This breezy and acerbic collection of early writings and illustrations by Oldenburg presents gnomic visions of an earlier America. Oldenburg’s hand shines through in the loose, vivid prose and in the overall presentation. The pamphlet includes “Two Scenarios from an Incomplete Pageant of America,” a pair of excerpts from the longer, unfinished narrative “Faustina,” and a postscript.
Originally published by Something Else Press between 1965 and 1967, the Great Bear Pamphlet series was envisioned by founding editor Dick Higgins as a “poor man’s keys to the new art,” or a means of exposing the most vital work of the time to a mass-market audience, and vice versa. The series made uncompromisingly radical work maximally accessible, with slim, chapbook-like publications of a mostly uniform, pared down design. Taken together, the pamphlets constitute a firsthand survey of the sixties avant-garde (Higgins, Barbara Moore, and Emmett Williams all had a hand in the editorial process) that is both sweeping and utterly unique, transmitting a still-vibrant signal of expanded possibility in art, music, and poetry. Presented here in a facsimile edition, the Great Bears epitomize the utopian vision of Higgins and Something Else.
5 x 8 inches