Clifton Meador ~ North Carolina

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Clifton Meador: "I make books: I make books that are intended to be seen as original works of art, not as collections of reproductions of art. This may seem like a pointless distinction, but when the author of a work has control of the final form of a work, then the piece of art is not a banal, commercial object, but something different, a real experience.

"I have been making books-as-art since I was an undergraduate in art school. I find the book form endlessly fascinating: its strengths in telling stories and disseminating knowledge seem so rich with possibility. My recent work combines photography, writing, printing, and design to explore history, narrative, and place.

"I am fascinated by the way a reader interacts with a book. A book (or at least the book I am interested in making) is portable, creates its own context, has a intimate relationship with its reader, and exists in multiple. The reader becomes immersed in the book, an act of willful self-hypnosis that is unique in art. The reader experiences this immersion in the book over time, allowing for complex, layered meanings to accrue. I am very interested in the development of an idea over time, from the accumulation of small details, hints, tiny nuances, broad gestures, and overwhelming contrasts. Every part of a book presents interesting possibilities for expression, discovery, and meaning."

   

Book culture in Tibet
Bookworks from travels to the Far East and Former Soviet Union areas
US History & Politics

   
after resettlement
By Clifton Meador
Chicago: Clifton Meador, 2013. Edition of 20.

5 3/8 x 7 7/8"; 30 pages. Digital printing and letterpress. French folded pages. Bound in a soft cloth cover.

Clifton Meador: "Newfoundland is an island with dozens of isolated fishing communities along the coasts: it was the home of the great North Atlantic cod fishery for hundreds of years, and these fishing villages were the bases for catching and drying the cod. The rugged topography of the island makes road building a difficult enterprise, and many of these communities are only accessible by water. These places – called Outports – used to be isolated for the three or four months of deepest winter, cut off from supplies, medical care, or even communications.

"During the late 1950s, the government of Newfoundland realized that it was too expensive to supply all of these villages with nurses, schools, telecommunications, and utilities. The government undertook a project of resettlement of the most isolated communities, offering inhabitants a lump sum of money as an inducement. The Government’s rules have shifted over time, but the basic principle has been that some super-majority vote of a community was needed to indicate their desire to resettle their community before anyone received settlement money.

"Hundreds of small villages and Outports have been resettled in the past 50 years: along the rocky coasts of Newfoundland there stand abandoned villages, with little left to mark the people who lived there. In collaboration with some art faculty at Memorial University in Newfoundland, I have been visiting the south coast of Newfoundland, and was able to document the site of one village, Rencontre West, which was resettled in the 1970s.

"This little book is the first work of a larger project that considers the fate of isolated communities in Newfoundland."

$40

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A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature
By Clifton Meador
Chicago: Clifton Meador, 2012. Edition of 20.

6 x 16.25 x 3.5" boxed set of five volumes. Each volume Leporello construction with 16 pages, 5.5 x 16" closed, extending to 88". The 5 volumes are housed in a box of laser-cut 1/8" plywood, with the type on the spine and cover etched into the wood.

Using allusion and illusion, this artful work – part poster-ready nature photography and part serious play with language – is a drama in which a sententious lecturer dances with the beauty of insentient autumnal color. The play is fast – reading, text, authors and authority, signs, meaning making, and much more all strut and fret their way across the stage.

Prospectus: "A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature is a set of five leporello books, each presenting a sequence of woodland images from Vinalhaven Island in Maine. The border of each image includes a text from a long, imaginary lecture by a professor who—even though he sounds convinced—is actually confused about how to understand nature: he drifts between thinking of nature as something to read and nature as an anthropomorphic presence. This work was inspired by Chinese literati landscape painting, a mode of art that used images of nature as a vocabulary rather than as representation of specific landscapes. For these literati, landscape was a metaphor for personal experience: for the confused professor in A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, these pictures of the autumnal forests of Maine become a book that defeats reading."

Clifton Meador: "François Deschamps let me use his house on Vinalhaven Island Maine for two weeks in October. It was just turning fall, and I bicycled all over the island taking pictures of the forests as the leaves changed color. ... I was thinking about all the projection that goes on when we talk about nature: then I recalled Ruskin's pathetic fallacy, and took off from there. I wrote it in the form of a lecture (kind of a silly pun on lecteur/lecture, at least in my mind) since the topic of the whole address is: Does Nature Have Anything to Say to Us? or Can We Read Nature?

"The title of the project is
A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, and the text is a five part lecture supposedly given by a gray haired academic who is trying to read 'nature' as if it were a text. Each of the five volumes is a sequence of pictures of the autumnal forests on Vinalhaven Island in Maine, mostly very beautiful nature photography, something I don't do very often."

$1,200
(Includes a copy of the trade edition.)


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A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature
[trade edition]
By Clifton Meador
Chicago: Clifton Meador, 2012. Trade Edition.

8.5 x 11"; 72 pages. Perfect bound. Bound in glossy illustrated boards.

Colophon: "This is an unlimited edition, print on demand version, of a limited edition book, A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, which was printed and produced at The Center for Book and Paper, Columbia College Chicago during Winter, 2012 in an edition of twenty copies of five volumes.

"The images in this work were taken on Vinalhaven Island, Maine, in October 2011."

In the limited edition version the images are horizontal with text in horizontal bands. In this trade version of the book the images are set in vertical two page spreads with the text horizontal, easier to read, but not as visually panoramic.
$70

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Sporting a Giant Fly Head
By Clifton Meador
Rochester, New York: Clifton Meador, 2012. Edition of 100.

6 x 9"; 68 pages. Print-on-demand interior casebound book. In a four-color "psychedelic" letterpress printed dust jacket. Black and white photographs taken at Visual Studies Workshop.

This is an intriguing and thoughtful discourse on the past, aging, progress, photography, and much more. Don't neglect the footnotes.

Clifton Meador: "In December of 2011, I spent a week at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, doing research into the history of photobooks. The archive and library there have wonderful resources, among them an extensive collection of photobooks, with important holdings of some of the great documentary books of the 1930s: American Exodus, Have Your Seen Their Faces, and Paris de Nuit are just a few of the remarkable books there.

"The importance of Visual Studies Workshop in the history of artist-produced books (which is just a tricky way of saying artist’s books while trying to avoid the baggage of that term) is moderately well-known in the discourse of book art, but it is still underappreciated. Personally, it was the single greatest source of inspiration for my work, particularly as a young artist. The work of Keith Smith, Joan Lyons, Syl Labrot, Kevin Osborn, Phil Zimmermann, and many others connected to VSW forms some kind of lineage in my practice: I still think about their work often.

"So to be there for a week, looking at old books, living in the apartment there was a strange experience of overlaying the past with the present: two of the books I did in the 1990s, Memory Lapse and Whisky Defense, were largely produced there (both were actually printed at Nexus Press). The two projects were the result of intense work in the print studio at VSW (prepress and making film). I spent weeks in those studios – happy, productive weeks of creative ferment.

"In the 1958 film The Fly, the protagonist, a visionary young scientist, is the victim of an accident when his invention, a disintegrator-integrator, recombines his body with that of a fly. The resultant chimera, a fly-headed man (along with a human-headed fly) is a nightmarish monster, repugnant but still essentially human, with human desires. The narrative tension between this monster and the slowly developing horror in his human relationship as he becomes less and less human seems like a perfect allegory of aging: the decay of the body is not exactly mirrored by a decay of the mind, and looking into a mirror is more often a shock of horror than a moment of recognition.

"Books are clearly objects of memory and that they function as repositories of the past is an obvious idea. Spending time with old books from my personal past was doubly resonant, and to do so in a place that is filled my own memories was very dislocating.

"I printed a four-color letterpress dust jacket for this work as a way of trying to make the material object of this book less indistinct: one problem with print-on-demand books is that the one-size-fits-all nature of the process produces a homogenized work (to use Buzz Spector’s clever observation) a work that lacks presence through individuality.

"And there is one advantage to having a fly head: a fly’s compound eyes see things that we cannot imagine."

$30


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Felling the Mammoth Tree of Calaveras County
By Clifton Meador Chicago,
Illinois: Clifton Meador, 2011. Edition of 120.

5 x 12", 16 pages. Pamphlet stitch binding. Printed and produced at the Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Art. This pamphlet is part of a series of books called Grove. The images for this work were taken at the Calaveras State Park, in California during the summer of 2011

Clifton Meador: "The Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada mountains are survivors of the last period of climate change. These huge trees used to be widespread - they grew all over the continental United States. As the climate changed during the Pleistocene Epoch, their range became limited to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada at an altitude of 3,000 to 8,000 feet. They now survive solely in groups called groves, and there are only about 70 groves left. They are among the largest living things ever to have existed on Earth: one tree in Sequoia National Park is estimated to weigh 1,800 tons.

"During the nineteenth century, California seemed like the promised land, a place where luck and gold ran in rivers. The news that humongous trees were growing in the Sierra Nevada mountains seemed like a myth, and the story was met with skepticism - assumed to be part of the hyperbole that surrounded the Gold Rush. The insistence that they were real, and enormous beyond anyone's experience, created a flurry of interest. Skeptics in the East demanded proof - tangible evidence. So, an enterprising soul decided to cut down the biggest Sequoia he could find. It happened to be a tree that Augustus T. Dowd first saw in 1852 in the Calaveras grove. Who is surprised that the first giant tree encountered by a European settler was destroyed in order to prove that it existed?."
$25


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Whiskey Defense
By Clifton Meador
Atlanta, Georgia: Nexus Press, 2001. Edition of 1000.

5.5 x 8.5", 160 pages. Duotone, tritone and four-color offset printing. Case bound with cloth over boards and offset printed dust jacket.

Nexus Press: "A story about the history, culture, and whisky of Scotland, the clever text of Whisky Defense is paired with hauntingly digitized images of Scotland.

Califia Books: "The recovery from a hangover begins a journey through the history of Scots, Scotland, and Scotch. Photos of archeological sites and rural peat fields fuse with images of train stations and hotel lobbies, suggesting that ancient and modern, past and present can exist simultaneously. The text is spare and poetic, juxtaposing the history of conquest, the composting and harvesting of peat, the distillation of whisky, and the act of imbibing. Thus, history is layered in the very land and can even be tasted. As soon as enough sugar is converted, the malted barley is dried over a peat fire to halt the germination. The growing life within the barley seed will consume all the freed sugar if not stopped by the heat of the fire. The burning peat leaves an ineradicable trace: the flavor of the peat bog, turned to smoky residue in the fire, persisting in the finished whisky eighteen or even twenty-one years later. Forever, in fact. This is a visual novel that relies, in order to tell its story as much on the assemblage of images that fill each page (and provide a subliminal backdrop to the text) as on the text itself."
$85

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Book of Doom
By Clifton Meador
Rhinebeck, New York: Spaceheater Editions, 1984. Stated edition of 50 (35 actual).

10.5" x 14" closed, 18" x 25" when fully opened. Hand-cut stencils. Pin-registered spray enamel paint on Rives BFK paper. Bound by Philip Zimmermann with an accordion spine strip. Housed in a custom spray-painted clamshell box.

Phil Zimmermann: "Spaceheater Editions published Clifton Meador's BOOK OF DOOM during the summer of 1984, in Rhinebeck, NY, USA. Clif used multiple pin-registered hand-cut stencils to spray enamel paint onto Rives BFK paper. The edition was to have been 50 but only 35 were made. Clif did all of the spraying. [I] made most of the boxes and did all of the bindery work.

"Clif's text and images tell a tale of an end-of-millennial apocalyptic journey into the depths of hell. When the pages are flipped over at the end of the book, it forms a downward spiral that is very reminiscent of the circles of Dante's Inferno.

"Clifton Meador writes:
'The initial impetus for this book was to complicate the experience of reading a book through an intricate sculptural experience. Like many other artists, I was interested in thinking about a book as a kind of performative sculpture, a complex structure that the reader has to manipulate in order to read it. I wanted to start with a simple story, so I could make the form as complicated as possible while maintaining a narrative thread. It was 1984, so I imagined the end of the world might be an interesting story to complicate.

"The governing visual idea was that when the reader had finished unfolding all the pages and the book was completely open, the book structure would resolve into a mandala, with all the pages contributing to a final image. Since the book was about the end of the universe, an apocalypse of plastic and radios, I found medieval manuscripts were an important visual source for this work, and a Spanish-Mozarabic Apocalypse of the tenth century was a particularly rich source of color, pattern, and a flattened sense of space.

"At the time I made this book, I had no access to printing equipment, so I produced the edition with pin-registered stencils that I sprayed with four colors of spray paint. When I started this project, I hoped I might be making positive plates from the spray paint separations, but the richness of the spray paint alone convinced me to produce the edition that way. Phil Zimmermann was very supportive of this project, and published it under his Space Heater Editions imprint. The clever spine structure that holds the page units together was an invention of Keith Smith, who took one look at it and saw the right way to put it together.”

$3,000 (Five copies remaining)

Additional features of the book can be seen in this video link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vepA07X2b8


Johanna Drucker: "Clifton Meador's most recent books move across the arid zones of the Republic of Georgia, into Bukara, Khiva, and Uzbekhistan, and through the interior spaces of abandoned monuments, occupied gardens and streets, and into the village of Kardanakhi. They do not depict these exotic locations so much as they move the reader-viewer through them. Meador's narratives create pathways up, down, across, along, and through the many spaces of the book that are the framework and substance of his designs. Few book artists have had as extensive and creative a dialogue with the codex as a dynamically structured space as Meador has over the last twenty-five years. He understands book form as a literal, referential, conceptual, physical, temporal, and virtual space, and he knows how to maximize each of these registers for complex effect. The result is elegant and smart, especially since his content is adventurous, informed, and imaginative."
   
Memory Lapse
By Clifton Meador
Atlanta, Georgia: Nexus Press, 1999. Edition of 1000.

5.25 x 8", 192 pages. Duotone, tritone and four-color offset printing. Case bound with cloth over boards and offset printed dust jacket.

Nexus Press: "Shows Meador's mastery of the form of the visual book in the pacing and interlacing of photos and text. The text uses the layered history of a significant site (a remote Russian monastery that served as the first prison camp in the Gulag) to interrogate the nature of memory and memorials, humanity and inhumanity."

Clifton Meador, JAB14: "History itself is a consuming narrative, continually rewritten from the viewpoint of the reader.

"
Memory Lapse is a question about the nature of monuments and attempts to build a monument that exists in the mind of the reader. One of the functions of a monument is the effort to insert a particular understanding of an event or a person into the narrative of history, to create a permanent reading through the text of the monument. Glorious victories become glorious through the heroism of the monument. Brave warriors are proven brave by a status. Our understanding of the past is written, to some extent, by monuments. But how do we remember the horrors of the past? What kind of monument can we build to our errors?

"Russia is full of examples of dreadful terror, governmental actions that killed millions and millions of people. The GULAG, or prison camp system, absorbed people, exploited them in forced labor, and then killed them through neglect and mistreatment. The very first camp was situated in an old monastery on an island in the White Sea, very near the Arctic Circle. The transition of this monastery from one of the holiest monasteries in Russia to one of the most dreadful camps (the arctic Auschwitz according to Solzhenitsyn) is a fascinating shift in reading/meaning, a narrative of uses and signification.
Memory Lapse is an inquiry into reading architecture as a shifting narrative, from the beautiful to the horrific, using the Solovetski monastery as its text."
$100

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Avalanche
By Clifton Meador
Chicago, Illinois: 2007. Edition of 200.

11 x 8"; 52 pages. Post binding. Cover folds over from back to front then slips into spine for closure. Each 22" leaf folded to two 11" pages bound into spine at open end.

Avalanche—artists’ book as travelogue—recounts a 2003 road-trip on the Georgian Military Highway from Tbilisi to the Russian border. Meador’s photographs and maps wrap around the pages imitating the winding road and terrain. The commentary, delivered in typographical spurts that jump and sputter like the beat-up “clapped-out Niva,” permanently stuck in low, that lugged Meador northward, detours here and there, to Azerbaijan and to the first Gulag near the White Sea, to the office of the rector who tried to exhort a bribe from Meador, in Georgia on a US government grant to teach. It ends within sight of the Russian border at a monastery, the subject of a Pushkin poem “hopelessly romanticizing the Caucasus.”

The gritty-gray photographs, which take on a faint halo of color near the journey’s end, and the information are worth the price of admission. What if offered for free is the spirit of the road — priceless.
$250


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Crossing the Oxus
By Clifton Meador
Atlanta: Nexus Press, 2001. Edition of 75.

7 x 11"; 24 pages. Photographs taken by Meador in Uzbekistan in 2000.

This is "a little book about the drying up of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan." The understated tone is typical. The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest body of fresh water on the planet. No longer.

This cautionary tale, told in photographs and Meador's sensitive but incensed text, recounts the plight of the Oxus River, which "in classical times … was the boundary of the known world." Soviet mega-planners determined that Uzbekistan would be the cotton producer of their empire and that the Oxus River (now called the Amu Darya) would be diverted for vast irrigation projects. When Meador crossed the river in the year 2000, it a "vanished river" — victim of "one of the largest and most horrifying ecological disasters in the world."
$60


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In 2007 Meador produced "Kora" a book about Dege Parkhang, a printing temple located in Ganze Autonomous Prefecture in western China. He has continued with a series of books based on his discoveries of the book culture of Tibet.
 
Dzogchen Village Home
By Clifton Meador
Chicago, Illinois: Clifton Meador, 2012. Edition of 200.

6 x 9"; 48 pages plus four panel double-sided pull out page at back. Stitch bound. Offset printed with a letterpress printed dust jacket.

Cliff Meador: "This is one of three books that is based on work I did in Ganze Autonomous Prefecture. I was there as part of an interdisciplinary research team, documenting traditional Tibetan book culture, and much of the information we collected has never been published. I spent part of this summer printing these books that explore ideas of iteration and repetition that are connected to the practice of traditional Tibetan book production."

Dzogchen Village Home: "Dzogchen is a Tibetan Buddhist practice intended to bring enlightenment by returning to the primordial condition of the mind: an all-encompassing timeless awareness, an openness to everything, all situations, all people, undefended, ready to experience. The practice of dzogchen is supposed to be everyday life itself.

"
Dzogchen is also a monastery, in a glacial valley, in Ganze Autonomous Prefecture, part of the great Nyingma tradition, and the seat of the Second Dzogchen Rinpoche Gyurme Tekchok Tenzin who is supposed to have instructed the King of Derge to build the Parkhang."

In this third of his books documenting his time in the Ganze Autonomous Prefecture, Meador takes his reader into the home of one of the residents of this high remote town in Tibet.
$30

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Kandze Village Bodhisattva: Nine Iterations
By Clifton Meador
Chicago: Clifton Meador, 2012.

6 x 9"; 52 pages. Offset printed. Pamphlet stitch bound. Slipped in letterpress printed dust jacket.

Cliff Meador : "This is one of three books that is based on work I did in Ganze Autonomous Prefecture. I was there as part of an interdisciplinary research team, documenting traditional Tibetan book culture, and much of the information we collected has never been published. I spent part of this summer [2012] printing these books that explore ideas of iteration and repetition that are connected to the practice of traditional Tibetan book production."

The book unfolds to two page-sized flaps. Inside the left flap is bound Nine Iterations, a 13-page booklet. The booklet's first spread has an arrangement (abstract? a pattern?) of numbers and page numbers (e.g. page 14 is above the number 6). The succeeding pages detail nine parts of a narrative, gradually accumulating detail and meaning with each telling. In the text some words are given numbers (something is 1, bridge is 2 …).

Nested within the right flap is a book of photographs, delicate grays with green and yellow overtones. These photographs depict the narrative recounted in the booklet, Nine Iterations, each photo showing a portion of that narrative. Certain things in the photographs are labeled by numbers. These numbers correspond to the numbers in the booklet narrative. By working back and forth between the text and the images and using the key provided in the arrangement in the first spread of the booklet, one can understand that each iteration (be it by word or by image) is a partial representation of the whole experience.

This is clever version of the parable of the blind men and the elephant, where each version is true but incomplete.
$30

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Palpung Parkhang
By Clifton Meador
Chicago: Clifton Meador, 2012. Open edition.

6 x 9"; 52 pages. Stitch bound. Offset printed with a letterpress printed dust jacket.

Cliff Meador: "This is one of three books that is based on work I did in Ganze Autonomous Prefecture. I was there as part of an interdisciplinary research team, documenting traditional Tibetan book culture, and much of the information we collected has never been published. I spent part of this summer printing these books that explore ideas of iteration and repetition that are connected to the practice of traditional Tibetan book production."

Palpung Parkhang is the second in this series of three (Kandze Village Bodhisattva: Nine Iterations is the first). This book uses similar structure, a letterpress printed dust jacket with flaps that hold a book of photographs on one side and a book of text (in this case, 5 sets of notes, like footnotes) on the other. Meador took the photographs during his visit to Palpung Monastery in Palpung Parkhang, Tibet. In most spreads there is a number (starting with 1 up to 20). These numbers correspond, or seem to correspond, to the notes (yes, each of the 5 sets of notes contains 20 notes) in the text section that tell a version of the experience. So using the same photographs and the 5 sets of notes, this book takes us on five different trips, each the same, each different.
$30

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heart
By Clifton Meador
Chicago, Illinois: Clifton Meador, 2008. Edition of 50.

8.5 x 11"; 64 pages. Printed offset lithography on a Heidelberg KORD. Case
bound with illustrated paper covers and patterned cloth spine. Laid in
illustrated wraparound. In black paper full band with laser cut design.

Clifton Meador: "In the summers of 2006 and 2007 I traveled to Kham, a historically Tibetan area, as a member of an interdisciplinary study group. We were there to study traditional Tibetan book production, particularly at the Derge Parkhang. We traveled to many other monasteries that still print books, and at Babang we met an old lama, the brother of a famous thangka painter. Meeting him changed my awareness about what I do: orientalism and the exotic still have a hold on me, no matter how hard I struggle against them. This book starts with the mantra from the Heart sutra, and structures a travel experience around it. In March 2008, I printed a limited edition, offset lithographed and hand bound version of this book at the Center for Editions, Purchase College."
$325


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Three Tibetan Bookstores
By Clifton Meador
Chicago, Illinois: Clifton Meador, 2007. Edition of 50.

6.125 x 8.125"; 12 pages. One fold-out page extends image 2 to 22". Letterpress, offset, and laser printing. "Partially Enumerating Tibetan Buddhism" pamphlet (3 x 5.25"; 32 pages) housed in library card envelope on inner back flap. Printed at the Center for Editions, Purchase College and at the Center for Book & Paper, Columbia College Chicago.

Meador combines five components: photographs of thee bookstores in China, a photograph of a monk purchasing a book, and a pamphlet "Enumerating Tibetan Buddhism.”

Clifton Meador: "’Enumerating Tibetan Buddhism' is a compilation of topic entries from three English-Tibetan dictionaries I bought in China. One was actually printed in India and has some very funny English. I went through these books, and extracted entries that used numbers as a mnemonic device to teach various aspects of Tibetan metaphysics. I was struck by the way numbers are so important in their Buddhism. In the Christian tradition I was raised in, three was about as large a number as we talked about frequently. They have thousands of Buddhas.…

“The font in this book is the same font in Kora. This time it encodes a story about how frustrating it was to try to buy books when I couldn't read the language at all. (If a reader were patient and willing to take the trouble, it would be possible to decode the cipher using an English frequency of occurrence table to figure out which drawings stand for which letters.) I thought there was some abstract conceptual connection in this idea (an unreadable story about not being able to read books) that might be interesting/funny. I think that at least people will get the idea that there is some kind of text on those pages that is unreadable.

“The little book in the back is supposed to give some idea about what might be in those unreadable books. The form, that of a library card, suggests that the ownership of the books (part of the function of a library card is to assert control and ownership of a book) would be full of frustration: the little book is full of mnemonic codes for abstract spiritual ideas, and offers no access to those ideas and practices. The reader is faced with knowing something that isn't particularly informative or helpful. It is part of my daily experience, being overwhelmed with tons of useless information, but information that gives me the illusion of knowledge.

“The entire piece reflects on book ownership, at least my own relationship with books. I have a degree of book lust for books that is sometimes out of control: many times I would rather have a book than an actual experience. I see some problems with that, but I still really love books.

“Even books I can't read!”
$85


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History plays an important part in Clifton Meador's works. United States history especially that surrounding the South and civil rights.
   
Victory / Defeat
By Clifton Meador
Chicago, Illinois: Clifton Meador, 2012. Edition of 100.

4 x 9"; 8 pages with 2 fold outs. Saddle stitch binding. Paper wraps.

Clifton Meador: "I've been thinking a lot about victory and defeat recently."

The covers are from a Washington, DC newspaper of April 10, 1865, announcing General Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The images are from Matthew Brady's photographs of Lee taken 10 days later.

$15

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Illuminated by the Light of Television &
Isolated by the Glare of Media

By Clifton Meador
Chicago, Illinois: Clifton Meador, 2010.

Two booklets in yellow title band. Each booklet: 4.5 x 5.75"; 14 pages; offset printed. Letterpress printed band. Printed and produced at the Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Art.

Clifton Meador: "The pamphlet was originally an insert in the Blue Notebook Vol 3 No2, May 2009. This book pretty much covers my emotional arc about the President [Obama] - from euphoria to disappointment."
$12

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Long Slow March
By Clifton Meador
Purchase, New York: Center for Editions, Purchase College, 1996.

5.5 x 8.5"; 235 pages (unpaginated). Perfect bound hardcover in illustrated dust jacket. Photomontage. Offset printing. Type designed by the author.

Johanna Drucker, in JAB 12: "History plays an important part in Meador's new works ... Long Slow March documents the history of African-American struggles for civil rights in the United States, taking the concept of narrative into the social domain where it creates both real and imagined histories of lived events. Meador uses photographs he made of the route of the famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Martin Luther King in 1965 and other documentary material. He collages and splices his version of this history into a single book, but one that refuses to coalesce around a simple line. His identity as a Southern white man, raised in the era of the civil rights movement, is the point of departure for the work. There are no easy ways to tell historical tales, no singular perspectives from which to objectify the interwoven subjectivities that form our past."

Clifton Meador, JAB 12: "Long Slow March weaves together multiple narratives focused on a theme: the African-Americans' struggle for civil rights. The Selma march (itself a narrative structure) forms the backbone of the book; the limbs of the book (primary source texts and photomontage of slavery and the civil rights struggle) hang on either side of it. The first section is a typographic lift of an old form, the polyglot bible. Polyglot bibles presented an original text in its original language, with commentary in translated languages surrounding it. This form seemed suitable for combing slave narratives with slave owners' rationalizations for slavery, since this typographic form preserves the autonomy of the texts while suggesting that the reader consider the texts together.

"Having presented the history of the struggle (in warped abbreviated form) as a prelude to the central issue, the heart of the book is literally the road from Selma to Montgomery, photographed every mile or so. Title pages from slave narratives begin to hang in the air, floating overhead, witnesses to the march. Eventually, as the march (road) nears Montgomery, mainstream newspapers start publishing attacks on the march, on the participants in the march, and on the idea of civil rights. It was a shameful rearguard action on the part of people who should have known better; the evidence hangs in the air over the road. Using a shift in color to indicate a shift in narrative, images from the actual march in 1965, end the section of the book that addresses the march itself. Pictographic Klan warnings are knocked out of the documentary photographs, emblems of the persistent repression that impeded the struggle for civil rights. The last section of the book is a conflagration of all the forces and interests that collided over the civil rights struggle.

"History itself is a confusing narrative, continually rewritten from the viewpoint of the reader."
$100

 

 

   

 
Clifton Meador Out of Print titles:
• Rocks, Literati, Invasion
 
   

bad
By Clifton Meador
Chicago, Illinois: Clifton Meador, 2006. 20 copies.

7.25 x 9.5"'; 18 pages. Paper wraps. Printed at the Center for Book & Paper, Columbia College, Chicago.

Reflections on — actually a riff — not only bad printing, but also printing as representation and the page as window to reality.

Johanna Drucker, Artists' Books Online: "This funny book comments by demonstration on the ways image and text production ignores the reality and material facts of the page, book, ink on paper, and other specific properties of works in favor of reading for meaning through the page as window."

Clifton Meador: Bad is "a response to William Blake's There is No Natural Religion, to which I reply that 'There Is No Natural Reproduction.' It demonstrates nearly every single mistake that can happen in offset printing and the large text inside says: Bad Artifacts Seem Like Errors, Rather Than As Evidence Of Something Real….It is quite badly printed and I am rather pleased with myself for it."
(SOLD)

   
How Books Work
By Julie Chen and Clifton Meador
Berkeley, California / Chicago: Julie Chen and Clifton Meador, 2011.

4 x 6"; 16 pages. Offset lithography using non-process colors. Interleave structure. Laid in letterfold paper wrapper with slip-in closure. Written, designed, and produced by Chen and Meador at Flying Fish Press in Berkeley, California and the Center for Book and Paper at Columbia College in Chicago.

In an age of electronic media and virtual simulacra "What is a book?" is a common question. This is the question that Chen and Meador, two veteran practitioners near the top of any serious list of contemporary book artists, address in "How Books Work."

This elegantly simple book marries structure and content in the best tradition of artists' books. It begins: "What is a book? A book is an experience." And ends: "A book starts with an idea. And ends with a reader."
(SOLD)

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Kora
By Clifton Meador
Chicago, Illinois: Clifton Meador, 2007. Edition of 50.

22.8 x 5.9"; 34 loose pages, stacked as in a traditional Tibetan book structure. Cloth covered boards with screen print in silver of the font Meador developed from his photographs of pilgrims. Title-cloth inset printed in Meador's font.

Colophon: "There pictures were taken at the Dege Parkhang, a printing temple located in Ganze Autonomous Prefecture in western China, in August of 2006, with support from a Faculty Development Grant from Columbia College Chicago. This book is part of a larger project about the Parkhang developed by Patrick Dowdey....The figures are line drawings from the photographs, now converted into a font, so the pilgrims have literally turned into language, at least in this book."

The Dege Parkhang printing temple. survivor of weather and wars, has become the largest concentration of Tibetan literature in the world — thousands of books preserved as wooden printing blocks Printing is still carried out with these blocks every day weather permits.

Pilgrims, circumambulating the exterior of the temple, some carrying prayer wheels their mantras spinning into the ether, are performing kora — an act of devotion and honor to the books housed therein.

Meador’s book posits the possibility that the pilgrims through this act of worship become the literature, or at least the language that gives the books life.

Wrapped in a Tibetan cloth.
(SOLD)


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Kora, background statement by artist

   

Monet, Mississippi, & Realism
By Clifton Meador
Chicago, Illinois: Clifton Meador, 2010. Edition of 10.

12 x 5.5"; 10 pages. Accordion structure. Inkjet on Somerset Vellum. Letterpress endsheets. Bound in green bookcloth. Printed and produced at the Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Art.

Clifton Meador: "We [the artist and his wife, Mary Neal Meador] went hiking a few years ago in the Mississippi Palisade Park in Illinois and I took pictures of the river and railroad. I kept thinking about the difference between Monet (and his insistently aesthetic approach to life) and Samuel Clemen's earthy humanism, hence this book."
(SOLD)


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Page last update: 01.11.16

 

   
  
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