Sunday, February 13, 2011


"A Book About Death in Venice" handmade artist's book 3" x 4" cover

How to make a book, for ABAD, Italy that is truly Italian? I started with vintage wall paper given to me by my Italian friend, Robrt, to create the cover. I thought about how I would name the piece and remembered the Jeopardy game answers catagory: before and after, where you connect two titles to create one (they also do this on Wheel of Fortune). And so I thought of using A Book About Death with Death in Venice (recently read with my book club). Ok, I know, the show is in Treviso, not in Venice... but it is in the Veneto.

Then on to research, what about a death in Venice? Who died in Venice? Who cared about Venice? Who comes from Venice? I found some interesting stories. There was an Italian POW (captured by the Americans in WWII), Mario Alfonsi, who was born there. He served in the Italian Navy, and after he was released he came back to America to live the rest of his life here.

There was an artist, Arbit Blatas, who did a series of bas reliefs about the Holocaust, not only in memory of his mother and as a tribute to his father, but for the people of the Historic Ghetto of Venice, entitled "The Last Train", which was consecrated by the President of Italy on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Deportation.

I also uncovered a story about Christian Doppler (yes, as in Doppler radar), Austrian mathematician and physicist, founder of the doppler effect. He died in Venice (then part of the Austrian Empire) in 1853 and is buried there. The daguerreotype (above) reproduced in this book is an image of Doppler.

The ornamentation pages come from Italian frescos of the 16th century, and I included an antique map of Venice as well. The music used in the video (previous post) is called "A Ricciulella", by Francesco Daddi. It was recorded on an Edison Amberol wax cylinder ca. 1912, and made available by the Cylinder Archive, through Internet Archive.


"A Book About Death in Venice" handmade artist's book 3" x 4"

My contribution to UN LIBRO SULLA MORTE - A BOOK ABOUT DEATH. The Nuovo Archivio International Biblioteca Artist’s Book  /NABILA-FLUXUS/ Treviso, curated by Virginia Milici) presents an exhibition in homage to Ray Johnson with reference to the first ABAD exhibition by Paris-based American artist Matthew Rose.

The exhibition will take place in the Chiesa Sconsacrata di S.Antonio Piazza Indipendenza La Rotonda di Badoere Comune Morgano (Treviso) Italy

Date: 09 April 2011 to 17 April

music thanks to the cylinder archive

Saturday, February 5, 2011


5 3/4 x 4 1/8 inches, collage, mixed media and wax on paper.

Curious stories get more connected... In a continuing string of coincidences I was mailed a link to a letter from Melinda Hunt, in response to an editorial by Lawrence Downes in the New York Times. Alston Anderson, writer and critic, friend of Robert Graves, and many other notable poets, writers and artists of his time, died in 2008 with no one, no family, no friends to claim his body. He was buried at Hart Island: No. 10, Plot 333, Section III. Through a "program that tracks down the remains of indigent veterans and provides them proper military burials," Alston Anderson, a WWII veteran, was disinterred and reburied at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island. That is where my dad is interred as well. After searching the internet for more information about Mr. Anderson, I found a flickr post that showed the cover of the book, Lover Man. I had a nice exchange with ala3letter both on and off flickr, only to find out his real name is Fran├žois. My father's name is Francis.

For the continuing A Book About Death exhibits, this next one in South Carolina, I was moved to create a postcard in remembrance of Alston Anderson. There must have been many who loved him in his lifetime, where can they be?

May 2011 A Book About Death ~ Memento, Phoenix, AZ