December 1986

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1986
18.3 x 12cm, 20pp and card covers along with flower pattern dust jacket and printed tipped on label. The full title of the book is "Detached Sentences on Weather In The Manner of William Shenstone".
Shenstone was not only an 18th century poet but also an influential early estate gardener. The texts are a series of aphorisms by Finlay which are presumably in the style of the earlier poet and all consider the importance of the weather - a subject very important to both gardeners and British people. Two examples of these sayings are:

"The Late Night Shipping Forecast is a kind of High Church Weather Service for radio listeners."
Or
"The Greeks before Troy feared hostile weather as much as hostile Trojans."

One of only 200 such books printed at Christmas as presents to friends and colleagues. Two small vignettes by Jo Hincks. VG+.

...

Little Sparta: Finlay, 22nd December 1986
An original vintage xerox 30 x 21cm, 1pp with a round robin letter from Finlay to all of the Saint-Just Vigilantes explaining the the Consumer Protection Department has begun an investigation of "Follies: a National Trust Guide" by Headley and Meulenkamp and published by Jonathan Cape. Finlay asks if his supporters can write to the CPD with letters explaining why Little Sparta is not a Folly and why it should not be included in such a guide. Finlay hopes the investigation may lead to the withdrawal of the Follies book. The letter ends with one of Finlay's "detached sentences on the National Trust":
"One cannot preserve the meaning of a building by preserving the building alone."

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1986
5.5 x 8.6cm, printed outer folder content of sixteen 5.5 x 8.6cm, 1pp cards printed black on deep blue. Each card is attack of the hack art critic Waldemar Januszczak who had upset the poet by giving him a poor review (Finlay also fell out with the priggish and ignorant Brian Sewell for which I love the poet even more). The cards all attack with vigour the Guardian' pet critic - "Being outspoken was his claim to shame" is one example. Finlay wounds. Januszczak later tried to retaliate with his own cards (see elsewhere in this collection for those items) but all they did was to parody Finlay's style of attack and frankly failed to hit the target (one has an image of a man giving a Hitler salute - actually taken from early Anselm Kiefer - which is crass). These cards are in VG+ condition in like folder.

...

Bonn: Raum 41, 1986
21 x 15cm, 2pp announcement leaflet for a photographic edition by Franz Fischer of an image of Beuys and James Lee Byars shown from above to only see their respective headgear - Beuys's hat and Byars' top hat. Posthumous to Beuys of course but not Byars. VG+.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1986
14 x 7 x 7cm, ceramic glazed vase in the shape of a classical column and a definition of the word WILDFLOWER in red and blue - "A MEAN TERM BETWEEN REVOLUTION AND VIRTUE." A wildflower is untamed and uncontrolled even when beautiful - here Finlay's definition places the idea of such a person as being "between revolution and virtue" which i the actual French uprising was not seen as incompatible. The word "mean" also is allowed two meanings - "an average" and "an unpleasant'. Together this work invites the viewer to consider the role of the individual within collective action and collective morality.
Sadly this vase was damaged by a member of the public when Paul Robertson's collection was exhibited in Summerhall, Edinburgh - there is a clean break all around the top of the cubic base - and the red and blue glazing is not as strong as it should have been. Finlay gave this vase to Herbert Winter the well-known gallerist in Wein from whence Robertson purchased it. Limitation of the edition is not known but probably not too many.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1987
14 x 18.4m, 1pp Artist's card with a b/w photograph of a field of sheep near Little Sparta by . Finlay writes underneath "The wine-dark sea, the turnip-marbled field" and "The Hyperborean Apollo of Walter Pater's Apollo in Picardy. In little Sparta he is identified with Saint-Just.". Greek mythology is mixed with Finlay's French revolutionary hero and the landscape which is a prosaic, rural version of Arcadia. VG+.

cm...

Cambridge: Kettle's Yard, 1986
21 x 15cm, 56pp. Original wrappers . An exhibition catalogue for a show of artist's books which included Christian Boltanski, Annette Messager, John Latham, Anslem Kiefer and Finlay amongst others. Short texts on each artist. This is more notable however for the bound in 14 x 8cm, 8pp original artist's book by Finlay (which was also published elsewhere by the Wild Hawthorn Press) - Two Billows - from 1980. The blue booklet has on one side of the centre pages the text: "greeness, leaf or bark: and on the other "greeness, leaf or barque" - this changes the image from a tree being blown around to that of a boat being pushed by the wind. We are placing this item in the Page Works & Contributions section but it could be equally be found in artist's books or exhibition catalogues. VG+.

...

Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1986
18 x 13cm, 4pp Artist's card black on light blue (to reflect the colour of the flower) with a drawing of the forget-me-not on the front by Stephanie Kedik and a text:
Myosotis Sylvatica
Forget-me-Not

A wild
flower
within

Memory of a loved one is compared to a wild flower growing in the body. VG+.

...

NYC: Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, n.d. (1986) 15.3 X 11cm, 2pp announcement card for an early posthumous show (Beuys had died only 9 months earlier) with an image of the artist in the performance "Neues vom Kojoten" - photo by Eevan Inkeri. Verso gallery details. A mailed example with typed address but still VG+. ...

NYC: Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, 1986
10.5 x 15cm 2pp. Announcement card for a posthumous show which took place only 9 months after the artist's sudden death. Image on the front of a Beuys action (probably The Hearth from 1975 which took place in the same gallery). A mailed copy with typed address verso else VG+.

...