Visual Books ~ New York
(Scott McCarney)

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Contact Sheet, Number 164: "McCarney's identity as a photographer was formed through the lens of design school; his approach to design was honed at an artist's press. Making books as works of art is a logical intersection of his varied interests in print related media, craft, and sculpture. Although his background in design and knowledge of print production favors the multiple over small edition or one-of-a-kind works, a fascination with the book as an object is continually being resolved in sculptural form."
   

Autobiographies & biographical bookworks by McCarney
Doubleday Hypertext books
Miniature by Scott McCarney

 
   
Alphabook 10
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2015. Edition of 14.

5 x 12"; 56 pages. Laser cut duplex papers handbound with long stitch through slotted cover. Signed, numbered, and dated by the artist on the last page. Housed in archival phase box with tie closure. Colophon tipped on.

Scott McCarney: "One of a series of alphabet books that rely on physical action (cutting paper and turning pages) to create letterforms unique to the book form. The fore-edge of each page is cut into geometric forms from black, white, and cream toned duplex stock (two sheets of different colored paper laminated together). The conception of the series and design of inkless alphabets was inspired by the limitations and possibilities of material and process. … This books was produced during a residency at the Institute of Electronic Arts."
$250

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Panagram
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2015. Edition of 10.

5 x 12"; 56 pages. Laser cut duplex papers hand bound with long stitch through slotted cover. Signed, numbered and dated by the artist on the last page. Housed in archival phase box with tie closure. Colophon tipped on.

Scott McCarney: " I coined the name 'Panagram' to describe a pangram* in book form, much like 'Alphabook' denotes an alphabet in book form. ... Panagram utilizes the abstract letterforms of Alphabook 10. The two books together are a good example of readability vs. legibility: The letterforms in Alphabook read much easier as they can be sussed out in alphabetic order. The pangram in Panagram is "Few / quiz / TV Mr / lynx / jock / bags / PhD."

*pangram: a sentence using every letter of the alphabet at least once.

This book like Alphabook 10 was produced during a residency at The Institute for Electronic Arts.
$250

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Coming to Terms: An Abecedarium
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2012. Edition of 10.

7.25 x 11.25 x 1.5"; 58 pages. Handbound. Laid in four flap archival storage box with tie closure. Colophon tipped in on bottom of box.

Personal history and development shown through a series of photographs imbedded over pages of a mid-20th century lexicon of psychological terms. The title of a 2012 exhibition of Scott McCarney's work at Visual Studied Workshop is apt: Reversing the Catastrophe of Fixed Meaning: The Bookworks of Scott McCarney.

Scott McCarney, Colophon: "Coming to Terms: An Abecedarium is part of an ongoing series of books begun in 1997. A purge of my filing cabinet revealed folders containing years of 'to do' lists, rejection letters, hand drawn maps, and photographs of me made by other people. Finding this cache of personal ephemera threw a new light on who I was (or perhaps who I had become). Curating these printed artifacts of my own personal paper trail in book forms become an alternative way to write a biography.

"The text appropriated for 'Coming to Terms' is a lexicon of psychological terms entitled Psychiatric Word Book: A lexicon of terms employed in psychiatry and psychoanalysis designed for students of medicine and nursing an psychiatric social workers by Richard H. Hutchings M.D., D. Sc. published by The State Hospitals Press, Utica, NY in 1943. Its lengthy title belies its unassuming size but clearly describes the dictionary within. The vocabulary reflects the influence of Freudian theory on the field at that time, especially in the understanding of human sexuality.

"The portraits of me imbedded in the page spreads are matched to terms that appear imposed over my eyes. The terms have resonance to the time, place, posture or surface of the photographic portrait. I may seem to be looking through the terms, or the terms may seem to blacken my eyes. This melding of language and image is part of the ongoing autobiography project, reflecting the shifting views that culture and science have on the construction of personhood."

$2,000

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Material Meditation on Mending
Al-Mutanabbi Street

By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2012. Edition of 50.

9 x 12"; 15 two-sided loose leaf pages. Digital prints of original collages constructed from remnants of found books, rubbings from book bindings, and photographs. Laid in tar paper folder with paper title label on front cover.

Scott McCarney: "The leaves are gathered into a tar paper folder, like pages picked up in the street and slipped into a convenient sheath. It is a meditation in that I can only imagine the physical sense of being in a war, of having life change in the blink of an eye, of losing neighbors, community, income, and intellectual nutriment in a bombing.

"The elements of this book are fragments assembled with staples, tapes, and glue. It speaks to the reconstruction of life, literature, and culture; of memory suspended, disjointed and reassembled into some sense, albeit of an altered whole. It is also a metaphor for the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition, whose projects brings poets, printers, artists, curators, and readers together to pose questions, lend support to one another and bring grace back to all our Al-Mutanabbi streets."


Colophon: "On March 5 in 2007, a car bomb was exploded on Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, a mixed Shia-Sunni area and the heart and soul of the city's literary and intellectual community. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. Al-Mutanabbi Street is the historic center of Baghdad book selling with bookstores, outdoor bookstalls, cafes, stationery, tea and tobacco shops. An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street challenges book artists to 're-assemble' some of the 'inventory' of the reading material that was lost in the car bombing."
$50

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State of the Union/ LIVE, EVIL, VILE.
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2006. Edition of 100.

8 x 8", 32 pages. Digital printing. Stab binding with duct tape and red linen thread. Text from the Internet Anagram Server.

Scott McCarney: "The source of images for State of the Union was the 1992 television broadcast of George W. Bush's State of the Union address. My boyfriend had recently given me a small point-and-shoot digital camera for my birthday. I was curious what a digital image from television would look like. I did not have this book in mind at the time, and I set up my camera on a tripod and turned down the volume on the TV. The resulting images of Bush emphasized the odd tics and expressions that had become a trademark of this president. In the forthcoming political cartoons, these expressions have mirrored the massacre of language which he is known for world-wide. The live tag in the frame of the television screen transformed into evil and then into vile. On the internet, and the resulting anagrams for The State of the Union became a text-crawl which separated Bush's expressive eyes from that of his mouth. This binding made with plastic sheeting and duct tape is suggestive of the Department of Homeland Security use of readiness for chemical and biological terrorist attacks."
$35



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Saints & Sinners: Gay Pride & Straight Shame
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2005. Edition of 10.

5.5 x 8.5"; 8 pages. Ink jet fold book. Images downloaded from the internet. Printed ink jet on 50 lb. acid-free Red River Paper Premium Matte with archival links.

Scott McCarney: "A comment on the intolerance and hypocrisy of
fundamentalist protesters at Rochester New York's 2005 Gay Pride parade. Images of the parade, files downloaded from the internet and a biblical text are fused using 'invert' and 'difference' blending modes in Photoshop."

$500

 


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Often McCarney bases his books on his family relationships, family members, or his past experiences and history.

Scott McCarney: "Any book I make could arguably be considered an autobiography, but the books in this group are consciously constructed as biographical studies worked out in a visual mode."

 

COLLECTED BIOGRAPHIES
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2009. Edition of 25.

Four books (Autobiography #1 THINGS TO DO, Autobiography #2 REJECTIONS SLIPS, Autobiography #3 PICTURES OF ME WITH FAMOUS AND IMPORTANT PEOPLE, and Autobiography #4 HOMEMADE MAPS) contained in 6.5 x 9 x 1" archival cardboard wraparound case with cotton ties. Archival plastic bag attached to interior base. Opening at top of bag to extract books. Each book was designed with a format unique to its content. Each printed with a different machine or process.

Scott McCarney: "These four autobiographies were conceived between 1997 and 1999 after coming across a series of file folders while cleaning up my studio. I have always considered myself an ardent collector, but finding these files questioned the difference between collecting and hoarding. I admit (now) it is difficult for me to throw things away, especially remnants of my own life which, over time, become physical relics of fading memories.

"At the time of this discovery I had been working on a long-term project influenced by and incorporating encyclopedias and dictionaries, so it was logical to approach this personal information as a latter day Denis Diderot or Samuel Johnson might have done. There was a wealth of data in these collections that could benefit from the organization and formalization that the book form offers.

"THINGS TO DO (Autobiography #1) ... is a scaled-down reproduction of monthly checklists of projects and correspondence I tried to keep up with from March 1994 through February 1997. It [was] photocopied onto the backs of recycled laser proof sheets saved from extraneous jobs ... The stab/stapled binding was invented for the edition.

"REJECTION SLIPS(Autobiography #2) was meant to be a straight forward facsimile of the rejection letters I'd received over the past twenty years. But I got bored, started highlighting words that reoccurred from letter to letter and manipulated the pages in ways made possible only by the distance of time. I like the fact that the letters look small when held in your hand, adding perspective to time.

"PICTURES OF ME WITH FAMOUS AND IMPORTANT PEOPLE (Autobiography #3) consists of pictures gleaned from over 100 photographs that were taken of me by other people, from baby pics to digital snaps. At first I was going to publish all of them in chronological order which would have been conceptually elegant but ultimately boring (and, to me, kind of creepy). The more I looked at this collection, I began to think about the generic relationship of photographs to memory and collecting. I tried to distance myself and see them as raw information, like entries in a dictionary or articles in an encyclopedia. ... It utilize[d] a 16-page single sheet format I've taught to students but never used in my own work. It was printed on one side of Mohawk Letterpress paper using an Epson Photo-Ex ink Jet printer.

"HOMEMADE MAPS (Autobiography #4) is from a collection of drawings that people made for me to get from one place to another. I love 'functional' drawings that are unself-consciously drawn and quite beautiful when formally viewed as drawing. These particular drawings were made by friends and remind me of the time and place we were together. The book [was] a large photocopy cut and folded into a 'snake' format, ..."
$325

 
   

Hands of Time
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2008. Edition of 10.

Box: 6.5 x 8.5 x 1.75" hinged with paper title on lid. Book: 5.5 x 4.5"; 28
pages; accordion structure; handbound inkjet prints. Other objects: latex glove; flower seeds; plastic animal. Book and objects housed in the wooden box with metal clasp closure.

Scott McCarney: "Hands of Time documents a version of a piece that has been installed/performed privately in my garden in Rochester NY for the past eight years. It started as a tribute to my father, who died at his home in Virginia from lung cancer in 2001. When told he had three weeks to six months to live, he chose to move from hospital to hospice care at home. That was Friday. We had a nice weekend together before he passed away the following Tuesday, much to the surprise of his doctor. Being with him those last few days, I understood his will to die was as strong as his will to live had been.

"In the course of cleaning up the medical supplies, the hospice nurse gave me a box of latex surgical gloves that I had opened but not used. She knew I was an artist, and I believe she wanted to see them in my art.

"My father enjoyed my garden very much when he visited, spending time sitting and contemplating, moving a lawn chair around to enjoy different views. He would give me leather gardening gloves every year - the nice, soft kid-skin variety that are like a second skin.

"I started filing the latex gloves with sand in the summer of 2001, tying the opening in a knot, the way one does after inflating a balloon. I placed them in areas throughout the garden. Over the course of a season, the gloves burst due to the abrasive sand combined with effects of the sun and rain, returning the sand to the earth.

"The opportunity to perform this tribute in a public space was offered by Le Petit Versailles, a Green Thumb garden created in 1996 by community neighbors ... I spent a lovely spring morning in the garden filling gloves with dirt gathered on site, a mix of seeds I saved from plants in my Rochester garden, plus a bonus plastic barnyard animal. When the latex disintegrated, a part of my garden would become part of le Petit Versailles."

The pamphlet in the ensemble of items describes the space and process of the project. It includes a vertical panorama of Le Petit Versailles garden situated between two buildings in New York City.
$475


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A Selection of Cards
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 2007. Edition of 50.

5.75 x 8.75"; 34 pages. Blue and gray illustrated paper boards with red-cloth spine. Title label on front board in the from of McCarney's mother's recipe cards and reads "From the Kitchen of Lela McCarney."

Scott McCarney, colophon: "The cards represented in this book were culled from a collection my mother assembled over a lifetime of interest in cooking and health. The original cards, housed in a wooden box crafted by my father, may be seen as an unintentional Fluxus project containing hundreds of written instructions for potential performance events. The stains, attributes, and annotations are visual cues akin to Proust's notion of 'involuntary memory' as evoked by the taste of his madeleine. This selection, though ordered much like a menu, is meant to be consumed as a visual rather than a culinary feast."

If you've been lucky, these pages will spark memories of grandmothers and mothers cooking, measuring, mixing, pouring over recipes.
$150


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C(a[e{I}o]u)P: Autobiography #5
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2005.
Edition of 150.

5.5 x 8"; 48 pages. Digital printing. Dos-à-dos binding.

Scott McCarney: "Collections are a reflection of the collector and the act of collecting as much as the objects collected. As I get older, the relationship between collecting and discarding parallels that of remembering and forgetting: I remember less and accumulate more....

"When my mother died, I was designated the family archivist and salvaged the remnants of my parent's estate. The bulk of family photographs, historical records and sentimental objects were things I had lived with and taken for granted for most of my life. Unpacking this material invoked many family memories. Seeing it in the same place and at the same time illuminated my own propensity for collecting and ordering. Could it be genetic? ...

"C(a[e{I}o]u)P: Autobiography #5 combines my parents' small collections with my own, broadening the definition of a self-portrait through generational/genealogical slices. Tea cups my mother displayed in exacting order on a cherry wood hutch her father had crafted compliment souvenir caps from my travels. Videotapes my father recorded over and over and labeled accordingly are framed by pages from my 'to-do' lists.

"The most poignant find in my parent's effects were two small boxes labeled 'Scott's Art' and 'Scott's Correspondence.' Stored within were postcards, show announcements and small books I sent to them over the past twenty-five years. The post cards, a conventional gesture to let my parents know they were in my thoughts, transcend the nominal time and expense of their original posting. The act of collecting them was a gentle acknowledgement of relationship through memory and reflection, as well as a certain comfort found in order."
$50 Standard (Last Copy)


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C(a[{I}o]u)P: Autobiography #5
By Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 2005. Deluxe Edition of 30.

7 x 12" velvet drawstring bag containing: C(a[e{I}o]u)P: Autobiography #5; photograph of teacup collection; facsimiles of four recipe cards; copy of Things to Do: Autobiography #1.

Autobiography #5: 5.5 x 8"; 48 pages; digital printing; dos-à-dos binding. Teacup Collection photograph: 5.25 x 4.1" color print. Recipe cards: 2.6 x 4.25" color facsimile, double-sided. Autobiography #1: 5.5 x 6.5"; 46 pages; photocopied onto the backs of recycled proof sheets; stab/stapled binding.

Scott McCarney, colophon, Autobiography #5: "I chose the dos-à-dos form for this book which traditionally binds the two texts together with a common back cover. The two booklets are bound in the representation of wood and yarn, materials which my father and mother chose to express themselves creatively — the book itself being my own mode for obsessive expression (and collection)."

Scott McCarney, colophon, Autobiography #1: "The first book in a series of small edition autobiographies produced from the ephemeral collections of my obsessive nature. Things to Do is a facsimile of the monthly checklists of projects and correspondence I tried to keep up with from March 1994 through February 1997."
$250 deluxe


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Memory Loss
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Studies Workshop, 1988. Edition of 500.

2.5 x 22"; 40 pages. Four-color offset printed. A single sheet. Combination venetian blind/foldbook. Bound with cord strung through die-cut holes, which can be used to create different angles of viewing. The book cannot, however, be laid completely flat. Black embossed board covers with title blind-stamped on each.

A powerful work that represents in physical, verbal, and visual ways the complexity of brain trauma, Memory Loss was inspired by a traumatic brain injury suffered by the artist's brother in 1986. The accordion structure combines fractured images and texts drawn from medical literature about head injury with personal photographs and correspondence. The book can be seen from many angles: as a static piece of sculpture from a "clinical" distance, or close at hand where manipulating the pages reveals personal struggles.

Scott McCarney, The Biography of a Book: "Memory Loss came into existence as a book at the Visual Studies Workshop Press three years after it was conceived and five years after the event that inspired it. It uses elements of biography and autobiography to create an 'experiential autobiography' that exists only in the context of the book."

"This book conveys the kaleidoscopic and shifting memory state of the artist's brother following an accident. The images unfold in ways that are unrelated logically. Yet we can sense psychological relations, and the struggle of a wounded brain to get back to is business of making sense.

"On the bluer, less colorful side, images seem largely inspired by the world of medical care: various representations of the head and the brain, photographs in which the patient's full face [and thus the patient], seem elusive, and terms a doctor might use regarding affect in what look like rubber stamps: 'IMPULSIVITY,' 'IMPATIENCE,' 'EUPHORIA.' The reverse is brighter, more spacey, and with red, the images suggesting less the doctors looking a t the patient and more the patient looking into himself. A few sensuous details creep in: 'Pork Chops.' A few questions: 'huh?' He focuses on his hands, making shadow puppets, and struggling to get his fingers back to the notes of the guitar. The stamp-like script of the other side gives way to his own, still shaky, handwriting. Above all he writes to his artist brother, Scott: 'you're good therapy.' [Beyond the Text: Artists' Books from the Collection of Robert J. Ruben by Yvonne Korshak and Robert J. Ruben]
$175


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Doubleday Hypertexts

Scott McCarney: "A series of eight altered books commenting on the shift of information technology from analog to digital media. Information from each individual volume is rearranged into new hierarchies through carving the book block into a pattern of pixels."

   
Doubleday Hypertext.6 [fauna]
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 1995. One-of-a-Kind.

7 x 9.75" altered book. Laid in custom tray. Signed and dated by the artist in bottom of tray. Tray and book in archival custom box with cord tie closure.

Cyril Reade, curator, NXT.Message: "The book works of Scott McCarney transform the very nature of the book, the site of writing and the site where the original story evoked here, Genesis, has traditionally been transmitted. The Doubleday Hypertext and Diderot/Americana treat the books’ surfaces like a palimpsest in a series of gestures that sculpturally and visually layer in new meaning. But McCarney, while respecting the book sui generis, shows no respect for the original text or the original function, and transforms the possibilities of the sculpted book as he layers in pages from other publications that have been digitally scanned and reproduced. He re-writes the book itself, recreating the narrative it has to offer, reshuffling the original knowledge and transforming it from the textual to a visual and sculptural object. He orchestrates the multiple voices of disparate knowledges into a visual Tower of Babel, much like each surfing of the net creates a new mix.

"The objects here attest to a loss of aura around themes that informed sacred texts and the objects that transmitted them. Knowledge has become portable and mobile, and subject to new combinations, always available for formulation as the next message."

$2500

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Visual Books Out of Print Title:  
   

Doubleday Hypertext I
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 1995. One-of-a-Kind.

7 x 9.75" altered book. Laid in custom tray. Signed and dated by the artist in bottom of tray. Tray and book in archival custom box with cord tie closure.

Scott McCarney: "Part of a series of eight altered books commenting on the shift of information technology from analog to digital media. Information from each individual volume is rearranged into new hierarchies through carving the book block into a pattern of pixels."

Cyril Reade, curator, NXT.Message: "The book works of Scott McCarney transform the very nature of the book, the site of writing and the site where the original story evoked here, Genesis, has traditionally been transmitted. The Doubleday Hypertext and Diderot/Americana treat the books’ surfaces like a palimpsest in a series of gestures that sculpturally and visually layer in new meaning. But McCarney, while respecting the book sui generis, shows no respect for the original text or the original function, and transforms the possibilities of the sculpted book as he layers in pages from other publications that have been digitally scanned and reproduced. He re-writes the book itself, recreating the narrative it has to offer, reshuffling the original knowledge and transforming it from the textual to a visual and sculptural object. He orchestrates the multiple voices of disparate knowledges into a visual Tower of Babel, much like each surfing of the net creates a new mix.

"The objects here attest to a loss of aura around themes that informed sacred texts and the objects that transmitted them. Knowledge has become portable and mobile, and subject to new combinations, always available for formulation as the next message."
(SOLD)


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Doubleday Hypertext 9
By Scott McCarney
Rochester, New York: Visual Books, 1995. One-of-a-Kind.

7 x 9.75" altered book. Laid in custom tray. Signed and dated by the artist in bottom of tray. Tray and book in archival custom box with cord tie closure.

Scott McCarney: "Part of a series of eight altered books commenting on the shift of information technology from analog to digital media. Information from each individual volume is rearranged into new hierarchies through carving the book block into a pattern of pixels."
(SOLD)
 
 

Page last update: 07.10.17

 

   
  
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