L.A. Artists' Publication Archive

in five original mailing envelopes

An ambitious mail art project, Editor Fidel Danieli (Artforum) collaborated with numerous southern California artists and produced five issues, each with  600 copies in circulation. Betye Saar, Barbara T. Smith, Ida Applebroog (née Horowitz), June Wayne, Ray Johnson, Craig Stecyk (Dogtown founder), and many more artist participated.

Danieli introduces the project: “This is the first issue of a communication exchange between Southern California artists and their friends. The artists, having been invited to participate by me, provide the copy or artwork, paid for their own printing or supplied the printed material, and provide the publication with a mailing list of twenty-five people each with whom they wish to share their perceptions.”

The present lot is a near complete set of all five issues.

Volume I Number 1: May 1972

Page for voting on title of publication
Letter from Buster Wingo
Notes on the Work of David Deutsch
Letter from SHB:OOM Endeavors
Untitled artwork – several
Unsigned writings - several
50’s Teen Movies/Victor Robinson
Artwork by Stuart Kusher
Writing by Betsy
Recipe for Marble Cake by Jim Edson

Artwork by George James
Artwork by Frederick
Writing by Bob Haas
Dat Ol’ Black Magic Writing and artwork by Betye Saar
Artwork by Darryl J. Curran
Writing by Joe Messinger
Tattoos by Rick Herold
Arwtork by F. Danieli and R. Herold
Artwork by Tom Marshall
Artworks (2) signed E.D. 72

Writing by Ann A. Morris
Artwork by Chock
Writing by Caroline Cochrane Kent
Writing by Walter Gabrielson
Writing by Eleanor Antin
Performance Material by John White
Artwork by John M Beckman
Writing by John Schroeder
Artworks (4) by F. Danieli
Writing/Artwork by Peter Lodato
Folded and signed artwork by Judith von Euer

Volume I Number 2: August 1972

Artwork by Chock
Writing and artwork by Eleanor Antin
Artwork by Jim Edson
Poems by Edie Danieli
Artwork by Herold
Artwork by Christian Ramiller
Artwork by Victor Robinson/Ken Overman
Poems by Fidel Danieli

Artwork by Jules-Etinne Marey
Writing by Ida Applebroog (née Horowitz)
Writings by Fidel Danieli
Artwork by Joe Messinger
Unsigned artwork – several
Artwork by Caroline Kent
Writing by Sandra Jackman
Writing by John Schroeder

Artwork by Lola Barricklow
Artwork by Carole Caroouipas
Artworks by Selma Moskowitz
Artwork by Nancy Middleton
Artwork by Victor Robinson
Artworks by Bob Haas
Writing by Bob Haas
Writing by Stuart Kushe
Folded and signed artwork by Judith von Euer

Volume I Number 3: October 1972

Artwork by Ken Overman
Recording by Chas. B. Swann. 7” record
Artwork by C.R. Stecyk III
Writing by Rick Herold
Artwork by Marshall
Unsigned artworks – several
Artworks by Jim Edson
Artwork by Vic Robinson
Letter sent to Eleanor Antin
Letter to Fidel Danieli from SHB:OOM Endeavors

Writing by Eleanor Antin
Artwork by Joe Messinger
Writing by Josh Schroeder
Artwork by Chock
Artwork by C.D. Taylor
Artwork by C. Ramsey & H. Sleeper
Writing by June Wayne
Artwork by R.B. White
Artworks by Wynn Wolfe
Writing by Barbara Smith

Artwork by John Dowd
Artwork by Larry Kwate
Letter and postcard by Caroline Kent
Artworks by Edie Danieli
Artworks by Fidel Danieli
Artwork by Linda Levi
Artwork by Bob Haas
Writings by Victor Robinson
Writing by Beth Beachenheimer
Artwork by Christian Ramiller
Dat Ol’ Black Magic #2 by Betye Saar

Volume I Number 4: March 1973

Writings by Eleanor Antin
Artworks by Sally Calbeck
Artwork by Kerry Colonna
Artwork by Darryl Curran
Poem by Fidel Danieli
Unsigned artworks and writings – several
Artwork by Doug Giffin

Artwork by Caroline Kent
Artwork by Don Karwelis
Artwork by Diana Hobson
Artwork by Selma Moskowitz
Artwork by Joe Messinger
Writing by John Mabry
Writing by Fred Lonidier

Artwork by Betsy Lodato
Artwork by Bob Haas
Writing by Fidel Danieli
Artwork by Alex Gomez
Artwork by Michael Brod
Artwork by John Dowd
Writing by Rick Dubov
Artwork by Sabato

Volume I Number 4 1/2: March 1973

Artwork by Bob Partin
Writing by Aviva Rahmani
Artworks by Christian Ramiller
Artworks by John Schroeder
Writing by Joyce Shaw
Letter to Fidel Danieli from SHB:OOM Endeavors
Artworks by Barbara Smith
Unsigned artworks and writings – several
Writing by Don Sorenson
Artwork by C.R. Stecyk III
Artwork by C.D. Taylor

Artwork by W. Westcoast
Artwork by Lil Angel
Artwork by Pat O’Neill
Artwork by Ken Overman
Writing and Artworks by Victor Robinson
Writing by Pierre Picot
Artwork by Christian Ramiller
Artwork by Rachel Rosenthal
Book – The World Community Event by World Life Day
Postcard by Ben Adams

Artwork and Writing by John White
Book – From the Beginning of Life to the Day of Purification, Published by the Committee for Traditional Indian Land and Life
Artwork by Wynn WolfeArtwork by Michael Water
Artwork by whoever
Booklet – 3M “Color-in-Color” Systems, published by Duplicating Products Division 3M Company
Folded and signed artwork by Judith von Euer

“Artists' books began to proliferate in the sixties and seventies in the prevailing climate of social and political activism. Inexpensive, disposable editions were one manifestation of the dematerialization of the art object and the new emphasis on process.... It was at this time too that a number of artist-controlled alternatives began to develop to provide a forum and venue for many artists denied access to the traditional gallery and museum structure. Independent art publishing was one of these alternatives, and artists' books became part of the ferment of experimental forms.”

—Joan Lyons

The Artist's Printed Extension

Cover to Cover: Artists' Books & Ephemera

Artists who publish books of documentation are, in a sense, using the artform to its simplest degree. —Tim Guest, 1981

Sharing an artwork through the very public method of printing and reproduction is the epitome of democratic dissemination. In their seminal 1981 publication Books By Artists, Tim Guest and Germano Celant begin by addressing their audience’s predictable desire to define a book. They suggest that it is not really possible – or necessary – to define what an artist book is, because any given work becomes a conceptual extension of the artist and is therefore an object of infinite incarnations. 

There is too frequently a misinterpretation of printed works and editions as lesser commodities in the market. With artist’s books, the goal was often to distance an artist’s idea from the proverbial canvas, to use words and non-dimensional media as a means to engender and distribute a creative philosophy. Such efforts often led to the creation of superbly idiosyncratic editioned works that succinctly communicate an artist’s entire conceptual foundation, however ineffable. In this way, the artist’s book and the development of conceptual art are inextricably linked. Take, for example, Seth Siegelaub’s July, August, September 1969 exhibition catalogue in which the book is the exhibition. On its pages, it brings together eleven works from eleven artists working in separate locations, works that never physically shared premises themselves.

John Baldessari, Brutus Killed Caesar

For artists like John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha, whose broad outputs often hinged on the collision of word and image, the book became a quintessential medium. One of my favorites from this selection is Baldessari’s rare Brutus Killed Caesar, in which two unknown antagonists face each other with a randomized household object between them. It is understood that these objects are murder weapons, but nothing violent takes place outside of the viewer’s imagination, likely shaped by earlier historical texts like Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Brilliant. Another scarce title herewith is Ruscha’s Dutch Details. Comprised of multiple images taken by the artist showing bridges in The Netherlands, it plays off of his Every Building on the Sunset Strip from five years earlier. Oblong as well, with large fold-outs, this book was very difficult to produce and the publisher did not fulfill the edition, therefore making this the rarest of Ruscha’s coveted artist books.

The book’s potential for comprehensively documenting an ephemeral work or performance was critical for many artists, including Gordon Matta-Clark and Bruce Nauman, the latter whom made an artist’s book (Burning Small Fires) about burning another artist’s book (Ruscha’s Various Small Fires and Milk).  

The pursuit to collect such a wide and comprehensive library of these titles is a passionate endeavor, and it is my view that no collection could be complete without the artist’s book. A personal library needs this texture to augment the rigid monographs and academic surveys that equate the bulk of most collections. Whether a single rarity catches your eye or you’re drawn to group lots from the likes of Christian Boltanski, Gilbert & George, Richard Prince, and Sol LeWitt, Cover to Cover is a fantastic opportunity to bolster an existing reading room or to plant the seed of a collection to cherish for years to come.

—Peter Jefferson, Senior Specialist