I really enjoyed Ian Frazier’s introduction to Janet Malcolm’s Still Pictures: On Photograph and Memory. (Sometimes I think one could have a pretty rich reading life just reading book introductions and ebook sample chapters.) Of particular interest was his mention of Malcolm’s collage practice, which some say she started in earnest after her piece “Forty-One False Starts,” about artist David Salle. (In that piece they talk a bit about collage, and she even brings some of her collages for him to critique, asking him, “Why are your collages art and mine not?”)
Frazier writes about her bookmark collages:
She also loved assembling bookmarks, her favorite kind of collage. I have fifty or seventy bookmarks she made and sent me. I use her bookmarks in most books I read, which means that now I can’t find them all. In some future century, one or two of Janet’s bookmarks will fall out from between a book’s pages in the shop of an antique-book dealer and amaze their re-discoverer. The bookmark collages bring together papers from her father’s psychiatric practice, Chinese communist propaganda leaflets, Soviet hotel DO NOT DISTURB signs, strange newspaper clippings, World War II ration stamps, Muybridge motion-capture photo sequences, reproductions of classic paintings, her grade-school report cards… she color-xeroxed the components and reduced them to bookmark size and fit them together… she had a knack for choosing which ephemera to save.
Filed under: writers who collage