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Kingston, Rodger (Photographer) & Jussim, Estelle (Contributor). RODGER KINGSTON: LARGER THAN LIFE THE CELEBRITY SERIES. St. Petersburg, FL: Museum Of Fine Arts, 1989. Softcover. First Edition/First Printing. 44 pages. Fine. Signed.

Exhibition catalog. The first and only edition. Published in an extremely small and limited print run as a softcover original only. A glittering production by Rodger Kingston: Small-size volume format in oblong shape. Glossy pictorial softcovers with titles on cover, as issued. Photographs by Rodger Kingston. Essay by Estelle Jussim. Complete List of the Cibachrome prints and brief Biography appended at the end. Printed on thick glossy stock paper in the United States to the highest standards. Without DJ, as issued. Published on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name held at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg Florida from May 30 through July 9, 1989. Presents the most important project undertaken by Rodger Kingston, who graduated from Harvard University, embarked on a career as a poet under the strong influence of William Carlos Williams, and then gave up writing altogether to become what he calls a "visual poet". As such, Kingston has created visual poems by photographing the most ordinary objects, people, and landscapes of everyday life, following modern poetry's dictum that "there are no ideas but in things". Then Kingston became fascinated by the fact of mass-media celebrity's omnipresence and what it meant for art-making in the early 1980's. He began the "Larger Than Life: Celebrity Portraits" Series in 1983 and completed it six years later, in 1989. He took photographs of iconic celebrities' photographs as he found them in movie posters, advertisements, memorabilia, newspapers, book covers, magazine covers, and features as well as celebrity souvenirs like towels, scarves, buttons, postcards, you-name-it. Each of the resulting photographs is a composite/collage and in some of the most brilliant combinations, Kingston juxtaposes different celebrities in one seamless and powerful image. "It's wonderful how pop culture questions everything we take for granted about Art: Its uniqueness, its commercial value, its dignity, and high seriousness, its exclusiveness, and inaccessibility and how Pop Art takes its subject matter from the most universal aspects of popular culture" (Rodger Kingston). Kingston is implicitly repudiating the Alfred Stieglitz model of art photography and openly celebrating the beauty (his word) of the world we live in, advertisements, souvenirs and all. Kingston also mimics the obsessiveness of popular culture by devoting a significant portion of the Series to the same celebrity over and over again, specifically Marilyn Monroe, whom he considers the greatest icon Hollywood has ever created. About half of the images are Marilyn composite/collages. The rest are tantalizing and truly exciting images of such celebrities as Chairman Mao, Gregory Peck, Kevin Costner, Charlie Chaplin, Richard Nixon, JFK, Carly Simon, Lionel Ritchie, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Isabella Rossellini, Tina Turner, and Andy Warhol. Art is about discovery and openness to new things and experiences. In this sense, the best of Rodger Kingston's celebrity composite/collages is hard to resist. He has transformed the most banal into something truly intriguing and beguiling. A "must-have" title for Rodger Kingston collectors. This presentation copy is very prominently and beautifully signed and inscribed in black fountain pen on the title page by the photographer: "For Vera, fellow-traveller and new friend Rodger". He also signed his name in full above his printed name: "Rodger Kingston". This title has been out-of-print for a very long time and is now collectible. This is the best signed copy available online. A rare, one-of-a-kind signed copy thus. 56 Cibrachrome print reproductions. One of the most brilliant American photographers of the 20th century. A fine copy. . $50.00

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