Since the incorporation of the Esopus Foundation Ltd. in 2003, we have asked contemporary artists to create limited editions that we offer in exchange for donations. Revenue from these artworks allows us to continue our mission of providing an unmediated, accessible forum for artists and the general public.
These limited editions are not for sale; therefore, a portion of their value is tax-deductible per the Internal Revenue Code. Donors will receive an email receipt for their records.
Three Types of Reading Ambiguity results from a multidisciplinary collaboration between musician Charles Bissell and contemporary artist Beth Campbell.
The edition is a layered reflection on the differing meanings of “original” and “copy” in the visual arts and music—and a fascinating glimpse into the creative processes of Bissell and Campbell.
Both happen to be previous contributors to Esopus; In fact, Campbell opened the very first issue of Esopus with a drawing from her ongoing series, “My Potential Future Based on Present Circumstances,” which consists of elegant flow charts mapping out a dizzyingly wide range of outcomes resulting from a particular choice.
Bissell, a member of the acclaimed indie band The Wrens, was interviewed along with a bandmate, Greg Whelan, in Esopus 3 about the intense, often torturous process making the Wrens’ landmark 2003 album, The Meadowlands.
For this limited edition Bissell offered us a longer, unique version of a track, “Three Types of Reading Ambiguity,” from a still-unreleased album by the band. The song is a transcendent exploration of the reckoning with mortality accompanying middle age. In the edition, that track takes up one side of a custom-designed audio cassette. Side B features a sonic interpretation of the song created by Campbell, whose sculptures and installations explore notions of copies and duplication. The edition also includes a new 17 x 30" “Potential Future” drawing, reproduced here as an archival lithographic print, related to the song and Campbell's collaboration with Bissell for the project, as well as a foldout poster featuring Bissell’s lyrics reproduced in their original format.
Three Types of Reading Ambiguity was sent to our premium subscribers in November 2015.
Charles Bissell is a guitarist and vocalist who was a member of The Wrens from 1989–2021. The acclaimed alternative band’s album The Meadowlands (Absolutely Kosher, 2003) appeared on numerous critics’ Top 10 lists and was named Magnet magazine’s Album of the Year. The band split up in 2021, and Bissel is working on a solo Sub Pop album.
Beth Campbell’s work has been shown across the United States, including at the Whitney Museum, MoMA’s P.S. 1, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Sculpture Center, and many New York galleries. Her work has also been shown internationally, including at spaces in London, Paris, Seoul, and Zurich. She received her M.F.A. from Ohio State University and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Campbell received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.