Friday, December 17, 2010

The Art Of Counting The Days

Who doesn’t have an old date book (or two) collecting dust somewhere, an essentially useless item we keep for the pretty pictures or the memories or both? David P. Earle, an L.A.-based artist and writer, has a few — “I love to find my own doodles,” he says — but that’s only part of the inspiration behind his new project, “The Open Daybook.” 
This “perpetual calendar” features the work of 365 contemporary artists — from Chris Johanson to Jill Greenberg to Aaron Rose to the T columnist Leanne Shapton — each of whom was assigned a particular date and asked to create a work of art in 24 hours, choosing from five templates that leave half the page blank. The hefty tome includes collages, photographs, paintings, cartoons, scribbled words and intricate illustrations. Some, like Miranda July’s handwritten reflection on her personal relationship to June 19 or Kerry Tribe’s Dec. 20 photo of a pregnant belly marked “Due Date,” clearly connected to a particular moment in time, while the significance of others is anyone’s guess. Overall, it’s a beautiful, kaleidescopic record that, like a year itself, has moments of chaos, clarity and uncanny synergies. Earle notes that it’s meant to evolve into a second book over time, as the reader adds his own thoughts, pictures and — perhaps — dentist appointments.
At “The Open Daybook”’s L.A. opening, held earlier this month at Dagny Corcoran’s new Art Catalogues space at LACMA, contributors like the members of Fallen Fruit (Aug. 27) wore name and date tags and obligingly signed their pages for the buyers who pushed through the packed room, pens outstretched. The comic artist Ron Rege Jr. (March 26) sat at a table doing speed drawings, and an astrologer gave readings beside him.
Earle compared the event to a yearbook signing, saying, “Everyone loves to buy a book at a book launch and have the author sign it, but it’s different to have 15 artist signatures. I hope for some people that loosens up the experience of the book.”
The photographer Mike Slack (March 14) said he didn’t expect it to help him organize his life, but “I like that it’s a $45 art book you’re supposed to write in.”
An exhibition of the original artwork from Open Daybook will be at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) starting Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. 6522 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles; (323) 957-1777.

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