Tuesday, 6 March 2012

R. B. Kitaj - part 4

This is part 4 of a 4-part post on the works of American artist R. B. Kitaj (1932-2007). For biographical notes see part 1. For more works see parts 1, 2 & 3. This last part takes a look at two series of prints made in the 1960s.

Kitaj was a self-professed bibliomaniac. In 1969 his love of books provided the inspiration for "In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library After the Life for the Most Part" - a portfolio of 50 screenprints depicting the covers of select books from the his library. Made from enlarged photographic facsimiles of the actual covers, the prints replicate evidence of each book’s handling and use, such as torn bookjackets, stained pages, and worn bindings. Kitaj’s selections include books of significance to the artist (like Ezra Pound’s "How to Read"), as well as apparently random books or leaflets (like the city of Burbank’s annual budget for 1968–69) that reflect the idiosyncratic nature of Kitaj’s book collection, and of book collections in general. The portfolio also speaks to connections between the visual arts and literature, as well as Kitaj’s and other artists’ perception of book as object.

This is a selection from the edition:

City of Burbank Annual Budget

Edward Hopper

Ezra Pound, How to Read

George Gissing, Workers in the Dawn

Industrial Camouflage Manual

Intelligence Bulletin

London by Night

Mark Rothko

Max and the White Phagocytes

Maxim Gorky, Articles and Pamphlets

James Agee, Permit me Voyage

Damon Runyon, Short Takes

Robert W. Service, Songs of a Sourdough

Wyndham Lewis, The Caliph's Design

Vachel Lindsay, The Congo and Other Poems

Leon Trotsky, The Defence of Terrorism

W. B. Yeats, The Tower

The Wording of Police Charges

Kenneth Burke, Towards a Better Life

Carl Th. Dreyer, Vampyr

Howard Marshall, With Scott to the Pole

"Struggle in the West - the bombing of London (horizon/blitz)" : A set of seven screenprints and 1 title page (1967-69) Edition: edition of 70 in linen covered box made by Rudolf Rieser, Cologne.

 Set piece 1

Horizon / Blitz (Prologue)

Safeguarding of Life

Set piece 3


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for these four posts on Kitaj - I will be sure to link to them on my website "Activist Art in the Graphic Arts" at http://pantherpro-webdesign.com/heller/activist-art.html


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