Archive for March, 2008

What’s to come

I haven’t written much lately, but I don’t want my loyal blog reader(s) (the “s” is in parentheses, because I haven’t determined if there’s more than one loyal reader yet) to stop stopping by… So, I thought I’d give a little preview of entries that I’m working on:

  • The much-mentioned article on the Codex Seraphinianus
  • An entry on collecting volumes of McSweeney’s
  • The next installment in the “Books I Love that Aren’t Worth Any Money” series: The Evergreen Review Reader
  • Scoring big at the Cody’s Moving sale (6 books for $16!)
  • Serendipity Books in Berkeley

Stay tuned, and I promise I cure that little insomnia problem you’ve been having lately.

Another trip to the well: An Update

Evidently, I’m not as dumb as I look. The “more common” edition of the Codex sold for $280… $20 MORE than the much more difficult-to-find first American edition I bought on eBay two nights ago. I will have a huge post about the Codex coming soon (I need to really let it ruminate… I’m going for 2000 words!), comparing all the different editions, with tons of details that no one cares about. But, suffice it to say for now, I can’t believe it sold for that much, especially to a French guy who could probably find it for its published price of 89 Euros at an art bookstore somewhere. (Or maybe it’s rarer than I think, and I’m just incredibly resourceful.) Anyway, I need to figure out what to do with the first-American edition before I buy another copy of the 2006 Codex- the cheapest copy on Abebooks is $650, which makes it the most valuable book in my collection (if you use the “cheapest copy on Abebooks” as a reliable measure of the value). Do I sell it? Sell other stuff to keep it? I’ll be up all night at this rate.

codex1Since I’m sure people only read this blog for the [book] porn pictures, here’s the title page of the American Codex (the only one in any edition that is illustrated)…

As for the Serafini book, it sold for $200 in about 5 hours… even better than the first copy I sold. I knew I was onto something with that. Although, of course I immediately bought another one to sell, and after all this gloating, I’m sure I’ll end up getting $40 for it.

And on to the Ryden stuff… I’m stuck waiting out the current state of the market before I try to sell my expensive items. I lost money on Quadratum, one of his microportfolios, and I haven’t tried to sell the Artist Proof yet (I took it to some bookstores, but they didn’t offer me enough for it). I still have a later-edition microportfolio and a signed first-edition of his book that I’m dealing with… so it might be a while. And once it’s gone, I’m going to have to find a new market niche to research. Do the 2 people that read this blog have any hot leads for me?

Carpet Bombing the FMR-ket

One of the interesting things about the used book market is how different channels operate seemingly independently of each other. On the one hand, you have the eBay channel, which changes in dynamic sometimes weekly, and on the other hand, there’s the retail/Abebooks channel that operates on its own logic. The lack of cross-talk here is really interesting to me, and it’s the main way I convinced myself I could make money at this little game. It started with a couple FMR books I sold for a profit at Moe’s Books in Berkeley… but first, as you must’ve expected from this blog, 2 long-winded levels of background.

FMR logoFirst, a little bit about FMR. The acronym stands for Franco Maria Ricci, the name of the publisher. Ricci famously describes getting his start in publishing after seeing a manual of typefaces by Giambattista Bodoni and having the same reaction that he assumes Stradivarius must’ve had after seeing a handcrafted violin for the first time: he knew immediately that he wanted to be a publisher. His books are really over the top luxury-wise, as is his magazine, the self-proclaimed Most Beautiful Magazine in the World. I first heard of FMR when I became interested in the Codex Seraphinianus, since Ricci “discovered” Serafini and was the first to publish his book. Through researching FMR’s “Signs of Man” series (dedicated to unknown or underappreciated artists), I decided to start collecting them. They are published in Italian, French, and 8 volumes in English… the ones that never made it into English are some of my favorites, including Zotl, a catalog of bizarre paintings of animals by an artist (Aloys Zotl) who was never formally trained and had no stylistic development whatsoever during his career. ZotlOr Fini Mundi, a collection of 18th-century paintings of the apocalypse with commentary by Borges. Typically, these books (many are still available new) go for $300-$400. All of them are bound in silk, many are in clamshell library cases, and the covers feature gold-stamped Bodoni type and pastedown color illustrations. They are printed on handmade Italian paper (all FMR books in the series except the Codex feature a distinctive light-blue tint), individually numbered (usually in editions of 2000-4000) and signed by Ricci.

Normally, these books would go for slightly less than their Abebooks prices when they showed up on eBay. $200-$300 was common for the English ones, although you’d often see really beat-up copies of some of them end up selling for $100 or so. Then (now we’re at the 2nd level of background), an interesting thing happened. In June, a woman in Michigan who was primarily a dealer of horse saddles bought an enormous stock of FMR books in an estate sale. And they (and by “they,” I mean the English FMR titles) just started showing up, over and over again. Demand stayed high for a really long time, and they were still selling for over $100 apiece well into the fall. But she just kept selling them and selling them. I’d get outbid at the last second with a high bid of $85, and then I’d win the book 3 weeks later for $60. I ended up buying a lot of them, because I thought their resale potential was high. Moe’s paid out $150 for a copy of Congress of the World by Borges that I got for $50. They planned to sell it for $450, which made it a great deal for both of us (although it’s still on their shelves right now, so I may have come out ahead there). I still have a few, because I like them, and I think that the price will go back up eventually. Maybe.

This brings me to the point of this blog: I watch the eBay market fluctuate independently of the retail market all the time. Things happen (like Porterhouse’s Ryden sale) that flood “rare” product on eBay, and prices go way down, and then that stock dries up, and prices come back up. For one reason or another, the same thing happened with Bukowski books last summer. But this FMR business is starting to spill over, due to the sheer volume of product released into the market. The seller has sold some pretty rare items, and those have fetched accordingly high prices, but she has a seemingly endless supply of the English FMR “Signs of Man” titles, as well as a few other random ones. It’s reached the point where everyone who wants one has one, but she’s still selling them, for less and less as time goes on. Now, books that popped up on Abebooks for $400 last summer are showing up from the same booksellers for $125. It has me wondering how long the market for the books is going to take to rebound, or if it ever will. Since I’m fairly new to the business side of this whole thing, I don’t really have any way to gauge it. A temporary glut will drop prices for a month or two, but what about a year-long assault on demand by oversupply? Prices on Abebooks don’t change very quickly, because they sit in a database that probably doesn’t get updated that often, so when they come down, I assume that they stay that way for a while. I’m wondering if in a year or two, the market will have flipped such that the books are actually going for more money on eBay than they’re listed on Abebooks. (You’d think this would be impossible that people would work to pay more for it on eBay than they could just snatch it up on an e-commerce site, but it happens all the time.)

What I find interesting about the FMR price assault is that, more than any other books I have in my collection, these books, at least from an aesthetic perspective, deserve their high prices. It’s not like a cheap paperback that just so happens to be really rare and gets its price that way- it’s clear that these books were not at all cheap to produce (Japanese silk, handmade paper, all the trimmings). Since the art reproductions can’t be printed directly on the paper, alCongressl of the illustrations are printed on glossy paper and “hand-tipped” into the books (how long this must’ve taken for each edition of 3000 is pretty staggering). You hold them- even smell them- and it’s clear that they’re expensive books. They’re designed to look luxurious on some rich couple’s $5000 coffee table. And the content is pretty good too. Ricci prided himself on pairing art monographs with interesting texts, and a lot of books have some neat literature in them. There’s the book of Tarot cards, which sounds dumb on the surface, until you learn that it’s actually a book of the oldest surviving deck of medieval Tarots, made back when Tarot was a parlor game, rather than a method of fortune-telling. Alongside the Tarot illustrations is a novella by Italo Calvino that creates mini-narratives based on the cards. Then there’s the book of paintings by Arcimboldo (the Spanish painter who painted heads made up of flowers or vegetables – composite heads, as they’re called), with an essay by Roland Barthes. (Even though I’m not in grad school anymore and don’t really read literary criticism, there’s something about Barthes that I still get a kick out of. No one can make something seem as interesting as Barthes… I never really cared one way or the other for Arcimboldo until I read Barthes’s essay on him, and now I think he’s incredible.) For Justine, I picked up a collection of photos of children by Lewis Carroll, accompanied by his letters to them (it’s very strange, to say the least).


I bought a bunch of them at one point when the seller contacted me privately about a bulk purchase, and I managed to turn a good profit on them, although I’ve still got a couple left and I’ve exhausted the resources I have to sell them (which often happens when eBay is off limits). I guess I’ll just have to wait a few years and see if the prices ever recover from the flood.

Books I love that aren’t worth any money: Volume 1

I spent enough time in academia to be inundated with literary criticism about James Joyce’s Ulysses from all sides (feminist, linguistic, postcolonial, deconstructive, and on and on), but I never really got tired of the book or all the brouhaha surrounding it. I genuinely think that Ulysses merits that level of attention, because it affects the literature that follows it in such a foundational way. I’ve written about some authors (mainly Celine) who I think are important for various reasons, but Joyce’s achievement in Ulysses is singular in that he sets the stage for the modern novel in one fell swoop. He reinterprets so many tropes through his subjective and almost obsessively character-centered lens (the hero, the homeland, the son, the ideal mate, the oppressor/oppressed, and on and on) that everything from that point on was pretty much fair game. Other authors, of course, took stabs at doing this, and it’s not as if Joyce is the only author from that period with enduring influence, but I think it’s difficult to find any one author who had such a large effect on so many different aspects of literature.

And yet, I still hesitate to recommend Ulysses to friends who are curious about it. It’s not that it is too hard for non-academics to read (far from it)… with some effort, anyone can understand it, and there are books upon books explaining the plot for anyone who has trouble. It’s just that (and this is a decidedly non-academic point of view here, one which I am proud to have cultivated in the last few years), it’s not that good of a read. My favorite books are ones that totally engulf me, ones that display the full and raw power that literature can have (something that goes beyond simply having an engaging plot). And while Ulysses is an achievement of the highest order, and a work of art whose complexity is on a level almost completely untouched by other authors, I feel like the emotional power of the narrative gets buried under all the linguistic games. I love reading Ulysses for the artistic aspect of it, and I like thinking about the themes and characterizations, especially in terms of how they fit in to the history of Western literature, but the two don’t meet on the page, so to speak. The thematic force of the novel is a level removed, being reconstructed in my own head after reading articles and books and writing papers about it.

So, I have an ambivalent relationship with this book; it’s one of my favorites at the same time that I don’t really like it that much. An interesting sidebar about Ulysses, however (well, not a sidebar if you’re a First Amendment lawyer), is that it defined the test for obscenity in the US until Burroughs’s Naked Lunch necessitated a new test in the 60’s. Because of the raw subject matter (shitting! jerking off! nudity!), the book was outlawed in the US, although it eventually survived a court challenge (I can’t remember off the top of my head what the actual standard they used was, but it focused on the artistic merit of the book. The Burroughs test that came later had to relax this standard, since the stodgy court justices had a more difficult time finding artistic merit in places like Hassan’s Rumpus Room than they did in Joyce’s Dublin). Materially focused as I am, I really like early editions of Ulysses, because I feel like there’s a lot going on, from a historical perspective. Literary history is being made. US obscenity and censorship laws are being rewritten. The greatest novel of the next 86 years (at least according to the Modern Library) is sitting in a bookstore in a trade edition, for anyone to buy. Something about that really gets me.

Predictably, early editions of Ulysses aren’t cheap. I used to know the publishing history of it, but I’ve forgotten some of it. It was originally published in France in a paperback with turquoise covers, and those go for thousands of dollars. It made it to the US in a plain-looking hardcover with a dustjacket. Ulysses Since the original trades, there have been countless special editions by pretty much every publisher who ever published special editions of “great books”. I remember seeing an artist’s edition of the book in the Heritage Bookshop in LA (aka the Heritage Museum of Shit You’ll Never Be Able to Afford) that was a reproduction of the original paperback edition, only 5 times the size ($20,000). They also had a signed copy of the actual original edition, although they didn’t list the price for it. The one edition that I really want is the Limited Editions Club version that came out in the 30’s. I used to be big into collecting Limited Editions Club books when I first got into book collecting, but they seem kind of boring now (although that is probably due to my tastes in literature changing more than anything else), and Ulysses is the only one I still really want. It is illustrated (and signed) by Matisse, limited to 1500 copies. I have another, unrelated book illustrated with line drawings and sketches by Matisse, and I really like these types of illustrations when they’re done well. Chagall is another artist who I think pulls them off especially well. But, the kicker with Matisse’s illustrations of Joyce is that he didn’t illustrate Joyce’s novel. He sent back his sketches so quickly after he received the manuscript that the publishers asked him if he had even read the book… he hadn’t, and he had thought he was illustrating Homer’s Odyssey. So you get sketches of Odysseus slaying the cyclops while you read about Bloom circumnavigating Dublin.

Copies of that edition go for around $4000 to $10000 (unless you find one signed by Joyce as well), so that’s not high up on my priority list. However, (we’re finally getting to the title of this entry, after 1000 words) I did find a beat up copy of the first US edition at a bookstore in Chicago for $10 back when I was in college. Like I said, the first trade editions of Ulysses really intrigue me as historical objects, so let’s just say I was excited when I found it. Plus, the condition isn’t that bad… For $10, I’d expect the binding to be falling apart, pages torn, that type of stuff. This one is still fairly tight, although it has no dustjacket, and there are some pretty ugly stains to the cover, as well as holes in the cloth that expose the boards. But still… $10? Out of all my books (excluding those with sentimental value because they were given to me by someone close to me), this one is by far the most important “cheapie” on the shelf.

PS- where I said we were getting to the title after 1000 words… The word “words” is literally the 1000th word in this entry. I planned the whole thing like that, because I’m incredibly smart.

Them Porterhouse folks don’t mess around

I’ve taken delivery on all my Mark Ryden inventory, and now I’m trying to move it (I like talking like a real bookseller… it’s fun). Auctions are going okay on eBay… I probably should have waited a year to sell all this stuff, but the interest on my credit card I’d accrue from carrying it all for a year would really eat into my profit margins; plus, I’m really impatient. Right now, I’m set to lose about $30 on Quadratum if I don’t get some bids, and I’m competing with quite a few other copies up on eBay right now. With that in mind, I’m holding onto the Meat Show microportfolio to see if I can exploit some other avenues of sale for it, since it really is more valuable than it’s trading for right now (although I suppose that’s all subjective).

One thing I can say however, is that Porterhouse makes some really, really fine editions of Ryden’s work (which I suppose is important, given that Ryden owns and operates Porterhouse). Here is a picture of the Meat Show portfolio- the box cover, the prints wrapped in vellum and sealed with the Porterhouse seal, and the colophon, printed in gold foil and black on vellum and signed by Ryden:


It’s small, and I guess you could argue that the cards themselves really are just postcards, the same as you see from tons of galleries advertising this or that exhibition, but they are printed on heavier, glossier stock than you normally see, and the reproduction quality is excellent. I’m really impressed with the quality of work here; it’s a shame I just can’t really afford to keep it at this point.

My favorite books, explained in a verbose manner: Volume 2

I wrote about the Futuropolis edition Celine’s Journey to the end of the Night (illustrated by Jacques Tardi) a couple posts ago in volume 1 of the promising series, “Books I’ll Never Own,” although I thought it deserved treatment in its own right as one of my favorite books (explained, of course, as you must have expected by now (and as the title obviously dictates) in a verbose manner). Below are some images of the book that show just how large a part the illustrations play in this presentation of Celine’s novel…


This is the first page, where it all started like this: Ferdinand met his pal Arthur Ganate at the Place Clichy, and he just started talking (he’d never said anything before that). Of course, when I lived in France, I made sure to meet a friend at the Place Clichy and get coffee with them. I’m lame like that.


The book is 350+ pages, so it’s tough to pick out one spread that shows just how much Tardi adds to the story (I know I’m being effusive, but this is about my “favorite” books, don’t forget). But, this page just gets me… Journey is an incredibly potent anti-war story, and Celine captures the futility, absurdity, and hypocrisy of war like few other authors I’ve ever read. The passage about the soldier vomiting over the pile of mangled, dead human meat has always stuck with me, and something about Tardi’s illustration just nails the potency of the text perfectly.


This illustration is from one of my favorite passages in the novel. Ferdinand, well on his way to the end of the night (which is a cipher for what he sees as the ultimate triumph of human misery), finds himself living in a dirty tenement with a window that opens out to a narrow courtyard that captures all the sound from all the other units in the building. He becomes transfixed listening to the violence, suffering, abuse, and misery of his neighbors. Over the course of this section of the novel, he begins to realize that he has only scratched the surface on discovering what humans are capable of … that there are layers and layers of horror in the world, and that the window next to the courtyard allows him to access them one by one, going deeper each time. Somehow, I find this passage inspiring through its grisly depiction of the world… it is so beautifully tragic (as is Ferdinand’s entire quest) that I can’t help but be emotionally moved by it, and it is the power of Celine’s art not only to disgust me, but really to affect me that I find inspiring.

Of course, Celine is not one to be lionized, at least as a person. Brief background on the guy: he was a doctor who treated mostly poor people, and he didn’t have formal training as a writer. His first “literary” piece of work was his doctoral thesis, a biography of the scientist Semmelweis, in which he took a lot of liberties in order to depict Semmelweis as a maverick genius who was persecuted by the academy of his day. He then published a play titled The Church, which (in my opinion at least) isn’t very good and introduces the anti-semitism that characterizes a lot of his writing. From the play, he went on to write Journey (retreading some of the same locales as The Church, although with none of the heavy-handed plot and unnatural dialog), which is his unquestioned masterpiece. Interestingly, although racism and anti-semitism are absent from Journey, Celine famously wrote in the preface to a later edition of the novel that everything he was ever “hunted” for is there plain-as-day in Journey. I disagree with this, although it brings up the an important question about where Journey fits in with the rest of his work. Anyway, after Journey, Celine published Death on Credit, a prequel of sort. And then shit got fucked, as they say. He stopped writing novels and instead turned his talents to his “pamphlets” (which aren’t pamphlets at all- more like 400 page books)… three of them published during the late 1930’s. They are ridiculous anti-semitic, racist diatribes that mostly recycle facts from the anti-semitic newspapers circulated around France during that time. Well, that and ballet scenarios. Not kidding: his first, Bagatelles pour un massacre, begins with a bagatellesconversation among four people, one of whom is a Jew, about how the Jews prevent real art from being shown to the people, and then, by way of example, segues into a full-fledged 25-page ballet scenario. This happens a few times in the book. The root of the anti-semitism has been apologized for (“He was just ignorant!” or “He didn’t really want the Holocaust to happen!”) My personal opinion is that a) you don’t have to love an author as a human to love books he wrote; and b) Celine was an extremely flawed human. I think his staunch opposition to war (having fought and been injured in WWI) screwed with his brain to the point that he caught wind of a sinister plot by the Jews to lead the world back to war (propagated in propagandistic “newspapers”), and he couldn’t get it out of his head… and that motivated him to publish awful things about Jews because he was… an extremely flawed human. He wasn’t a Hitler supporter (he even writes something to the effect of, “Hitler? A cunt! Another Jew!” in one of his later pamphlets). I haven’t read the whole thing (it gets fairly tedious, and it’s goddamn offensive), but what I’ve read is really interesting. Aside from the whole anti-semitic/ballet dialectic (has there ever been a more ridiculous dialectic?), there’s the issue of Celine’s stylistic development; from a poetic standpoint, this book is a masterpiece. The … ellipses that characterize his work (used to color characters’ rants in Journey) start to take center stage for the first time in Bagatelles, dominating the text and giving it a songlike rhythm that’s really mesmerizing.

I can’t believe how lucky I was to have found this book, though. It is a facsimile of the original, but that doesn’t bother me at all. You see, after the Germans fell in Europe, the Resistance raided Celine’s apartment and burned most of his work (including the last 300 pages of his novel Casse-Pipe, which is really depressing to me, although I’m not about to start criticizing the French Resistance). Around the same time, Robert Denoel, Celine’s publisher, was assassinated for working under collaborationist publishing houses during the Occupation. Celine had fled the country by this point, although he would eventually be jailed before being pardoned a few years later. When he came back to France, now around 1950, much of the Celine stigma was lifted, and Journey to the end of the Night and Death on Credit were republished. This is where his whole, “Everything you’ve ever hated about me is right here in this book” preface comes from.

Never republished, however, were his pamphlets. I understand this decision in the immediate aftermath of World War II, but now, with the perspective granted by 75 years of history, I think we’re mature enough to read this stuff. I mean, Celine is one of the most important authors of the 20th century (try finding Henry Miller, Bukowski, or half the beats with no Celine), and I think it’s a shame that such a significant portion of his body of work remains off-limits because of its subject matter. Like I said before, in the context of Celine the stylist (a stylist who has had a profound effect on literary style), these books are indispensable. Well, I spoke too soon: Bagatelles has been sanitized and published as Ballets without dancers, without music, without anything, a little book consisting of just the ballet scenarios. Because, I guess, ignorance about the context surrounding those scenarios is blissful.

Along the Seine river in Paris, booksellers set up each day and sell used books out of carts. Some sell fairly nice books, but most sell cheap paperbacks. The stock is inconsistent, as can be imagined, and so it’s like a daily rummage sale. I got sick of it after a couple months, spending a few hours every weekend picking through books I had no interest in and never finding anything. Then, one day while I was walking to school, I decided to take a detour and check out the books, and I saw this one sitting in someone’s cart wrapped in plastic. Like I said, it’s a facsimile and therefore probably worth less than $50, but this is the kind of thing that’s priceless to me, because it’s so rare. There are some copies on Abebooks for around $350, but nothing beats stumbling upon a book like this, a book that even ardent Celine scholars probably haven’t read, because it is absent from University libraries, bookstores, and pretty much everywhere. In fact, a professor of mine asked me if he could Xerox the entire book, because he had never come across a copy (and he was from France). So, deplorable as it is, I have to count it among my favorite books… which makes me a bad Jew, I’ll admit. Still, the rarest book by my favorite author has to count for something, right?

Normally, coffee stains on a book would depress the shit out of me

Today, I was in my favorite Oakland art gallery/art bookstore ( to pick something up for Rubyred, when I found out that there is a new book out by LA-based artist Mel Kadel. This is ironic, because I was telling Rubyred this morning about how Mel Kadel is in that like-but-don’t-love category… individually, I love her work, but in bunches, it tends to run together. Then, I see the new book, and the “have to have it” alarm goes off in my head, and I buy it. Later, at home, I contemplate why this is (of course, I contemplate it later, after spending my money).

I decided that Kadel’s work lends itself better to books than walls. I’ve seen her exhibited at a gallery in San Francisco, and that is when I decided that I wasn’t as crazy about it as I thought I was. But looking through this new book, my tune sort of changed. Part of it is the book design- both of her books (Rough Cookie and Honey Pool) are self-published and handmade (they’re essentially deluxe chapbooks). rough cookieShe publishes them in editions of 100, and sometimes will issue 2nd editions if enough people beg her (my copy of Rough Cookie is a 2nd edition), and each one is signed. The covers are really nice deckle-edged paper with color screenprinting, and the interior is all color printed on paper that has been carefully stained with coffee. Mel does a lot of art on coffee stained paper, and I noticed in the new book that she has been doing more to incorporate the shape of the stains into the art itself. The staining gives the pages a really unique look (for one, they’re wavy and brown), but it really works in the context of her art. So, here is what I mean about her work “working” better in a book than on a wall: in the art gallery, her pieces are dispersed along the physical space of the wall, whereas in the book, they are condensed into a really powerful nugget of common themes and patterns. “Yeah, but isn’t that true of all art books?” To a point, yes… but my point with Kadel is that her work works best when you digest it all at once, in a short burst, where it, and not the surroundings, is the sole focus of your attention. Rather than walking from piece to piece, the space in between them mediated by the physical space of the gallery and the whiteness and sterility of the walls, I can digest all of her work from within the book, which itself becomes an artifact straight out of the world that she creates. In this way, the book becomes a sort of missive from the world in which her ever-present female character struggles, triumphs, hides, and lives, and it provides a deeper experience of her art than the gallery setting.

I don’t feel this way about all art… I can stare at a Joe Vaux painting, for example, on a wall and get lost in it without wishing that I could digest it in book form. However, there is an important distinction here between an art book and an artist book. A glossy hardcover Mel Kadel book probably wouldn’t have the same effect described above, and so maybe the point I’ve been trying to make all along is that my “have to have it” alarm went off because of how much more I enjoy art when it is presented in the form of an artist book.  A good example here is Richard Coleman, an artist that, to me, is somewhat similar to Kadel in that there is (at leasrough cookie2t in my untrained eyes) an influence by Edward Gorey; also, Coleman, like Kadel, tends to paint in very static subject matter. (Another caveat: this isn’t the same as saying that all their paintings look the same. It is a more subjective determination that all of their paintings have the same aesthetic effect on me. Plus, since it’s subjective, you can’t get mad at me and yell at me for not finding the unique value in each and every different piece by these artists). Anyway, Gingko Press published a beautiful book of Coleman’s work that I was never really able to pull the trigger and buy (it’s only $40), because I never felt I would really look at it all that much. However, if Ckadel3oleman himself had designed and handmade a small book of his art, I think I would appreciate it on a much higher level. Clearly, I love books and that adds to my enjoyment of art, but it’s more my love of the book object as an art form… especially when there’s synergy between the book object and the art presented within, and ESPECIALLY when that synergy pays off as well as it does in Kadel’s two books.

Note: there’s a high probability that this blog makes no sense, has logical inconsistency, or demonstrates that I have no eye for fine art. If so, that sucks, I guess.

March 2008