The Paintings of Hiro Kurata

Kurata's paintings translate his thoughts and experiences of growing up in America

Art4d.Asia has posted some new paintings by Hiro Kurata. Hiro has recently produced a beautiful series of paintings for his show "Home Field Disadvantage" at MotusFort Tokyo.

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hiro kurata in studio

“As I was walking a ribbon of highway, I saw above me an endless skyway. I saw below me a golden valley. This land was made for you and me,” This Land Is Your Land, Woody Guthrie (1940). Hiro Kurata's recent series of paintings, “This Land Was Your Land,” reference the popular Woody Guthrie song in title and notions of self-identity amplified by living on foreign shores in imagery. Kurata, a Japanese born artist currently living and working in New York City, described that, for him, the song “was supposed to be a song about appreciating America, but as I started to grow up I realized that the land really belonged to someone else, rather than people there now...some things used to belong to someone, and now it belongs to someone else, and in the future it will be owned by another someone. Nothing will stay the same, it is all temporary, and therefore makes it precious.” The final stanza of Guthrie's lyrical take on America mirror Kurata's hesitations, stating “In the squares of the city, in the shadow of the steeple, near the relief office - I see my people, and some are grumblin', and some are wonderin', if this land's still made for you and me.” Read More @ Art4d.Asia

Seeker - An artist Book by Eddie Martinez

Peres Projects is pleased to present Seeker, a solo exhibition of new paintings by the American artist Eddie Martinez.

Eddie Martinez - Art Book Seeker

Brooklyn-based artist and curator Eddie Martinez brings eight of his figurative but highly abstracted works to Berlin. As a self-confessed “garbage disposal”, he takes influence from everything from graffiti to his mood. Through Dec 17 at Peres Projects

Seeker available in the Anteism Book Shop

Seeker is a body of work which consists of nine paintings. The paintings display Martinezʼs recognizable combination of virtuoso brushwork, which sings like his drawings, alongside heavily worked passages of dense color.

Itʼs easy to imagine Martinez standing with his nose nearly pressed into the wet canvas, craning his tall frame in order to examine an area where thick paint curls like breaking surf. We can imagine him deciding to act, and dragging a thick wet brush into more fresh paint with a decisive gesture. In that way his paintings evoke the memory of a host of heroic painters, and like those heroic modernists associated with the early to mid-twentieth century, Martinez uses his canvases to make paintings which flirt with abstraction, but keep one foot planted in the referential.

Martinezʼs work is both less serious and more serious than his forebears. The less seriousness mirrors the central turn in philosophy and art over the past sixty years, which has been the cementing of the unconscious into every facet of human activity. The paintings are more serious in the sense that, once the subject is decentered, the topic shifts from the individual towards relationships and communication. Youʼll notice that the figures in Martinezʼs paintings arenʼt isolated. They are either in relationship to one another, or looking pointedly out at you, or in the case of Sun Setter, deliberately looking away.

In a world that loves to talk about the death of painting, Martinez offers optimism to lovers of painting. Martinezʼs paintings have their own internal logic, and the startling clarity of his vision creates a testimony regarding the way he sees the world. In the same way that the works of Van Gogh or de Kooning evoke worlds and change the way we see, by meeting our world and leaving a trace left behind, Martinez also discloses a world. His work holds the potential for historical continuity with earlier traditions, while breaking from their fallacies and charting new territory.

Hi Friend by Jess Hilliard / Chris Johanson

Hi_Friend_cover_johanson Plazm designed this book by Jess Hilliard in 2004 and just recently unearthed a few copies from their vaults. Letterpress cover by Stumptown Press. Published by Harrell Fletcher. You can read some of Jess's text on Harrell's web site. Drawings by Chris Johanson. The first edition is out of print and these are the few remaining copies left, get em' while you can.

I just recently became a fan of Plazm Magazine. It's got great art, photography and the design is top notch- not to mention it's printed on a nice thick matte feel good paper. Check out the latest issue #29 it's a got a couple spreads of Seripop!

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Plazm 29 "To hell with the new." So begins the newest issue of Plazm, the Pacific Northwest's premier art, culture, and design magazine. Plazm's largest issue ever clocks in at 160 pages of photography, art, and interviews featuring Yoko Ono, Art Chantry, Sue Coe, Storm Tharp, Todd Haynes, and JD Samson (formerly of Le Tigre), among many others. A release party is set for September 26 at the Ace Hotel in Portland with bands, DJ's, and an "End of War" art exhibit.

Plazm #29 delves into our culture's collective memory, from a collectible poster of Portland's DIY music history to previously unpublished photographs of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, unearthed by Thomas Robinson. Paintings of Bob Dylan by Todd Haynes, director of Far from Heaven, Velvet Goldmine, and the upcoming Dylan biopic I'm Not There, are published here for the first time. Yoko Ono says the flag-waving days of the '60s should be behind us, while Andrew Hultkrans traces ominous similarities between the Nixon administration and current politics.

Current life in Iraq, in the States, and in Portland are represented in photography by unembedded photographers, Robbie McLaren, and Daniel Peterson. Seripop's mind-blowing psychedelic poster designs make a splash along with new fiction from Domenick Ammirati. Curator Stephanie Snyder engages artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins in conversation, and Sarah Gottesdiener talks art, music, and queer culture with JD Samson. One section asks designers, writers, and performance artists to address the idea of "The End of War," with pieces by Alex Lilly, Marvin Bell, Rebeca Méndez and Adam Eeuwens, Lidia Yuknavitch, and Jamie McMurry, among others.

Hot Potatoe a New Book by Marc Bell

Anteism Publishing will have a table down in San Francisco for Alternative Press Expo ( APE ) and I'm really excited to meet other exhibitors, people checking the festival and exploring the city itself. I'm also stoked to check out the new Marc Bell book!!! Marc Bell's work is constantly negotiating between disparate influences including comics, folk art, popular culture and Fine Art. Embedded in his drawings is complex and layered wordplay that allude to these influences while remaining deeply funny. Bell's works vary from pen and ink drawings colored with subtle watercolors, to comics, to elaborate mixed media cardboard constructions, and, put all together for the first time in HOT POTATOE, provide a comprehensive portrait of a multi-talented and influential contemporary artist. Marc Bell's book HOT POTATOE shall be released this October through Drawn and Quarterly. Marc Bell Interview at Fecal Face

Marc Bell's work can also be seen in his collaborations with Peter Thompson and James Kirkpatrick in the book Brain Trust.

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Boing Issue #3 Now Available

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I just got my grubby hands on the new issue of Boing. Issue #3 has a solid lineup including A.J Purdy, Andy Rementer, Ben Jaques, Jim Stoten, Luke Ramsey, Mike Perry  & Ron Regé Jr. Get in now through Islands Fold

More info about Boing: curated by Jim Stoten produced by Jim Stoten and Mike Perry in conjuntion with Islands Fold 11" X 17", 16 full color offset printed pages on newsprint edition of 1000 copies

This is the third installment of comics and drawings by Islands Fold artists. This issue also includes a double page collaborative spread of all participating artists. It's a knock-out collection you'll most likely want to wallpaper your walls with. It gets mailed folded in two.

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Lyle Shultz's Ocean Retarded Free Book

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"So what exactly is this creation you hold so cautious in your meaty little hands tentacles or what have you. Well my friend you are holding a very powerful and unstable key to a new realm of thinking somewhat similar to a lowly bathroom key perhaps attached to a belly pan dipped in piss found at most grimey gas station cafes across the galaxy. A porthole of swill if you will."

Ocean Retarded is a mini book / zine jammed pack full of drawings, scrawling texts and comics  created by Lyle Schultz, Dirty Mike, Fulltime Barbarian, Lee, The Vaughn Finger Collector & Dan.

This scrapbook of mayhem is available in it's entirdirty for free online as a .pdf Download Ocean Retarded.

An Autopsy of the Book Business

An Autopsy of the Book Business

by Jason Epstein

Page one of an article posted on TheDailyBeast.com

Roll over, Gutenberg! Publishing legend Jason Epstein says the only way to save the book industry is to get rid of all the books.

While it may deliver the fatal blow, the financial crisis is only the proximate cause of the book publishing industry’s difficulties. The deeper cause is structural and its symptoms have been visible, though largely unacknowledged, for years. In a series of lectures at the New York Public Library a decade ago, I traced the origins of this structural deformation to the great post-war exodus from city to suburb. This vast migration turned the book business upside down, transforming it from a modestly profitable, stable industry of fifty or so firms dependent on predictable backlist sales—i.e., the long tail—to a game of roulette in which agents and authors own a casino where publishers can’t win.

"Madoff’s clients would not be out a penny today had they read Dickens’ Little Dorrit."

The marketplace for books when I entered the business shortly after World War II consisted of a thousand or so well stocked independent booksellers in major towns and cities supplemented by thousands of smaller shops that carried limited stocks of mostly current titles along with greeting cards, toys and so on. But it was the major independents with their sophisticated backlists—50,000 to 100,000 or more titles, displayed spine out—serving the interests of cosmopolitan readers, on which the industry relied. To linger in these stores was an education in itself and all the schooling a publisher needed. It was these backlists—titles that had covered their initial costs, earned out their authors’ advances, entailed no further risk than the cost of making and shipping the book itself—whose individual sales might be small but whose aggregate sale was in the millions, that sustained the industry. Bestsellers in those days were icing on the backlist cake.

What is true for book publishing is true for civilization: the books that survive the test of time are humanity’s backlist, our collective memory. I do not refer simply to the classics but to recent titles, hundreds of which are published every year and join the backlist long enough to move the civilizing dialogue forward. Without these books we would not know who we are, where we came from or where we may be going: they are the ongoing interplay of the present with the past, the confrontation of the human mind with the problem of existence. Would the American economy have collapsed if the casually educated caretakers of our treasure and good name who wasted our wealth on the assumption that greed is self-regulating had read those great conservative skeptics of human nature, Gibbon, Hobbes, Smith, and Burke, or studied the wisdom of our country’s founders? Mr. Madoff’s clients would not be out a penny today had they read Little Dorritt and encountered there Dickens’ ruinous and ruined Mr. Merdle (pun intended), Bernie’s exact prototype. The backlist—of which we as publishers, along with scholars, librarians and teachers are the guardians—is truly a matter of life and death.

By the mid 1970s the great downtown bookstores had begun to disappear as their customers migrated from city to suburb where population density was too thin to support major backlist retailers. Soon people shopped in deconstructed department stores, their former departments now individual specialty shops, where bookstores paid the same rent for the same limited space as the shoe store next door and needed the same quick turnover of inventories that sold themselves: books by celebrities and branded bestselling authors. By the eighties, publishers’ backlists were in steep decline as thousands of titles disappeared, dumped into the huge so-called orphanage of titles, no longer in print but still in copyright, whose owners can no longer be identified.

The steep decline in publishers’ backlists turned the industry upside down. Now publishers were obliged to pursue seasonal ephemera for which agents, putting their commercially viable titles up for auction, exacted unrealistic guarantees such as this seasons’ multimillion dollar guarantee to the multibillionaire Warren Buffett with his ready access to television, his folksy manner, and his hollow memoir—his true but neglected subject being greed, which has not lived up to expectations. Such disappointments are now commonplace and devastating. Publishers having lost control of their industry to commercially attractive authors and their agents are now not only their unhappy servants, but servants obliged to pay their masters for the privilege of serving them: an absurd and untenable situation.

Read the rest of the article.

Edel Rodriguez

© Edel Rodriguez - 'As You Like It', Acrylic and ink on bark paper, 15" x 15" Edel Rodriguez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1971. He left for America on a boat with his parents and sister when he was eight years old. He majored in painting at Pratt Institute (BFA) and Hunter College (MFA). His work has appeared in four picture books, on stamps for the U.S. Postal Service, and on posters for Broadway shows. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine and was also an art director at TIME magazine for over a decade. His website is edelrodriguez.com

"A study on prisoners, looking at their childhood, teenage years, and what led them to gangs and violence."

© Edel Rodriguez -'Night Mother', Acrylic and ink on bark paper, 15" x 15"

New Art Anthology "Abracadabra"

Abracadabra is a book published by Anteism

We are pleased to announce an upcoming art anthology entitled "Abracadabra". The book has been conceptualized and compiled by Victoria based artists Brooke Semple-Haight and Cody Coyote Haight. The artwork in the book varies from sculpture, photography, painting & drawing. Each artist has submitted an expression on the theme of magic.

"Abracadabra is a compilation of 34 artists’ work inspired by the theme of Magic and Metaphysics. It is a celebration of the otherworldly, an embracing of the unexplainable, an interaction with the symbolic, a salute to the weird and whimsical, a wander into the forest of the fantastical. It is a witches brew of ideas, subject matter, expression and style, boiled in the imagination of two lovers. - Excerpt from the introduction to Abracadabra

We look forward to sharing this book with you during a book launch and art show at the Sunset Room in Victoria. Friday, July 18th 2008.