Other Books

Recent Books

To purchase any of these items contact the author directly.

116 Elmwood Ave.
Rochester, New York, 14611
585 436-0735

or contact

Joshua Heller Rare Books Inc.
PO Box 39114
Washington DC, 20016
202 966-9411

Better Things (The Book)
ClarellenNEW from the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, the book is a photographic interpretation of the Memorial Art Gallery’s collection by Douglas Holleley.

Better Things contains some 161 jewel-like color photographs which show and interpret the Gallery’s collection in a new light. Dr. Holleley offers both creative and original insights into many of the paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and even architectural details of the museum. Through a process he terms “interactive reading” he challenges us to see “anew” a heretofore familiar work of art. In one of the five essays in the book he writes, “to visit a museum is literally to enter a giant, three-dimensional book. However, no longer are the pages held safely in the hand or nestled on the sheets and covers of one’s bed. Instead, with very little imagination, it is possible to visualize oneself as a Lilliputian reader surrounded by gigantic signs and symbols, each crying out, waiting to be read and understood.”

The book is 128 pages in length, beautifully printed and is bound with a double thickness cover. It is essential reading for members, visitors or anyone interested in art and how it can be “read” and interpreted in ways that inform and enrich. The book is very reasonably priced at $19.95.

Douglas Holleley, “Better Things” Rochester, N.Y.: Clarellen, 2005. ISBN 0-9707138-2-7.

Phone orders can be placed by calling (585) 473 7720, extension 3057.

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Better Things
(Limited Edition Portfolio)
ClarellenBetter Things is a limited edition portfolio which addresses both the conventions and assumptions of museum practice and the photography of fine art as exemplified by my photographs and writings centered on the collection of the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester (NY).

My thesis is that both the art museum, and the medium of photography itself, arose at a similar time in history (the early 19th century) and both, in an almost conspiratorial way, have changed not only the way we look at and “use” art, but have also changed the nature of art itself. The main essay in the portfolio, draws on the thinking of Benjamin, Malraux and Berger. and makes the case that all three of these writers failed to fully appreciate that photographs not only show something of what the “original art object” looked like, but in certain circumstances also have the potential to reveal the actual communicated content of the artworks in a direct, if not un-mediated manner.

The images accompanying the lecture exemplify a methodology I term “interactive reading.” Rather than “document” the works, a process that runs the risk of perpetuating the perception of the paintings and other artworks as “objects” (and especially “precious objects”), I have freely (visually) quoted from the original works. Subsequently these images were paired in such a way as to draw connections between the actual expressed content of the paintings, rather than their place in history, culture or time. After photographing at the Gallery for one year, four basic themes emerged. They are:

On Reading (Images that reference the notion of reading)
On Men and Women (Images of men and women and their relationship with each other.)
On the Land (Images that address environmental concerns.)
Meliora (Images that suggest primal themes of sex, birth and procreation.)

The portfolio consists of 67 full color, printed sheets—each sheet corresponding to a double-page spread of a book. The sheets are 13”x19” and are housed in a black, book-cloth covered, lipped clamshell portfolio box. The images in this portfolio were made on a Nikon 990 digital camera. The images were subsequently corrected in Adobe Photoshop. For the most part the images are printed as photographed other than corrections for color and contrast. The document was assembled in Adobe InDesign. The body text is set with Gill Sans and the italicized captions are set with Adobe Garamond. The document was subsequently printed by myself on an Epson 2200 inkjet printer. Epson Ultrachrome inks were used on Epson Watercolor–Radiant White paper. The boxes were made by Portfoliobox Inc., R.I.

The portfolio will be of particular benefit to Curators and Art Librarians who may wish to consider alternative means of displaying to their constituency the nature and extent of their holdings. The prints may be viewed sequentially and/or removed from the box and displayed as a self contained, self-referential exhibition.

The edition is limited to 36 copies and the price is $5,000.00.

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Paper Birch

This book was photographed in 2003 but was assembled a year later in July 2004. The book contains six images (plus a small image on the cover) which were made by placing a curled piece of paper birch bark on a copy of Sadakichi Hartmann’s, “A History of American Art.” The images are illuminated by light entering my living room window on a particularly glorious Rochester summer morning

The images are accompanied by a news report originally published in The Guardian in June 19, 2003, the same week the images were made. This report details the trial of Stanislas Gosse a somewhat overenthusiastic bibliophile who systematically looted the library of a monastery located in Mont Saint-Odile, France. Apparently Gosse found a map showing a secret entrance to the monastery library - an entrance reached by a daring climb up exterior walls leading to a steep narrow staircase and finally a secret entrance hidden behind one of five cupboards in the attic library. Gosse took the books and kept them in his own small apartment, sometimes pasting his own bookplate over the monastery’s original. In his defense Gosse told the court, “I’m afraid my burning passion overrode my conscience. It may appear selfish, but I felt the books had been abandoned.”

This report was emailed to me by a friend and arrived as I was working on the images. The timing of its arrival seemed significant, although I have to say am not entirely sure of the meaning of this coincidence. However, coincidence, in and of itself, is a mechanism best not ignored. Perhaps the message is simply that books are not only communicators of information and ideas, but are also in and of themselves, almost magical objects capable of weaving strange spells over the minds of men (sic) seemingly independently of their content.

The book is 16 pages and the dimensions are 13 x 9.5 inches. The images were made on a Nikon 990 digital camera and subsequently corrected in Adobe Photoshop. The document was assembled in Adobe InDesign. The text is set with Adobe Garamond. The document was printed by myself on an Epson 2200 inkjet printer. Epson Ultrachrome inks were used on Epson Watercolor–Radiant White paper. The book has a paper cover and is bound “concertina” style by the author.

It is published in an edition of 40 copies. The price is $750.00

Rochester, N.Y.: Clarellen, 2003.

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