Available through D.A.P. / Distributed Art Publishers 155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013 Telephone 212.627.1999 Facsimile 212.627.9484 Since 1980 Micah Lexier has produced a significant body of ephemeral material including unique invitations that have taken the form of prize ribbons, custom-minted coins, printed balloons, and individually numbered business cards and stationery. With its selection of some 135 multiples, I’m Thinking of a Number describes the rich tangle in Lexier’s practice of the unique object and the multiple. This book, then, is both a frame within a frame – the multiple seen as a subset of his practice, and a frame around a frame – showcasing the multiple’s influence in his thought and art production as a whole. The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design 5163 Duke Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 3J6 www.nscad.ca/thepress 300 I’m Thinking of a Number: Selected invitations, books, catalogues, packaged prints, objects in multiple, t-shirts, projects in and for publications, coins, and other printed matter, 1980 to 2010. Designed by Andrew Di Rosa & Emma Wright / Small Photography by Harry Zernike Printed and bound in Canada Micah Lexier Edited by Jan Peacock Foreword by Garry Neill Kennedy Introduction by AA Bronson Essay by Christina Ritchie Micah Lexier I’m Thinking of a Number: Selected invitations, books, catalogues, packaged prints, objects in multiple, t-shirts, projects in and for publications, coins, and other printed matter, 1980 to 2010. 1 1992 Nº 027 Wallpaper, 1992 Wallpaper, silkscreen-printed in grey and red; unnumbered edition of 100; sealed roll: 27 inches long x 2 inches diameter (68.5 x 5 cm) Nº 028 Works and Eats With, 1992 One poster in two parts, on coloured paper (light brown on front, white on back), letterpress-printed in black on brown side; published by Incontri Internazionali d’Arte; made as part of the group exhibition Artedomani 1992 Punti di Vista, Spoleto, Umbria, Italy, and presented in existing advertising venues throughout Spoleto for the duration of the exhibition; unnumbered edition of 100; each part: 39.375 x 27.5 inches (100 x 70 cm) This work came out of a stay in Spoleto, Italy in 1992 when I was installing a work for the exhibition Artedomani 1992 Punti di Vista. Every day the hosts of the exhibition treated the artists to lunch at a local trattoria. Immediately, I noticed there was another group of people eating together every day as well. I introduced myself and found out that they were a group of men who worked and ate together every day. I asked each man for his signature and used these to create a portrait of the group. I produced a set of two letterpress posters which, when joined end-to-end, created one complete object. The size of the posters was based on a regional, 8 1993 standard advertising size, and a local printing company produced the posters, which were posted around the city for the duration of the exhibition. Nº 029 Name and Family Name, 1992 Exhibition invitation on a manila envelope, letterpress-printed in dark grey on front; the Stride Gallery, Calgary, September 9 to October 3, 1992; 4 x 9 inches (10 x 23 cm) Nº 030 Name and Family Name, 1992 Exhibition catalogue; texts by Reesa Greenberg; design by Micah Lexier; published by The Stride Gallery, Calgary; 48 pages, 28 images, including printed endpapers; offset-printed, with letterpress-printed cardboard cover, spiral bound; 8 x 6.75 x 0.375 inches (20.5 x 17 x 1 cm) Nº 031 A Bloodline (Daughter of), 1992 White T-shirt, silkscreen-printed in grey and red on front; one version printed with text in grey and signatures in red; one version printed with text in red and signatures in grey; made on the occasion of the group exhibition Artedomani 1992 Punti di Vista, Spoleto, Umbria, Italy; small, limited edition; edition size unknown Nº 032 Preparatory Drawings for a Portrait of the Morrish Family, 1993 Set of five prints on Kozuke paper, silkscreen-printed in black and grey, with a title page and a colophon with embossed studio logo, signed and numbered in graphite on front, packaged in a grey foil-stamped, black cloth-covered box, with a grey ribbon to assist in lifting of the prints; printed and published by Open Studio, Toronto; printed by Allen Ash and Cameron Sharpe; numbered edition of 18; each print: 12 x 12 inches (30.5 x 30.5 cm); box: 12.5 x 12.5 x 0.625 inches (32 x 32 x 1.5 cm) This series of silkscreen prints used as its source material the preparatory drawings for the artwork Portrait of the Morrish Family. In preparation for this sculpture I asked each family member to send me a piece of paper with a number of examples of their handwritten name. To make the sculpture I chose one example of each person’s name and had it laser-cut out of stainless steel in a quantity equal to their age. This print edition is a reproduction of the pages that the family members sent me, with the handwriting printed in black. The one I used for the sculpture was printed in gray. On the colophon page I asked the printer of the edition to sign my name. Nº 033 Works in Multiple Format / (With), 1993 Set of two exhibition invitation posters on newsprint, webpress-printed in black, folded, packaged in a white envelope, offset-printed in black; Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, B.C., October 21 to November 14, 1993 (concurrent); each poster: 23 x 17 inches unfolded (58.5 x 43 cm); envelope: 12 x 9 inches (30.5 x 23 cm) Nº 034 Untitled Centrefold, 1993 Two-page magazine project on coated paper, offset-printed in black; contribution to Homogenius 3, a publication in the form of a magazine featuring onepage contributions by members of the Homogenius collective; distributed free of charge; 13 x 9.75 inches (33 x 25 cm) I was part of a collective of artists who were given the task of creating one page each for a magazine-style bookwork. I teamed up with Regan Morris, one of the other artists in the collective, to create the centerfold. We each created our own page that would also line up to form a larger image. Nº 035 Book Sculptures, 1993 Bookmark on card, double-sided, offset-printed in black; made to be inserted into the publication Micah Lexier: Book Sculptures, Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Ontario; one version printed with full exhibition sponsorship, details on reverse; one version with artist’s name and title; 8.25 x 2 inches (21 x 5 cm) 9 Nº 027 Nº 028 Nº 029 Nº 030 “I’m thinking of a number…” Christina Ritchie I was visiting Micah one day in his home office in Toronto when I noticed on the wall beside his desk a sheet of paper on which he’d written, “I’m thinking of a number.” He said he thought of this as a possible title for a future exhibition. I have borrowed the phrase as the title for this text for a number of reasons, but mostly for the playful allusion it provides to the most basic characteristic of the material that comprises this volume. Ephemera, multiples, editions, magazines, broadsides, business cards — however they are realized in form, these things are always realized in number, in a quantity of more than one. Numbers as quantities, as expressions of proportion or relation, as measurements of time — even as graphic signs — have had a prominent role in Micah Lexier’s production over the entire course of his career. It seems logical, then, that works produced in number should have a central position in his practice. Indeed, within Lexier’s oeuvre, the usual attributes of ephemera — informal, contingent, supplementary — are often employed in these pieces as key elements of the project or exhibition they announce; or, in many cases, are formally realized as artworks in their own right. Insofar as many of his works are operations upon numbers, so the form in which they are realized often reflects this numerical ordering, accomplishing a seamless reciprocity of content and form. For someone with such a clean, minimalist design sensibility, there is an orderliness to these works that is very satisfying. Lexier’s formal play with numbers does not really become dominant in his practice until the early 1990s, but his sense of conceptual reciprocity between form and content is already evident in one of his very earliest exhibition announcements. For his MFA graduation show at NSCAD, he manufactured a prize ribbon as the 141 The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design 5163 Duke Street, Halifax Nova Scotia Canada B3J 3J6 The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design gratefully acknowledges the law firm McInnes Cooper for providing a sustaining operations grant over the years 2008 – 2011. © 2010 Jan Peacock, The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the authors. Artwork © 2010 Micah Lexier All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, or as expressly permitted by law, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographic rights organizations. Enquires concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design at the address above. The authors and publisher are grateful to all those individuals and organizations who have granted permission to reproduce images. Every effort has been made to obtain permission to use copyrighted material in this volume; the publisher apologizes for any errors or omissions and would welcome these being brought to their attention. Editorial Director: Susan McEachern Manager: Christopher McFarlane Copy Editor: Ulrike Walker Graphic Design: Andrew Di Rosa & Emma Wright / Small www.smallprojectstudio.com Colour Correction: Paul Jerinkitsch Printed and bound in Canada Available through D.A.P./ Distributed Art Publishers 155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10013 Tel (212) 627.1999 Fax (212) 627.9484 The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design was established in 1972 as a vehicle to publish books by and about leading contemporary artists. Between 1972 and 1987, twenty-six titles by such artists as Michael Snow, Steve Reich, Gerhard Richter, and Yvonne Rainer were published. Relaunched in 2002, The Press has once again established the University as a source for the publishing of primary documents and scholarly works in the fields of contemporary art, craft, and design. NSCAD University is a university of the visual arts singularly dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the training of professional practitioners, in the conducting of research, and in the production of works of art in all media. Rethinking the Contemporary Art School Edited by Brad Buckley and John Conomos Condé and Beveridge: Class Works Edited by Bruce Barber NeoCraft: Modernity and the Crafts Edited by Sandra Alfoldy Ceramic Millennium: Critical Writings on Ceramic History, Theory, and Art Edited by Garth Clark 3 Works, Martha Rosler Complete Writings 1959 –1975 Donald Judd Raw Notes, Claes Oldenburg Artists Talk: 1969 –1977, Edited by Peggy Gale Modernism and Modernity: The Vancouver Conference Papers, Edited by Benjamin H.D. 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