Arts Magazine, April 1970

Greta Garbo, and Monroe. Deitrich and DiMaggio. Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean. On the cover of a magazine… Ahum, no. This blog will not do a one-eighty and focus on Madonnas’s lyrics. But as i’ve mentioned i, and the blog, will now try and turn the focus to magazines. I fully understand that this will not be an easy thing to do but as i’ve already said many times before i didn’t think the dust jackets would be easy either, and that turned out pretty good so i guess we’ll see that happens. Anyways, let’s get down to it! I figured since i’ve been away for so long i better come out with guns blazing, so it’s time for the big ol’ drumroll once again.. Coolness was promised, and coolness you shall have! And what can be cooler than something previsouly “unknown”? And by that i mean something that noone in my close little circle of Warhol-collecting-people had ever seen before. I’m sure a couple of collectors who don’t see the point in blogging about their finds have this on a shelf somewhere. Anyways, as it turns out it might not be entirely as unknown as i initially thought, but more on that later. It’s also NOT in Paul Maréchal’s excellent book Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Magazine Work. That’s right, i called it excellent. This really is a FANTASTIC book and source of information, basically a must have for anyone interested in this area or whatever of Warhol’s work. I can’t say that i’ve read it cover to cover (yet) but a good thing is that unlike the case with the dust jackets where i had to try and find and put together bits of information here and there and, without sounding too pomposterous, try and write my own book i’ll now have the help of someone else who have already done all the legwork. It’s not all good though as i quite enjoyed playing detective but who knows, maybe i’ll still be able to dig up something of my own…

Hmmm… it really has been a long time since i last did this. I’ve been staring at the screen now for 30-something minutes trying to come up with something to write. Previously i think i’ve had a pretty good idea about where to go and what to try and get down and followed some kind of a map to get there, guess i’m a bit rusty… I think i usually start with WHAT it is but why not start with the WHERE this time. As with my previous “new discovery” – The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry which Guy Minnebach tipped me of about i can’t take any credit for finding this thing either. That part should instead go to Aaron Cohen who runs the excellent webshop/site kind of thing Projectobject. If i remember correctlt he got this from ebay which is quite amazing, i don’t think i’ve ever found anything like this on there that passed totally under the radar. I think this was also the case with the previously mentioned book that Guy found, very surprising… I’ve come to know Aaron a little bit since i seem to always end up at his site sooner or later during my Google-image-searching-extravaganzas… Anyways, he pretty much always has some really cool Warhol related stuff like book/dust jackets and magazines for sale and you can check out some of it here, personally i’ve always thought the Art Cash is cool and the Man on the Moon playbill looks really great. But i’m all about magazines nowadays so, those will have to wait… Anyways, this whole thing started out back in August when Aaron emailed me and asked if i had seen the latest sale of a yellow MTV on ebay and then he kind of casually mentioned something like “oh, and check out these magazines that i found…” and attached were images of the Stern Magazine/John Lennon cover that i had seen before but there was also another one that i hadn’t seen. I wasn’t entirely sure though, as i mentioned i haven’t read Maréchal’s book like some people read the bible so i figured maybe it was still in there somewhere, but i have also gotten a list of magazine covers from Guy Minnebach and i was at least certain that this one was not on that list. But one never knows with these things, i guess hypothetically it could be a known cover and even though Warhol is clearly credited on the cover there could still be some reason for it not to be considered a Warhol after all. Whatever the case i didn’t want to waste any time trying to figure that out so when Aaron said he still had it available for sale and when i saw that he had put it on his site i of course panicked as usual and felt i had to jump on it and so i told him i would gladly buy it. I think i ended up paying $100-115 or something like that which i think was a great and very generous deal. We’ve wheeled and dealed and traded a few times before this and it’s always a pleasure. So again, thanks so much for this Aaron!

That about sums up the “where” and leads us down the natural path of the “what”… So, what is this thing. And… well, besides the obvious that it’s a magazine it’s more specifically a copy of a magazine called Arts Magazine from April of 1970. I’ve not been able to find a great deal of information about the magazine itself but there is a Wikipedia page and it seems it was published under various namnes – The Art Digest, Arts and finally Arts Magazine, from 1926 up until 1992. I haven’t made an effort to try and find out when the name changes were done because, well… it really doesn’t matter. On the cover is a collage with a polaroid photo of Gregory Battcock with the black jacket still attached together with some scribblings that i can’t really make out… The best i can do is “Gregory Battcock with something something”… is the last word “bucky”? If so then i have no idea what that means… I guess it’s not all that important anyway. I can’t say i’ve been able to find anything else really useful when it comes to cover design, but there is some information on the title page. There’s an image of it below but i’ll still do a little copy/pasting just for the hell of it.

On the cover: Travel Piece (1970) by Andy Warhol for Arts Magazine. This original work of art includes the three collages appearing on pages 23-25 of this issue. Characteristic of the artist, this piece-made up of photographs taken during Gregory Battcock’s and David Bourdon’s commissioned trip to Paris – reflects the banality of the “family album,” while commenting ironically on space as a factor in art. A major Andy Warhol retrospective will be on view at the Pasadena Art Museum, May 11 – June 21. (Cover coll. Ileana Sonnabend).

Actually pretty informative… And naturally this posted the question of, at least to me it did, who the hell are these people. Gregory Battcock? David Bourdon? Ileana Sonnabend? I have never heard of any of them. I now realize that i probably should have at least recognized the name David Bourdon since he is the author of the, from what i understand, highly renowned biography book Warhol. Perhaps a bit embarrassing i guess… but to rectify this i’ve made a mental note that i need to get that book, get and also read. But let’s start with Gregory Battcock (got to love that name), i have no intention to turn this into a huge biography so i’ll try and keep it short and sweet and stick to what’s relevant here. From what i understand he was basically an artist, art historian, art critic and a prominent figure of the New York art scene in the 60’s and 70’s. And i guess anyone who ticks all of those boxes around that time would end up crossing paths with Andy Warhol sooner or later. I guess they eventually became good friends and Battcock ended up starred in three of Warhol’s films – Batman Dracula, Horse and Eating Too Fast. I’ve also picked up that he became a special correspondent for Arts Magazine in 1967 and from there he would eventually go on to serve as editor of the same magazine in 1973. Sadly he ended up being brutally murdered on christmas eve in 1980 in his appartment in Puerto Rico and from what i can tell the murder remains unsolved. For those wanting to know more about this guy i can recommend this site which is the one where i stole most of this “knowledge” from. Some other guy namned Joseph Grigely apparently found the collected estate of Gregory Battcock abandoned in a warehouse in 1992 and there has been exhibitions of this stuff as late as the previous summer. There is also some information on Waholstars here and here. There was also a book titled Oceans of Love: The Uncontainable Gregory Battcock published back in August so it seems he’s all the rage at the moment… That’s enough about him, maybe “he was friends with Warhol” would have done just fine…

On to David Bourdon and from what i can tell the story is pretty much the same… for some reason there is only a german Wikipedia page but thanks to Google translate i can tell you that he was a journalist, art critic and author who, like Battcock was a prominent person in the art scene of the 60-70’s and therefore of course also became close with Warhol. I think he also had some kind of role in Batman Dracula, i haven’t seen the film myself but i’m guessing it was a smaller kind of role. There is a pretty good biography thing here but i’ll sum it up like this, the guy wrote and worked for a lot of magazines – Village Voice, Life, Smithsonian Magazine, Vogue, GEO and Art in America. He was also president of the US branch or whatever they call it of The International Association of Art Critics. Seems he was also involved in some capacity in some Factory projects, for example the 1963 series of Elvis Presley silk screens. It feels like i’m just trowing out irrelevant links left and right but i found this interview with Bourdon pretty intersting. So yeah… again this all boils down to that he was friends with Andy Warhol.

Last but not least, Ileana Sonnabend… She actually has a Wikipedia page so that makes things a little bit easier. She is also perhaps the least important in this mess of a soup so i’ll not dive in too deep but i have to go from her and end up at Warhol one way or another so let’s see… For a number of years she was married to a guy whose name i actually recognized, and that guy was Leo Castelli. Even though i knew the name i can’t say i knew much more, but basically he was a big shot art dealer whose gallery showcased the work of people like Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and of course also Andy Warhol. I’m guessing he and Warhol ended up as close friends and in, if i’m not mistaken, 1965 Warhol made a silkscreen of him in his jacket and tie. Oh well, that’s enough about him, Back to Ileana… in 1962 she opened her own gallery called The Sonnabend Gallery in Paris and from what i can tell this was a pretty bid deal and instrumental in making American art of the 1960s known in Europe. I’ve also read that Sonnabend was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Warhol and presented three important exhibitions of his work at her gallery in Paris – Death and Disasters (1964), Flowers (1965), and Thirteen Most Wanted Men (1967). I’m pretty sure that is was during this show in Paris in 1965 where Warhol made the famous announcement that he was retiring from painting to focus on filmmaking. Also not important here, sorry… Once again we end up with the conclusion that yeah, Sonnabend was good friends with Warhol. And thus the circle is complete. These three people that i had never heard of knew Andy Warhol. How very fantastic, exciting and wonderful all at once!

Soooooooo… maybe i should have just stayed with what is written on the title page. In short, Warhol sent Gregory Battcock and David Bourdon to Paris to snap some photographs. But what i’ve been trying to get to with all this are the four words at the end there – “(Cover coll. Ileana Sonnabend).” What does this mean? Is Sonnabend credited with the collage but then Warhol is still given credit for the actual cover, is that a common thing? Or is the cover supposed to be seen as a part of the “original work of art titled Travel Piece” that is the three page collage IN the actual magazine, and therefore credited to Andy Warhol? I have no idea. Like i said i don’t really know how these things work but i find it somewhat, well…unclear. Whatever the case and i won’t dwell on that anymore, this is a magazine with a cover that is clearly credited to Andy Warhol on the actual cover and it’s NOT in Maréchal’s book, whoohoooo! Pretty freaking cool!

However, as i mentioned at the beginning it might not be as unknown as i thought. I’ve been “researching” the cover here and there for a couple of weeks and the only thing i could dig up was this old archived story from the magazine Artforum International. I’m not sure when this article was published but my guess is that it was done so in the September 2012 issue, and that guess is based on another one of these archive sites, more specifically this one. You can’t read the full article without a subscription but luckily the interesting part is right at the top…

“IN APRIL 1970, Gregory Battcock appeared in his underwear on the cover of Arts Magazine, the publication he would briefly lead as editor some three years later. Like “Andy Warhol’s Travel Piece,” the three-page spread it announces, the cover’s design, credited to Warhol, looks unfinished. Battcock is pictured in a Polaroid photo, its black jacket still attached, which has fallen at an informal angle on the gridded layout form used for the magazine’s pasteup. In the midst of this arch disarray, the critic–a notoriously handsome, sexually voracious bon vivant who was particularly fond of travel (on ocean liners if possible)–perfectly occupies the position of gay icon. He wears white briefs and a sleeveless T-shirt and is seated with his legs splayed, sexy mustache dominating what’s visible of his backlit face (cut off, in the photograph, just above his eyes). Here we have the writer as malleable object, sponsored by Warhol to travel to Paris with fellow critic and intimate David Bourdon for the express purpose of producing a project for the magazine (though without any explicit agenda for their stay).”

So i guess the avid reader of Artforum International would have been given the heads up about the covers existence a couple of years ago. Too bad i don’t read any art magazines, maybe i should start….

If perhaps not shocking it was at least a little surprising to find that article and i’m always happy when i find stuff like that. If nothing else if gives me a couple of lines of text to fill out an otherwise boring post with… So far all was well and good. But then last night i was flipping through the actual magazine to see if there was some other intersting mentions of something in it. I didn’t find anything like that but for some reason i had missed that the title page called the work “Travel Piece” so i then i did a quick google search for that and something else and what Google threw back at me was at least more shocking than surprising this time. Turns out a copy of this magazine was up for auction just a couple of weeks ago! That one is a lot cooler than mine though since it’s also signed… and one of the previous owners, Börje Bengtsson, who coincidentally is Swedish and apparently runs a gallery in Landskrona claims it’s the only signed copy he has ever seen. I have no idea who this guy is either but if one is to believe the information in the listing he is “a leading world-wide dealer in Warhol material for over 30 years”… maybe i should contact him and see if he has some other magazines for sale. It also states the obvious that “Edition unknown, few survive”, and i guess one can’t argue with that. Even though i’m new to the whole magazine-scene i’m still surprised that you see them on ebay now and then. I’ve tried to get information from the publishers of the books regarding the sizes of print runs but so far not a single company has been able to provide this. And considering how rare many of the books are i would imagine that ever fewer of the magazines survived… So it will be steep hill to clilmb for sure.

There it is. My first post about a magazine and the beginning of a new quest. And finally i get to remove that “coming soon” thing from the magazine menu and actually put something there… I have high hopes for a fun ride and i’ve already picked up six or seven of them i believe so there’s more stuff coming up!

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The Summer Dancers – Clyde Miller (Macmillan, 1961)

There are many kinds of endings. There’s the good or the bad. The happy or the sad, and of course also any combination of the above. There are endings that leave you satisfied and there’s the ones that leave you frustrated and angry. The ending to Lost is a good example of the latter, i still can’t believe i wasted six years on that show and countless hours on nerdy forums and i still get mad when thinking about it today… But that’s not really relevant here. The point is that eventually everything will come to an end. And how to best write the ending for the story here? Sounds a bit over dramatic… it’s not like it’s the end of the blog, but in a way it is the end of a long and exciting journey. But maybe i should save the thoughts on that for a later post and just get to the point.

When trying to read up on these books and things i will sometimes start planning out the basics for a future post in my head even though i haven’t found the actual item yet. I’m starting to get sick of writing that i thought i would never get to make this or that post, so i can imagine that it must be equally boring to read about it… But here it comes it again. And this time it’s true. I had basically come to terms with never getting a hold of this book and that i would forever be stuck with having that one small, but still HUGE, hole in my collection. Without question this is one of the absolutely most rare dust jackets and i figured that with the ongoing exhibition and more and more people finding them interesting that even if one did show up somewhere it would either be ridiculously priced or show up on ebay where there is always that someone who has a little more money than you do. So yeah… all this considered i didn’t really start making plans for this post ahead of time.

I really, REALLY wish there was some spectacular and thrilling story behind all this as it would make for a much better post and endning. But sadly there is nothing like that to be told. There could have been though. The few but avid readers might remember this post from late last year where i wrote about an old article in something called The Flyleaf that i happened to stumble upon and that had a very familiar cover. The magazine/monthly leaflet or whatever was put together by something called Friends of the Fondren Library and through them i was actually able to contact the guy who had written the article. He was now retired and had developed other collecting-interests than Warhol and his dust jackets. If i remember correct he had found about seven or eight of them, and he had done so without any help from the internet so i must admit it’s a pretty impressing achievement. Anyways… for some reason i initially didn’t think about asking him if he would ever consider selling his copy of the book. At the time i was also looking for a number of other jackets than just this one and i thought it was great enough to actually find a guy who had it, and that if i would ever be in the situation where this was the only hole to fill i would start pestering him then. And of couse that time came. And i don’t really know how to define “pester” but i did send him more than a couple of emails. My final offer or whatever was of course money together with my spare copies of The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry and the Corgi edition of The Immortal. Oddly enough i never heard back. I don’t feel i was overly pushy in any way and he seemed genuinely interested in talking about these old books and to someone who now shared one of his old interests and who dug up his old article, so yeah… i don’t really know what happened. And it doesn’t really matter, but it would have been a somewhat better story than what actually went down.

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Another thing that would have made for a better story or ending would have been if my crazy quest to contact hundreds of book sellers would have been successful. The final number ended up being more than eight hundred. And even though a surprisingly high number of these replied none of them responded with anything but no’s, sorry’s and unfortunately’s. The only thing i learned from this is that it was highly demotivating and i don’t intend to ever embark on such an endeavour ever again.

So… let’s get to the actual ending however non exciting it may be. If nothing else it made me feel a little bit like Nostradamus. A little over two months ago i wrote this post before i started with all the emails which ended with “most likely what will happen is that i’ll send out +500 emails and shortly after that the book will just appear in my wish list”. And even though i was way off when it comes to the number of emails this is basically exactly what happened. Sometime at the end of september it was just there… not on Amazon but on ebay of all places. As i’ve also ranted about in the past i was so sick of seeing nothing but my little ponies all over the place but this time there was actually a blue little dot thing next to the saved search for “summer dancers miller”. Before this i had also noticed that copies of Pistols for Two and The Butterfly Tree were also on ebay all of a sudden so even before i checked out this new mystery listing i had a feeling it would in fact be for the book this time. And it was! It may sound dorky but i almost couldn’t believe my eyes. I don’t really have anything to compare this feeling to… never before have i tried so hard to find something and to just see it available somewhere was pretty amazing. I have an old friend who for some reason is into bird-watching and once upon a time we were set to watch a fotboll match at a pub somewhere after work and i was sitting there waiting, waiting and waiting… eventually he calls and says that he has to cancel because there had been a sighting of a rare bird of some kind way up north. Way. Up. North. Almost 800km or about 500 milers to be exact, so he decides to call in sick the next day and drive all through the night just to maybe, MAYBE be able to see this bird… This was many years ago now and although i didn’t understand what the hell he was thinking or doing at the time i think i have a better sense of understanding now. But it’s not an easy feeling to explain to someone who hasn’t been there.

Anyways, any inital excitment i felt was, as always, quickly turned into anxiety. How the hell was i going to be able to win this auction, and what would it end up costing me… Considering that this was the first and only time i had ever seen this anywhere i decided early on that i would try and get it no matter what. Well, maybe not exactly no matter what but i would at least be prepared to bid more for this single book than what i had basically payed for all the others combined. I’m still not much of a great strategic when it comes to ebay but i think i did fairly good this time. I did however place an early bid but once i got trumped i actually decided to compose myself and wait until the end of the auction and not continue to help drive the price up early on. I remember that the auction ended on a thursday night, and even though it was far from in the middle of the night i remember i still set one or two alarm clocks which was a good thing since i fell asleap early. I ended up going to war with primarily one other guy, and he does not appear to be no Sun Tzu either. He hit the button more than 30 times raising only the minimum bid each time, and for each bid i think my heart rate went up by a couple of beats per minute so needless to say it was quite high at the end… As this was going on i was of course also terrified that the late, sniping rich guy would appear and spoil the day. And he did appear, but for once he didn’t spoil the day! Even though i ended up paying waaaaay more than i have done for any of the other twenty dust jackets, well… that’s excluding The Butterfly Tree of course, i’m still very happy with what i ended up paying and i think i got a fantastic deal in the end! I know i’ve said it hundreds of times but i really have been trying to put this all together on a pretty tight budget but what can you do… i guess the holes in your pockets gets bigger the smaller the same holes gets in your collection, if that makes any sense. Perhaps i was a little bit lucky the seller (who is a great and friendly guy from France) had a couple of other rare jackets listed and ending at the same time thus forcing buyers to chose between all these great books. Or perhaps it’s just me who has to beg and chose… Whatever the case i’m absolutely thrilled about the way this all played out.

Like a selfish douchebag i’ve also tried not to mention this book in any of the previous posts thinking this would increase my chances to keep it under the radar or whatver… I doubt this was called for though, this book is mentioned and shown in at least one of the articles on the dust jackets that i always mention and it should have been obvious which one i was stuck looking for in the end for someone willing to put in a little time and effort. I still haven’t forgotten about the previous little “sabotage attempt” though so maybe it wasn’t stupid to try and keep it on the down low after all. But seeing as it all ended up going down out in the open on ebay it didn’t really matter when push comes to shove.

So… what is this thing that i have been so childishly excited about? Well, if the title of the post didn’t give it all away this is of course the absolutely spectacular dust jacket for the book titled The Summer Dancers written by Clyde Miller and published by Macmillan in 1961. I say spectacular because there is really no other word. This is without question one the best looking jackets and as said it’s also one of the absolute rarest. I love this for more reasons than one but i particularly love how is uses the entire jacket – both front and back. Well, maybe the “entire” jacket is a bit of an exaggeration but even if it’s just by a little bit over the spine and on to the back cover i think it’s such a wonderful little detail. I also love how the remainder of the back cover has been left white and not been cluttered with short little excerpts from reviews or a synopsis kind of thing. The only other dust jacket to feature this kind of a back/front design is Borderline Ballads. One might argue that The Adventures of Maud Noakes also makes good use of the back cover in similar fashion and it does, but at the same time it’s also just the same stamped faces and not really the same kind of “continued” design as these two.

On to Clyde Miller… and as usual this will be short and sweet. Record breaking short to be exact – i’ve not been able to find ANYTHING at all about him. Again, the few but dedicated readers of this blog will have learned that the “Warhol dust jacket authors” were hardly Nobel Prize winning material but it’s still a bit unusual to not be able to find anything whatsoever… The small contribution i can make comes from the inside of the back flap where there is a little bit of a biography kind of thing and some short additional information:

“Clyde Miller was born in 1926 in Louisiana. His short novel The Gentle Season attracted favorable critical attention when it appeared a few years ago. He has taught at the University of Florida, has frequently traveled the lenght of the East Coast, and now lives and writes in New York City”.

Not much of use there. Being born in 1926 i guess he could actually still be alive, but this will NOT mean the beginning of a new stalking endeavour. And at least there is a lead to Florida… And that lead made me find a guy namned Gene Baro who apparently, among many other things i’m sure, organized over 150 art exhibitions, was a consulting curator of prints and drawings at the Brooklyn Museum, senior editor of Art International magazine in Lugano (Switzerland) and a former director of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. To top this all of he was also a member of the graduate faculty in the history of art at Williams College in Williamstown which coincidentally held the Warhol by the Book exhibition from March 7 to August 16. I’ve just copy/pasted all this from this site so who ever might be interested can find more information there. My main interest in this guy though is that apparently he was good friends with Clyde Miller, you can learn that by checking out this site which is another collection of these “Person X papers”. The same kind of thing that i found on Robert E. Bell, run a search for “Miller” and you’ll find quite a bit of correspondence between Clyde Miller and this Gene Baro. Among A TON of other things there are of couple of at least remotely interesting lines. For exampel:

Miller, Clyde. Letters to Gene Baro, 1960 – Neiswander, Rosemary. Typed transcript of a very unfavorable review [of Summer Dancers] Library Journal, December 1, 1960, with ANS “Clyde”.

TLS to Gene Baro. 1961 May 2 [New York] 2 p. Does not know what happened to Baro’s books, which were taken from Cross Creek house to the UF library. Comments about the condition of Baro, who apparently has been injured in an automobile accident. He is moving into Herschel’ apartment. Making final revisions to Summer Dancers [published 1961] He does not think it will be successful, but can do no more.

Miller, Clyde. The Summer Dancers. Uncorrected proofs. 1961.

I guess that last one is perhaps of little interest, but i find it somewhat funny and interesting that he appears to have not been fully satisfied with his work himself. To bad there is no mention of Warhol among all that stuff. Oh… one last thing. He actually did publish a couple of other things. I’m not sure these would be called “books” or whatever but for starters there is the title that is mentioned on the back flap – The Gentle Season. This is part of some kind of collection of novels and can be found cheap on Amazon or Abebooks, sadly it does not come with a previously unknown Warhol jacket. There are also some other published things here, but good luck trying to find images of these…

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OK, so that’s that about Clyde Miller and moving on to the actual cover design.To the best of my knowledge the drawing first appeared in the self published book In the Bottom of My Garden from 1956. I’m actually not sure how many drawings are in this book but if this site shows them all that would mean there are a total of 20 drawings. Now and then i think you’ll also see some of these sold individually at Christie’s and then i believe they are sometimes refered to as “plates”, i don’t really know what this means… But anyways, there was a veeeeeery cool auction for one of these just a couple of days ago that Guy Minnebach told me about featuring a very familar drawing… Sadly i couldn’t convince my better half to cut a couple of thousand dollars out of the house budget. Maybe something like this would better suit my budget, but that thing is of course a lot less cool. But after all, ’tis the season… But my of my, what i wouldn’t give to someday be able to get one of these orignal drawings related to one of the dust jackets. Someday…

I wasn’t sure where to squeeze this next thing in but i guess here is as good a place as any. I’ve also found an alternative cover at The national Galleries of Scotland website, this also features a drawing from the previously mentioned book In the Bottom of My Garden and although it looks great as well i think someone made the right call and went with the design that ended up on the actual jacket.

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Throw some kind of art history test on the desk in front of me and i would most definately hand it in with a terrible score. But i know a little bit about Andy Warhol, and from what i’ve learned these angels, fairies and/or cupids was a common theme early on in his career. When it comes to the dust jackets this is of course obvious on the cover for Three More Novels as well as on the alternative and somewhat finished cover for Borderline Ballads. I don’t know anything about two these other two guys though – Raphael and Marcantonio Raimondi. I had of couse heard the name Raphael but, perhaps embarrassing, i doubt i would be able to single out one of his paintings in a line up. And that other guy i had never heard about at all but apparently he is a key figure in the rise of the reproductive print in the early 1500’s… So why are these guys important here? Well, even though i’ve been unable to find to orignal design by Raphael i’ve found plenty of works that have words like “after” and “follower” attached to them. I don’t know how these things work but what i’m trying to get to is that it’s blatently obvious were Warhol got the inspiration for this drawing from. And that’s from a work titled (i think) “Dance of Cupids” by Marcantonio Raimondi after Raphael. So yeah, to the best of my knowledge this “after” thing means the original was done my Raphael and then reproduced by Marcantonio Raimondi… There are quite a few of these with minor differences and you can get a high resolution image of the most obvious basis for the design here. As mentioned there are also others, like this one, credited to Follower of Marcantonio Raimondi, i guess this means pretty much the same thing…

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Phew, i guess that about sums it up… And to follow standard protocol i always wait until the end to say something about the condition. And in this case i think it’s absolutely fantastic! I would have settled for a copy of this book in any condition whatsoever, torn, taped, barely in one piece… it wouldn’t have mattered. So to be able to get a hold of one in as great shape as this is nothing but fantastic. There are some small tears and tiny smudges, but what the hell. Considering how rare and old these books are i’m surprised some made it through in one piece at all. Oh, this is also one of the books that give credit to Andrew Warhol, the other being Three More Novels if i remember correct. The last couple of days have been exciting times when it comes to these books and ebay with a lot of the rare ones being sold lately. The interest in this collection of mine from my better half has been non-existent but when i showed her what they were selling for and told what i had payed for most of them she all of a sudden became a little more interested and we sat down and looked at them all. And it’s pretty cool that a lot of the most hard to find ones are in really good shape. But i don’t understand that some people (at least one particular woman) need to see dollar signs on a screen before they raise an eyebrow and become interested in even having a look at all these great looking books….

In a way this is also the end. And it’s a good, happy and in a way sad ending all rolled together into one. Even though there are still a number of books with Warhol’s on the cover, all from the 80’s i believe, that i still need to find this post concludes what has been a two and half year something long journey towards completing what i intend to title my privately published book someday – Andy Warhol: The Dust Jackets, 1951-1963. I plan on doing some kind of summary of this whole thing later on so i’ll leave it at that for now. But it’s a pretty cool feeling to lay them all on the floor and see a complete collection. I also think it’s pretty great that this blog has now become a decent source of information on all these, at least it comes with images of them all. Of course there is also the great book Reading Andy Warhol, but if i remember correct that doesn’t feature The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry, so at least there is some extra spice here… And i of course haven’t given up on finding that previously unknown jacket so i’m sure i will find plenty of things to waste my time on during the coming year. I also plan on rewriting/revisiting some of my previous book posts, many of the early ones are embarrassingly short and really need to be done right. And then there is of course also the AIGA book… And magazines… And record covers… Maybe i should see this as a way to finally get to focus more on those again. Anyways, time to wrap things up for real. Happy, thrilled, excited, exhausted and in a way also a bit sad…

The end.

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Kenny Burrell – Blue Lights Volume 1

Things are slow at work today and i’m also highly unmotivated so i figured why not get this out of the way as well. I’m not really sure what i might have to add though after Guy Minnebach did a short but sweet post on the album a while back. There you can see all the versions and colors as well as the original image. Early on this record and cover was a big mess to be, some were selling for thousands of dollars, some where basically given away and foolishly i couldn’t work it all out. Eventually i got my act together and the professor side of me figured out that it’s all about stereo and mono. And by then i also realized that an original mono issue would most likely never grace my shelf. This is one of the best looking covers so i still wanted some kind of copy, and eventually i somehow got the not so good idea of getting the Andy Warhol’s Jazz Album Covers Vol.2 box set. Clearly, with hindsight, this was a stupid decision as the covers in those boxes are nothing but terrible in every way.

I got the book From Silverpoint To Silver Screen based on Guy’s recommendation and it really is a fantastic book filled with more than a couple of drawings familiar to those interested in the record covers and/or dust jackets. A definate must have! Anywho… as said originals of this record are selling for big money, right now i could only find one, well two if you don’t mind some water stains. And even if prices have gone down a little i guess you would still have to consider yourself pretty lucky to find one of those for under $1000. I don’t want to pay that right now so i’m taking little baby steps up the ladder towards the sky going from something terrible to something that’s at least a little bit better.

What i got is the stereo reissue of Volume 1 that i think was released in 1967, at least that’s what Discogs tells me. It’s far from a rare find on ebay and these days i don’t keep track of prices in the same way that i did before. So i might have gotten a little overexcited and triggerhappy when i saw this a while ago. I think i payed $30-35 or something like that and had i bothered to check Discogs i might have gotten a better deal since there are several available there. At least i wasn’t completely ripped off. And i still need to get Volume 2, so a note to self – check Discogs. Always check Discogs.

This record is also one of the few of these old ones that has a Wikipedia article. It doesn’t say much but it at least it mentions Andy Warhol. Apparently the album has also been released on CD, both as seperate discs and as two disc set. I mentioned that i think this issue was released in 1967 but i don’t know… I know i said this was less of a mess to me now but to be honest i’m not so sure. I mean, look at this from Discogs. There are apparently three reissues as BST81596 released in 1967, 1973 and 1975…. I have no idea which one i have and i doubt it matters much. Maybe i should go and have another look at the actual cover. There are also several and more recent reissues, primarily from Japan. For anyone interested in those there are always A LOT of them on ebay.

blue-lights-versionsSo yeah… for now stereo will have to do. And when it comes to the condition there is not much to say and it’s also another thing that’s of little importance, at least when it comes to these reissues. But anyways, it’s partially still in shrink, has some tiny stickers and a cut corner but that’s about it. If nothing else i can put my previous copy back in it’s jazz box and never look at it again. And it does look a lot better in blueish/greenish than the pale almost grey version that i guess was meant to serve as a sorry excuse for pink. And who knows, now that the book collection is nearing completion maybe i can get back to putting more focus on the record covers again. And as time moves on maybe my brain will start convincing itself that $1000 is cheap for getting rid of the word “Stereo” and the Blue Note logo or whatever. Hmmm, now that i think about it the cover would look better without them…

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The Butterfly Tree – Robert E. Bell (Lippincott, 1959)

Time is slowly working it’s way towards the end of the year and i really need to get a move on if i want to cover all the years finds before it’s time for the usual yearly summary kind of thing. But my oh my… How and where to start with this? I actually went old school yesterday and sat down with a good old pen and paper trying to piece together the timeline or whatever going from the knowledge of it’s existence to the successful acquisition. I’m not sure it made me any wiser though, there have been so many twists and turns and crazy attempts and endeavors involved in trying to get a hold of this book that it’s hard to remember them all. But i’ll do my best…

I’ve probably mentioned this a couple of times already but when i started my collection of dust jackets what i had in front of me was basically a blank piece of paper. But luckily a couple of people had already done the legwork so i didn’t have to go and completely invent the wheel from scratch. I also think i’ve already mentioned these sources more than once but they are certainly worthy of yet another mention and in the beginning my bibles were the two acticles in Rare Books Digest and Polari Magazine. Even though these are an excellent starting point none of them (not even when combined) are complete and for example the book of interest here is not mentioned in either of the articles. So how did i learn this book existed? Well, i’m pretty sure this is another thing i’ve already mentioned before but (as usual) i owe a great deal of thanks to Guy Minnebach and his extensive lists of books and magazines. So i guess that completed phase one – i knew the book existed. But i still didn’t know what the cover looked like as searches for anything relating to the title, publisher or author didn’t bring up anything useful at all. Luckily Guy sent me some images later on, not that this brought me any closer to finding it but then i at least knew what to look for, both in words and image so to speak…

Had i been a less patient and/or wealthier man this whole thing could have been over in a lot less time than two-something-years. Early on i found the book on Amazon for $500 or something like that and i’m pretty sure but not entirely sure that the same copy is still on there now. The few but avid readers of this blog will have learned by now that prices like that are generally of little interest to me even though i’ve been forced to change my ways a little bit as time have moved on. At the time i didn’t pay much attention to this listing though, if it is in fact the same one as back then i did manage to get the price down by $50 or so but it was still nothing nothing that was ever going to happen. So as with a lot of other books i was forced to play the extremely boring and tedious waiting game.However, there was this one thing that surfaced in connection with this book that actually called for action instead of just waiting, and that thing was a book titled Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree written by Mary Lois Timbes Adshead. As i was going along with my daily and obsessive image searching this book kept popping up and eventually i also noticed that Robert E. Bell was actually noted as the (co-)author on this book as well. Once i finally got that fact in my thick head i put two and two together and figured that Mary Lois obviously must have known Robert E. Bell in one way or another. Luckily she had a couple of blogs and i was able to get a hold of her email adress and sent out a shot in the dark email with questions and whatnot, of course i was hoping that she would have a whole box of old and prestine butterflies lying around and that i would be able to pick up a cheap copy. Unfortunately she didn’t. But what followed was a fantastic and nowadays very rarely seen commitment and effort on her part in trying to help me in this quest. She has really gone out of her way with this thing, asking friends, and friends of friends, checking used book stores and asking the owners to keep an eye out and if i remember correct even trying to contact Bell’s brother… Quite remarkable to put in such an effort for someone you don’t know in any other way than as a name in an email. Even though she was unable to track the book down for me i am forever grateful for these efforts, thank you so much!

It was also by advice from Mary Lois that i found the newspaper The Fairhope Courier. The word “Fairhope” comes up a lot when it comes to this book and maybe i should have gone into it a little bit more earlier but it’s really not THAT important. Anyways, at first i had no idea what is was. Was it a place or just some… thing? I’ve now learned that it is in fact a city in Alabama and to keep the biography thing short and sweet this is where Robert E. Bell spent his summers as a child and as far as i know also where he lived for a time later on in life. Most importantly it’s also the city on which the fictual town of Moss Bayou in his book is based upon. For some reason i got the idea that the book would have been sold primarily in Alabama and the surrounding states. I’m not really sure why i got this idea but i figured that since it was far from a bestseller it would have generated the most buzz and most interest among local people, thus making local book stores a good bet for finding a used copy. Turns out this wasn’t the case, i got a few replies from people saying they had it but all of these were for the reprint published by University Alabama Press.

Anyways, back to the Fairhope Courier… I had already played around with the idea of placing an ad in some local newspaper based on the assumption that the book is quite old and most people who in 2015 read newspapers made of actual paper are also… well, old people. I never did anything with this idea though, seemed like to much hassle to place and pay for an ad from halfway around the world. But then this site/magazine came along and all of a sudden the whole thing seemed much easier. After a couple of emails back and forth i ended up with an ad placed on the site,  this was sometime back in January/February and i also posted about this endeavour in this old post. I can’t say i expected much from this but as always i figured it couldn’t hurt. What i didn’t count on though was to immediately get sabotaged from beyond the grave. In a matter of days after my post Andy Warhol himself made a comment on the ad post asking “Is that the copy that has a dust jacket drawn by Andy Warhol and is extremely rare?”.

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Maybe i’ve been incredibly lucky but everyone i’ve ever come in contact with since i started my collections have been nothing but helpful, friendly and very forthcoming. So i guess this thing and this guy is the exception that confirms the rule… This is the kind of douchebag who before class in 7th grade would go and tell the teacher i just spent resess copying some other guys math homework. No personal benefit to be gained, just something done to sabotage another person. I can’t say i lost much sleep over this though. But i must assume this guy will be reading this post as well. So to whoever you are i just want to say that i hope you never find the book. Never. Ever. Ever… Ever.

Moving on… to sum up all the crazy adventures i guess i have to mention this attempt at contacting some journalist who interviewed a guy who mentioned the book. Crazy and fruitless indeed…There has also been a similar thing with some guy who mentioned the book in some blog post, needless to say this didn’t amount to anything either. Phew… i think that pretty much covers all the failed attempts so it’s time to get to the good stuff and the happy ending. Subconsciously i’m still working on my post about trying to “rare rank” the dust jackets and i’ll get around to it sooner or later and without a doubt this will be in the top five, at least. Besides the one, or perhaps two, copies that i’ve seen on Amazon this has been a rare sight. Almost rare enough to start coming to terms with the idea of never finding it. But i’ve come to learn that things have a funny way of working out, eventually… As said i placed my ad and contacted all the book stores in late january or early February. I can’t remember the exact dates and things when it comes to what happened after that, but luckily most sites store your message history. And what happened next took place on Etsy. I’ve refreshed my memory with the help of said message history and on March 10 i sent my first message about a newly listed item… I can’t find the first listing now and i might be mistaken but i think it was originally priced at $400 or thereabouts. And what followed was a number of attempts of haggling but seeing as the book was just put on the site the seller, understandably, wanted to wait and see what happened and not just jump on the first idiot who offered just short of half the asking price.

At this point i was missing more than a couple of the books, had this been the only hole to fill i most definately would have jumped on the opportunity even with it’s original price tag. But as it happened i decided to wait, i kept checking the site now and then up until the start of the summer and the book was always still available. Then sometime in June i went to have a look and to my surprise it wasn’t there. After the initial depression had worn off i sent more than a couple of messages to the seller asking if it was still available or if it had been sold. In the couple of months since i first noticed it i had picked up some of the other books i needed to find so at this point i was only missing one or two and i was just about to contact the seller and make a resonable offer. Unfortunately this was right in the middle of us selling our apartment and getting everything in order with the new house and for some reason i was incredibly stressed out by all this and figured i would wait until everything had settled down. So naturally i was terrified and kicking myself over potentially blowing what in my head was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Turns out the world hadn’t come to end though. Apparently you need to renew your listings on Etsy after a certain amount of time, something the seller had forgotten to do so the book was still available and to cut to the chase we settled on a price of $275 which i was very pleased with, and as i recall the price was suggested by the seller so i must assume she was pleased with the deal as well. All said and done and the book went back online, and i even got a special listing reserved just for me…

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It took a while before i got my hands on it though. The seller was kind enough to order protective mylar which took a while to get sorted out and then i also shipped it to Frank Edwards where it stayed and got some rest before finally ending up with me. So… there it is. That’s the (short but still way to long) full story about how a lot of failures eventually turned into something with a very happy ending. Regardless of how frustrating and annoying the chase for some of these things can be it’s journeys like these that are the most rewarding and most fun to look back on once you get to the finish line. I’ve had a lot of fun chasing this book and together with the Giant Size $1,57 cassette and booklet  it’s really one of the highlights of my entire “collecting career”. One of the reasons this post has been somewhat delayed is that i had a million questions for the seller that i was hoping to get the answers to. Well, maybe not a million questions but i was very curious about when and where she found it and also what it was that attracted her to the book. Did she notice Warhol’s credit on the cover or did she just like the cover design and by chance happen to pick it up for a couple of dollars and see the credit later on? I’ve asked her repeatedly but so far i haven’t heard back. Things and information like this are perhaps mainly of interest to me personally but i still enjoy to know and to be able to add stuff like that to a post. If i ever get an answer i’ll get back with an update. One funny thing she did tell me though was that i wasn’t the only one who contacted her when the book went AWOL, apparently there were more than a few people who did so who all (like me) had been waiting for the price to be lowered. I guess that sometimes it pays off to be the annoying stalker sending messages left and right and all of the time…

The last couple of months have been exciting times on ebay when it comes to Warhol’s dust jackets, but i’ll get to the details of that in a later post. Anyways, this book made it’s first appearance on ebay (at least that i know of) about two months ago and ended up selling for $230. I have no intention to pat myself on the back to much but i think my copy is in better condition than this one so i’m still very happy with what i ended up paying. And i couldn’t have bought this one anyways since there was something else ending at about the same time that i just had to get. But again, more on that later… Hopefully one of those who missed out on my copy was able to get this copy instead. For those still on the prowl who also have deep pockets i can recommend this listing for a signed and very nice looking copy, the price tag isn’t as nice though.

This post has gone on for way to long already, but there are still a couple of things i want to get to so bear with me. Unlike some of the other authors who’s biggest claim to fame ended up being that they had a book published that had a dust jacket designed by Andy Warhol and where it’s basically impossible to find any information about them things are are a little bit different with Robert E. Bell. That said he’s still no Dickens or Hemingway but there are more than a couple of sites with good information and biographies. I’ve also learned a little bit from my emails with Mary Lois. I don’t intend to go on copy/paste spree, anyone interested can go read up on any of the sites at The University of South Alabama, The Alabama Literary Map or at the Encyclopedia of Alabama, all of these are great resources. I think it’s safe to say that he had a passion for writing, reading and books in general since he, from what i understand, spent the better part of his life holding various positions within the “literary society” or whatever one might call it. He held various positions at different libraries, was the director of The Book Club of California and opened book stores in both New Orleans and San Francisco. And in the midst of all this he still found time to write and publish a number of books where the most noted one just happens to be The Butterfly Tree. I can’t say i’m confident enough to claim i know exactly how many books he published, but after a couple of laps around Amazon i keep ending up with the same number of titles and besides the two already mentioned my guesstimate would be there are (at least) four more books. The first book he published was in 1956 and was titled A Bibliography of Mobile, Alabama. It seemed he also developt a love for classical mythology and apparently he published three award-winning reference books on the subject titled A Dictionary of Classical Mythology: Symbols, Attributes, and Associations, Place-Names in Classical Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary and Women of Classical Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary. Finally, and this might be considered overkill, but amazingly his dissertation from Berkeley titled History of the Grabhorn Press is also available on Amazon. Images of some of these titles are available online and i’ve also seen the others and i can say that none of them have covers by the hand of Warhol. Not that i was expecting that…

However, and this is a big HOWEVER. There are at least four alternative covers for this book that the world has yet see, and in all probability they will remain a mystery forever and ever. As i recall this was first noted by Guy Minnebach and to get to the how and where we need to once again return to the “sister book” Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree. I now have a copy of this book, not only is it a great read but it also uses the same tree design done by Warhol as the original book so if you’re not interested in the book for the sake of reading it i would still get it for that little cover design detail alone. Anywhooo… as said Guy was a little more creative and a lot smarter than me since he used the “Look inside” feature on Amazon and in Bell’s first letter to Mary Lois he mentions that he has five original drawings made for the cover, pretty freaking cool! Naturally this started another quest but nothing of value has surfaced so far… But i would looooove to see these one day, but yeah… i doubt they will ever see the light of day.

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Where they might be? Well, of course i have no idea but had i been able to i know where the first place i would look would be. Robert Bell passed away in 1999 and if i remember correct it was Mary Lois who first told me that after his death, or perhaps even after the death of his partner Mark Hanrahan in 2009, most/all of his work was donated to The University of South Alabama and that it’s now archived there and the details of this can be found here. I’ve come across similar things like this before, for example the New Directions archives or whatever, and interestingly there are also mentions of Warhol in these “Robert Bell Papers”. More specifically there are entrys/postings/whatever like “Correspondence re: Warhol Collection, 1989 – 92, 1996”, Retrospective: Andy Warhol by Heiner Bastian and Andy Warhol Stamps, Ebay Info”. The one in the middle is this book and apparently Bell was also an avid stamp collector and there is an image of the commemorative Warhol stamps among other Bell related items from an old exhibition here. So that just leaves us with the first one… i guess this could also be something relating to a book or something? Whatever the case i doubt the drawings are hidden in that material, but who knows. Lately i’ve not had the energy or time to embark on some new looney adventure but i’m sure this will change soon enough and then stuff like this and the New Directions archives thingy are all highly possible projects. I would assume The University of South Alabama got the bulk of Bell’s work but it seems parts of it also ended up at the Fort Worth Public Library in Texas. The details of the material kept there are less extensive and the only things that are mentioned are “a scrapbook, a novel, and some biographical information”.

Time to wrap things up… and why not begin to end with a funny little thing. I haven’t read more than a couple of pages of the book but someone who did read the whole thing and who also seemed to have enjoyed every word of it was Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Apparently The Morgan Library in NYC (i think) at one point displayed a collection on things relating to Harper Lee and among these were some letters from her sent to Robert Bell, images of these can be found here. There are some funny lines in there, especially the way she starts the letter and her anger towards Lippincott (who was also the publisher of her book) is also pretty funny. There is also another, less angry, letter found among one of the images here which yet again praises Bell’s book, maybe i should actually get around to reading this one. And while on the topic of Lippincott… this is the second book by that publisher with a Warhol jacket, the other one being The Madhouse in Washington Square which was published the year before in 1958. Both also follow the same concept with a drawing on the front and a photograph of the author on the back. I’ve of course googled this photograper, Squire Haskins, as well. Besides learning that his real/full name was Lewis Benjamin Haskins, Jr and that the company he once founded is still up and running today i didn’t find anything usefull or interesting. I do however love the fact and little detail that Bell is holding a cigarette in the photograph, i’ve always enjoyed how people smoked ALL THE TIME and EVERYWHERE in the 50’s and 60’s. Must have been good times…

Oh yeah, what about the book itself. Even though i didn’t get the information i had hoped for from the seller i can still use my eyes and tell that it’s an old library book. And taking that into consideration i must say it’s in absolute spectacular condition. It’s definately one of the best looking ones in my collection, which is quite nice since it’s also one of my favourite jackets. As said it was also one that i was starting to doub’t i would ever get to put on the shelf. And that would probably also have been the case had i not been willing to up my budget a little bit, it’s funny how you somehow and magically get more money to spend as the holes in ones collection gets fewer and fewer… Oh, i’ve also tried to contact Lippincott (which is now Wolters Kluwer as far as i understand) to try and find out how of many of these books that were printed, but as usual i’ve not heard anything back. I just noticed that apparently Wolters Kluwer also owns Swedish publisher Liber, maybe i could try taking a detour via them… Whatever the number of printed books may be i’m still extremely happy that i managed to find one of them and it’s great to finally get to write the post i thought would never be.

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The Adventures of Maud Noakes – Edited by Alan Neame (New Directions, 1961)

In an effort to try and avoid doing a repeat of my previous post about this book where i basically just wrote about how, where and when i found it i’ve spent the better part of the day trying to find anything about the book and/or it’s cover. Unfortunately i can’t say that i found anything of use. I’ll have to try and get a couple of lines down anyway so let’s get the obvious out of the way. I think i’ve already mentioned that i got this after having seen it in my wish list on Amazon for a very long time. The reason i didn’t get it sooner was first and foremost that in the beginning the asking price was much higher and another thing was that the seller stated that it was impossible to provide images. I can’t remember exactly how the price developed over time around but as i recall it gradually went from $150 or thereabouts down to about $10. And once it got there i figuered i might as well have a look, turns out i got lucky. Other obvious facts are that it was published in 1961 by New Directions (a year before the british edition published by Chapman & Hall that i previously had) and that it’s the last dust jacket that Warhol designed for the company and one of the last ones he did altogether. Not surprising considering that this was done at the beginning of his rise to superstardom.

The copy i got is an old library book so it has the usual issues and markings that i’ve learnt to expect when it comes to these kinds of copies, nothing too bad though and the stickers are on the protective plastic so eventually i’ll get around to removing them. It’s also a good example of the issues with printing the color red that Guy Minnebach gave me a crash course on when i got my/his copy of The Runaway Pigeon. In short, apparently red is notorious in the printing world for being difficult to work with. Not only is it darker than black in greyscales (to be honest i can’t say i understand the exact practical meaning of this, but i figured that if i mention it i might seem like i know what i’m talking about), it also does not react kindly to being exposed to sunlight. Guess it’s the vampire of the printing world… Anyways, as said this is a good example of that. The title of the book together with the name of the author and publisher that is supposed to be on the spine has faded to such an extent that any trace of it actually being in red at one point have disappeared completely. It’s still pretty crisp on the front cover though. Not being a huge bestseller and/or a hit at the library i guess that’s what happens when a book is never checked out and just left of a shelf near a window with the spine exposed for a couple of decades. However, all this is based on the assumption that the text was in fact red on this edition. There isn’t a huge number of images of the book available online but among the ones you can find there is not a single image of a New Directions edition where the text is not faded and/or greyish. So i don’t know… maybe it’s wasn’t ever red after all, in that case most of the above was a whole lot of nothing…

Personally i think this is one of the better jackets and that it’s interesting in a number of ways, so it’s really a shame that there is not much information to be found. New Directions has written a handful of words about it on their now apparently defunct blog, but apart from the obvious that it was perhaps a bit of a controversial yet humorous design i can’t say they bring up anything else of interest. The most interesting thing to me is that it’s the only dust jacket to feature the use of repeated images, a technique he apparently started using early on in his commercial work. And of course also later on in some of his paintings, where i guess the Marilyn Diptych is perhaps the most famous? Anyways, there is a great “gallery guide” to the Warhol by the Book exhibition that mentions a little bit about how the faces of the africans were created and apparently Warhol used hand carved rubber stamps which i then assume you just dip in ink and start stamping away… This is basically everything that is mentioned about this book but the guide is great and can be found here. Another thing that makes this jacket design somewhat unique is that it’s one of the few books where the design is not only focused to the front cover but also continues on to the back, the other two being The Summer Dancers and Borderline Ballads.

What else… well, when i got my first copy of the Chapman & Hall editon and noticed that Warhol was not credited on the cover i remember that i was wondering if that was also the case on this, the New Directions edition. And now i can say that it is. So that’s another thing that makes this jacket somewhat unique, the only other book where he is not given any credit for the design is Love is a Pie by Maude Hutchins, also published by New Directions. I know a little bit about how many books that were actually printed but i’m still trying to get more information about this, and on all the other books as well so i’m saving that for a later post. The little information i do have i got from a guy namned Aaron who has a shop thing on Etsy and a “normal” site as well called Projectobject. He has a lot of cool stuff and usually one, two or more Warhol books available. Once upon a time he also mentioned that he remembered reading something along the lines of Warhol not getting paid for the british version of something and that he was a little upset by this. I have looked everywhere and all over to try and find what this little quote or whatever might relate to, but sadly i have not been able to find anything. But i agree that it does sound like it might have something to do with this book, but who knows… Guess we’ll have to dub it as an unsubstantiated rumor.

Last but not least… during my mostly fruitless searching i did find two things that are at least remotely interesting. The first being a couple of reviews of the book in magazines from the year it was published. These magazines are The Harpers Monthly, The Nation and Commonweal, all of these appear to still be active and running in at least a digital format. Unfortunately they all also require you have a subscription thing to access the archives that holds these old magazines, it’s not incredibly expensive though so i might get that set up and have a look eventually. I can’t say i’m at all interested in what they had to say about the book itself but i’m very curious about if the mention the jacket design in any way. I’m not a frequent reader of book reviews but i doubt such a thing is regularly discussed though.

The second, and more interesting thing i found is definately not as easily accessible, at least not to me. Anyways, it seems there are plenty of truckloads of stuff relating to New Directions at Houghton Library/Harvard College Library at Harvard University. To be more precise there are 286 linear feet and/or 860 boxes containing the New Directions records from 1932-1997, the list with details can be found here. The entry/posting/whatever of primary interest here is 2721 or more exactly “Neame, Alan. The adventures of Maud Noakes : promotional materials, 1961 and undated. 1 folder. Includes hardcover book jacket”. I would LOOOOVE to check out what might be hidden among that promotional material… That would mean taking a bit of a trip though, and it would definitely not be as cheap as a magazine subscription. But who knows, maybe it would be worth it… I have no idea how things like this work but it says there are no restrictions on physical access to the material, so i guess that means anyone can dive head first into the boxes and check it out. I doubt the people at the library will go pull up one specific thing from all this stuff but maybe it’s worth a try, or maybe it would be time better spent to find someone at Harvard willing to go check it out. Maybe i should make this my new project…

There are two more cool thing in that list as well, first there is entry thing number 3036 where there similar things relating to The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole“Rolfe, Frederick, 1860-1913. Promotional materials, undated. 1 folder. Includes hardcover book jacket for The desire and pursuit of the whole and a press release for Nicholas Crabbe”.
Second… go to entry 2282 to find the same stuff on Three More Novels“Firbank, Ronald, 1886-1926. Production and promotional materials, 1949-1986 and undated. 1 folder.Includes materials for titles: The complete Ronald Firbank; Five novels; The new rhythm and other pieces; Two novels; Valmouth, and 3 more novels”. Of course there is nothing to indicate that there is anything by Warhol in this material but needless to say i would love to find out and make sure. There is nothing of the same when it comes to the forth title on New Directions – Love is a Pie. There are however plenty of entries for the author Maude Hutchins containing correspondence with various people. Oh… there is of course an entry for Andy Warhol as well, there is basically nothing mentioned but for anyone interested it’s entry 3214…

So… i guess that’s it. I can’t say i was terribly unsatisfied with the first copy i got even though it wasn’t the edition i thought it would be and/or wanted. If nothing else at least it made me aware of the fact that there were two editions on differents publishers using the same cover. And even though finding a copy of the New Directions edition has not been a priority i’ve still wanted a copy, and i’m of course happy i was able to do so in what turned out to be a cheap and lucky gamble. The last thing (for real this time), and this is of strictly academic interest, is that there seems to be a slight but obvious difference in the color of the cover between the two editions where the New Directions is much whiter than the one by Chapman & Hall which seems to be more tanned. I can’t say for sure this is the case, but it sure looks that way in most of the images i’ve seen and it’s definitely hard to miss when comparing my copies side by side. But yeah, whatever…

In more exciting news i just checked the tracking number for a package i’m waiting on, and it looks like it’s made to Sweden. Fingers crossed it’s there waiting when i get home!

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Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov (HaSifriya Hahadasha/HaKibbutz HaMeuchad, 1999)

I keep doing what i can to find that undiscovered Warhol designed dust jacket. But obviously it’s not an easy thing, and there are only that many search terms to try. And most of the time i unfortunately end up back at my own posts, guess i need to open my mind and try new things… I think i came pretty close this time though. And even if it’s nothing spectacular i still think it’s pretty cool and unlike most other books this didn’t require the biggest of shovels to find.

As usual i can’t remember exactly how i got from A to B but somehow i ended up at this guys impressive collection of different editions from all over the world of the book Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Besides all the images he also has a list of all 210 books in this collection with all kinds of details. And there it was – “Cover art by Yael Schwartz, based on Andy Warhol”, i guess those few words are what lead me to the site. Google is pretty amazing. Anywhoooo, even if he doesn’t have all the books himself i’m quite impressed by collections like this and the time it must have taken him to put it all together. The covers are really all over the scale with everything from great to terrible, and some even being quite disturbing.

The book that is of interest here though was published in Israel by HaSifriya Hahadasha/HaKibbutz HaMeuchad (i appologize for the most likely misspelling). There are many interesting things about this book and cover but for starters it seems that the first edition was published in 1986 when of course Andy Warhol was still very much alive. I have no idea if this first printing used the same cover design but assuming that it did it makes me wonder what Warhol knew about the use of his famous Coke bottles. I doubt any serious publisher, which i have to assume this is since they are putting out such a classic title, would use a design without permission. And not to mention a design by one of the most famous artists out there at the time. Very intruiging… The publisher has a website with at least some information available in english, i’ve tried contacting them to see what they might know but have yet to hear anything back. But i’ll keep at it and return with an update should i find out something interesting. The artist credited with the cover art is namned Yael Schwartz but sadly i haven’t been able to dig up anything at all about her. I’m not really sure what to think about her part of the design either, but as a whole i quite like it though. But it’s also… well, a bit unsettling. The first thing i thought was “alien autopsy” or something along those lines… Oh well, if nothing else it does stand out among all the other covers for the book where many feature a very alluring and seductive “Lolita”, on this cover she really looks, well quite dead.

I first got my eyes on this about six months ago and for some reason i initially thought that it would prove pretty hard to find. Turns out it was quite the opposite, at least once i started looking in the right places. A search on all the usual sites turned up nothing, and then i kind of forgot about it for a couple of months. Then as i was deleting some images on my phone i saw the cover again and thought that it was about time to go get it. All that was required was about two or three emails after which i had an offer for a used and cheap copy. The same seller then offered to order a brand new copy from the publisher, as it was still cheap enough i decided to run with that instead. The book is written in hebrew so everything is of course upside down and backwards and of course i can’t read a single word. But assuming the title is on the top right, that would mean i might now know what an “L” looks like, and that would mean an “O” is written as a straight vertical line… Oh well, i’m too old to learn a new language and even if i wasn’t i’m not about to start with hebrew. There are however about five things i do understand. And those are a phone number and next to that is what i assume is a fax number, there are also some websites mentioned and a couple of other numbers. And among those numbers are 1986, 2014, 1999 and [3]… the only conclusions i can draw from this is that the first edition was an mentioned published in 1986 and then maybe the last and current in 2014? But i would also assume that the book i got was printed in 1999 and that it’s the third edition, but then i don’t understand why 2014 would be mentioned on a book printed in 1999… Well, who cares.

As with The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry i can not take any credit for “discovering” this since the Lolita-collector-guy put it out there in plain sight… So even if i’m sick of saying it, the quest will have to continue! But all things considered i still think this was a pretty great find and the closest i’ve gotten to something “new”. And even though it’s of course not truly a Warhol designed dust jack/book cover i think it’s definitely worthy of a place next to the “real” ones.

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On Record: 11 Artists 1963 (Giant Size $1,57 Each cassette and booklet)

After trying to create a cloud of suspense and anticipation as thick as what NASA did a couple of weeks ago it’s time to get to it. Contrary to common practice i figured i might as well start off with a huge bang and not continue to take things slow. After all, there are about five people who might care anyways. So on a classic four count, 1-2-3-4… Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!

This will once again be a little bit of déjà vu, but this time around it’s heavily spiced up. I was going through some old emails and i also looked at my first post about this item and i can’t believe it’s been almost two years since this thing started to brew. I guess it’s true what they say about time flying by when you are having fun. Anyways, i had to read my old post to refresh my memory a little bit when it came to how i became aware of the cassette and it turned out that it was the images on Discogs that lead me to it. And that “discovery” then started a loooooong journey which seemed incredibly promising at first only to quickly have said promise turn into frustration together with massively lowered expectations. But since i never really got a definite answer in the form of a “no” or a “sorry, not for sale” to any of my inquiries i just kept on asking. Since i am well aware of the fact that i have at least half of a stalker gene in my body i had to try pretty hard to compose myself and not do this is an obnoxious, intruding or just plain out crazy-in-the-head-mental-patient-style. Luckily this turned out to be a winning strategy…

So, what about the details of this roller coaster ride? Well… call me paranoid or even a selfish douchebag but i have decided to not go into details and throw out names, websites or things like that. This is not because i want to keep this to myself like the people hoarding leaks from Chinese Democracy back in the day (which by the way turned out to be a big steaming pile of crap anyways), but only because i don’t want to aid in creating a ton of work in the form of emails and questions for the people who ended up giving me a great deal for these even greater items. And not only a great deal, but just to part from a copy at all was incredibly kind. I know that they are terribly busy with at least one ongoing exhibition as well as working and planning for an upcomping exhibition due to the 50th anniversary of the Experiments in Art and Technology in the coming year. And i realize that the traffic this blog gets might not justify the fear of creating “a ton of work” but whatever… anyone who cares enough about getting a hold of this could still embark on the same journey that i did and quite easily end up at the same location, and then just pray and hope for the best…

Sadly i can’t remember all the details but here is the gist of what happened. Almost exactly two years ago to the day i found a site that seemed to have a remote connection to the E.A.T. and after a couple of emails back and forth i eventually got information on who to inquire about items from Billy Klüvers collection. More emails followed and i quickly got a response from the archivist of the E.A.T. archives, and this is where it started to sound incredibly promising. I was told that they were in the process of inventoring and would soon get back to me with information on “how many booklets and cassettes we have for sale”. Naturally i was pretty blown away by this reponse, could it really be that easy to find this? And as i always do when i think i’m on to something “remarkable” i broke the news to the WCCC and considering what was said in the reply i got i was hoping and actually thinking that i would be able to score five or so copies! Well, it didn’t take long for this initial enthusiasm to go south as i didn’t hear back in weeks, months and eventually even years. In the meantime i followed every lead i found in hopes of getting a hold of it somewhere else, for example the set is cataloged on the site Librarything with one user claiming to have a copy. After contacting that user who was in fact some company/organisation or whatever called Aboutdrawing i was told it was not for sale but i was offered the chance to come visit their space in NYC and read the book and listen to the tape. The site now appears to be defunct and even though it was a nice and friendly offer i had to turn it down. It’s difficult to justify that kind of trip to stare at, and listen to a cassette tape… There are also three people on Discogs that claim to have it, and i know from experience that none of them are interested in selling their copy. Anyways, in a way i couldn’t understand why i never heard back after that first reply so there is actually another episode of all this were i in the style of a heartbroken 14-year old tried to find the archivist via two other sites where she had held exhibitions featuring her own work. They wouldn’t give out any contact information but promised to pass on any message i might have. Nothing came of this etiher, nothing besides me feeling like a true stalker. But what can you do, desperate times call for desperate measures…

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. Before going home from work i checked my stats on WordPress and noticed that i had a couple of hits on my previous post about the booklet. And that in turn made me go check when it was that i sent my last email, turns out it was late 2014 so i figured what the hell, it’s about time for another stab at it… As usual nothing came back but then about a week later there it was – a response! And what a response it was. After all of the hundreds of emails i sent out regarding The Summer Dancers negative replies have become standard procedure so i was both shocked and amazed to see an email that actually contained wording like “offer you a copy”. Nothing short of unbelievable, in a way i still can’t believe it.

As mentioned i was hoping to score more than one set of this for my friends in the WCCC but as time has moved on i’ve realized that this would most likely not be possible, and at times i thought that the fact that i did ask for so many copies was part of the reason it took them so long to reply. I thought that maybe they only had so and so many copies left and needed to figure out if, and if so how many, they might need for the current and upcoming exhibitions. However, the reader with a good memory might recall that i traded my first copy of this with fellow collector Guy Minnebach. And to be honest that was not even a trade, it was more like an incredibly generous give-away of amazingly cool and rare items. And had that “trade” not happened i would still be short two of the rarest books and an equally rare record cover. That considered i thought i would do what i could to even out the balance of power when it came to that trade, so i took a gamble and explained the circumstances and asked if it might be even the sliiiiightest of possibilities that they would sell one more cassette. I figured worst case scenario they just say no, i found it far-fetched that such an inquiry would piss them off to such a degree that they would recant their initial offer. Luckily, as it turned out they were willing to part from one more copy. Sadly i am not a wealthy man so i ended up being able to thank Guy for his generous trade by making him pay a quite healthy sum for a cassette tape out of his own pocket. What can i say… i’m the definition of a generous and giving person…

So…. what exactly is all the fuss about? I don’t know very much about it but i guess you might call it a spin off to the iconic and incredibly rare cover/record – Giant Size $1,57 Each that was produced in 1963 in connection with The Popular Image Exhibition in Washington D.C. I don’t know enough about either the exhibition or the record cover so i’ll keep it short and sweet and stick to the basics. And the name of the item gives away it’s content fairly good, it holds interviews with 11 artists – Jim Dine, George Brecht, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, John Wesley, Robert Watts, Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Jim Rosenquist and Robert Rauschenberg. The interviews were all done by Billy Klüver and the booklet and cassette were produced as a later, alternative version to the LP and the reason was simply that Klüver wanted to to make the information available to another new audience since the record was out of production. There is a signed and dated (at least by year) introduction kind of thing by Billy Klüver in the booklet with a mention that the cassette is available from the E.A.T. in NYC so to the best of my knowledge these were produced sometime in 1981. However, i learned from the seller that the booklet and cassette were produced and sold at the opening of The Andy Warhol Museum which from what i understand took place in 1994, so i don’t know what to make of it all. And it’s really not THAT important. What i do know is just how rare they are, and what i’ve learned from the seller is that there were initially 50 sets of cassettes and booklets produced. The booklet alone was then printed in greater numbers but apparently no more than 500 copies were produced. So yeah… both of these are pretty rare. And without question the cassette will take the place of the rarest item in my collection. I have an old cassette player around somewhere but i won’t risk playing this old tape so i’ll have to make do with reading the transcriptions in the booklet.

Even though i was able to get some information straight from the source there are still a couple of intriguing things though. First, and this in minor, there is a sligt difference when it comes to the label on the cassette. My copy has “Side One” and “Side Two” printed below the title and on Guy’s copy (as with the one in the images on Discogs) these are printed on the side of the label or whatever. Not a thing that i will lose a lot of sleep over, but still pretty interesting. If nothing else it must mean that the labels were printed on at least two different occasions? And then to real mystery… on the side of the cassette the number “64” is printed so it appears we have a LOST style number mystery on our hands. I first i thought of the obvious – that they were in fact numbered. But then Guy told me his had the same number so that sent that theory out the window. The seller didn’t know for sure but made a guess that it might relate to the lenght of the tape. I’ve been forced to read up a little bit on the compact cassette format and it seems that the standard lenghts were 30 or 45 minutes per side and these were labeled C60 and C90. From what Wikipedia has to say there seems to a lot of other, less common capacities but there is no mention of C64. In fact, bascially the only stuff you’ll find on that are hits for the Commodore 64 computer and the tapes used for that. So i don’t know… i can’t say that i’m totally convinced it has something to do with the lenght after all. The number also appears to be stamped on the cassette and not printed beforehand, would Klüver really care enough to time it all and then stamp them in this way? I don’t have much of a better suggestion as to the meaning myself, one thing caught my interest though and that’s the fact that the cassette was introduced in the US in 1964, but i don’t know… Interesting and intruiging, though not important.

In conclusion, not only was it a great feeling to finally get a hold of this again it was also very good and almost necessary for the general motivation to actually see something get to the finish line. I’ve also always thought that it’s a really cool item that fits perfect right in between my book and record collection, and since i’ll of course never see the actual original record + cover this is as close as i’ll ever get. And without a doubt it’s close enough! When it comes to the condition there is not much to say. It’s absolutely fantastic in every way and basically looks and feels untouched! It’s been about two weeks since i got this now but i’m still pretty excited! And by that i mean excited enough to just hold it in my hands, staring at it… and thus it’s also the latest example of an item that makes my girlfriend think i’ve finally gone mental. I don’t waste time trying to explain anymore. But there is a certain way and a specific tone that someone can use to say “what the hell are you doing?” that makes me stop and think for a second, but then i just go into the other room and continue staring…

This was without a doubt the best find of the year, at least for a couple of days… I’m hoping the new number one will be shipped in the days to come, so as promised there are more cool things coming up!

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