After the Hiatus: we were pleased to join over 100 colleagues on the floor of the Oakland Marriott, for the ABAA's 54th California Antiquarian Book Fair (Feb. 11-13). The following fourteen highlights issue from our booth (709)—ranging from utopian astronomy to experimental cinema, self-conscious cults to Fluxus, physiognomy to solar power.
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LOT 01 / ASTRONOMY
[Archive of inventions from utopian Soviet astronomer]. Soviet Union [Siberia / Ukraine], 1925-1935. $ 3500 USD (SOLD) This small archive comprised of a group of 16 items; namely: (1) a group of 12 captioned photographs, 10 of which are b&w silver gelatin prints (11 x 7.5 cm.), with manuscript captions (in French) to margins of their backings (12.5 x 9 cm.). With an additional 2 photographs featuring manuscript captions to versos: for a new coloured-globe of Mars (10.5 x 6.5 cm.) and a 1931 portrait of Andrenko's Siberian observatory (10.5 x 8 cm., below); (2) two pamphlets authored by Andrenko: (a) Жизньисмертьнебесныхсветил [The life and death of celestial bodies]; Government of Ukraine, 1925. Illustrated wrappers (17 cm., with rear wrapper loose). Contents of 56 pages, illustrated throughout after black-and-white photographs and diagrams. Text in Cyrillic, with the title translated by Andrenko's hand to front cover; dedication to [José Comas Solá] to first page of contents, dated Dec. 31, 1931. With no OCLC records discovered. And (b) Dix thèses sur l'universalité et léternité de la Vie organique dans l'infini sidéral [i.e. L'uniformité de la Vie dans l'univers]; Solliès-Pont, [France]: Association Internationale Biocosmique, circa 1930. Printed wrappers (18 cm.); side-stapled. Contents: 24 pp; gatherings unopened. With lengthy 1934 dedication from Andrenko to title page. With 4 OCLC records discovered (none in North America); (3) an original drawing, representing a telescopic view of Comet Pons-Winnecke (magnification of 50x), dated June 26, 1927; representing one of the closest comet approaches to Earth. Drawing diameter of 11 cm., with manuscript summary in French to lower portion of sheet ( 24 x 17 cm.), with some foxing to sheet and fragility to previous fold; and (4) a manuscript draft for a short text entitled Curiosités pittoresques et beautés de la Crimée, where Andrenko pays special attention to the observatory at Simeiz; 6 manuscript sheets (12.5 x 17.5 cm.), signed by Andrenko.
A remarkable survival from the Soviet astronomer and science fiction writer Leonid Leonidovich Andrenko (1903-1966?); celebrated member of the Societé astronomique de France and correspondent of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the hermit pioneer of inter-planetary (i.e. multi-planet species) science. Apparently sent by Andrenko as a portfolio/self-archive to José Comas Solá, the Director of the Fabra Observatory in Barcelona (and of the corresponding astronomical Society), this small archive includes 12 remarkable photographs of Andrenko's astronomical inventions and globe-making efforts (for Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter's satellite of Gannymede). As well as two presentation copies of Andrenko's pamphlets, addressing the pan-physiology of Life between planets. Also included: a portrait of Andrenko in front of the observatory he developed in Siberia (Irkutsk), after being banished there for counter-revolutionary suspicions in 1931.
Following his Siberian interlude (from which he was granted an early release), Andrenko settled into Kharkiv (Ukraine), where he lectured widely to the public on astronomical matters and spent time developing an impressive range of related inventions (as documented by these photographs, with names supplied in French): including the observational spectroplanetoscope (above), and three pedagogical devices: the cosmoscope, for illustrating celestial phenomena such as eclipses, via charming tableaux (below), the planetaire rotatif (for demonstrating the movements of planets), and the sidéroscope (demonstrating the spatial distribution between stars). In the 1950s, Andrenko emigrated to New York City, where he was affiliated with the observatory at Columbia University.
A fascinating window into the imagination of popular Soviet astronomy, under the utopian/inter-planetary horizon of Russian Cosmism.
Anger, Kenneth / Brakhage, Stan / VanDerbeek, Stan / Cinema 16
Experimental cinema: The Living Theatre presents Kenneth Anger's Fireworks and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome / Brakhage's: Reflections on black / Stan VanDerBeek's: What? Who? How? New York: Living Theatre, 1960. $ 500 USD Silkscreen poster (36 x 21.5 cm.); printed cyan and red on pink-flecked yellow sheet. Slight scuff to top left corner; otherwise Fine.
Poster for a Living Theatre programme of experimental cinema, as curated by Amos and Marcia Vogel's pioneering film society Cinema 16. Comprised of short films from Kenneth Anger (Fireworks and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome), Stan Brakhage (Reflections on black), and Stan VanDerBeek (What? Who? How?). Hosted on March 7th, 1960 at the Living Theatre loft at 14th and 6th. With single OCLC record discovered (Northwestern).
Utopian eyes: a journal of utopian thought (Vol. 1, Issue 4). San Francisco: Performing Arts Social Society, 1975. $ 100 USD Serial, single issue. Printed to newsprint; red-and-black. Contents: , 45 pages; illustrated-throughout. Blot from orange marker to rear wrapper, showing-through. Accompanied by: subscription leaf/prospectus, printed to letter-sized sheet; some chipping to right margin.
"Human activity in the next 20 years will make or break our chances for survival in the next 200 years, and all the years beyond. Many eminent thinkers, scientists, and ecologists have made this observation, but few people have gone beyond the observation into the actual creation of lifestyles that will ensure success in these crucial years to come... Utopian eyes goes beyond the 'hardware' of ecological living (the technology) and plunges right into the nitty-gritty 'software' stuff: utopian psychology... All of the information is sensible, reasonable, humorous, and comprehensible to anyone that takes the time to read it." (Cribbed from subscription form).
From the San Francisco-based "New Tribe" era of the Kerista Commune—perhaps most-famously-now-known for their early vision of polyamory—Utopian eyes served as their main publishing organ from 1975 until 1981. This fourth issue was dedicated to the publication of the Commune's social contract ("what is to us perhaps the most significant document the world has ever seen")—complete with seven basic premises and 38 standards. Printed with blank fields at end, to be filled-in by the reader/signer. Also in this issue: texts on polyfidelity ("Beyond jealousy and possessiveness"), multiple parenting, tantra vs. Eros, Commune recipes, and the World Plan of Kerista. Along with the first two parts of Episode 2 of the recurring comic Far out West. With seven other issues available (1.3, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.4, 5.3, and 6.1).
Night of slack. [Event poster]. San Francisco, 1984. $ 450 USD (SOLD) Vibrant poster (55 x 35 cm.), with orange-to-pink rainbow gradient; screenprinted to stiff board. With designer's name inscribed to lower margin.
The key to endtimes sanity: "Pull the wool over your own eyes." A vibrant poster announcing the first proper concert of the Church of the SubGenius. Booked for two nights in San Francisco's 900 seat Victoria Theater in January 1984, this was well-above the capacity of the Church's regular "devival meetings." Starting in-earnest in 1980, the Church was now about to embark on the Revival Crusade of 1984. At this opening event, publicized-widely by local television, clip-art-graduate J. R. "Bob" Dobbs rose to the occasion, emerging from the shadows to make his first-ever public appearance. Within moments, Dobbs would be shot dead on stage. This would be the assassination of the SubGenius Prophet, who first learned about the Conspiracy of the Normals to steal the Slack of the SubGeniuses in 1953; although stories of his resurrection soon circulated. This copy of the landmark poster signed at bottom by Palmer Vreedees, a prominent San Francisco SubGenius and its likely-designer.
Bedrock One: a rockdance-environment happening benefit for the Communication Company... San Francisco: The Communication Company, 1967. $ 350 USD (SOLD) Broadsheet flyer (25.5 x 17.5 cm.), illustrated to recto after b&w photograph. Party production credits to verso. Creasing to lower edge and corner, otherwise a bright and clean copy of an uncommon Communication Company print.
"Having been to the Fillmore & the Avalon, among other such resorts, and having head endless gassed chatter about Acid Tests, Trips Festivals et psychedelic cetera, we have decided quote fuck it close quote that we are going to prove that the rock dance can & ought to be a genuine Art Form. The trouble with the events mentioned above is everything. First, the lights tend to be projected against either a screen or the band, giving the customer much the same sense of participation he gets from a technicolor movie. This is clearly bullshit. You're not supposed to see the light show, it's supposed to happen to you... In other words, up till March 5th, all rock dances & similar shivarees have been produced by people who have never reader Marshall McLuhan..." (from a complementary flyer produced for the Bedrock One event; preserved at diggers.org).
From a perhaps under-documented corner of the San Francisco Diggers' history, the present flyer/programme documents Chester Anderson's experiments in multi-media party-planning/environmental design. With special attention focued on lighting design (provided here by the Lysergic Power & Light Company), Anderson—under the auspices of The Experimental Theatre Co-op, L.A.M.F.—planned three Bedrock "rockdance-environment happenings;" the first (and only) such event taking-place at San Francisco's California Hall (625 Polk) on March 5th, 1967. With the participation of the Steve Miller Blues Band and Richard Brautigan, amongst others. The seductive torso image to the recto is uncredited; a variant poster for the event was designed by R. Crumb.
Poesie et cetera americaine: Biennale internationale des jeunes artistes. Paris: Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, 1963. $ 600 USD (SOLD) Catalogue/programme. Graphic wrappers (20 cm. square); side-stapled, minor scuffing and edge-wear, with marginal discolouration to rear wrapper. Contents:  pages; texts in French (with translations by Robert Filliou).
"dear george brecht, al hansen, dick and alison, george maciunas, jackson, simone, ben, bob and la monte, thank you for your long-distance participation in a very memorable evening. several days ago i sent all of you three programs apiece, but they are heading your way by slow boat. the only person in the u.s.a. who has one as yet is george maciunas, so you can knock him up if you want to see my masterwork, the cover, which was stretched into a funny pattern by the grafiker who assisted me. he's thrilled over it, but it leaves me cold. comments, please."
During that first stretch of European concerts (e.g. "the lunatics are on the loose"), Emmett Williams organized the (unofficial) third Fluxus concert in Paris, under the auspices of the Biennale internationale des jeunes artistes (hosted by the Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris). Williams also designed this substantial catalogue/programme. Famously, Maciunas tore a strip off Williams for his catalogue design—for not doing more to foreground the Fluxus brand; Maciunas going so far as to point-out, however passive-aggressively, that Fluxus held copyright on the performances in the programme. Diplomatically, Williams responded by reminding Maciunas that they had just accomplished an unlikely feat: stacking the American contribution to an international Biennale with Fluxus artists (with the likes of Malraux in attendance), well under the radar of recent scandals / disguised as poets. The programme includes works from Dick Higgins, Jackson Mac Low, George Maciunas, Robert Watts, Emmett Williams, Benjamin Patterson, Al Hansen, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Alison Knowles, Simone Morris, and George Brecht—as performed by Terry Brown, Jack and Joan Canepa, Erik Dietmann, Robert Filliou, Terry Riley, and Emmett Williams. With only 3 OCLC records discovered (Getty, MoMA, Clark); not in BnF.
[Water Yam placemat]. [New Jersey], 1962. $ 350 USD Multiple. Paper-lace doily (25 x 38 cm.), with copper lettering. Two hard-folds from previous storage (now preserved flat, with fold-lines less pronounced); otherwise remarkably bright and clean, with no breaks to intricate lace pattern. Uncommon thus.
As one of the various objects that were appropriated for George Brecht and Robert Watts' evolving Water Yam festival, the doilies that composed this multiple were reportedly acquired by Watts from a mail-order catalogue, and then letterpress-branded with the Festival's mark. With single OCLC record discovered (Getty; apparently stained). Also in MoMA's Silverman collection.
Maciunas, George / Simonetti, Gianni-Emilio (editor)
U.S. surpasses all Nazi genocide records! / Battuti degli Stati Uniti tutti i record nazisti de genocidio! Milano: ED. 912, Edizioni di cultura contemporanea, 1967. $ 750 USD Broadside, printed blue, black, and red to thick sheet (72 x 50 cm.); illustrated with two pistol-wielding Uncle Sams. Text flowing in two columns; English and Italian translation en face. Some creasing; but nonetheless bright and clean. Numbered as 276 of 500 copies.
"Are we becoming a nation of criminals? or have we lost our capacity to reason under the magic spell of Our Leader? or were the Nazis innocent after all, since they, like the U.S. leaders, did it all in the name of 'anticommunism'?" With the original "genocide flag" (1966), George Maciunas encouraged viewers to write to the Fluxus PO box, in order to receive a document full of "calculations and references," to support his ultra-provocative claim that the U.S. had surpassed Nazi Germany's war crimes. The next year—as number 9 in the first series of Gianni-Emilio Simonetti's striking Ed. 912 posters—said text is reproduced in colossal poster form, with Uncle Sam's finger replaced with a gun. Uncommon, with only 3 OCLC records discovered (Troy, Minnesota, UC San Diego). To be considered as the second of three expressions of this work; the third being albrecht/d's circa 1973 printing, where the updated statistics have coloured the stars-as-skulls red).
One hundred plays. New York: [Self-published], 1961. $ 1250 USD (SOLD) Corner-stapled mimeographed sheets, with cover-sheet illustrated after an American flag (absent its stars). Contents: , ii-v, 102 pages; mis-bound, with pages 11-40 bound (in reverse order) after p. 10, followed by pp. 41-102.
A scarce pre-Fluxus publication from Higgins, produced under the sign of the theatrical. Including cabaret-skits, proto-instructions, and a number of visual/graphical poems. Some of these pieces dedicated to Allan Kaprow and George Brecht. With 5 OCLC records discovered; four in North America. Cf. Bio/bibliography, p. 37. One of a number of scarce items from our upcoming list on Dick Higgins and the Something Else Press; subscribe to our newsletter to receive an advance copy.
[Vernacular NASA engineering Polaroids]. Hampton, VA: Langley Research Center (NASA), circa 1961-1967. $ 2800 USD A striking collection of 104 Polaroid photographs (9 x 11.5 cm. prints; across two formats) from the estate of aeronautical engineer William Deveikis (1926-2019). With 49 loose prints, and a further 55 ACCO-bound, the latter with manuscript annotations to wide margins. More images available upon request.
Working at NASA's Langley Research Center from 1951-1983, the engineer William Deveikis experimented on the stress-thresholds of aeronautic materials, simulating the extreme pressures and heat of supersonic flight and space travel. He was also a talented photographer. In this group of Polaroids, Deveikis appears primarily concerned with the aesthetic merits of his photography, rather than with the objective documentation of his experiments. Amongst the hyper-modern objects and textures of his flight materials, Deveikis achieves a kind of Space Age Pictorialism.
Just less than half of the Polaroids depict a series of Deveikis' scale-model experiments from the early 1960s using Langley's cutting-edge wind tunnel technologies, which could simulate the stresses of supersonic flight. Another 55 Polaroids—bound in a pseudo-flipbook—document his 1967 shadowgraph experiments, using flow-visualization techniques that have reached modern expression in pandemic-era transmission graphics. More images available upon request.
Riflessioni sul sistema frenologico del D. Gall e proposta di un craniometro. Torino: Tipografia Favale, 1836. $ 750 USD Octavo, later rebound in pink-papered boards (20 cm.). Contemporary ownership inscription to title page. Contents: 117,  pages, followed by  pp. index. Text illustrated with statistical tables and impressive folding plate at rear (46 x 55 cm.), which features 14 figures.
The sole publication from Pietro Marco Giacoma—both priest and tutor of philosophy, physics and theology in Turin—the present treatise defends the system of Gall against contemporary accusations of materialism, fatalism, and atheism. Giacoma also used this opportunity to publicize his invention of "il craniometro," for which he received a patent circa 1826, to provide further objectivity to phrenological readings. The invention is illustrated by an impressive folding place, which also displays the two competing visualizations of the phrenological system (skull vs. bust), along with the physiognomical profiles of seven "great men" (including Laurence Sterne, Immanuel Kant, and Francis Bacon). NB: while the craniometro has often been credited to J.-B. Sarlandière, the latter identifies Giacoma as the instrument's inventor in his Systema phrenologicum (circa 1832), which is illustrated by the same engraving as here. With 5 OCLC records discovered; two of those in North America (UCLA, Yale).
Senryuan 人相早学 / Ninso Hayamanabi. [A guide to physiognomy]. Tokyo: Kinrindo, 1883. $ 750 USD (SOLD) Fukurotoji binding (17.5 cm.). Contents: title page affixed to verso of front cover, followed by 21 leaves—numbered to 22, with one leaf twice-numbered (as 2/3). Illustrated with two annotated physiognomical plates (as above) and a further 8 portraits of expressions. Some minor discolouration to pages.
In an 1876 letter to Charles Darwin concerning expression, the Challenger (1872-1876) naturalist H. N. Moseley remarked: "I formed a large collection of Japanese illustrated books and manuscripts when I was in the country and amongst them I have one on Physiognomy with a series of rough figures of the various shapes of eyebrows and of eyes and maps of the face with the various regions depicted." The editors of Darwin's Correspondence suggest that the work-in-question is likely this one by Senryuan (cf. vol. 24. p.327); the present edition being a later printing (with Preface dated 1840). In response, Darwin politely noted his absolute disinterest in physiognomy. In addition to the copy referenced by said editors at the Bodleian Japanese Library, OCLC reports a single copy at the National Diet Library in Tokyo (1883).
Figures et grimaces: soixante bois dessinés et gravés. Paris: Chez les Écrivains Réunis, 1926. SOLD Octavo. Graphic wrappers (19.5 cm.), preserved in contemporary glassine; some sunning. Contents:  leaves, featuring 60 individual woodcuts (12 x 8 cm.). Copy number 356 of 400 printed on vélin, after XV printed on japon impérial. A lovely copy. First edition; Ritter B-a-19.
A somewhat-overlooked entry from Frans Masereel's oeuvre; less of a wordless-novel than a physiognomic portfolio of urban types. Printed at the press of Robert Coulouma at Argenteuil. With a dozen OCLC records discovered in North America.
La chaleur solaire et ses applications industrielles. Deuxième édition revue et considérablement augmentée. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1879. $ 1200 USD (SOLD) Octavo. Quarter-leather over marbled boards (21 cm.), with gilt ornamentation and lettering to spine. Contents: vi, 294 pages, illustrated in-text with dozens of engravings, equations, and tables. Bound at rear: two folding plates (20 x 25 cm.), representing Mouchot's contribution to the 1878 Exposition Universelle. Presentation copy, with signed dedication from Mouchot to front endpaper (slightly clipped), apparently to a Captain Coyne.
“Le progrès, a dit le grand chimiste Liebig, est l'art d'économiser la force.” Offering the first modern work on the industrial applications of solar energy—accompanied by a comprehensive history of its pursuit—Augustin Bernard Mouchot investigated the development of a solar-powered steam engine with zero carbon emissions, amidst his prediction of a coming coal crisis in Europe. First publishing this work in 1869, Mouchot here provides an expanded edition, accounting for his experiments from the previous decade, including his recent experiences at the 1878 Exposition Universelle, where he exhibited his Grand Générateur Solaire Industriel at the Algerian pavilion at the Trocadéro (as illustrated by the two folding plates bound at rear). With only 3 OCLC records discovered in North America for this second, considerably-enlarged edition (Cornell, Penn State, LC).