Souvenir of Kingston
By Francois Deschamps
New Paltz, New York: Papyrus Productions, 2009. Edition of 50.
7 x 10"; 58 pages. Printed on French paper. Stab binding.
Although this book might seem to bow to Ed Ruscha's Twentysix Gasoline Stations, it does so only as a point of difference. The images of Kingston, disembodied from any context but this book, seem chosen and arranged as individual statements of social meaning – particularly the effect of change, changed circumstance, changed priorities, changed technology – rather than as a witty swipe at perceived pretention. Souvenir of Kingston is just that, a definition of place, and not a comment on repetition and banality.
Francois Deschamps: "Presented on the occasion of the four hundredth anniversary of Hudson's sailing in 1609, this book is based on a Souvenir of Kingston published one hundred years ago. That original Souvenir featured accomplishments of civic pride and a sense of high patriotism. One hundred years later, this book reveals the buildings of Kingston, New York, as a palimpsest of historical overlays which allude to these cultural and historic changes. This project is supported in part with funds from The New York Foundation for the Arts and The New York State Council on the Arts."
Francois Deschamps, JAB 27: "Kingston is a charming slightly deteriorating river town with a varied topography, especially down by the creek that feeds into the Hudson. The approach is deadpan but the buildings themselves are amusing, isolated from their backgrounds and juxtaposed, like the Greek temples on pages 6-7. These temple houses were actually next to each other on the street, as if there had been a Greek temple competition between two families. The visual strategy of isolating the structures also turns the buildings into little models, which is the way I was seeing them. This book is an homage to the wonderful funkiness of this town."