"C": A Journal of Poetry - Vol. 1, No. 4 (September 1963) [Signed]
[Warhol, Andy]. Berrigan, Ted (Editor); Edwin Denby, Frank O'Hara, John Wieners et al. (Contributors)
Price: 65000.00 USD
New York: Lorenz Gude and Ted Berrigan, 1963. Side-stapled 4to. mimeo with silk-screened covers designed by Andy Warhol. 36 x 22.5 cm. Unpaginated. This copy SIGNED by Berrigan, Denby, Wieners, Frank O'Hara, Gerard Malanga, and Andy Warhol on the colophon. One of an unknown but tiny (one source suggests "a half-dozen or so," but suspect higher) number of such specially-signed copies. In addition, six poems contain small corrections in Denby's hand, and one poem is revised by both Denby and Berrigan (with Denby correcting Berrigan's correction). Generally fine. An unknown hand (probably Berrigan's) has noted ìSignedî in the upper right-hand corner of the front cover. Trace wear to edges. A remarkably bright, sharp, clean and sound example of a fragile production. The fourth issue of Berrigan's landmark mimeo, an issue dedicated to the work of poet and critic Edwin Denby, but most significant for its Warhol-designed cover. As the colophon page states simply: "The cover of this issue was designed by Andy Warhol from photographs of poets Edwin Denby and Gerard Malanga." Berrigan had met Warhol at a reading by Frank O'Hara earlier that year and a few days later sent the artist the first two issues of his fledgling literary journal. As Berrigan's diary notes soon after: "Andy Warhol said he'd like to do a cover for C 4." Warhol and Malanga met Denby at his apartment where the photographs for the cover were taken. The two images finally selected -- of Malanga behind Denby with both men holding hands, and the second for the rear cover of Malanga leaning in to kiss Denby -- caused a stir in literary circles when it was finally published. As Reva Wolf -- whose book Andy Warhol, Poetry, and Gossip in the 1960's (Chicago, 1997) provides the fullest account of the production and importance of these images -- explains: "This is the first-known instance in which Warhol used Polaroids for silkscreen portraits, a practice he did not pursue at the time but one to which he would return and which would become his standard procedure for making portraits" (22). According to Malanga, it was Berrigan who actually printed the covers -- Warhol having dropped the silkscreens off "along with a can of paint, a squeegee, and instructions on how to print it" (30) on his way to Los Angeles for his second one-man show -- thereby becoming in essence a temporary Warhol studio assistant. Nonetheless, these Warhol-designed covers represent a turning point in his development as an artist. As Wolf explains, Warhol's C portraits were both a backhanded critique of the poet Frank O'Hara (who maintained a chilly skepticism of the artist) as well as a way for Warhol to further insinuate himself in the New York literary scene at an early and still-formative time in his career. Copies of this particular issue of C are themselves scarce. Edition sizes for most issues were typically around 250. We've seen only a handful of this issue over the last ten years, with several lacking the covers, and are aware of only two other copies of the signed issue having been offered for sale. And though not in Warhol's catalogue raisonne, this very-limited signed issue represents what is, in effect, one the artist's earliest silk-screened multiples. Rare and important. First Edition. Near Fine.
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