The Matrix Poems: 1960-1970

The Matrix by Norman H. Pritchard (1939–1996) gathers a selection of the Concrete and Black Arts poet’s work from 1960 to 1970. The seventy-one poems collected here might be regarded, as Charles Bernstein has written, as “sound” poems, being tethered not only to the literature of the Black Arts Movement but also to jazz culture and urban life in New York. Drawing as much from the visual arts and concrete poetry as from sound-based experimentation and music, Pritchard utilized the simple tools of spacing and typography to create syncopations, vibrations, and musical rhythms. What emerges is nothing less than a self-contained system of mimetic codes that challenge modernist modes of perception and representation. Formally innovative and anticipating what Michael Riffaterre would come to call the semiotics of “ungrammaticalities,” the book is a syntactical and visual experience in repetition, stutters, and structure. 

Born and based in New York City, Pritchard was trained in visual arts and art history at New York University and Columbia University. As a member of the Umbra group (1962–65)—a collective of young Black writers that included Steve Cannon, Thomas C. Dent, David Henderson, Calvin Hernton, and Lorenzo Thomas—he met with fellow members in Manhattan’s Lower East Side to read and discuss writing and politics. They channeled their sense of urgency in developing and promoting Black culture into the literary magazine Umbra. Following the group’s dissolution, Pritchard continued to be involved in New York’s art, music, and film worlds in the late 1960s. The Matrix was published by Doubleday in 1970, marking one of only a handful of books on concrete poetry to be published by a major American publishing house. His second and final book Eecchhooeess was released by New York University Press in 1971.  

If Pritchard’s work testifies to the Black poetics of “broken witnessing,” it is also deeply philosophical and spiritual. “I feel that there’s only one reality, and that reality is God,” says Pritchard in an unpublished video from 1981. “Everything else is actual—or what I call ‘transreal.’ In other words, everything is transreal except God. Trans meaning through, across, within, into within.” In a 1969 letter to fellow Umbra member Ishmael Reed, Pritchard writes: “Transreal is a word which visited me in the fall of 1967 while making initial probes into a book which I call Origins: A Contribution to the Monophysiticy of Form. My ‘definition’ is: Transrealism = O.” 

While leaving it open to interpretation, “transrealism” was a vector through which Pritchard organized a host of collaborations—in March 1972, for instance, the poet hosted an event in New York called “The End of Intelligent Writing: A Transreal Awakening,” which featured artists such as Vito Acconci, W. Bliem Kern, and Richard Kostelanetz. Describing Pritchard’s work in terms of “ironic materiality,” Reed has remarked: “At the limit, Pritchard’s self-undermining poems ask us whether poetry needs words at all.” Indeed, his is a poetics of both anti-transcendence and revelation.

Norman Henry Pritchard was born in New York City in 1939 and studied at New York University and Columbia University. His work has been published in two collections: The Matrix Poems: 1960–1970 (1970) and Eecchhooeess (1971). His poetry was featured in the journals Umbra and The East Village Other, performed on the jazz poetry compilation New Jazz Poets (1967), and anthologized in The New Black Poetry (1969) and In a Time of Revolution: Poems from Our Third World (1969). Pritchard taught poetry at the New School for Social Research and was a poet-in-residence at Friends Seminary. He died in eastern Pennsylvania on February 8, 1996.

224 pages
5.4 x 8.2 inches
Paperback
Edition of 3000
March 2021
ISBN: 9781734489798

Co-Published with Ugly Duckling Presse
Managing Editors: James Hoff and Matvei Yankelevich

Black Art Notes

Black Art Notes is a collection of essays edited by artist and organizer Tom Lloyd. Originally published in 1971, the book was conceived as a critical response to the Contemporary Black Artists in America exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art but grew into a “concrete affirmation of Black Art philosophy as interpreted by eight Black artists,” as Lloyd notes in the publication’s introduction.

Published on the 50th anniversary of the original printing, Black Art Notes features writings by Lloyd, Amiri Baraka, Bing Davis, Melvin Dixon, Jeff Donaldson, Ray Elkins, Babatunde Folayemi, and Francis and Val Gray Ward. “If there is one lesson the post–civil rights period has taught us, it is that those most likely to shape the destiny of Black Americans in the next decade are activists and artists, who may possess additional skills as organizers,” writes Ward in “The Black Artist—His Role in the Struggle.”

The artists featured in the publication position the Black Arts Movement outside of white, western frameworks, and articulate the movement as one created by and existing for Black people. Their essays condemn the attempts of museums and other white cultural institutions to tokenize, whitewash, and neutralize Black art, and call for immediate political and institutional reform and the self-determination of Black cultural producers. While the publication was created to respond to a particular historicized moment, the systemic problems that it addresses remain pervasive, making the artists’ potent critiques both timely and urgent.

Tom Lloyd (1929–1996) was an artist and organizer whose electronically programmed light works were chosen for the inaugural exhibition at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 1968. In 1971, Lloyd founded the Store Front Museum in New York, a cultural center that hosted exhibitions, concerts, classes, and lectures for the predominantly Black community of Jamaica, Queens, for over a decade. The center acted in tandem with his call for the marriage of social action and aesthetics in Black Art Notes, published the same year.

48 pages
8.5 x 8.5 inches
Paperback
Edition of 2000
February 2021
ISBN: 9781734489750

Managing Editor: Camille Crain Drummond
Managing Designer: Scott Ponik
Proofreaders: Allison Dubinsky and Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves

A Documentary HerStory of Women Artists in Revolution

First published in 1971, A Documentary HerStory of Women Artists in Revolution documents the efforts of a group of women artists, filmmakers, writers, critics, and cultural workers organized around advancing women in the art world.

Women Artists in Revolution (W.A.R.) was founded as the women’s caucus of the Art Workers’ Coalition and was active from 1969 to 1971. This publication gathers manifestos, statements, and declarations by W.A.R. members; articles and reports about gendered and racialized discrimination in the arts; pro-abortion fliers and protest ephemera; and grant applications and reports detailing the founding of the Women’s Interart Center in spring 1970. Also included are documentation of key actions, including the 1970 Artists’ Strike against Racism, Sexism, Repression, and War; and correspondence with officials at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Museum of Modern Art calling for 50 percent gender equity in exhibition programming, increased grant and fellowship support for women, and structural representation at the management and curatorial level, among other demands.

A Documentary HerStory of Women Artists in Revolution was originally printed at the Women’s Media Center in 1971 by Women Artists in Revolution. A second edition, published in 1973 by Women’s Interart Center,  features a preface and addendum with retrospective reflections on the history and activities of W.A.R. and the publication itself, two years after the group’s dissolution. It is this second edition that is reproduced here in facsimile form.

Members of W.A.R. included Juliette Gordon, Sara Saporta, Therese Schwartz, Muriel Castanis, Cindy Nemser, Dolores Holmes, Betsy Jones, Silvia Goldsmith, Jan McDevitt, Lucy Lippard, Grace Glueck, Poppy Johnson, Brenda Miller, Faith Ringgold, Emily Genauer, Agnes C. Denes, Doloris O’Kane, and Jacqueline Skiles.

88 pages
8.25 x 10.8 inches
Paperback
Edition of 1500
January 2021
ISBN: 9781734489767

Managing Editor: Rachel Valinsky
Managing Designer: Dan Bourke

 

Shame Space

Shame Space is an artist book that explores the possibilities of narrative and identity. The book collects a selection of journal writings by Syms from 2015-2017 in which she attempts to capture her shadow self alongside a selection of image stills from the recent video project Ugly Plymouths (2020). The diaristic commentary in Shame Space is gathered into fifteen chapters that stage narrative as a process of being in the making.

Text entries in Shame Space have formed the voiceover of Mythiccbeing (pronounced ‘my thick being’), a “black, upwardly mobile, violent, solipsistic, sociopathic, gender-neutral femme” digital avatar who has iterated across several of Syms’s recent exhibitions. In the artist’s dense, multi-channel media installations, Mythiccbeing manifests variously in video, in pre-programmed audio recordings of the artist’s voice, and as an interactive chatbot, which responds to the viewer’s communications with images, messages, and animations.

Shame Spaces design mimics the bible form, with its A5 size, embossed leather-textured cover, and gold edge painting. Translating Syms’s ongoing research and interest in new media technologies to the page, the book’s still images were coded using a programming script, such that the design, like the chatbot’s SMS responses, is an exercise in machine automation.

Martine Syms is an artist who has earned wide recognition for a practice that combines conceptual grit, humor, and social commentary. She has shown extensively including solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and ICA London. She is in a band called Aunt Sister and hosts CCartalkLA, a monthly radio show on NTS. She also runs Dominica, a publishing imprint for artists’ books.

240 pages
5.5 x 8 inches
Paperback
Edition of 1500
November 2020
ISBN: 9781734489743

Managing Editor: Rachel Valinsky
Designer: Brent David Freaney
Proofreader: Allison Dubinsky

Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979

Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979 is expansive anthology focused on concrete poetry written by women in the groundbreaking movement’s early history. It features 50 writers and artists from Europe, Japan, Latin America, and the United States selected by editors Alex Balgiu and Mónica de la Torre.

Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979 takes as its point of departure Materializzazione del linguaggio—the groundbreaking exhibition of visual and concrete poetry by women curated by Italian feminist artist Mirella Bentivoglio for the Venice Biennale in 1978. Through this exhibition and others she curated, Bentivoglio traced constellations of women artists working at the intersection of the verbal and visual who sought to “reactivate the atrophied tools of communication” and liberate words from the conventions of genre, gender, and the strictures of the patriarchy and normative syntax.

The works in this volume evolved from previous manifestations of concrete poetry as defined in foundational manifestos by Öyvind Fahlström, Eugen Gomringer, and the Brazilian Noigandres Group. While some works are easily recognized as concrete poetry, as documented in canonical anthologies edited by Mary Ellen Solt and Emmett Williams in the late ’60s, it also features expansive, serial works that are overtly feminist and often trouble legibility. Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979 revisits the figures in Bentivoglio’s orbit and includes works by women practicing in other milieus in the United States, Eastern Europe, and South America who were similarly concerned with activating the visual and sonic properties of language and experimenting with poetry’s spatial syntax.

Artists and writers include Lenora de Barros, Ana Bella Geiger, and Mira Schendel from Brazil; Mirella Bentivoglio, Tomaso Binga, Liliana Landi, Anna Oberto, and Giovanna Sandri from Italy; Amanda Berenguer from Uruguay; Suzanne Bernard and Ilse Garnier from France; Blanca Calparsoro from Spain; Paula Claire and Jennifer Pike from the UK; Betty Danon from Turkey; Mirtha Dermisache from Argentina; Bohumila Grögerová from the Czech Republic; Ana Hatherly and Salette Tavares from Portugal; Madeline Gins, Mary Ellen Solt, Susan Howe, Liliane Lijn, and Rosmarie Waldrop from the US; Irma Blank and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt from Germany; Chima Sunada from Japan; and Katalin Ladik and Bogdanka Poznanović from the former Yugoslavia.

480 pages
8 x 9 inches
Paperback
Edition of 3500
September 2020
ISBN: 9781734489729

Editors: Alex Balgiu and Mónica de la Torre
Managing Editor: James Hoff
Designer: Scott Ponik

 

Typecode 9

Typecode 9 is a letterpress print by Tomaso Binga produced on the occasion of Primary Information’s publication of Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979. The print is produced in an edition of 50 and is hand-numbered and signed by the artist.

The work was originally produced in 1978 and is part of a larger series of Typecodes, many of which are included in Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979.

Tomaso Binga is an Italian artist and poet working in performance, collage, painting, and installation.

12.5 x 12.5 inches
Letterpress print
Edition of 50
2020

Work 1961-73 (Limited Edition)

This publication is a limited edition of Work 1961-73. Each publication is signed by Yvonne Rainer and comes with two 5 x 7″ prints. The first photograph documents Steve Paxton performing in Parts of Some Sextets in 1965 at Judson Church in New York City and the second features Emily Coates, Timothy Ward, and Jon Kinzel performing in Parts of Some Sextets in 2019 at Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center in Brooklyn.

Originally published in 1974 by the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Yvonne Rainer’s Work 1961-73 documents the artist’s landmark early works at the intersection of dance, performance, and art. The publication provides multifaceted insight into some of the artist’s most celebrated choreographic works, including Terrain (1962), Trio A (1966), Continuous Project-Altered Daily (1970), War (1970), Street Action (1970), and This is the story of a woman who … (1973)among many others.

Assembled ostensibly as a survey, Work 1961-73 features a multitude of documentary forms, including scripts, excerpts from the artist’s notebooks, press reviews, correspondence, photographic documentation, literary excerpts, contextualizing texts by the artist, diagrams, film stills, floor plans, scores, and more. As such, the publication resembles an artist book that generously gives the reader access to Rainer’s modes of working, as well as the social and political context around which the work was made. The publication is also a book of writing, with the artist’s frank, witty, and sometimes humorous prose intimately leading the reader through each work.

As the artist states in the book’s introduction:

I have a longstanding infatuation with language, a not-easily assailed conviction that it, above all else, offers a key to clarity. Not that it can replace experience, but rather holds a mirror to our experience, give us distance when we need it. So here I am, in a sense, trying to ‘replace’ my performances with a book, greedily pushing language to clarify what already was clear in other terms. But, alas, gone. This has seemed one good reason to compile a book ‘out of’ the remains of my performances, letting the language fall where it may. Let it be said simply “She usually makes performances and has also made a book.”

Work 1961-73 is an indispensable publication for anyone interested in the artist and the radical developments in dance and performance in the 1960s.

Yvonne Rainer (b. 1934) is a dancer, choreographer, writer, and filmmaker. She is a co-founding member of the Judson Dance Theater and worked primarily as a dancer and choreographer from the early 1960s through the early 1970s. Her choreographic work is widely recognized for blurring the lines between performers and non-performers, incorporating gestural and pedestrian movements, as well as classical dance steps and theatre. In 1972, Rainer began making films, producing seven experimental features, including Lives of Performers (1972), Privilege (1990), and MURDER and murder (1996). She returned to dance in 2000, producing new works commissioned by the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation, the Performa Biennial, and The Museum of Modern Art. She is the author of several books including Feelings Are Facts: A Life (2006), A Woman Who…: Essays, Interviews, Scripts (1999), and Poems (2012). She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, two Guggenheim Awards, The Foundation for Contemporary Art’s Merce Cunningham Award, and a USA Grant.

Work 1961-73 signed by Yvonne Rainer
346 pages
7.75 x 10 inches
Paperback
Edition of 50
November 2020

Parts of Some Sextets with Steve Paxton by Phil MacMullan (unsigned)
5 x 7 inches
Digital print
Edition of 50
November 2020

Parts of Some Sextets with Emily Coates, Timothy Ward, and Jon Kinzel (unsigned)
5 x 7 inches
Digital print
Edition of 50
November 2020

Sea Shanty

Sea Shanty is a letterpress print produced on the occasion of Primary Information’s publication of Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979. The print is produced in an edition of 50 and includes a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Sea Shanty was written in 1971 and appeared in the book Soundsword (London: Writers Forum, 1972). It appears in Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979 along with other selections from Soundsword.

Paula Claire is a English-based writer that has been active in concrete and visual poetry since the late 60s.

8.5 x 12.5 inches
Letterpress print
Edition of 50 (+5 APs)
2020

Untitled page from Humpty Dumpty

Untitled page from Humpty Dumpty is a letterpress print produced on the occasion of Primary Information’s publication of Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979. The print is produced in an edition of 50 and includes a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

This work was originally produced in 1969 as part of Niccolai’s first book of poetry, Humpty Dumpty, much of which is reproduced in Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979. 

Giulia Niccolai is a poet, artist, essayist, and translator based in Italy.

8.5 x 12.5 inches
Letterpress Print
Edition of 50 (+5 APs)
2020

Directed Cages

Directed Cages is a letterpress print produced on the occasion of Primary Information’s publication of Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979. The print is produced in an edition of 50 and includes a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity stamped by the artist.

Directed Cages was originally produced in 1983.

Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt is an artist based in Germany. She is well known for her typewriter and mail-art works, which she produced in the 1970s and 1980s.

8.5 x 12.5 inches
Letterpress print
Edition of 50 (+5 APs)
2020

Victory Defeat

Victory Defeat is a letterpress print produced on the occasion of Primary Information’s publication of Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959-1979. The print is produced in an edition of 50 and includes a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity stamped by the artist.

Victory Defeat was originally produced in 1980.

Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt is an artist based in Germany. She is well known for her typewriter and mail-art works, which she produced in the 1970s and 1980s.

8.5 x 12.5 inches
Letterpress print
Edition of 50 (+5 APs)
2020

Olaf Breuning

This postcard by Olaf Breuning is part of a series devoted to artists’ postcards initiated by Primary Information in the wake of the Trump Administration, as well as the social and political tumult that preceded it. Since the election, there has been a growing movement of citizens using postcards to voice their concern to their representatives. As such, the postcard is a media form that is vital to political and social engagement in the United States. It is also a form with a dedicated image space, and Primary Information feels strongly that images accompanying this civic engagement should be created by artists.

Each month, Primary Information commissions artists to produce postcards in an ongoing open edition. All postcards are priced at cost.

Postcards have long been a part of the artist book tradition, with artists engaging with the form for well over 50 years now. While Primary Information sees this project as a continuation of that very important tradition, the organization also sees the need to double down on this form as a political space embedded with the urgency, diversity, and complexity of voices that are the hallmark of our times. Who better to do this than artists?

Find your national and state representatives

4 x 6 inches
Postcard
Open edition
February 2018

E.V. Day

This postcard by E.V. Day is part of a series devoted to artists’ postcards initiated by Primary Information in the wake of the Trump Administration, as well as the social and political tumult that preceded it. Since the election, there has been a growing movement of citizens using postcards to voice their concern to their representatives. As such, the postcard is a media form that is vital to political and social engagement in the United States. It is also a form with a dedicated image space, and Primary Information feels strongly that images accompanying this civic engagement should be created by artists.

Each month, Primary Information commissions artists to produce postcards in an ongoing open edition. All postcards are priced at cost.

Postcards have long been a part of the artist book tradition, with artists engaging with the form for well over 50 years now. While Primary Information sees this project as a continuation of that very important tradition, the organization also sees the need to double down on this form as a political space embedded with the urgency, diversity, and complexity of voices that are the hallmark of our times. Who better to do this than artists?

Find your national and state representatives

4 x 6 inches
Postcard
Open edition
February 2018

Steve Dalachinsky

This postcard by Steve Dalachinsky is part of a series devoted to artists’ postcards initiated by Primary Information in the wake of the Trump Administration, as well as the social and political tumult that preceded it. Since the election, there has been a growing movement of citizens using postcards to voice their concern to their representatives. As such, the postcard is a media form that is vital to political and social engagement in the United States. It is also a form with a dedicated image space, and Primary Information feels strongly that images accompanying this civic engagement should be created by artists.

Each month, Primary Information commissions artists to produce postcards in an ongoing open edition. All postcards are priced at cost.

Postcards have long been a part of the artist book tradition, with artists engaging with the form for well over 50 years now. While Primary Information sees this project as a continuation of that very important tradition, the organization also sees the need to double down on this form as a political space embedded with the urgency, diversity, and complexity of voices that are the hallmark of our times. Who better to do this than artists?

Find your national and state representatives

4 x 6 inches
Postcard
Open edition
February 2018

Nathan Hylden

This postcard by Nathan Hylden is part of a series devoted to artists’ postcards initiated by Primary Information in the wake of the Trump Administration, as well as the social and political tumult that preceded it. Since the election, there has been a growing movement of citizens using postcards to voice their concern to their representatives. As such, the postcard is a media form that is vital to political and social engagement in the United States. It is also a form with a dedicated image space, and Primary Information feels strongly that images accompanying this civic engagement should be created by artists.

Each month, Primary Information commissions artists to produce postcards in an ongoing open edition. All postcards are priced at cost.

Postcards have long been a part of the artist book tradition, with artists engaging with the form for well over 50 years now. While Primary Information sees this project as a continuation of that very important tradition, the organization also sees the need to double down on this form as a political space embedded with the urgency, diversity, and complexity of voices that are the hallmark of our times. Who better to do this than artists?

Find your national and state representatives

4 x 6 inches
Postcard
Open edition
February 2018

Dave Muller

This postcard by Dave Muller is part of a series devoted to artists’ postcards initiated by Primary Information in the wake of the Trump Administration, as well as the social and political tumult that preceded it. Since the election, there has been a growing movement of citizens using postcards to voice their concern to their representatives. As such, the postcard is a media form that is vital to political and social engagement in the United States. It is also a form with a dedicated image space, and Primary Information feels strongly that images accompanying this civic engagement should be created by artists.

Each month, Primary Information commissions artists to produce postcards in an ongoing open edition. All postcards are priced at cost.

Postcards have long been a part of the artist book tradition, with artists engaging with the form for well over 50 years now. While Primary Information sees this project as a continuation of that very important tradition, the organization also sees the need to double down on this form as a political space embedded with the urgency, diversity, and complexity of voices that are the hallmark of our times. Who better to do this than artists?

Find your national and state representatives

4 x 6 inches
Postcard
Open edition
February 2018