BURNING BOOKS is an artist-run, weirdness-driven organization dedicated to the production and publication of unmuzzled literature, music, and art. It was founded by writer/editor Melody Sumner Carnahan and artist/designer Michael Sumner in Oakland, California, in 1979.
The Burning Books imprint has produced twenty-seven books and numerous audioworks, often with co-publishers including the University of Iowa International Writer’s Program, West End Press, Archer Fields, East-West Cultural Studies, Frog Peak Music, Zerx Press, and High Mayhem. Seven books were made in collaboration with typographer Kathleen Burch between 1983 and 1994.
Burning Books author/artist/collaborators include John Cage, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley, Joan La Barbara, Steina, Woody Vasulka, Arakawa, Madeline Gins, et al.
In 1989 Burning Books moved to New Mexico where the two founders continue to produce art in obsolete delivery systems: books, posters, broadsides, films, pamphlets, handbills, postcards, and discs. And, Seven Sins Soup.
Recent installations include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Center for Contemporary Arts, MOV-iN Gallery, IPI 2007, Mills College, San Francisco Center for the Book, the Donkey Gallery, 516 Arts, and High Mayhem Gallery.
Burning Books is better at making the world more elegant and convincing when it operates as a low-key dysfunctional entity.
The exhibition presents two connected bodies of material: a survey of artists’ books by Australian painter, sculptor and bookmaker Robert Jacks (1942-2014), and an extensive selection of publications drawn from Jacks’ own collection, many of which were purchased from Printed Matter in the early years of the organization.
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