Library Fantasy Volume One
Library Fantasy Volume One, a solo exhibition of new work by Seth Bogart. It is Bogart’s first solo show with the gallery, following his inclusion in the 2019 exhibition Circus of Books and the 2020 online exhibition Circus of Books: BLOWOUT. The show is comprised of ceramic replicas of books, true to size, displayed on shelves as in a book shop. The subjects reflect Bogart’s wide ranging cultural reference points, from Joan Didion to Angela Davis to Cookie Mueller and Gary Indiana.
Bogart is known for the variety of his cultural production, including but not limited to feminist punk rock, ceramics, painting, performance, and clothing design. His DIY aesthetic us based in his queer punk roots in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the ceramics are consistent in their wonky hand-made feel, organic edges, and inexactly reproduced type. Bogart’s ceramic books have a lovingly hand-worn feel, as if comprising the library of an anonymous septuagenarian pioneer of the queer community, gently aging in a rocker and a leather vest. Rubyfruit Jungle abuts The Price of Salt, alongside The Life and Times of Little Richard and Niki de Saint Phalle’s AIDS: you can’t catch it holding hands.
The concept of historical homage in Bogart’s hands extends to the object of the book itself, and the experience of cruising in a gay bookstore. The book as object is a collectible fetish and can be uniquely personal; young queers all carried around some specific tome and dog-eared them to the point of disintegration. Twentieth Century book cover design created iconic images. In an age in which the book has become a downloadable file, Bogart’s bookshop recalls an earlier day in which one could stumble upon a new, life-shattering read on the shelf and, who knows, maybe rub shoulders with a fellow browser and get lucky.