One of only a few artist’s books that Bruce Nauman has made during his career, L A AIR is a book that serves as a companion piece to his earlier book, CLEA RSKY (1969). CLEA RSKY is a book that features pages printed with varying shades of blue, i.e., images of clear blue skies. Nauman extended the irony of finite pictures of endless space, and provided a commentary on contemporary air pollution, by creating L A AIR.
In contrast to the clear blue skies of the previous book, L A AIR features photographs of the actual air of Los Angeles. These images of the toxicity of the environment are ironically presented as pure, color-field-like planes of indigo, crimson and yellow-green. Other than the title on the cover, the book contains no text. The glossy pages of the volume are printed by offset lithography and Nauman’s signature is reproduced on the back cover.
Despite its theme, this book is, ironically, quite beautiful. It was published as part of Artists & Photographs, a collaborative boxed set of artists’ books issued in 1970 by Multiples, Inc. The complete set is exceedingly scarce at this point in time; the portfolio of works was set in a box designed by Dan Graham which contained books, objects, prints, and other materials of various dimensions by nineteen artists along with a text booklet by Lawrence Alloway. The set was published by gallerist Marian Goodman in conjunction with a 1970 exhibition that explored how contemporary artists, including Douglas Heubler, Allan Kaprow, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, and Ed Ruscha, were using photography in their work.
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