All photos by Jordon Sullivan.
For the past year, BOOK STAND, an art book shop based in downtown Los Angeles, has been quietly exploring the emerging small-press art book scene, coupling beautiful self-published, often hand-printed volumes, with weird new ways to shop. Its latest project, a collaboartion between BOOK STAND founder Claire Cottrell and LA-based photographer Jordan Sullivan, is called BOOK CLUB, and it's all about taking advantage of stunning, lesser-known wooded corners of LA's expansive public parkland.
Armed with a crude map (which was soon wet with sweat) printed from a website and a few bottles of unpleasantly warm watermelon juice, I embarked on a grueling, if short, hike up a dusty, unbearably hot trail to a clearing that resembled a homeless camp, except instead of hobos there were a bunch of girls in vintage-y dresses carefully picking through handmade books and magazines. There was a nearby rock covered with sun-ripened fruit and (thank God) ice cold sparkling water.
There were some 50-plus folks chilling in a grove of old-growth trees browsing the wares displayed ceremoniously on matching hand-dyed linen blankets. Aja Pecknold, Editor-in-Chief of the Unified Field, an artist's collective that makes limited edition publications inspired by Wallace Berman's Semina journal series, sat perched on a bed of pine needles, offering us the poisonous red wishing beans from the Sophora secundiflora tree, along with instructions on how to bury the pods with an offering that will help call your dreams into reality. There was a lot of shit like that going on. Writer and photographer Aya Muto sat on a rock, hand-stitching her newest publication, a journal of pressed flowers collected on a recent trip to Dublin.
I walked through the clearing and met Suzanna Zak, who talked about her most recent project in the Yukon. I then ran in to Mike Slack, a photographer and co-founder of the cult imprint, the Ice Plant. I bought an artist's guide to night blooming flowers and a young Chinese photographer's hazy study of the lotus flower, as well as a photo print of a giant rock with a face. I ate a warm, white peach, drank water with essence of orange, and smoked paprika. I paid by credit card, and as I left I was struck by how different this scene was from the usual LA sprawl of highways, exhaust, and signage. If they have another one of these things, you should come.
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