Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sol Lang : ABAD MoMA Wales UK [79]

A Book About Death – MoMA Wales, April 2010 – Sol Lang from sollang on Vimeo.

As part of the new exhibition organized by artist Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA, several artists were invited to produce new pieces to augment the show and draw upon a range of experiences.

Sol Lang, the Montreal-based artist, contributed a mixed media, hanging mobile, consisting of three pillow-like panels representing a six-page book about death. The subject is a commentary on the destruction of our forests, symbolizing the imminent self-destruction of mankind. The three pillows are printed on with photographic images of cut down trees from the "Ravaged Forest" series and superimposed text. They are all sewn together with colored threads, hanging in an unrolled scroll-like fashion, from a real tree branch shaped like a wishbone to represent an optimistic plea for our future.

The text reads as follows:

"In my mind I conjure up images from post holocaust documentary films of the death camps taken by the allied forces. Bodies piled up one on to of the other, as the bulldozers shovel them into the massive graves. Trees symbolize life. Cut down, they give me an ominous feeling that foreshadows an end of humanity."

This art piece was created for the "A Book About Death" exhibition, April 27th to May 8th, 2010, to remain in the permanent collection the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA-Wales, UK. Sol Lang website:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

American Jihadist : The Film [78]

Writer, journalist, artist Jody Jenkins and his partner Mark Claywell, produced American Jihadist, a 68-minute documentary about the life of Isa Abdulla Ali, an American Jihadist.  Shown at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah this past January (2010), the film earned the top prize for Best Documentary.

Jody and Mark contributed a piece for A Book About Death, and they say that in many ways, "the film is about death. The film is about someone who fought  and died – Isa was declared clinically dead – for his religion." This phenomenon – an American Jihadist – is placed directly in the face of the viewer.  Web site:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kim Triedman: Accomodations [77]

Kim Triedman, a novelist, poet and artist in the project, A Book About Death, will read from her new collection Accomodations on May 20 at The Atomic Bean Cafe in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The reading is part of the well-attended Text-in-Between series. Admission is free.

Triedman's most recent book is bathe in it or sleep, published by Main Street Rag (2009). Kim won the 2008 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest.

Accomodations is the name of her newest collection which she describes as "a sharp slice at the domestic front."

The author also recently organized and read at Poets For Haiti, a collaborative reading to benefit the Partners in Health organization and the people of Haiti that took place on February 23, 2010 in Boston. (Link to the Forum reading here).

Visual art by Matthew Rose and Sophie Oldsman will accompany Triedman's reading at The Atomic Bean Cafe.  If you are in the Boston-Cambridge area in May, please attend and/or send this link to others who would be interested.

Amy Bassin : The Queen's Sky [76]

Amy Bassin, an artist based in Long Island City, Queens, New York, writes that the work she prepared for the exhibition at The Emily Harvey Foundation was never sent because she was overcome with the emotions surrounding the loss of her father.  However, she did contribute the piece to the exhibition at MuBE in São Paulo, Um Livro Sobre A Morte and sent this note to explain the work and its genesis.

The death of a parent is a major, life-altering event for most of us – no matter what age we are and no matter what age the parent is, we are changed.

After I lost my dad, about an year ago, I found our culture intolerant of grief, after the one week period allotted for it. I discovered the New York City rat race has little or no time for death, and your loss beyond the circle of family and friends is too often slighted, ignored and quickly forgotten. "Life goes on," I was told again and again, but my dad was no longer around for me to spend time with and it seemed as if life wasn't moving for me and my confusion mounted.

Confronted with questions – "What is death? Where do we go when we die? Where is his body, his soul....Where is my dad and when is he coming home?" – I found no satisfactory answers, and perhaps never will.

I made a 'postcard' for him and was going to send it to "The Book About Death" show sponsored by the Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery in NYC, 2009. I didn't send it as my emotions were still so raw.  And my postcard was just for him, I wasn't sure I wanted to share it.

But as the project continued to move around the world, my thinking evolved. I decided to send it to "Um Livro Sobre A Morte" at MuBe, in São Paulo, Brazil and then to the exhibition at MoMA Wales. I take some solace to know my small work in the form of a postcard is traveling the world, and that that wherever my dad may be, perhaps he will see it.

My "Book About Death" postcard,  conceptual in nature, is titled: "The Queen's Sky."  I live in Long Island City, Queens, and my dad had his office in Queens.  "The Queen's Sky" is a series of digitally altered photos of the sky in this borough of New York, taken through a hole in a roof of a building near me.  The blue geometric shapes are "the sky," and the brown geometric shapes, "the roof."  I took the geometric art and placed it in a photo of a billboard, with a glaring ray of sunlight shining off the metal structure. To me the work is essentially "a ray of hope!"

This project has warranted so much attention and participation because we don't know how to deal with our grief, and across the world, artists and viewers have found a way to confront themselves and the subject of death in many different ways for many different reasons. It is nearly a year since my father died and I'm slowly beginning to see the sky again – his sky.

Amy Bassin Website.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sarajevo: A Book About Death [74]

Artist Ivana Rezek organized a second exhibition in the old Yugoslavia, this one in Sarajevo, a city that has known an enormous amount of death over the last few decades.  Below is the text in Serbo-Croatian about the exhibition from a local magazine.

Svjetska izložba razglednica
U sarajevskoj ASA Art galeriji preksinoć je otvorena svjetska izložba razglednica "A book about death."
U sarajevskoj ASA Art galeriji preksinoć je otvorena svjetska izložba razglednica "A book about death" vlasnika Fondacije "Emily Harvey".

Izložbu, na kojoj se nalazi 500 razglednica iz cijeloga svijeta s temom smrti, otvorile su koordinatorice Ivana Režak i Nataša Stanišić.

- Takozvani mail art je specifičan po tome što obezbjeđuje neposredan kontakt između publike, umjetnika i kritičara. Tema mi je zanimljiva jer autori na razglednice stavljaju svoj stav i viđenje smrti - istakla je Stanišić.

Kolaže, koji se nalaze na razglednicama, potpisuju i poznati svjetski umjetnici, među kojima su i Kit Buholc (Keith Buchholz), Metju Rouz (Matthew Rose), Reed Altemus (Reed Altemus), Mark Bloh (Mark Bloch) i Joko Ono (Yoko).

The link:

Nataša Stanišić is the main organizer for the project in Sarajevo (see her mail-art blog Universal Language

Ivana Rezek and everyone involved in the project A Book About Death would also like to thank the ASA Gallery for letting us use their space for the exhibition.

EXIT 11 Belgium : The Installation [73]

EXIT11 Contemporary art : Château de Petit-Leez. Rue de Petit-Leez, 129. B-5031 Grand-Leez. Belgium  T +32(0)81 64 08 66  F +32(0)81 64 06 72 Information:  Web site: