Two Corpses: American Architecture of the Twentieth Century Mashups, 2019
A Book Arts Interaction Among Carl Chiarenza, Robert Hirsch, and Joseph Mills
Artist Joe Mills asked Carl Chiarenza and myself to interact on two, small book-based projects. Our aesthetic and cultural actions were freely grounded in the surrealist exquisite corpse practice, whereby images and/or words are collectively assembled to create new work.
It began with Joe deconstructing Oliver Reagan's book American Architecture of the Twentieth Century (1927), transforming it into two separate three-page foldouts. Joe mounted his images on the leather book covers and in the center interior pages. He then sent one "book" to Carl who responded to the revised content by mounting one of his collage works into a blank page on the foldout and in turn, sent it to me. I then added my piece to the remaining page, returning the work to Joe.
Next, utilizing the same process, Joe sent the other unique copy to me. I made my contribution, sent it to Carl, who added his work, he returning the complete model then back to Joe. The results of this "call and response" methodology, reacting to a fun and/or inspiring statement, are two, fold-out triptychs mounted to a leather book cover (12.5 x 18 inches) signed by each picturemaker.
Joe Mills reflects on the project's motivation: "The artists that I have personally enjoyed knowing, those that have entered into the realm of my spirit, in many ways have not left the sandbox. We play together, often to form a single, towered castle, whose entrance is lowered, opening itself up to our whims and fantasies. In the sandbox we experience together our freedom in its most delirious form, amplified by the knowledge of what we share...life as an artist."