Hardcover, 152 pages, $125
DIRTY BABY presents a provocative trialogue between the paintings of Ed Ruscha, the music of Nels Cline, and the poetry of David Breskin. The book is designed by Graphic Design faculty Angie Wang (who is also an MFA alumna of CCA) and Mark Fox of the San Francisco firm DesignIsPlay and the package includes two full-length music CDs. The title refers to the fact that when different art forms mate, there is never a purebred offspring, but rather a muttish and raunchy one: gloriously dirty. The 66 pictures in the book are drawn from two of Ruscha's bodies of work, the Silhouettes and the Cityscapes. In these works, Ruscha uses censor strips in place of the words or phrases that characteristically occupy a prominent place in his pictures. Their obfuscation gives the missing words a powerfully subversive presence: Language is emphasized even as it is obscured.
The book is in two "sides" in the manner of a vinyl record. Side A presents a kind of "time-lapse" history of Western civilization. Side B returns to the cradle of that civilization, charting the American misadventure in Iraq. For his poetic form, Breskin uses the ancient Arabic ghazal, a perfect foil and fencing partner for Ruscha's language-sensitive strategies. To this mix, Cline adds music for a large ensemble.Read the rest