Salvation

Salvation is a previously-unpublished artist book by Jimmy DeSana that he conceptualized shortly before his death in 1990. The publication contains 44 of the artist’s late photographic abstractions that quietly and poetically meditate on loss, death, and nothingness. Depicted within the works are images of relics, body parts, flowers, and fruits that DeSana altered using collage and darkroom manipulations to create pictures that are both intimate and other-worldly. Salvation provides a nuanced and sophisticated counterpoint to the prevailing work around HIV/AIDS at the time, which tended to favor bold political statements.

Variations of many of the works in this book were first presented at DeSana’s last show with Pat Hearn Gallery in 1988. Shortly thereafter, the artist began assembling a maquette of Salvation, using black and white images as place holders for the color works that he intended to comprise the final layout of the publication. Sadly, he was unable to fully realize Salvation in his lifetime, but on his deathbed, he dictated instructions to his longtime friend Laurie Simmons for completing the work; instructions which she noted on each page of the single-copy maquette. With these notes, Simmons was able to match extant slides  and sequencing. Simmons’ studio chose color gels from DeSana’s archive for each corresponding black and white image in the assembly of the publication. Thankfully, due to this recuperative work, Salvation—long-considered to be DeSana’s last major work—is now available for the first time, with every step taken to honor and embody DeSana’s original vision.

Jimmy DeSana (1949-1990) grew up in Atlanta, GA, and received his bachelor’s degree from the Georgia State University in 1972 before relocating to New York’s East Village in the early 1970s. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include The Sodomite Invasion: Experimentation, Politics and Sexuality in the work of Jimmy DeSana and Marlon T. Riggs, Griffin Art Projects, Vancouver, Canada, 2020, and Remainders, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY, 2016. DeSana’s work can be found in numerous public collections including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, among others. A major retrospective of DeSana’s work was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, in 2022, accompanied by a catalogue co-published by the Brooklyn Museum and DelMonico Books.

48 pages
8.5 x 10.5 inches
Paperback
April 2024
ISBN: 9798988573630

Editor: James Hoff and Laurie Simmons Studio
Designer: Rick Myers

Laurie Simmons Studio is Danielle Bartholomew, Laurie Simmons, and Mary Simpson.

 

Sketchbook, September 1977

Sketchbook, September 1977 is an early journal by Greer Lankton written during her time as an art student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It offers key insights into the artist’s mind before her move to New York in 1978, where she would go on to have a prolific career making lifelike dolls, theatrical sets, photographs, drawings, and paintings.

Containing drawings, behavioral diagrams, and occasionally confessional writing, the journal is a record of imagining the body and mind reconciled through transformation. In these pages, the nineteen-year-old turns an inquisitive, sociological eye toward the emotional landscape and somatic effects of her days recorded here—the time period leading up to her decision to undergo hormone treatment and gender-affirming surgery in 1979. Lankton reflects with raw vulnerability and keen self-awareness on critical questions of self-image, social perception, gender normativity, and human behavior.

The book also includes an afterword by Lankton’s lifelong friend, Joyce Randall Senechal. Sketchbook, September 1977 is one of the earliest of Greer Lankton’s journals, sketchbooks, and daybooks to appear in the artist’s archives housed in the Department of Film at The Museum of Modern Art. The majority of Lankton’s papers and archives are housed at the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh.

Greer Lankton (1958-1996) was born in Flint, Michigan. After moving to New York, she became an important figure of the East Village art scene, presenting her work in key exhibitions like New York/New Wave at PS1 and Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing at Artists Space as well as in solo and group exhibitions at legendary East Village galleries Civilian Warfare and Gracie Mansion. She participated in the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale in 1995. Lankton relocated to Chicago in 1990 and her final work, It’s all about ME, Not You, was completed in 1996 and is on permanent view at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh.

160 pages
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Paperback
September 2023
ISBN: 9798987624913

Managing Editor: Rachel Valinsky
Managing Designer: Siiri Tännler

Dear Jean Pierre

Dear Jean Pierre collects David Wojnarowicz’s transatlantic correspondence to his Parisian lover Jean Pierre Delage between 1979 and 1982. Capturing a truly foundational moment for Wojnarowicz’s artistic and literary practice, these letters not only reveal his captivating personality—and its concomitant tenderness, compassion, and neuroses—but also index the development of the visual language that would go on to define him as one of the preeminent artists of his generation.

Through this collection, readers are introduced to Wojnarowicz’s Rimbaud series, the band 3 Teens Kill 4, the publication of his first photographs, his early friendship with Peter Hujar, his participation in the then-emerging East Village art and music scenes, and the preparations for the publication of his first book. Included with these writings are postcards, drawings, xeroxes, photographs, collages, flyers, ephemera, and contact sheets that showcase some of the artist’s iconic images and work, such as the Burning House motif and Untitled (Genet, after Brassai).

Beyond these milestones, the book offers a striking portrayal of Wojnarowicz as a twenty-something, detailing his day-to-day life with the type of unbridled earnestness that comes with that age and the softness of love and longing. This disarming tenderness provides a picture of a young man just beginning to find his voice in the world and the love he has found in it.

Although the two exchanged letters in equal measure, Delage’s correspondences have largely been lost, leaving us with only a revelatory glimpse into the internal world of Wojnarowicz during what turned out to be his formative years.

David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. Wojnarowicz channeled a vast accumulation of raw images, sounds, memories and lived experiences into a powerful voice that was an undeniable presence in the New York City art scene of the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. Through his several volumes of fiction, poetry, memoirs, painting, photography, installation, sculpture, film and performance, Wojnarowicz left a legacy, affirming art’s vivifying power in a society he viewed as alienating and corrosive. His use of blunt semiotics and graphic illustrations exposed what he felt the mainstream repressed: poverty, abuse of power, blind nationalism, greed, homophobia and the devastation of the AIDS epidemic. Wojnarowicz died of AIDS-related complications on July 22, 1992 at the age of 37.

616 pages
8.5 x 11 inches
Paperback
August 2023
ISBN: 9781737797951

Editor: James Hoff
Designer: Pacific
Copy editor: Allison Dubinsky

 

Better Living Catalog

Pippa Garner’s Better Living Catalog, originally published in 1982, takes the form of a mail order catalog featuring clever and whimsical inventions that parody consumer goods while simultaneously critiquing America’s obsession with ingenuity, efficiency, leisure, and comfort. These works, which were made as prototypes and photographed for the publication, take the form of improbable accessories, clothing, footwear, home appliances, and office gadgets.

For example, the “Reactiononometer,” a portable wristband, instantly measures social success, while the “Digital Diet Loafers” display the wearer’s weight with every step. If the “Munch-o-Matic” reduces deskwork interruptions by flinging a snack right into the user’s mouth, other items promise financial solvency (the controlled cash flow “Autowallet”), sustainable waste management, or mess-free companionship (the “Pet-a-Vision” TV console). The artist asserts that all of the products in the book are “absolute necessities for contemporary survival.”

The Better Living Catalog was a pop hit when it was published, earning Garner spots on nighttime TV talk shows and attention from magazines like Vogue and Rolling Stone. In a meme-filled culture, the works still resonate today, finding their analog in widely-circulating consumer products, and—in the case of the “High Heel Skates”—even appearing unattributed in the runway collection of a major luxury fashion brand.

A few years after the Better Living Catalog was published, Garner began her gender transition, which she has characterized as an artistic project that draws conceptual parallels to the altered consumer goods she has continued to create since the 1970s. The artist’s practice has always been about hacking—gender hacking, she stated, was “an excellent premise for maverick conceptual art and diametrically opposed to anything I’d ever done.”

Many of the prototypes Garner created for the publication were repurposed or recycled, making this previously rare gem of an artist book one of the artist’s few works to now be widely available.

Born in 1942 in Evanston, Illinois, Pippa Garner (formerly known as Philip Garner) began her practice in the late sixties as a member of the highly regarded Transportation Design department at ArtCenter, California, with plans to become a car stylist, and was drafted to Vietnam to serve as a combat illustrator. In the mid-80s, Garner began her gender transition, which she considers a conceptual artwork, marking an extension of her practice from twenty years of altering cars, garments, and consumer products to using her own body as raw material. Garner appeared on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and other talk shows, showcasing her satirical consumer product inventions, and her artwork has been featured in Car & Driver, Rolling Stone, Arts & Architecture, and Vogue, among other publications. In the 1980s, her performance, design, and video work was exhibited in institutions including the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; since 2015, she has had exhibitions at STARS, O-Town House, Redling Fine Art, and Parker gallery in Los Angeles; Jeffrey Stark in New York; JOAN, Los Angeles; Kunstverein München; 49 Nord 6 Est – Frac Lorraine, Metz; Kunsthalle Zurich; and Art Omi, Ghent, New York. She is the author of three other books: Utopia… or Bust! Products for the Perfect World (1984), Garner’s Gizmos & Gadgets (1987), and the zine Beauty 2000 (1992/2021).

100 pages
5.25 x 8.09 inches
Paperback
June 2023
ISBN: 9798987624944

Managing Editor (2023): Rachel Valinsky
Managing Designer (2023): Siiri Tännler

The Kill

The Kill is a silkscreen print by Pippa Garner, produced on the occasion of Primary Information’s publication of the artist’s Better Living Catalog. The work is signed by the artist and produced in an edition of 50.

Born in 1942 in Evanston, Illinois, Pippa Garner (formerly known as Philip Garner) began her practice in the late sixties as a member of the highly regarded Transportation Design department at ArtCenter, California, with plans to become a car stylist, and was drafted to Vietnam to serve as a combat illustrator. In the mid-80s, Garner began her gender transition, which she considers a conceptual artwork, marking an extension of her practice from twenty years of altering cars, garments, and consumer products to using her own body as raw material. Garner appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and other talk shows, showcasing her satirical consumer product inventions, and her artwork has been featured in Car & DriverRolling StoneArts & Architecture, and Vogue, among other publications. In the 1980s, her performance, design, and video work was exhibited in institutions including the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; since 2015, she has had exhibitions at STARS, O-Town House, Redling Fine Art, and Parker gallery in Los Angeles; Jeffrey Stark in New York; JOAN, Los Angeles; Kunstverein München; 49 Nord 6 Est – Frac Lorraine, Metz; Kunsthalle Zurich; and Art Omi, Ghent, New York. She is the author of three other books: Utopia… or Bust! Products for the Perfect World (1984), Garner’s Gizmos & Gadgets (1987), and the zine Beauty 2000 (1992/2021).

8.5 x 11 inches
Silkscreen print
Edition of 50 + 5 APs
Signed
2023

Live Audio Essays

Live Audio Essays presents transcripts from performances and films by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, an artist known for his political and cultural reflections on sound and listening.

Abu Hamdan’s intricately crafted and heavily researched monologues are at times intimate, humorous, and entertaining, yet politically disquieting in their revelations. Using personal narratives, anecdotes, popular media, and transcripts rooted in historical and contemporary moments, the artist leads the reader through his investigations into crimes that are heard but not seen. These live audio essays turn our focus to acoustic memories, voices leaking through walls and borders, the drone of warfare, cinematic sound effects, atmospheric noise, the resonant frequencies of buildings, the echoes of reincarnated lives, and the sound of hunger.

Live Audio Essays collects seven iconic works, which were originally presented as performances, films, or video installations from 2014 through 2022. Featured pieces include Contra Diction (Speech Against Itself), Walled Unwalled, After SFX, Natq, A Thousand White Plastic Chairs, Air Pressure, and the newly-completed The 45th Parallel.

All the texts were transcribed and edited with the artist and are available here in a single volume for the first time.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a Private Ear, listening to, with and on behalf of people affected by corporate, state, and environmental violence. Taking the form of forensic reports, lectures and live performances, films, and publications, his work reflects on the political and cultural context of sound and listening and has been presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney; the 58th Venice Biennale; the 11th Gwangju Biennale; the 13th and 14th Sharjah Biennial; Witte De With, Rotterdam; Tate Modern Tanks; Chisenhale Gallery; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Portikus Frankfurt. He received his PhD in 2017 and has held fellowships and professorships at the University of Chicago; the New School, New York; and the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. He is the recipient of the Toronto Biennial Audience Award, the Edvard Munch Art Award, and the Nam June Paik Award, and was the co-winner of the Turner Prize in 2019. His audio investigations have been used as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and been a key part of advocacy campaigns for organizations such as Amnesty International, Defence for Children International, and Forensic Architecture.

144 pages
5 x 7.5 Inches
Paperback
May 2023
ISBN: 9798987624951

Editor: James Hoff
Designer: David Bennewith / Colophon
Copy editor: Allison Dubinsky