
By Carolyn Burke

Traci Lords Underneath It All
By Traci Elizabeth Lords

De Kooning
By Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan

The Long Hard Road Out of Hell
By Marilyn Manson and Neil Strauss

Edie: American Girl
By Jean Stein and George Plimpton

Been There, Done That: An Autobiography
By Eddie Fisher and David Fisher

A Little Original Sin: The Life and Work of Jane Bowles
By Millicent Dillon

No One Here Gets Out Alive
By Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman

Marilyn Minter was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and currently lives and works in New York. She has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including a show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions at the Miami Art Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Minter was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. This spring Minter had a solo exhibition at Salon 94, New York. In September, both the Zaha Hadid designed Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati and the newly opened contemporary art space ‘La Conservera’ in Murcia, Spain will present installations of Minter’s work, including large scale projections of her video, Green Pink Caviar.


Friday, July 31st, 2009


— This is a selection of photographs sent to me over the last 2 years. ‘Geschickt’ in German means ‘well crafted’ and ‘sent’ at the same time. These are photographs by artists and non-artists that I like a lot.

Walter Dahn was born 1954 in St.Tönis/Krefeld, Germany. From 1971 to 1979 he studied at the Art Academy Düsseldorf, being the last master scholar of Joseph Beuys. During the 80’s, Dahn gained an international reputation as one of the leading painters of the artist group MÜLHEIMER FREIHEIT. After exploring a variety of different medias, he now concentrates on painting, taking inspiration from found images, song texts and poetry. In 1995, Walter Dahn was nominated professor of fine arts at the University of Art in Braunschweig, Germany. He lives and works in Cologne.


Friday, July 31st, 2009


— Make of this what you may: We tell ourselves stories in order to live, or so, at least, I have been told. The princess is caged in the consulate. The dog barks and the sybarite sleeps on the sixteenth floor, dreaming perhaps of empty deserts from which the smoothened boulders of history have recently rolled. The landscape of this dream is level like the ocean, which it is not. Its surface bears the record of existences other than our own. It is the vacant lot into which all dreams of final theories, departure countdowns, sermons, and suicides have been decanted. Its geology is the sand of Borges and the rock of Smithson. Its presence is the non-site of the unrealized idea, the dark matter of excerpted testimony, of lip syncs and Park Hyatts, of shooting stars and narrative trails. It is where we go to transcribe our beliefs.

But this is a place that doesn’t necessarily exist except in the mind of the self-described woman with long straight hair who wears a migraine and a bikini to every eruption of zeitgeist, waiting, perhaps, for the tidal wave that will not come. Next to the bright rictus of her social ring flash is the man who wears headphones and darkness tuned to the residues of silence, of drum trigger and distortion. A skeleton attached by earpods to an iPod, he is the librarian of his own metal congress. Choosing loneliness over vulgarity has become a national pastime for those who live, like him, with an apprehension of what it might be like to open the door to a stranger and find that the stranger does indeed have a knife. And now it seems that stranger is all around us in the malevolent conga line of images and events, of hooded prisoners and un-Genevered conventions, suicide bombers and sex videos, Tinkerbells and mink-lined mukluk boots. These are the narratives that couldn’t be dreamt because they have indeed come to pass.

Joan Didion described a time, around 1971, when she began to doubt the premise of all the stories she had ever told herself; a common condition, but one she nonetheless found troubling. Different sounds now fill the empty lots and the angle of those daylight political shadows may have changed. But now, more than ever, we seek to find the narrative line that strings together ever more disparate experiences, that makes sense of worlds where it is possible to watch porn and preach religion at the same time. For the man with the basement headphones and the woman on the sixteenth floor, that sense may be one of competing theories, the most workable of multiple choices drawn from the offerings of creationism, intelligent design, bad gurus, and the policy voodoo otherwise known as government rule. Some, if not all, of this abiding uncertainty inevitably seeps into the things we make.

In this view, the groundwater from which we drink has already been contaminated, and perhaps Victor Hugo was right all along to claim the sewer as the resting place of all failure and effort. And as far as I’m concerned, any choice carries the potential for abandonment and betrayal, not just those of the political sermonizers, whose dreamworks are devised to obscure any intelligence that might trouble the dreamer, but also those of common neurasthenics, like myself, who rub themselves up on a daily basis against nameless derelictions of personal conscience, dubious sexual conducts, inexplicable bereavements, jackknifed relationships, and other proteins of normalcy and fear.

And so we look out from places like these, places of personal moral scrutiny, into the cloudy imperium of national conscience. In an effort to discover senses greater than our own, we turn from local malfeasance to primal decree, hoping, perhaps, that in the interrogation of notions about how we came into being might also be found the template of our own creative aspiration. But the turn from the sewer to the wellspring offers few reassurances. After all, the view that we, along with the rest of the earth’s plants and animals, have evolved via the accumulation of the tiny fraction of random mutations that proved useful— a view that commands solid majorities in most of the developed world and has the near-unanimous support of scientists everywhere—turns out to be just one option in an equal opportunity buffet that has science and superstition served up side by side.

And, as our least privileged die in crusades conducted against the infidels of progress abroad, faith-driven anti-rationalism at home unravels the premise of social evolution, dumping it without regard like the secular fuel of an airliner bound to go down. On this, the bad-weather channel, we learn that science is marginalized precisely because it now lies outside the interests of the governing conservative coalition. That’s why the White House—sometimes in the service of political Christianism or ideological fetishism, more often in obeisance to the baser motivations of the petroleum, pharmaceutical, and defense industries—has altered, suppressed, or overridden scientific findings on global warming; pollution from industrial farming; forest management and endangered species; environmental health, including lead and mercury poisoning in children and safety standards in drinking water; missile defense; HIV/AIDS; and nonabstinence methods of birth control and sexually transmitted disease prevention. That may also be why, in contemplating the abduction of American democracy, I can only understand it in terms of a loss of faith in my own method and powers of narration. At once seduced and abandoned by those narratives that supported the endeavor of finding and making images that can adequately reflect the mendacity of our sad and frightened times, it’s easy to understand why Gitmo has become a verb as much as a place, why blindness in faith and in war has cast its shadow across all descriptive effort.

Let me go further. I do not know why I did or did not do anything at all. Perhaps it’s because fighting for peace is indeed like fucking for virginity. Wrong means to a right end. Perfect anodyne solution to a situation where nothing is true and everything is permitted. The Situationists, at least, got that much right. Ours is indeed a culture of palindromes that achieves its full despair-producing effect through the recognition that our sense of the beginning is arrived at only through our knowledge of the end. In foreign as in personal policy, we have become accustomed to graduating through all rituals of self-annihilation in similarly unseemly haste, as if hesitation of any sort would be to open oneself up to the objections of rationality, or to expose a lack of steel for this premature confrontation with the end. In this cultural mosh pit, boredom and violence find their perfect détente. Slamming quickly through homegrown pleasures to the importation of other more threatening species of blankness, we create out of circumstances and predilection our own self-styled laboratories for testing death. Hence the prevailing darkness, the litter of broken pixels, the preference for black paint on top of embroidery, gnomic haikus, and SMS exchanges over rhetorical dialectics. These are the cultural products of the good-faith inroads we made toward the extinction of personality as sought by adolescence and clung to in adulthood as a hope unfulfilled. They are also the fatalities of ignorance and innocence, the collateral damage of our personal wars.

Honking helps, and war in this case seems to be the answer. Militarizing against evil, terror, and drugs gives local cant to global abstractions. In foreign and domestic policy, the caricature of the evil-doer has become a one-size-fits-all boogie man as effective in the mobilization of American might against one-eyed Muslim clerics— our version of Rambo versus the Hobbit— as it has been at home, where the rural fabric is being torn apart not by the consolidations of corporate farming but by high school kids freelancing as chemists. But in truth it’s not the meth-lab aneurisms that darken the CAT scan of rural North America. Rather, it is a more insidious, sub-audible Armageddon that leaches out from the prescription pads of the pharmaceutical interests and into the heads of those for whom the Esperanto of Xanax has created a language of pain management, a muffled syntax of absent subjects and late-in-the day verbs. Everything around has the soft, disinterested feel of conversations belonging to others.

As with our heads so we furnish our homes. In the vicinity of airports and other spaces recognizable by the failed prevalence of any history, we buy into flat-pack socialism turned to a profit— sensible Scandinavian furniture that measures in the metric system and suggests the region’s famous long winters and high suicide rate. Dave Hickey may have been right when he described his personal Vegas as “the only indigenous visual culture on the North American continent, a town bereft of white carpets, ficus plants and Barcelona chairs— where there is everything to see and not a single pretentious object to be scrutinized.”1 From such a lack the isolation of substance can itself become a state of interest.

And if we have become used to a type of art that speaks in ad hoc responses to the driving forces of the market and taste, we have also become accustomed to the platitudes that seek to make sense of the senseless by incorporating the things we know among the things we don’t and perhaps never can. Here our art is served as seismograph, alert on the fault lines of culture to every tremor of the fashion plate. And while it would be not only curious but wrong for the texture of now not to reflect these uncertainties, it is also hard not to think of the dark troika of dislocation, dreaming, and dread as narratives told only in self-defense. The woman on the sixteenth floor and the man whose world is drowned in distortion have in common the intuition that these stories we tell ourselves in order to live may yet be inadequate. Their descriptions fall short in ways not fully understood. They leave me consulting menus of strange choices and calamitous consequences. Meanwhile, I receive emails and texts like nighttime companions, each with its insinuation of personal literature. I see typed passages in my sleep, underwater texts, almost decipherable. Looking at this carnival of unnecessary ideas, it’s easy to imagine them as the portents of other, better-rehearsed ends. At the same time, each local refusal of the narrative overview allows the bad disjunctive idea to breathe its own air. And with the inhalation of this ambivalence comes the exhalation of contradiction. And so we recognize ourselves encoded in the rhythm of these minor graces, and what, after all, is there not to like about that? Man, these antidepressants really are strong.

1. Dave Hickey, Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (Los Angeles: Art Issues Press, 1997), 23.

Neville Wakefield is a writer and commentator on contemporary art, culture and photography. He currently is creative director for Adam Kimmel Projects and co-creative director of Tar Magazine, first issue released, October 2008. He is also senior curatorial advisor for PS1 MoMA and the curator of Frieze Projects at the Frieze Art Fair. Among many projects, he is a co-founder and co-producer of DESTRICTED, a series of films that address the issue of sexuality in art. He most recently curated the exhibition BUILT TO SURVIVE THE REAL WORLD, in January 2009, at Andrew Roth Gallery in New York.


Friday, July 31st, 2009

— Here are two related pieces: Self Portrait 1972 and 1972, created in the same week mid July 1972. They are from a memoir in progress, The Electric Kid, about my initial year as a writer, or in this case a poet. They mark a definitive turning point in my career. Both works made in London, England, were inspired by an extraordinary woman with whom I had just had a passionate love affair in the north. She released me from the strangle hold of other egos, cutting me loose to be myself. I was 21 and lived in Philadelphia.

Self Portrait 1972 presents a radically different face than the one on the cover of my first book of poems published three months earlier, In America. This is the first live picture of me, which reveals the face of punk three years before it emerged. 1972 was the first poem I wrote directly from my mind. Previously I had been writing under the influence of minimalism. 1972 is not just a list of names, it also opens up on its broadest scale the living, breathing universe of the counterculture that year. The darkening in bottom left hand corner is intended. It was also an introduction to the mythology of the counterculture, which I would dedicate my life to writing one year later.

Victor Bockris is the author of eleven non-fiction books, including a trilogy of portraits of Muhammad Ali, William Burroughs and Blondie, as well as a trilogy of biographies of Andy Warhol, Keith Richard and Lou Reed. He is currently writing a trilogy of memoirs.


Monday, July 6th, 2009

— “It’s not you, Billy. It’s this town, it’s the people we know.”

Central Library, Manchester, 1976.
The young woman seated on the right was a librarian.
She left Manchester shortly after I took this photograph and
went to work in a boutique on the Kings Road in Chelsea.

Postcard from Morrissey to myself.

Linder Sterling is a visual artist, performance artist and musician. A well-known figure of the Manchester punk and post-punk scene, Linder co-founded the band LUDUS in 1978. She is known for her montages such as those featured on the record sleeves of BUZZCOCKS, LUDUS and MORRISSEY. Many of her works were published in the 70s punk fanzine THE SECRET PUBLIC which she founded together with Jon Savage. In 1992 Linder published MORRISSEY SHOT, a collection of photographs of her close friend Morrissey, taken on his 1991 tour. A monograph of her works, LINDER WORKS 1976-2006, was published by Jrp/Ringier. Linder recently collaborated with the fashion designer Richard Nicoll for his A/W 2009 collection. She has exhibited internationally and is represented by Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London.


Monday, July 6th, 2009


Tissue box (Tempo)
Alarm (Braun, Quartz)
Alarm (Tempo, Quartz)
Claude Arnaud, Chamfort – Die Frauen, der Adel und die Revolution
Berliner Zeitung, 30-31/12/06, Page 4/5, Der Koch des Jahres
Henning Mankell, The Man Who Smiled
Klaus Theweleit, Männerphantasien Band 2; Männerkoerper – Zur Psychoanalyse des weissen Terrors
Nicholas Ostler, Empires of the Word – A Language History of the World
Karl Schloegel, Marjampole – Europas Wiederkehr aus dem Geist der Staedte
Klaus Theweleit, Männerphantasien Band 1 – Frauen, Fluten, Körper, Geschichte
Harper’s Magazine, August 2004
Remote control (Sony Trinitron, color TV)
Tin of liquorice pastilles, Liquirizia Due Sicilie (Leone / Torino)
2 packets of condoms (Curafam DeLuxe)
Red light lamp (Philips Infraphil)
Nose spray (Safeway)
Skin lotion (Bepanthol Roche, 400ml refill bag)
Lettre International 72″, spring 2006
Der Feinschmecker, December 2006
E. Bischoff / F.S. Meyer, Architektonische Formenlehre
Lettre International 71″, winter 2005
Pair of shoes (black, size 44, Canali / Italy)


9 CDs, Einstürzende Neubauten, Weingeister
White silk dress inside plastic bag (Real supermarket)
Berliner Zeitung, 23/03/07, Page 26, Lieber tot als ohne Selbstwiderspruch – Raymond Pettibon’s Musical über den Weatherman in den Sophiensaelen
Cover, lipstick (Dermatologica / Los Angeles, CA / USA)
Innocent When You Dream – Tom Waits: The Collected Interviews
Boris Akunin, The Winter Queen
Tony Parsons, Als wir unsterblich waren
Annemarie Firme, Ramona Hocker (Hg.), Von Schlachthymnen und Protestsongs
Recharger (Nokia)
CD-R Fishman Bass with info letter
Mario Vargas Llosa, Ein trauriger, rabiater Mann – Über George Grosz
Heiner Bastian (Hg.), Ron Mueck
Teacup (Arcopal / France)
Lip balm Blistex (Blistex Inc., Oak Brook, IL / USA)
Peppermint lollies Mentos – sugarfree (Perfetti Van Melle, Da Breda / The Netherlands)
Catalogue Drap-Art 06
Bowl (Arcopal / France) with green Tee (Lung Ching / China)
CD (in stylized cigar box), Egobar, Heiner Mueller – Ajax zum Beispiel
Sake glass (hand blown, Japan)
Carry case for digital camera, SonyCybershot
Laptop with power cord (Apple-Macintosh Wall Street)
CD Larry Young, Lawrence of Newark


Document file (plastic, black) with user instructions for electronic goods, warranty papers
Mini-TIP, December 2001
Ruler (Leitern-Maiwald-Gerüste)
Matches (Europa-Hölzer),
Cassette (Bargeld Gut, Lala, two mixes)
Cassette (TDK SuperCDing 90 / gramophone version Happy End)
Cassette (TDK / Artgenossen „94″)
Leather bag (Targus, schwarz),
CD-R Klaverna
CD booklet Przeboje Henryka Warsa z lat 1927-1939
CD E. Wedel (Danone Polska)
CD Wspomnien Czar, Vol. 2
CD Wspomnien Czar, Vol. 2
Akku (Apple Macintosh G3)
Boules set (France)
Cardboard box with photos and a roll of color film (Fujifilm / Japan)
Plastic bag with liquorice cats
Plastic bag with chinese throat lozenges
2 instant cameras Funsaver 35 (Eastman Kodak Company / Mexico)
Instant camera Imation Magic (Imation Ltd. / UK)
Instant camera Quicksnap Jeans (Fuji Magnetics GmbH, Essen / Germany)
Instant camera Film in 24 +3 (Konica Corporation / Japan)
Box, Ricola Zitronenmelisse (Ricola AG / Switzerland)
Box, Ricola Kraeuter Original (Ricola AG / Switzerland)
Box, A. Vogel: Echinacea Kraeuter-Bonbons (Bioforce AG / Switzerland)
Bottle, Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Balmenach Distillery: Cask 1765, distilled 1976
Cylindrical glass vase
Fisherman’s Friend, Anis (Lofthouse of Fleetwood Ltd. / UK)
3 boxes Minox Minocolor color film
Hip flask (metall)
Cord, approx. 1.5m (color: green / white)
Cord, approx. 2m (color: white)
Hat brush
Eraser (blue)
Tablets Solidago Steiner (Steiner & Co., Berlin / BRD)
Nasal drops Olynth (Pfizer CHC, Karlsruhe / Germany)
2 A/V-Scart adapter
FM3 Buddha Machine (white / PRC)
5 batteries AA (Duracell / EC)
Nasal drops Euphorbium compositum (Heel GmbH, Baden-Baden / Germany)
Spray paint Aero Decor (Union-Chemie, Berlin / Germany)
Leukoplast (Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg / Germany)
3 adapter (international / UK, international / USA, international / Australia)
Travel sewing kit (Hotel Mercure)
Travel sewing kit (Hotel Inter Hotel Panorama Praha)
Vitamins Orthomol M, 1 month pack (Grapefruit flavor / Orthomol GmbH, Langenfeld / Germany)
CD booklet
Piece of paper with software serial number
3 CDs, Sony System Recovery Software
2 CD-Rs (TDK, unlabeled)
Postcard (image: St. Petersburg’s castle bridge)
Glasses (Flexon 606, Marchon, San Francisco, CA / USA)

1959 born in Berlin. 1980, formation of the group EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN, as lead vocalist. From 1984 to 2003, guitarist of NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS. Numerous concert-tours through Europe, North and South America, Australia and Japan. Works as composer, author, actor, singer, musician, performer and lecturer in almost any field of interpretative art.


Monday, July 6th, 2009

— I have always maintained an interest in uncovering photographic works that were neglected, never fully realized, or in need of reinvigoration. Here are three publications, released under PPP Editions, which illustrate this best.

Daido Moriyama, ’71-NY, 2002

’71-NY (2002) is an expanded version of Another Country in New York, a book Daido Moriyama made in 1974. He brought a Xerox machine into a Tokyo storefront, while outside people would line up to get a copy. Another Country in New York was assembled and staple-bound on location. You could choose from two variant silkscreen covers– a multiple image of the American flag, or an airplane taking off. The Xeroxes within were made from photographs that Moriyama shot during a one-month visit to New York City in 1971 — the first trip he made abroad. There were under 75 images reproduced in the original book, and at most 100 copies were sold.

Upon meeting Moriyama for the first time in Tokyo in 2000, I inquired about the remaining images he shot during his visit to New York. He told me they were still in negative form. There were over 50 rolls of half-frame film, at 72 images to a roll and no existing contact prints. I asked if he would consider allowing me to publish a book of photographs from the unpublished images; he agreed. A month later I received the contact sheets with Moriyama’s selections circled in yellow. I then went through them and circled in red the images I liked and sent them back. Shortly after, Moriyama sent over 200 photographs to reproduce in the book and to my surprise he turned the entire project over to me — asking me to make the book I wanted to and to send him a copy when it was complete.

I felt the only way to approach an edit of such a large quantity of images was to try and recreate Moriyama’s original experience — from the airplane to nearing the city, to being in the hotel, on the streets, during the day, at night, alone. While the title of the original Xerox book referenced James Baldwin’s classic Another Country (1962) — the painful life and eventual suicide of an overly sensitive, young African American man in New York City — for our expanded version I chose’71-NY from a marking that appeared on the contact sheets. I incorporated in the book a bilingual interview I had made with Moriyama about the original Xerox project, along with an excerpt from Baldwin’s Another Country, a commissioned essay on Moriyama’s photographs by Neville Wakefield, a selection of the original contact sheets with our markings on them and lastly, at the opening of the book, a facsimile letter Moriyama sent thanking me for making the book and giving him the opportunity to revisit the intensity of that time in New York.

I also wanted ’71-NY to reference For A Language To Come, a critical photographic book from the 70s by Nakahira Takuma, a close friend and colleague of Moriyama’s and one of the founding members of Provoke. For A Language To Come has a colorful, pop dust jacket while the book itself prints a somber black and white photograph that spans both front and back covers. I was always attracted to this kind of contrast between the jacket and what is hidden beneath, so for ’71-NY I illustrated the cover with vivid blue and white stripes while keeping the entire exterior jacket solid black except for two dye-cut elliptical holes that reveal the underlying stripes like searchlights in the night.

Although ’71-NY is a small chunk of a book, most every double-spread bleeds a single image at close to its original size. To read the vertical images the book must be turned on it’s side, a tradition in Japanese photographic books. There is no text on the jacket, cover or spine. Instead the title of the book, along with the PPP imprint, appears in white type on the spine and cover of a traditional Japanese, corrugated-cardboard slipcase — a carefully orchestrated package.

David Wojnarowicz, RIMBAUD IN NEW YORK, 2004

Rimbaud in New York (2004) is one of my favorite projects. It began with a question posed by the collector Philip Aarons, “What do you know about this series Wojnarowicz made in the late 70s?”

From 1978-79 Wojnarowicz produced a quantity of black-and-white photographs of a young man, posing as himself, wearing a mask with a reproduction of a portrait that Etienne Carjat had taken in the late Nineteenth Century of Arthur Rimbaud. Wojnarowicz’s Rimbaud is viewed in locations and situations, both private and public, around Manhattan. Selections of these images had been published in journals and newspapers throughout the late 70s and 80s, but they were never fully realized as a series until 1990. Two years before Wojnarowicz’s death he selected twenty-five negatives and produced a portfolio of 8 x 10 inch prints in a proposed edition of three. He only realized one complete set; the individual prints were sold separately and traded infrequently in the market.

When I visited the Fales Library at NYU where Wojnarowicz’s archive is housed, I looked at and read everything — negatives, prints, diaries, correspondence, and sketchbooks. I realized that Rimbaud in New York, although created early in his career, was a critically important work for Wojnarowicz and in fact there were many more compelling photographs from the series besides the mere twenty-five Wojnarowicz had previously selected. With the assistance of Tom Rauffenbart, Wojnarowicz’s surviving lover and the executor of his estate and his dealers at PPOW, Wendy Olsoff and Penny Pinkleton, I took on the task of reconstructing Rimbaud in New York.

Some of the negatives from the original series were lost; others, from the larger body of work existed only as negatives; still others, merely as contact prints. We had to make new negatives from a hand full of early prints we located and in a few cases, new negatives from contact prints. The master print-technician Charles Griffin was instrumental in seamlessly fabricating the images to match the look of the prints from the original portfolio. I poured through these new photographs and culled a group of sixty-five that had potential, together we narrowed our selection to forty-four. These were editioned in a new portfolio of 11 x 14 inch photographs, which set them apart from the original 8 x 10s and became the raw material for our book.

Wojnarowicz was very versatile as a photographer and was comfortable shooting both vertical and horizontal images. This made it especially challenging to sequence and organize his pictures in a book format. I decided on a portrait-oriented book, presenting the vertical images as full bleeds on one side of a double-spread and the horizontals spanning the gutter and bleeding off either the left or right side, leaving a bold white margin. This layout maintains an active rhythm and presents a quasi-diaristic account of Rimbaud’s life in the city. The book opens and closes with drawings Wojnarowicz made of Rimbaud masturbating. Upfront there appears several pages from Wojnarowicz’s diaries, one showing photo-booth strips of him with the mask on posing with a gun in his hand. I wanted to transform the book into that mask, so I printed the front of the mask on the front cover and the back of the mask on the back cover, with no text on either side.

For the main text I commissioned Jim Lewis, as I specifically did not want a queer writer, no competition for Wojnarowicz’s iconography or personality. I also wanted fiction, not an essay.

Your head turns away:  O the new love! Your head turns back: O the new love!

This is a fantasy, an imagined meeting between a ghost from the time before the AIDS epidemic and a contemporary young man in the street. In addition Tom Rauffenbart presents an account of his first meeting with Wojnarowicz — his perception of him as a lonely man and his insights into the Rimbaud photographs. The book ends with a statement I wrote about the making of the book itself and how the project had unfolded.

Keizo Kitajima, BACK TO OKINAWA 1980/2009, 2009

Back To Okinawa 1980/2009 (2009) is my most recent book. It is a new version of Keizo Kitajima’s serialized, 4-volume publication Photo Express Okinawa (1980). The original self-published books were scheduled for release every other month, over one year, though only 4 volumes were ever realized. Together these 4 volumes form one work — an investigation into the nightlife in Kozu, the red-light district surrounding the Kadena Airforce Base in Okinawa. Kitajima immersed himself in the life of Okinawa’s nightclubs, bars and streets, photographing a mix of American military (chiefly African-Americans), Japanese prostitutes and drag queens.

The original volumes are extremely difficult to procure as a complete set, though they don’t amount to much — 4 slim, 16-page magazines with images of varying sizes bled across each double-spread and onto the covers. They are numbered consecutively and dated by month, along with the exact period of time in which the images were shot, as in 1.1-15. The typography on the covers are printed in vibrant 80s colors but the content is inked up with extreme black-and-white contrast.

I finally found and bought a set from a private auction in Tokyo last year and got in touch with Kitajima to propose republishing the book and making an exhibition. Regrettably, absolutely nothing from that work survived, not the photographs, not the negatives. Kitajima did not even hold in his possession a set of the original 4-volumes. Still he agreed to the project, even though he had nothing to offer! I decided to make the new book by scanning the photographs printed in the original volumes, even those that crossed the gutter — these I had to have digitally repaired. The images are printed on tabloid-size newsprint stock, the covers are screen-printed and then bound by hand-sewn black thread.

Back To Okinawa 1980/2009 reproduces every image from the original volumes in four separate sections, though re-edited. The images still bleed into one another — often across the gutter, hovering in the center of the sheet; they never touch the edge of the page, appearing as puzzle pieces. The silkscreen image on the cover — a street scene from Okinawa at dusk — is reproduced from the original volume #4 and does not repeat in the body of the book. This way the cover is integrated into the sequence of images within. Back To Okinawa tips its hat to Moriyama’s Another Country in New York.

Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth specializes in selling rare photographic and artist’s books from the 20th century, while also publishing limited edition books himself under his imprint PPP Editions. He maintains a gallery in a New York primarily exhibiting the work of photographic artist’s from the 60s and 70s, as well as contemporary art. Over the past 10 years he has presented exhibitions by key Japanese artists Makoto Aida, Nobuyoshi Araki, Ishiuchi Miyako, Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu, Tadanori Yokoo, and most recently, Keizo Kitajima. Along with exhibitions on the work of Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Robert Heinecken, Ed Ruscha, Collier Schorr and David Wojnarowicz. In 1999 he presented PROVOKE, the first exhibition in the US to outline a critical history of rare Japanese photographic books. In 2001 he published THE BOOK OF 101 BOOKS — a primer on the history of the photographic book, which went on to help define the rare photographic book market of today. Recent publications include; Larry Clark’s PUNK PICASSO, Leigh Ledare’s PRETEND YOU’RE ACTUALLY ALIVE and MALE: FROM THE COLLECTION OF VINCE ALETTI. Forthcoming from PPP Editions is a fully illustrated, 450-page reference book IN NUMBERS: SERIAL PUBLICATIONS BY ARTISTS SINCE 1955.


Monday, July 6th, 2009

— In early September 1981 I spotted John Belushi in the New York after hours club AM PM. I asked him when he was going to do a photo session with me for my series Bad Boys: A Compendium of Punks, Poets and Politicians. He said, “Now”. I didn’t believe him, until upon returning home at six am I saw a limousine waiting in front of my building. I turned on the music as John and his entourage filed into my loft. I then directed John to an area lit by strobe lights and I began shooting.

John paced around like a caged animal, fidgeting incessantly. He seemed unable to sit still for my camera, uncanny for someone known for being deliberate and fluid when performing. “Where are the props?”, he queried. I first gave him sunglasses, then a scarf. He requested a beer, then a glass. After donning a black wool ski mask that he took off a nearby mannequin, he settled into a chair. Only his eyes and mouth peeked through the openings in the mask. The large, ominous and anonymous ‘executioner’ had finally reached his comfort zone.

Marcia Resnick is a New York City photographer and educator. She is an alumnus of the Cooper Union and California Institute of the Arts. Her images have been shown internationally in galleries and appear in many major museum collections. Her work has been published in numerous counterculture periodicals, from THE PARIS REVIEW to ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE, self-published artist’s books and an autobiography in photographs, RE-VISIONS. Her confrontational images explore aggression, fame and sexuality while echoing the primordial audacity of punk music and punk style.


Monday, July 6th, 2009

— I recently rediscovered in my pile of clippings, pictures and papers, a diary that I found as a youth. I lived next to the nursing home, which my parents ran for 30 years in Newark New Jersey. Often I would go through the trash and find personal items that had been discarded by residents or their families after the residents’ death. This particular little book was owned by someone who recorded the names and dates of those that passed away. Through the years I got to know most of the residents quite well, then would come their inevitable failing of physical and mental health and then death. My mother was a nurse at the nursing home and would regularly return home teary eyed with the news that Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so had died. This was something I got very used to as a kid– aging and death.

Douglas Kolk is an American artist based in Boston, Massachusetts. He is known primarily for his drawing, as well as work in collage and mixed media. Kolk’s work has been shown internationally at galleries and museums including the Helsinki City Art Museum in Finland, Kasseler Kunstverein and Kunsthalle Mannheim in Germany, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, and The Royal Academy in London. His work features in several prominent collections including The Falckenberg Collection and the Saatchi Gallery. He is represented by Arndt & Partner in Berlin and Zurich.