Reception for Patrick Paine, April 7th from 6-10 pm

Patrick Paine began his artistic career as a ceramicist but is now a sculptor working primarily with wire mesh. This a difficult and thoroughly unpromising material used primarily in construction to give structural integrity to poured concrete. Paine, however, uses this semi-transparent mesh to make remarkable crystalline structures in which form and volume, shadow and light, and line and plane interplay. That some of these structures resemble a Clovis point arrow head is less a specific visual reference than it is an affinity based on rigorous methods of creation that rely on paying close attention to the properties and possibilities of the material being worked, no matter if it is a sheet of wire mesh, or a chunk of obsidian. At the beginning of March Paine created an installation and window display at the 6 Decades/Sit and Read space at 236 grand street. A reception for the artist will be held April 7th from 6-10 pm. Please inquire for more information about the artist, this installation, or individual works on view.

Saroyan: Coffee Coffee

Aram Saroyan
Coffee Coffee
New York: 0 to 9 Books, 1967.

4to.; illustrated throughout in black and white; staple bound printed wrappers;  some wear to covers; very good.

Other than co-founders Vito Acconci and Bernadette Mayer, Aram Saroyan was the most frequent contributor to 0 to 9. This legendary periodical formed a link between the language-based works of such New York Conceptual artists as Sol Lewitt, Adrian Piper, Dan Graham, and Lawrence Weiner and the mimeograph-printed poetry journals of the 60s that printed the work of John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Ed Sanders and other New York School poets. Aside from its regular issues, several artists’ books appeared with the 0 to 9 imprint, among them Saroyan's most iconic publication, Coffee Coffee. Saroyan’s poems consist of a single word (sometimes repeated) placed in the center of the page. These works, which carry the minimalist impulse to its furthest possible point,  were controversial even among readers of avant-garde poetry and were openly derided by outside commentators (most famously by Ronald Reagan whose statements opposing government funding of the arts regularly cited the $500 Saroyan received when his poem “Lighght” was selected for a NEA-sponsored poetry anthology), but for artists who made work in a Conceptual,  Minimal or Performance-based mode, Saroyan was an aethetic fellow-traveler. He achieved startling effects using only  repetition, a starkly minimal approach to page design, and   an extraordinarily compressed vocabulary. Saroyan's work treats printed words as having a sculptural presence and this acknowledges the physicality of the objects named while implying the performative aspect of repetitive routine actions. Unlike Acconci, who stopped writing and became an artist, Saroyan never stopped thinking of his work as poetry. His greatest influence, however has been in the art world where Coffee Coffee is regarded as an iconic demonstration of the conceptual potential of language.

Sunset Strip giveaway at Regency Arts Press benefit

The annual benefit Book Party for Regency Arts Press will be held on FRIDAY, APRIL 1ST at White Columns. Regency is an organization devoted to publishing and promoting artists’ books and has been behind many excellent publications and related projects in the past few years (more about Regency here). I would encourage anyone who is interested in contemporary artists’ books to join me at the 2011 book party. Tickets are available from 6 Decades or you may buy them directly from Regency at their website.   

Everyone who buys a ticket for the benefit receives a SIGNED book from one of a long list of artists who are Regency supporters. So, by attending you will not only get that warm glow inside which comes from doing charitable works, you will also get that warm glow which comes from knowing you’ve just scored a sweet art book that is very likely worth more than you paid for your ticket. Not a bad deal. And if you’re feeling lucky, buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win the signed copy of Every Building on the Sunset Strip that Regency will be giving away at the end of the party.