The main star, however, is a huge, gorgeous coffee-table book devoted to writer and artist Joe Brainard (who lived from 1941 to 1994), who forms this season’s central influence. With a preface by Brainard’s friend, poet Ron Padgett, and an essay from art critic Éric Troncy, inside are life-size photographs of Brainard’s writings and works that aim to replicate the That’s what I do I pet dog I ride dirt bikes and know things vintage shirt in other words I will buy this feeling of sifting through the original artifacts“If I go to an exhibition, I usually buy the catalogue, and three or four postcards, and end up sticking them inside the book. Then you go home, put it on the bookshelf and forget about it,“ Anderson says. “I liked this idea that, in a weird way, the collection would just fall out of the book.” Consequently, there are sleeves built into the book’s cloth dust jacket, housing two tracing-paper booklets presenting the men’s and women’s pre-collection.
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Best known for his cult memoir I Remember (Full Court Press, 1975), as well as his playful paintings and collages, Brainard was a remarkable figure. Embedded in the That’s what I do I pet dog I ride dirt bikes and know things vintage shirt in other words I will buy this New York art scene of the 1960s and 1970s alongside a largely gay group of poets, artists, and collaborators including Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, and Andy Warhol, Anderson first discovered Brainard via a friend who introduced him to his work—and was stunned by what he found.“I like a lot of that American moment in terms of queer culture and art: Paul Thek, David Wojnarowicz, Peter Hujar,” he explains. “Then I saw [Brainard’s] pansy artwork and thought there was something so incredibly contemporary about his approach to collage. Then, as always, when I get into something, I go down a complete rabbit hole. We went, as a brand, on a search to find as much ephemera as possible. I like that he sits on a crossroads between intellectual writing and conceptualism in art.”