Poet, painter, self-described funny guy, idiot, failure, pickpocket, and anti-artist par excellence, Francis Picabia was a defining figure in the Dada movement; indeed, Andre Breton called Picabia one of the only “true” Dadas. Yet very little of Picabia’s poetry and prose has been translated into English, and his literary experiments have never been the subject of close critical study. I Am a Beautiful Monster is the first definitive edition in English of Picabia’s writings, gathering a sizable array of Picabia’s poetry and prose and, most importantly, providing a critical context for it with an extensive introduction and detailed notes by the translator. Picabia’s poetry and prose is belligerent, abstract, polemical, radical, and sometimes simply baffling. For too long, Picabia’s writings have been presented as raw events, rule-breaking manifestations of inspirational carpe diem. This book reveals them to be something entirely different: maddening in their resistance to meaning, full of outrageous posturing, and hiding a frail, confused, and fitful personality behind egoistic bravura.
I Am a Beautiful Monster provides the texts of of Picabia’s significant publications, all presented complete, many of them accompanied by their original illustrations.
- Francis Picabia - I am a Beautiful Monster : Poetry, Prose, and Provocation
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The artist Francis Picabia — notorious dandy, bon vivant, painter, poet, filmmaker, and polemicist — has emerged as the Dadaist with postmodern appeal, and one of the most enigmatic forces behind the enigma that was Dada.
In this first book in English to focus on Picabia’s work in Paris during the Dada years, art historian and critic George Baker reimagines Dada through Picabia’s eyes. Such reimagining involves a new account of the readymade — Marcel Duchamp’s anti-art invention, which opened fine art to mass culture and the commodity. But in Picabia’s hands, Baker argues, the Dada readymade aimed to reinvent art rather than destroy it. Picabia’s readymade opened art not just to the commodity, but to the larger world from which the commodity stems: the fluid sea of capital and money that transforms all objects and experiences in its wake. The book thus tells the story of a set of newly transformed artistic practices, claiming them for art history — and naming them — for the first time: Dada Drawing, Dada Painting, Dada Photography, Dada Abstraction, Dada Cinema, Dada Montage. Along the way, Baker describes a series of nearly forgotten objects and events, from the almost lunatic range of the Paris Dada “manifestations” to Picabia’s polemical writings; from a lost work by Picabia in the form of a hole (called, suggestively, The Young Girl) to his “painting” Cacodylic Eye, covered in autographs by luminaries ranging from Ezra Pound to Fatty Arbuckle. Baker ends with readymades in prose: a vast interweaving of citations and quotations that converge to create a heated conversation among Picabia, Andre Breton, Tristan Tzara, James Joyce, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and others. Art history has never looked like this before. But then again, Dada has never looked like art history.
George Baker is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an editor at October magazine and October Books. He is the editor of James Coleman (MIT Press) and a frequent contributor to Artforum.
- The Artwork Caught by the Tail : Francis Picabia and Dada in Paris
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The Sky is a Great Space
Bringing together five decades of painting, sculpture, and installations from the celebrated Italian artist Marisa Merz, this major hardcover monograph accompanies a major US retrospective of her work. This generously illustrated book offers readers the chance to appreciate the full range of works by Marisa Merz, winner of the 2013 Golden Lion lifetime achievement award at the Venice Biennale. This volume traces Merz’s artistic evolution from early experiments with non-traditional materials and processes, to intricately constructed installations of the 1970s and the enigmatic ceramic heads of the 1980s and ’90s. Authoritative essays explore the rise of international women’s art in the 1960s and ’70s and Merz’s own place in Italy’s postwar art history. As the sole female protagonist of Arte Povera she is one of the few Italian women to exhibit in major venues internationally. Merz’s challenging and evocative body of work is deeply personal and resistant to the categories of art history, including Arte Povera and international feminist art, with which she was associated. Previously unpublished texts and poetry by the artist, and an illustrated chronology, complement this comprehensive look at an enormously influential artist.
Texts by Connie Butler, Ian Alteveer, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Leslie Cozzi, Teresa Kittler, Lucia Re, Cloe Perrone, Tommaso Trini.
- Marisa Merz - The Sky is a Great Space
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The landmark Jewish Museum exhibition Primary Structures offered the first presentation of Minimalist sculptures in the United States, in 1966. The accompanying catalogue by Kynaston McShine became a key resource on artists such as Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, and Sol LeWitt, who were virtually unknown at the time. Other Primary Structures is a long-overdue reintroduction of this classic, out-of-print text. This two-volume set includes a replica of the original catalogue, plus a new companion volume by Jens Hoffmann that offers a global survey of early Minimalist sculpture during the 1960s and 1970s, featuring important sculptors from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, and complementing the earlier catalogue’s focus on American and British artists. Beautifully designed, this publication comes enclosed in a clear jacket that pays homage to the original catalogue’s iconic cover. Other Primary Structures is invaluable for the study of modern art history and provides an authoritative survey of Minimalist sculpture in the 1960s.
Carl Andre, Lyman Kipp, Tim Scott, Richard Van Buren, Isaac Witkin, Tony DeLap, Tom Doyle, Richard Artschwager, Michael Bolus, Paul Frazier, Douglas Huebler, John McCracken, Peter Phillips, Anne Truitt, Ronald Bladen, Robert Grosvenor, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Larry Bell, Walter de Maria, Sol LeWitt, Daniel Gorski, David Gray, David Hall, Phillip King, John McCracken, Peter Pinchbeck, Michael Todd, Derrick Woodham, Rasheed Araeen, Sérgio Camargo, Willys de Castro, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Lygia Clark, Noemí Escandell, Gego, Stanislav Kolíbal, Edward Krasiński, David Lamelas, David Medalla, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Alejandro Puente, Norberto Puzzolo, Branko Vlahović, Oscar Bony, Benni Efrat, Yoshida Katsurō, Stanislav Kolíbal, Susumu Koshimiz, Ivan Kožarić, David Lamelas, Amir Nour, Juan Pablo Renzi, Nobuo Sekine, Antonieta Sosa, Kishio Suga, Jirō Takamatsu, Lee Ufan
- Other Primary Structures
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