Among the artist-made books (as opposed to the books about artists) at the New York Art Book Fair, which opened last night at MoMA PS1 to a hustling, bustling VIP crowd, is a zinelike collaboration between Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon. Both are artists with David Zwirner, whose new publishing house put the two artists together on the project. “They like each other but had never worked together,” says Lucas Zwirner, who works with his family’s bookmaking operation. First Pettibon gave Dzama some of his unfinished drawings, which Dzama collaged, and then, a week later, Dzama brought some of his to Pettibon, which Pettibon added some of his gnomic text to. “They swapped and then reswapped,” says Lucas. “They wanted to augment each other’s work.” It comes in an edition of 300, none of which are signed, which is why they’re only $30. The tone is a bit anxious and perverse. As for what it means, well, some of Dzama’s drawings — and he’s always drawing — are on Chateau Marmont letterhead. But only since he was in L.A. during part of the collaboration, so the only meaning there is that some artists sometimes get to live like they’re in the movie business. But the zine's repeated phrase is: “The appeal to the reader is that of a folk or fairy tale well told.” To which, in one corner, Pettibon’s wan all-caps scrawl is added: “This story, if it is one, deserves the closure of a suicide.”
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