Monday, November 2, 2009

The 1967 Game Calendar by Joe Brainard and Kenward Elmslie


A birthday gift this year from my girlfriend, the 1967 Game Calendar is one of the earlier printed collaborations between New York School artist Joe Brainard and poet Kenward Elmslie. Published in 1967 by the Boke Press, the 1967 Game Calendar is a 12 page collection of calendar-girl drawings by Brainard accompanied by loose quatrains by Elmslie.


More than anything else in my library (and really any book I've ever seen), I feel the 1967 Game Calendar captures everything perfect about the spirit of collaboration. It's a funny, simple book that makes you want to get together with friends or loved ones and start projects. The drive behind the Game Calendar seems not to sell copies but more to prove to the creators that they could make something together. Its artistic ambition is beautifully eclipsed by the friendship and love that went into creating it, and because of that they managed to make something that's hugely inspiring.

Brainard embodied the interconnectivity between poetry and art and seemed to settle very comfortably and confidently in the 60s as a sort of artistic accompanist. Brainard did book covers and illustrations for scores of poets and writers in New York, all while compiling a mixed-media oeuvre of his own. His solo work ranged from collage and assemblage to comics and writing--his series of "I Remember" publications are some of the most honest and original books I've ever had the pleasure to read. I highly recommend checking out his work--there will certainly be more to come on this blog.

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