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Cray, Fred. FRED CRAY: CHANGING THE GUARD. New York City, NY: Fred Cray Studios, 2014. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. Unpaginated. As New.

Artist Book. Collection of unique self-portraits. One of the most beautiful Artist Books of our time. Limited Edition of 200 numbered and signed copies. The first and only edition. An austerely elegant production by Fred Cray: Oversize-volume format. Gray cloth boards with photographic reproduction pasted in front and metallic-silver titles embossed on the spine, as issued. Photographically-based art by Fred Cray. There is no text. Two loose 4 X 6 unique postcards laid-in. Printed on pristine-white, thick coated stock paper in the United States to the highest standards. Without DJ, as issued. Presents, in a Limited Edition format, Fred Cray's "Changing The Guard". The sly title refers to the fact that each of the images shows exactly the same self-portrait, which has been superimposed with another photographically-sourced image, rendering the self-portrait insignificant albeit ever-present, and resulting in a unique image because the artist has made only one of each. Cray calls each resulting image a "double-printed photograph", of which there will potentially be an infinite number "left out in the world as unique photographs". It's an ingenious idea (that uses a rudimentary process called superimposition) because it turns the photograph, the most easily reproducible medium, into something unique, literally one-of-a-kind. At the same time, Cray reminds us of the artwork's reproducibility by using the same self-portrait (when he could have used various other portraits, as most people would have done) and making each piece exactly the same 4 X 6 inch postcard size (when he could have produced different sizes, as again, most people would have done). It is, of course, precisely Cray's rigor to the point of static repetition that makes him an artist. You could say that while Cray is basically agreeing with Walter Benjamin's insight about "the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction", he is also dis-agreeing with it, by showing that despite its reproducible character, the photograph does not diminish or undermine an artist's ability to create a unique work of art that reflects his personal vision. Cray reminds us, pace Benjamin, that the most serious and ambitious contemporary art is increasingly more, not less, photographically-based. As Andy Grundberg has pointed out, these "painting-photographs" will be recognized as powerful and eloquent responses to the "objective" art of such figures as Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman. An esoteric, somewhat eccentric figure, Cray keeps American Surrealism and the very idea of art alive in our time, which desperately needs it. Fred Cray has not received the kind of recognition that he deserves because his art is quirkily personal. But he is The Real Thing: Thoughtful yet intuitive, and deeply moving. As such, he is an anomaly in the midst of industrial-scale, manufactured art. His time will come because it is on his side. An absolute "must-have" title for Fred Cray collectors. This copy is one of the Limited Edition of 200 numbered and signed copies, indicated/numbered as such on the Back Limitation Page. It is very prominently, neatly, and beautifully signed in black ink-pen by Fred Cray. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. Laid in are two loose 4 X 6 inch unique postcard artworks. This is a beautiful Artist Book collectible. This is one of very few copies of the Limited Edition still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A rare signed copy thus. Lavishly illustrated with color plates. One of the most brilliant American artists of our time. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER FRED CRAY TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 1617042021. $150.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on September 22, 2017.