Gold Custody

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MACK, 2021. First edition.
Embossed softcover with flaps, 104 pp., color illustrated throughout, 200 x 250 mm. Artwork by Barbara Bloom. Text by Ben Lerner.

“[Gold Custody] return[s] to the idea of freeing art from some imposed frame: of biography, of those “vanguard pieties,” of the stories we’re locked into … the use of collage and disjunction and repetition seemed especially evocative of the way many of us experienced the last year and a half.” – New York Review of Books

“[Bloom’s] approach echoes that of literary biographers, who, by focussing on small details, attempt to humanize the larger-than-life figures they depict … Bloom’s [artworks] function through elision, finding meaning in what’s left unsaid.” – Frieze

Barbara Bloom and Ben Lerner share a fascination with intricate dramas of framing and reframing: what happens to an image or a phrase when it is re-encountered, recontextualized, recombined — when a particular frame of reference is established or collapses? How is meaning accrued or eroded through repetition, across pages or generations? How are images or sentences enlisted in — or suddenly freed from — the construction of our personal and collective mythologies?

In this collaborative book, bringing together Bloom’s artworks and Lerner’s prose poems, these questions are rendered beautiful as they are sensitively felt, veering between the promises of abstraction — ‘the showroom of grammar, its glitter and ghosts,’ collective nouns, songs without lyrics that everyone can sing — and verbal and visual languages of extreme privacy. Other topics include: false fathers, lice, stone fruit, Casper Rappaport, color words, alephs, forever stamps, and Goethe’s corridor.

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