Highlights from the 46th California International Antiquarian Book Fair

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The San Francisco three-day event is the largest antiquarian book fair in the world and will offer something exciting for every book lover and collector. Among the exhibited materials of over 200 American and international dealers, you can peruse and purchase rare items from medieval manuscripts to collectible editions of authors into the 21st century.  There will be unusual books on travel and exploration (including maps), literature, the arts, science and medicine, children’s books, law and commerce, ephemera, Americana, and history in all eras and geographical areas. First, signed, and limited editions of many important authors will be present, plus collections of original photographs, prints by renowned artists from the 16th to the 21st century, and remarkable examples of book making, binding, and typography from throughout the world.

Our professional booksellers, who are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America <http://abaa.org/>  or the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers <http://ilab.org/> , will be happy to share with you specialized knowledge of their subject fields, as well as to discuss your own collecting interests.

Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit:

Often considered a Fluxus artwork, in fact the work was originally published by Ono’s own imprint, Wunternaum Press, in Tokyo in an edition of 500. After leaving New York in 1962 – where she had exhibited at Maciunas’ AG Gallery, amongst others – her then-husband Anthony Cox suggested she collect her scores together. George Maciunas, the central personality in Fluxus, had apparently been trying to reach her in Tokyo with the aim of printing a similar book in New York, as part of his series of Fluxkits (see Water Yam), but his letters had not reached her; she sent some of the scores and a prepublication advertisement to be published in his Fluxus newspaper in February 1964 when contact was finally established.

First edition

The name Grapefruit was chosen as title because Ono believed the grapefruit to be a hybrid of an orange and a lemon, and thus a reflection of herself as “a spiritual hybrid”. It also seems likely that it is a playful allusion to Brecht’s Water Yam, itself a pun on Brecht and Watt’s Yam Festival, which, culminating in a series of events and performances in May 1963, had been derived from “May” backwards.

The first edition contains over 150 “instruction works”; virtually all are in English, with about a third translated into Japanese. They are divided into five sections; MusicPainting,EventPoetry and Object. The instructions are preceded by dedications to figures including John CageLa Monte YoungNam June PaikIsamu Noguchi and Peggy Guggenheim, and also includes documentation relating to Ono’s recent exhibitions and performances. The work was originally sold for $3.00 before publication, $6.00 after.

Subsequent editions

The second edition was published in 1970 by Simon and Schuster in New York, Peter Owen Ltd in London, and Bärmeier & Nikel in Frankfurt. As well as an introduction by John Lennon (“Hi! My name is John Lennon. I’d like you to meet Yoko Ono… In the 2000 reissue of Lennon’s book, In His Own Write, Ono wrote a similar introduction), the work contained 80 more instruction pieces, and included two more sections, Film and Dance. The book ends with a collection of Ono’s writings including To The Wesleyan People, 1966.  There were also paperback versions printed by Sphere and Touchstone around the same time, and a reprint by Simon & Schuster in 2000. The sphere edition has a particularly memorable sleeve, conflating the title with Yoko Ono’s film Bottoms, (or no. 4), a film composed exclusively of naked bottoms, made in 1966.

Grapefruit

 

John Lennon:  Bag One Portfolio In 1969, as a wedding gift for Yoko, John drew the Bag One Portfolio – a chronicle of their wedding ceremony, honeymoon, and their plea for world peace the Bed-In. The suite also

contained several erotic sketches. The Bag One series was first published and exhibited in January 1970 at the London Art Gallery. On the second day the exhibition was closed by Scotland Yard and the erotic

lithographs confiscated. The portfolio was published in a limited edition of 300 lithographs and contains 14 pieces.  Each lithograph is hand signed by John Lennon himself. Although the entire portfolio is considered quite artistic by today’s standards, some of the works are of an erotic nature. 

The Bag One Portfolio is on permanent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

 

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