Alex Katz celebrates an old friendship, illustrating Brainard's 1970s journals with charcoal flower drawings.
In this tender posthumous collaboration initiated by Alex Katz (born 1927), the artist embellishes journal entries by his old friend Joe Brainard (1941-94) with a new series of exquisite charcoal drawings of flowers (a popular motif in Brainard's own art). Katz and Brainard often collaborated with poets--particularly those of the New York School, such as Ted Berrigan, Anne Waldman and Ron Padgett--on artists' books, poetry publications, book covers, writings and paintings. Brainard's journal entries in this volume, written between 1971 and 1972, express this milieu, with accounts of conversations and expeditions with Waldman and Padgett as well as frequent mention of his appreciation for Katz's work: "How Alex has remained so pure all these years is beyond me," he notes in one entry, enumerating his favorite Katz works. Katz's charcoal drawings are simple and clear in execution, matching the serene clarity that famously characterizes Brainard's prose.
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