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Melanie's Picks: Esopus 14: Projects

images shown clockwise from left to right, Marcia Kure, Roxy Paine, and Erica Allen
A few years ago, I was introduced to Esopus Magazine when a friend told me that a particular issue, Esopus 5, contained a poster of Richard Misrach's work. I treasure this issue among many of my favored photobooks. Like photobooks, there are many magazines to be had, but few to be kept for years and years. Esopus is one of those magazines to lock away and never give to grubby-handed kids or disease-infested doctor's office patients. That said, the newest issue, Esopus 14, does not need much of an introduction aside from how the new glorious content differs from previous issues. According to the introduction, editor Tod Lippy usually features four projects per issue, but in this one there is a chorus of twelve voices. The visual melody leads through the perfect bound book to a musical CD on the final board, which in turn reflects back to the visual arts with songs inspired by 16th-century sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, El Lissitzky, Chuck Close, Esao Andrews and songs simply titled with the artist’s name who influenced the piece. (Songs mentioned above performed by Memoryhouse, Dream Diary, Tim Fite and Suzanne van Etten, respectively.)

The visual artists included in this issue are Roxy Paine, John O' Connor, Barbara Probst, Marcia Kure, John Baldessari, Fernando Santangelo, Jared Flood, Juri Morioka, Suzanne Bocanegra, Judy Pfaff, two of my favorite artists, Erica Allen and Kerry James Marshall. There is really no flipping allowed with Paine's multi-fold poster, Bocanegra's perforated Recipe Cards and a multitude of other design elements lend itself to exploration quite like a photobook.