Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz by Langston Hughes
Unique Binding by Richard Tuttle
First Edition Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York in 1961
Binding Details: As with all of Richard Tuttle’s pieces, this is a one of a kind binding that captures the spirit of the book and returns us to a time when books were beautiful to display as well as read. In a world of mediocrity and mass produced books, he believes important literary works are special and should be treasured and passed on to future generations.
The book has been rebound by Richard Tuttle utilizing 12 bars of sculpted wood covered in different colors of goat, deer, and lamb leathers that symbolize the twelve pieces of jazz poetry by Langston Hughes. The endpapers are hand-painted and the title and authors appear on paper labels that are affixed to the leather spine. The binding date and the artist’s symbol signature appear on the second free endpaper. The binding was done in 2012.
The book measures 7.25” x 9”
Book Details: This is the first edition of “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York in 1961. This volume is a collection of 12 jazz poems by one of America’s most revered poets that is printed on fine coral colored paper with deigns. From the publisher, “In language bursting with sound and rhythm - angry, blue, fiercely ironic, funny, and haunting –Langston Hughes has unleashed here a sequence of brilliant jazz poetry that cannot fail to stir even the tone-deaf. These are poems that demand to be read aloud, and whether or not the proper instruments are handy, the description, line by line, of the musical accompaniment which appears beside the verse is so vivid that the music and be imagined. The language derives its inspiration from the jazz, taking off at moments like a solo instrument, pounding you like bongo drums, moving in free association. But beneath the flights of fancy is a thematic unity, and you are drawn back to the refrains ‘in the quarter of the Negro” and, when you are stuck for answers, “ask your mama.”
Artist Statement: Included with the book is a signed artist statement by Richard Tuttle on the making of “Ask Your Mama”.
About the Artist: Richard Tuttle is a painter, writer, graphic designer, carpenter, bookbinder and lover of literature. For the past 20 years, he has combined his many interests to create one of a kind works of art that merge the written word with fine leather, paper, paint, wood and veneer. These original book bindings have been exhibited in numerous galleries and were featured in a PBS documentary on the Chicago Art beat. Richard describes his work as follows: “I make literary artifacts. They are designed to pull books down off the shelf and display them in the salon, gallery or home as if they were works of art, which, of course, they are. Whether binding books with leather, paper, paint, wood, and found artifacts or building sculptures to encase the volumes, I seek to find a perspective that shouts out a piece of the essence of the literary work. I try to put myself in the author's or character's mind to say something about the time it was written in; the attitude that is explored and expressed; the magic that makes it a work of art. While I obviously respect and admire the books I work on, the humor, wit and raw energy I find so attractive in their works leads me to places that some might call disrespectful, but are, for me, essential parts of these literary works. Motivated by Marcel Duchamp's attempts to elevate the object into art and William Blake's efforts to remake his world and James Joyce's efforts to include all culture and all action in one whole: Motivated by the ongoing conversation of Jazz musicians between its earliest practitioners and its most avante garde practitioners: Motivated by the great world library of "what we are" as extolled by Jorge Luis Borges: Motivated by the desire to live in a world that is conscious of itself and conscious of its ability to create itself: I create these art objects out of books in order be surrounded by a physical environment that reflects the world of ideas I want to live in.”
Condition Report: The binding and internals of the book are in FINE condition.
Photographs of the book and hand painted endpapers appear in the photo section of the listing.