Autobiography

David Antin

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This text is a prototypical work by Antin in which he plays the ostensibly straightforward role of raconteur in a quiet refusal of accepted poetic and narrative form. With Autobiography he passes his own voice through a centrifuge, yielding a vaguely kaleidoscopic array of beguiling fragments. Although already well established as a poet and critic by way of his contributions to various legendary and enduring publications of the period, Antin had published only a single small-run artist’s book prior to Autobiography, making this his earliest widely available work.

Originally published by Something Else Press between 1965 and 1967, the Great Bear Pamphlet series was envisioned by founding editor Dick Higgins as a “poor man’s keys to the new art,” or a means of exposing the most vital work of the time to a mass-market audience, and vice versa. The series made uncompromisingly radical work maximally accessible, with slim, chapbook-like publications of a mostly uniform, pared down design. Taken together, the pamphlets constitute a firsthand survey of the sixties avant-garde (Higgins, Barbara Moore, and Emmett Williams all had a hand in the editorial process) that is both sweeping and utterly unique, transmitting a still-vibrant signal of expanded possibility in art, music, and poetry. Presented here in a facsimile edition, the Great Bears epitomize the utopian vision of Higgins and Something Else.

5 x 8 inches
16 pages
Paperback
B&W
Open edition
December 2007