My final post takes a very local turn. Like Prigov’s Little Coffins, New Zealand artist Campbell Walker’s 2012 work The Crime LINKS in the Smoke is an undead work that plays on the print book as both fetishized object and repeatable copy. The Crime comprises cut-up pages from detective novels that were burnt in the fire that destroyed Raven Books, a secondhand bookshop on Princes St in Dunedin, New Zealand. Walker’s book is a memorial both to a particular shop and to the town where it was located. Dunedin, the small city near the southern end of New Zealand where I live, is known for its penguins and sea lions but also for its crumbling Victorian grandeur. Now mainly a university town, Dunedin was once New Zealand’s largest and most prosperous city, and the energetic local cultural scene today springs partly from the spaces opened up by the slow urban decay of a city that never grew. Walker’s work links the fate of Raven Books and Dunedin to the fate of the print codex at a time when bookstores everywhere are closing their doors and e-book sales are increasing exponentially.
It's not possible to overstate the importance of Philadelphia’s ICA to the world of contemporary art, from around 1965 on. There was the night of October 8, 1965, the opening of Andy Warhol’s first solo museum show, held at ICA (then located in the Fisher Fine Arts Library). It was a moment that was “arguably the turning point of Warhol's career.” ICA hasn't missed an opportunity to push and innovate and suggest. Tony Smith in 1966. Christo in '68. “Chance and Art” in 1970. Agnes Martin in 1973. “Video Art” in 1975.