Michelle Jacques, EditorPublished by Figure.1
Specs: September 2015
8.25" x 9.75", hardcover
She’s gone bananas! Discover one of the country’s most intriguing, influential and unheralded artists in this groundbreaking retrospective of the work of Anna Banana.
Widely recognized and admired in countercultural communities but overlooked by the mainstream for decades, Anna Banana has been fearlessly challenging convention as Town Fool and Doktor Anna Freud, producing parodic publications, creating and exchanging artist’s stamps and other original artworks and staging banana-themed events that she documents for a network of like-minded artists around the world. It is this vibrant community of creative individuals that has both fuelled her work and embraced it, and it is their long history of communicating by mail—welcoming anyone interested in participating—that has laid the groundwork for today’s social media networks.
Anna Banana: 45 Years of Fooling Around with A. Banana is a compelling retrospective of the artist’s work and her place in art history. Michelle Jacques traces Banana’s evolution from Anne Long to conceptual artist Anna Banana and the breadth of her oeuvre. Craig Saper contemplates the paradox that an artist of her stature could remain virtually unknown while subverting mainstream art and culture so relentlessly and so humorously for so long. Anne Thurmann-Jajes relates the value of the Banana Rag and other publications in publicizing the artist’s actions and maintaining contact with other artists. And Edward M. Goméz highlights the importance of Banana’s fun, frank and frequently experimental art in engaging new audiences and bridging the historic anti-art practices of Dada and Fluxus and today’s contemporary practices. Like the artist herself, this remarkable book will enlighten, engage and surprise.
Available from Amazon.com or your local bookstore.
Anna Banana has been active in the international mail-art network since 1971, when her newsletter, the Banana Rag, connected her with networking artists. She received a copy the Image Bank Request List from Art Rat and Mr. Peanut, sent out envelopes of the requested images, along with copies of the Banana Rag, and requested, in return, any and all visual and verbal material relating to bananas. To her amazement, her mail-box filled up, and she was immediately smitten with the mail-art process. Through the Request List, she met in person, Ken Friedman, Michael Morris, Vincent Trasov, Gary Lee Nova, Dana Atchley, Eric Metcalfe, Kate Craig, Glenn Lewis in Vancouver, and through the mail, General Idea, the editors of FILE Magazine, along with other early networkers in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Toronto.
In 1973 she moved to San Francisco where she found collaborators in mail-artists such as Patricia Tavenner, Irene Dogmatic, Opal Nations, Monty Cazazza, Ron Illardo and Bay Area Dadaists Gaglione, Mancusi and Chickadel. In 1974 she publisher her first issue of VILE Magazine, with Monty Cazazza on the cover, to reflect and document the activities of the mail-art network.
Complete collections of Banana's early publications are now located in both Yale and Harvard Universities’ Fine Arts Libraries, and in the Artists’ Publications section of the Weserburg Museum in Bremen, Germany. You can review the listing of (and sample images from) Banana’s early publications by clicking on the titles in the left-hand panel. Some of her publications are still available for purchase are noted.