Thursday, June 19, 2014
R.B. Kitaj (1932-2007) made many screenprints from the mid-60s through the mid-70s appropriating already-existing book covers. He favored beat-up copies of artist-monographs (many of these prints survive at the Tate) but refused to limit his 'grab & reproduce' choices to any one category. Some are from the series, In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library after the Life for the Most Part.
Kitaj's Charles Olson screenprint (immediately above) does not fit into the book-cover series, though it was made during the same years. I included it because there no longer seems to be much interest in Charles Olson, the American poet who lived from 1910 to 1970. This oblivion shocks me. Olson was universally deified during the decade after his death, when I first was becoming aware of his work. But the true main reason I felt compelled to include the Olson obituary-silkscreen was the magnificent and unlikely early-70s color palette used by Kitaj – plum, mint, buff, gunmetal, sepia, rust.