Filed under: Paper Pusher | Tags: East Village, New York City, Professor Dr. Dr. Zagreus Bowery, Public Illumination Magazine, zines
Below is a brief interview with Professor Dr. Dr. Zagreus Bowery, editor of Public Illumination Magazine (PIM) conducted via email.
Q: How did you organize the zines? Seeing as you had an open call but many return writers, how did you fit it all in?
A: A ruthless red pen and an editor’s sensibility.
Q: What’d you do with the content you turned down?
A: Regret that it didn’t fit.
Q: Are contributors international, or from a particular region?
A: Mostly US, some Italy.
Q: What inspired the beginning of this zine?
A: Collaboration with other artists.
Q: What spurred the themes?
Q: Are there any more recent issues from 2014?
A: “Fortune” is coming soon.
Q: Are there any other notes you have for me that are important about how you made the zine, its evolution, its importance, where it fits in or doesn’t with other zines, etc?
A: Dogged perseverance and a little help from my friends, 57 issues & 34 years later…
My adoration of Public Illuminations Magazine, or PIM, started several years ago when, against my instinctual avoidance of miniature items I might clumsily crush, I was drawn to the irrevocably small item at Printed Matter. The pocket-size, glossy pages of PIM were like a Siamese cat perched in a book shelf: camouflaged among its sculptural surroundings yet exotically deliberate.
PIM emerged in December 1979 for $0.50. It was a twelve-page booklet, edited by Professor Dr. Dr. Zagreus Bowery and created in Manhattan. The zine was an East Village staple throughout the 80s, printed first on Grand Street then on Lafayette. Starting in 1987, PIM was ejected from an Italian printer, and has been produced by Casa Sorci since 1996. The zine, hosting both art and writing acquired from open submissions, appeared at intentionally unpredictable intervals— what began as a monthly became bimonthly, then quarterly, bi-annually, and currently “occasionally” published. Less than ten issues total appeared in the 1990s, but the publication currently appears to be making a bi-annual comeback.
PIM’s compressed tangents, stuffed into a demure eleven-by-seven centimeter construct of varying page counts, are at the behest of singular themes. As far as I can tell, one aspect is exclusively non-negotiable: authors need only provide a pseudonym for their work. Current submissions have a maximum word count of 275, although originally 250 was the cap. Haikus, frank first-person renditions, and third-person mysteries are the meat of these coconuts. The ability to reduce each issue’s categorical framework, to chirp two-cents from global contributors with complete freedom, is the zine’s strength. In the past, they have taken on heavy topics such as “Contraception,” “The Truth,” “Cosmetic Mutilation,” and “Excess;” conversely, “Tongues,” “Vermin,” and “Fun” have also been addressed. Their editorial creed, which appears solely in issue 9 from September 1980, is a clear indication of their goals: to “[exist] on empathy,” publishing work “rendered with conviction, yet maintaining an observational distance” in order to provoke the reader.
The earliest issues from 1980 and 1981 are heavily saturated with images, including satirical imaginary advertisements created by Hignett’s for wart hogs (May 1980, issue 6, “Livestock”) and “vice vines” (August 1980, issue 8, “Habits”). With no tangible sponsors to consider, PIM’s format is an unwieldy nymph. The magazine’s alternative typography and page design are like irreverent, indecipherable conversations from a herd of cows— a disorienting snatcher of silence and order. Like my desire to fashion a font that expressed my psychic self in the fourth grade, however, these tactics reflect an evolving interest in stimulation, in ways in which text, image, and concept might unite. The first color issue, with violet blocks of color framing each page and accenting both visuals and text, appeared in May 1981 for issue 14, “Rejects.” The printing process continued to evolve from that moment: some issues became completely monochrome (July 1981, issue 16, “Pain & Sorrow,” among others); some embraced tricolor printing (September 1981, issue 17, “Excess,” for example). The most recent innovation has been the introduction of a patterned background repeated throughout, which first appeared in early 1993’s issue 41, “Underwear.” At the end of 1980, PIM began a subscription series, distributing to the likes of Zimbabwe, London, New York, and California, among others.
PIM continues to accept submissions from writers and artists, but the rules for anonymity still stand. Loyal contributors including Sparrow, Sophie D. Lux, U Bett, and Leadbilly counteract the fanaticism of celebrity scribblers with their wit. Staunch opinions and cerebral musings frame a collective consciousness seeking to infuse humor into listless, branded content. Thirty-four years worth of contributions emulsified this antipasti of the written word—you have your tart pickled peppers and fatty meats, slobbering tales told over two bottles of wine and brief conversations banished to the writer’s mind for analysis whilst walking to the train. To quote Drake, it was “more than what [I] bargained for and nothin’ less than real”—one steaming brick of experience.
Filed under: Events | Tags: books, New York City, Printed Matter, sale, zines
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: abstract art, abstraction, April, composition, fabric, Graham & Sons, Joe Fyfe, March, minimal, mysticism, New York City, Photography, poverty, sculpture, tension, third world, wood/cloth/color
wood/cloth/color, Joe Fyfe’s current exhibition at Graham & Sons, provides a thorough insight into the artist’s firmly abstract repertoire. The show considers recent sculpture, photography, and fabric paintings as reflections of his journeys to the third-world. Fyfe summons each village’s emotional and bodily accessibility emphatically. Each piece requires time and patience to decipher the stunning composition and devour each sensual component.
A handful of photographs illuminate Fyfe’s instinctual recognition of inadvertently artful compositions. ‘Palermo, 2000′ (2008) epitomizes the quiet beauty of these shots, announcing Fyfe’s attention to vivid colors, robust layering, and patterns. Despite his photographs’ natural depth, the combination of these motifs flattens the image and echos the tension of his fabric paintings. ‘Psar Thmei’ (2011), for example, is a jigsaw composition of gauze and cotton that demolishes the picture plane. The subtle textures of the cotton, the lines of glue melding each layer, and gentle puckers of the fabric mock the artist’s hand. Fyfe denies the idealization of paint and finds expressive gestures within his gathered palate of materials. The single gauze section allows the viewer to penetrate the piece as it fluctuates between sculptural object and painting.
Fyfe also presents weathered wood plank sculptures that lean precariously against the walls or hang by a loop of fabric, reminders of his fascination with poverty’s resourcefulness. ‘For Vann Molycan’ (2010) is a simple conglomeration of found wood and crimson felt that links the formal strength of the fabric paintings with evocative tactility. The scavenged materials are revitalized upon their introduction to the academic investigation of form and composition. ‘Pakbeng’ (2010) is a more conceptually urgent sculpture, consisting of a single gnarly plank of driftwood with two sashes of fabric fastened to the top. Fyfe sustains an open dialogue with vendors and artists of the third-world selling wares fashioned out of minimal resources. Be that as it may, this piece annunciates how close some of the sculptures come to a gimmick that is derived rather than inspired by poverty.
Each work in wood/cloth/color sustains Fyfe’s adoration of the tactility he continually discovers abroad. He implants an emotional resonance into his intellectual explorations, facilitating an semi-transcendent viewing experience. ‘Tanka fragment’ (2011), for example, summons the mysticism of a Mark Rothko painting and Matisse’s uninterrupted space skillfully. Each fragment of driftwood is incorporated into a similarly formal dialogue and is thus renewed. Although Fyfe’s yearning to capture the essence of the penniless is a stretch, he indubitably commends and channels their resourcefulness in this thoughtful exhibition.
((EXHIBITION THROUGH APRIL 23))
(photos courtesy of Graham & Sons)
(courtesy of Joe Fyfe)
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Armory Contemporary, Bart Stolle, commercialism, Cordy Ryman, Darina Karpov, DCKT, Gabriele Basilico, Galerie Hussenot, Javier Perez, New York City, Pierre Counee, Rachel Feinstein, Ron van der Ende, The Armory Show, Tom Sachs, wax paint, Wim Delvoye
The Contemporary show was wrought with the usual suspects, here were some of the stunner for this vision.
Substantial commercialism wrapped in really attractive wrapping paper.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2-UP, Alex Da Corte, Armory Week, Benjamin Kress, CANADA, Chelsea, Cleopatra's, Colleen Asper, Dependent Art Fair, New York City, Paradise, Whitewall Magazine
The last of my official coverage of Armory Week appears on Whitewall Magazine’s website. I checked out the Dependent Art Fair like everyone else between the ages of 18 and 35 this weekend in the art community. I was mildly surprised at the lackadaisical vibe of the show despite the number of stellar participants. There were a few diamonds, particularly 2-UP, Cleopatra‘s, and Paradise. By the end of my time there, I felt like a mouse in a maze stifled by crude video art and body odor. I think the most necessary components for next year’s incarnation (should it come to fruition) is a better space and a little more conscious thought.
Read my review here.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Al Held, Alexander Calder, Andre Keston, Andy Warhol, Armory Modern, Carl Jung, Colombia, Dexter Dalwood, divine, Fernando Botero, Gordon Cheung, homunculus, Jean Dubuffet, Jesus Rafael Soto, Juan Genoves, Julio Le Parc, Latin American artists, Leon Ferrari, madness, Michael Gregory, New York City, Pier 92, reflection, The Armory Show, The Red Book, Todd Hido, William Burroughs
Reflection time! Armory Week seethes with photo essays on what’s hot, not, overrated, inflated, or stimulating. Please find enclosed a more personal strain of smoke. Consider yourself my weekend-long homunculus. Enjoy! (Quotation from Carl Jung’s The Red Book)
Weathered, yes. Living, maybe.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, Americana, Armory Week, documentary, Edward Hopper, New York City, painting, photojournalism, solitude, urbanization, Whitehot Magazine, Whitney Museum of American Art
After the madness of the Armory Week, I almost forgot my most recent Whitehot Magazine article is hot off the..interweb?
It took me a while to get this one together due to the unexpected challenge of looking into Hopper’s oeuvre. I was interested in his reflection of life at the point, media-wise, when newspapers were really flying off the stands and truly incorporating both illustration and photography. The intersection of documentation in his work has been a point of fascination for journalists I know, seeing as he managed to combine the taut emotions of the urban environment with its constantly accelerating pace. I have a newfound respect for his work. Here’s a small excerpt:
“New York’s economic growth and architectural exuberance in the 1920’s allowed for an expanded palate of extracurricular social opportunities. Hopper was unenthusiastic about the modular evolution of the Machine Age but acknowledged the flurry of activity. Untitled (Two Trawlers) (1923-24) depicts a pair of industrial fishing boats, slightly zoomed to fill the canvas. Hopper’s subject matter and his animated line hint at the sparks of industry and commerce. He implies movement, allowing the viewer to engage with the vessel’s construction and flow. The boats obstruct the landscape and emphasize Hopper’s distrust of industrial evolution. In conjunction with reflections upon industry, Hopper’s neutral investigation of architecture differs from his contemporaries, the Precisionists. The Precisionists embraced blossoming razor silhouettes through compositional order and flattened color. Charles Demuth and Louis Lozowick suspend diagonals amid their cityscapes in praise of New York, the burgeoning land of lines. Pristine color and clean compositions reflect skyscraper grids, roads, subways, and progress. Despite his discontent with the tidal wave of modernity, Hopper’s observations distance the viewer from sprouting urban scenery. He pulls himself out of the blizzard, allowing an observation of the fervor. Anticipation of the future had chained the individual to capitalist gains, accelerating past the point of Hopper’s ideally tranquil livelihood. ”
Check out the FULL ARTICLE.