I first started to look at Erica Baum's art when she did her Card Catalogue series: close-up photographs of old library card catalogues that showed several of the card tabs imprinted or typewritten (and sometimes, for really old cards, handwritten) to indicate subject headings, categories, etc. Several of these photos show the catalogue drawer labels. My favorite of these is "Jersey City—Jesus." Anyway, that was 1997. Erica has done several interesting projects since then, all exploring the visual qualities of language as photographic subjects; words in the visual ambience, just there for the looking. Ubuweb has a pretty good collection of PDFs marking the progress of this art. Have a look.
“The card index marks the conquest of three-dimensional writing, and so presents an astonishing counterpoint to the three-dimensionality of script in its original form as rune or knot notation.” — Walter Benjamin, One-Way Street
I'm pleased to have reconnected with my former student (from the mid-80s) Rob Rosenheck who is a fine photographer. He is author of The Love Book, described by the Times as "not only witty but downright courageous" and by Entertainment Weekly as "an amazing chronicle of guerilla goodwill." He's the creative director of Capobianco & Associates, based in L.A.
After looking at the photographs to be published in The Americans, Jack Kerouac said of Robert Frank thaAfter looking at the photographs to be published in The Americans, Jack Kerouac said of Robert Frank that he had "sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film." At right is one of the 83 photographs published in the book. Kerouac wrote the preface.
The new issue of Private Circulation features Erica Baum's Dog Ear. The piece reproduced here is the one called "Mad." Baum's work, as always, is photography and it's also conceptual poetry. Private Circulation is a monthly PDF available only by email subscription.
Readers of this blog will recall that Lawerence Schwartzwald often takes photographs of well-known people in the act of leading their literary lives. Dustin Hoffman reading Ginsberg. Patti Smith reading a book of criticism on Wallace Stevens.
Readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of Erica Baum's photography. Well, good news: we can see her new work at Dispatch, 127 Henry Street (NYC), until March 22. Below at left is one of the new photographs, and here's a short review from Artforum by Robin O'Neill-Butler:
Yesterday Lawrence Schwartzwald photographed Dustin Hoffman on Madison Avenue reading Allen Ginsberg's selected interviews. Lawrence reminds me that Hoffman played Lenny Bruce and that in the famous Ginsberg-William Buckley Firing Line debate of September 1968 Lenny Bruce was discussed. The transcript of that encounter is on pp.