The Art of Memory is a history of mnemonic devices. For someone interested in memory and influenced by the systems-driven aspects of the conceptual art of the seventies, it is the perfect book.
Speaking of Memory there is also Speak Memory the only book I have read three times, though I did reread my college astronomy text Intelligent Life in the Universe again after school was over. Someone should put together a class/club where the readers read Speak Memory, Running in the Family, Eudora Welty’s One Writer’s Beginnings, Frank Conroy’s Stop-Time and Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. A re-immersion in childhood.
Von Frisch is the man when it comes to writing on bees and they are systems artists for sure.
Chinese Whispers is a cousin to what I as a child called “telephone”—a game of repetition in which one spoken word slides into becoming another. Where misinterpretation meets transformation. All Ashbery poems feel like flow charts to me.
The Ornament… I made an artist book posited in 1491—a Jewish dictionary hiding inside a Spanish dictionary. I consulted with Maria Menocal online and she referred me to her book. It makes you realize how different things can be from the way they are now.
Two other really terrific books are 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei in which Eliot Weinberger brings together 19 versions of the same poem. Here the poetry doesn’t feel as if it is that which is lost in translation—but rather found in the variability of the gathered translations.
Homes Without Hands –this is the book that began my collection of old books.
bio: Jane Hammond was born in Bridgeport, CT, in 1950, and was educated at Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She moved to New York City in 1980. Currently, Hammond lives and works in New York City where she is represented by Galerie Lelong.
In 1989 the first solo show of her paintings was mounted at Exit Art in New York. Since then she has had nine solo exhibitions in New York and other solo exhibitions in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bilbao, Milan, Detroit, Chicago, Seattle and Kansas City. Solo museum exhibitions have been organized in 1990 at the Honolulu Academy of Art, HI, in 1993 at the Cincinnati Museum of Art, OH, in 1994 at the Orlando Museum of Art, FL, and in 2002 at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, NY.
Hammond's paintings have been reviewed in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Art in America, The New Yorker, Artforum, Art on Paper, Modern Painters, Art News, Art & Antiques, BOMB Magazine, The Village Voice, FlashArt, Arts Magazine, and many others. She is also the recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant in Painting, two New York State Council on the Arts Grants, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant Award.