issue 23 :: June 2014

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Small Press Reviews

Node Pajomo, “The Past Sure Is Tense”, “Gutai”, “NB”, Letterfounder, “A Parallel Charter”
Node Pajomo 13 ($2 (U.S.)/$3 (world), POB 2632, Bellingham WA 98227-2632, USA)

NP has become my primary print source of information about Mail Art in recent years; I still get too many invites to fulfill from my now numerous set of personal contacts, including regular lists of contacts from Ex Posto Facto, Dianne Bertrand and Ryosuke Cohen. So many projects now have invites and archives from the Internet, email and Facebook. I feel that I am currently well informed about new Mail Art projects than ever before. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need a regular Mail Art zine, and I think NP is one of the few still printing that I know of. Node Pajomo in addition to Mail Art calls and classified has now subsumed pjm’s other zine, the zine review Pukka Joint Massif. Essentially Node Pajomo is today’s Global Mail and Factsheet 5, and just as useful.
“The Past Sure Is Tense” by Reed Altemus ($?, Tonerworks / Reed Altemus, P.O.Box 5052, Portland ME 04101, USA)

A short chapbook of red-tinted collages of an ever-varied set of 3 image types: an old photo (as one might find in an attic or vintage resale shop), a line illustration from a dictionary or encyclopedia, and a clipped-out fragment from a succession of books. The effect of figuring out what, if anything, ties each section together is intoxicating. Sometimes there is a definite, literal link between two or more of the elements, and other times I detect nothing of the sort. Very enjoyable, but available in an edition of 50. I have one, so there are at most 49 left.
“Gutai” curated by John Held, Jr. and Andrew McClintock ($? San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut St, SF CA 94133, USA)

John Held amazingly asked me to submit to the “contemporary response” to the art exhibit of the little-known 1950s Japanese neo-Dada/pre-Fluxus movement known as Gutai. I had seen a few photos of some very dirty Gutai performers before, but I knew few facts or names. I was unable to complete any research of my own in order to submit anything to the project, but Held still listened my name as a contributor (maybe mistaking an unrelated mailing of mine as a submission to the project). The slim catalog of the exhibit of paintings, performance photos, posters and the exhibits’ recreations excites me. The exhibit need to travel to Austin, Houston, New York, Chicago, _________ [insert your town here], but until then, this tantalizing volume will have to suffice.
“NB” by Reid Wood ($?, )

A Fluxus performance in book form. Each page is Wood holding a small sign—it’s the exact same photo used on each page—the words on the sign changing each time. “Nota Bene” is on the cover and the proceeding through a dozen other pairs of words, each in a different typeface. Fluxus.
Letterfounder #105 ($free? Send a dollar?, ansr.shrkr.prss, PO Box 392, Lewiston ME 04243 USA)

A small 12 page zine of poetry and black and white art works from a variety of authors and artists, including Haddock, Carol Stetser, Serse Luigetti and others I do not know. This is maybe an open submission type of zine.
“A Parallel Charter” by Bryan Day ($4, Single Girl Married Girl)

A small, CD booklet-sized collection of interesting b&w line drawings from the polyvalent Bryan Day. There are no words, save the mysterious title, to guide us through a series of what could be very accomplished doodles in a number of styles, including invented language, cave paintings, geometric obsesive, fake modernist art, all enjoyable. See the cover for the Seeded Plane LP cover for an example of the type of work you will find in here. With the at least eleven styles of drawing within, was it necessary to use a tweleth style for the cover?
Reviews by Josh Ronsen
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