Item #32675 Monarch. Anneli Skaar.
Monarch.
Monarch.
Monarch.
Monarch.
Monarch.
Monarch.
(Environmental Justice)

Monarch.

Skaar, Anneli (illus.)

Anneli Skaar, 2022. Quarto. 56pp. One of ten copies, signed by the artist. A monument to and mournful elegy for the practices of extraction and extinction that underwrote the settlement of California, the results of which still impact the state today. Skaar demonstrates California's inextricable connection to exploitation of the land and its animals, made obvious and ironic via the bear on the California state flag. Grizzly bears were among the first victims of the Gold Rush; William Randolph Hearst, as a marketing gimmick, assigned a reporter to hunt down the "last" grizzly, who was deemed "Monarch," after the slogan of the San Francisco Examiner. The California grizzly was declared extinct in the 1920s.

Skaar tells this tale of environmental collapse and spectacle through national newspaper articles from the 1840s to 1953, when the California state flag was standardized. The text is accompanied by photocollages in the style of old tintypes, printed giclée, using public domain images from the Library of Congress, which are hand-embellished with gilt, some altered with hand-applied gunpowder burns and charcoal. Marbled paper to the book's endpapers and its protective box are lined with gold, in a pattern evocative of the earth's crust. Indeed, the book is an impressive archaeological enterprise, and Skaar has confronted the archive in both the visual and the material. To this latter point, each copy in the edition is accompanied by a unique wet plate collodion photograph, showing a bear skull (which Skaar crafted from a cast) and a vase of California poppies, these heightened in gilt. In the well beneath the photograph's slot in the box is a California fire poppy made from paper; this species of poppy germinates only after fires destroy the land. As Skaar writes in her prospectus, "One can hope that this flower can remind us to use the knowledge of the past to imagine a more fertile future."

Book bound in white paper over boards backed with black cloth. Cover image of a bear burned into the book by hand, and metallic gold paper inlays complete the representation of the California flag. At the head of the spine is a facsimile of a Calfornia fractional gold piece, with small grizzly bear incorporated in its design. Binding and box by Amy Borezo of Shelter Bookworks. Underside of box lid covered with velvet, to the effect that the box resembles 19th-century cases used to protect daguerrotype portraits. Mint. Item #32675

Price: $4,000.00

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