Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica

Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica


Jess, Untitled (Gift for Jerome and Diane Rothenberg), 1959. Private collection, from O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica, Siglio, 2012.
November 27, 2012

Edited by Michael Duncan

The inventive and sophisticated master of the collage aesthetic, the artist Jess intermingles and juxtaposes images from wildly eclectic sources (Dick Tracy, Dürer, 19th century Scientific American line engravings, Beatles bubblegum cards, beefcake photos from Physique Pictorial, etc.) in order to re-assemble the meanings of our time.

Known for decades to the cognoscenti, Jess’s works are now receiving fresh attention from a younger generation who—attuned to his interests in myth, narrative, and appropriation—have embraced his groundbreaking synthesis of art and literature.

This volume brings to light paste-ups, word collages, and altered comics that have been largely inaccessible or unavailable since their making. Originally published in small editions and hard-to-find journals, or made as singular artist’s books, these works demonstrate the full range of Jess’s extraordinary verbal and visual play.

Several surreal comic strip manipulations—including all of the existing Tricky Cads—are reproduced for the first time in their entirety. The book includes many previously unpublished works as well as the collage masterpiece O! reproduced as a separate booklet. The dust jacket unfolds to reveal a 19″ x 25″ poster of a large-scale paste-up. All of these works are stunningly reproduced with an emphasis on legibility to that they can be truly read.

“A book of art jampacked with words and images … its mix of verbal illogic, Victoriana, vintage sci-fi and homoerotic high jinks a page-turning and lingering joy.” —Holland Cotter, The New York Times

Jess (1923–2004) abandoned his training in science in 1949 to become one of the key generators of the fertile Bay Area art scenes of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. Solo and retrospective exhibitions have been mounted at major museums across the country including MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, SFMOMA, the Walker Art Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Albright-Knox Gallery, among others.

PB + dust jacket / 192 pages / 92 color and 58 b/w illustrations / publication date: November 30, 2012

Siglio is an independent press in Los Angeles publishing uncommon books that live at the intersection of art and literature.

Related Siglio Titles in Collage + Poetry:

The Nancy Book by Joe Brainard, edited by Ron Padgett and Lisa Pearson, Siglio, 2008.

Bookforum: ”Brainard was a master of life’s microcomedies, the unheard laughter that courses through any truly alert consciousness. And Nancy, with that bow like a pulsating noodle in her frizzy hair, is as good a Descartes as any for our age.”

The New Yorker: ”Brash but never bratty, fanciful without descending into preciousness, Brainard demonstrates a visual perfect-pitch equivalent to that of his miniaturist memoir-poem I Remember.”

HB / 144 pages / 46 color and 32 b/w illustrations

Book of Ruth by Robert Seydel, Siglio, 2011.

The Brooklyn Rail: ”Made by Seydel through the foil of “another,” Book of Ruth is a paean to the inner life and how we might express it through poetry, through the subliminal medium of collage, and across gender.”

Los Angeles Review of Books: ”Quotidian, surreal, sublime and revelatory, Seydel’s legacy in Book of Ruth is perhaps, most powerfully a record of everyday ecstasies … the construction of a rich dream world that heightens our perception of ordinary reality. Beyond a story told in poetry and picture, Book of Ruth is itself a way of seeing.”

PB / 156 pages / 90 color and 32 b/w illustrations

RSVP for Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica
November 27, 2012

Thank you for your RSVP.

Siglio will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.