Esopus celebrates its 10th anniversary with a special issue filled with facsimile reproductions of archival materials from sources ranging from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner to the American Museum of Natural History. For Esopus 20: Special Collections, the entire issue—which sports a brand-new multi-part format, and, at 240 pages, is the largest Esopus to date—will be devoted to personal and institutional archival collections. Contents include:
• From Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, a selection from his personal archive of never-before-seen handwritten notes, inscribed on everything from Sopranos stationery to index cards, related to his conception and development of the award-winning AMC series.
• From the archive of Christopher Knowles, a removable poster featuring images of cassette tapes recorded by the artist and poet in the ’70s, including “Emily Likes the TV,” which led Robert Wilson to invite Knowles, then a teenager, to contribute to the libretto for the groundbreaking 1976 opera Einstein on the Beach. Several of these recordings—most of which have never been heard by the public—will also be included on the issue’s CD. A more comprehensive selection of recordings will be available to Esopus subscribers as streaming audio files on the Esopus website.
• From the Museum of Modern Art Archives, materials related to the museum’s 1960 Monet retrospective, curated by esteemed art historian William C. Seitz. Selections include a portfolio of photographs taken by Seitz on a trip to Europe in the late ’50s that document many of the locations—from Le Havre to London’s Houses of Parliament—painted by the impressionist master.
• From musician/author Dean Wareham, pages from personal notebooks containing early drafts of lyrics for the songs of Galaxy 500, the hugely influential band he cofounded in the late ’80s with Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang.
• From the Marvin and Ruth Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, a selection of “typestracts” and never-before-seen drawings by the Benedictine priest, theologian and concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houédard.
• From acclaimed culinary historian and cookbook author Jessica Harris, a curated selection of her collection of food-related postcards from Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas.
• From collectors Carol McCranie and Javier Magri, a stunning selection of the late iconic designer Stephen Sprouse’s sketches, diaries, sample sheets and more, recovered by McCranie in the late ’90s from a dumpster in New York City’s Meatpacking District.
• From Emmy Award–winning picture researcher and archivist Rich Remsberg, an assortment of pages from his archive of used coloring books from the past 60 years.
• From London-based collector, punk historian and designer/artist Toby Mott, a variety of Thatcher-era ephemera, ranging from record sleeves to anarchist flyers, featuring likenesses of the divisive prime minister.
• From paper ephemera collector and graphic designer Dick Sheaff (celebrated creator of more than 500 postage stamps over the past 50 years), meticulously printed samples from his archive of exquisite marbled papers from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The issue will also include the work of three contemporary artists addressing the archival theme in various ways. Artist Barbara Bloom presents selections from her lauded 2013 exhibition “As It Were…So to Speak” at the Jewish Museum; artist Mark Dion offers a curated selection of photographs from the photo archive of the American Museum of Natural History Library, all of which relate to the fabrication of the Museum’s legendary dioramas; and D. James Dee, a.k.a. “the SoHo photographer,” trains his camera on his own archive of nearly 300,000 slides and transparencies of artwork by Andy Warhol, Carl Andre and countless others.
Esopus 20 concludes with CD of new music by Sam Phillips, Prince Rama, Wesley Stace and seven other musicians inspired by single objects, ranging from thrift-shop paintings to family heirlooms, chosen from their personal collections.
Esopus 20: Special Collections will be launched in New York in early November, and a variety of related events will take place in the city throughout the winter, including a launch party, a 10th Anniversary event for the Esopus Foundation and a series of concerts and exhibitions.