Monday, February 06, 2012

Ed Sanders and the Fuck You Press

If you are in New York in the next month, you might think about checking out what looks to be a fascinating exhibition at Boo-Hooray (265 Canal Street, 6th Floor) where they have a comprehensive collection of the publications of the Fuck You Press run by Ed Sanders in the 1960s. Just the look of the front covers and their mimeographed text is enough to set my ephemera pulse racing. They can explain better than I can:

"The exhibition commemorates the publication of Ed Sanders’ memoir Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side (Da Capo Press).



The run of Fuck You Press publications that blazed through New York City’s underground scene between 1962 and 1965 still resonates with an almost supernatural vibrancy, urgency and what the Greeks coined as enthusiasmos. There were 13 issues of Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts, printed from 1962 through 1965. In addition, Sanders published a multitude of mimeographed poetry titles during these years, alongside broadsides, manifestos and handbills.


Fuck You was founded by Ed Sanders—Beat poet, Fugs band member, and proprietor of the East Village underground Peace Eye Bookshop. Ed Sanders' editorial voice and execution resulted in a poetry ‘zine that was fearless, sexually provocative and experimental. Contributors included Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg (also of the Fugs), Carol BergĂ©, John Wieners, Andy Warhol, Ray Bremser, Lenore Kandel, Charles Olson, Joel Oppenheimer, Peter Orlovsky, Philip Whalen, Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Huncke, Julian Beck, Frank O'Hara, Leroi Jones, Diane DiPrima, William Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Robert Kelly, Judith Malina, Carl Solomon, Gregory Corso, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Michael McClure, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Gilbert Sorrentino, and many others.

Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts was a mimeographed journal, printed on a Speed-o-Print and later an A.B. Dick stencil duplicator (mimeograph), in an edition size of roughly 500 copies.
Printing on a mimeograph was a cumbersome labor: All the gathered texts needed to be transferred to stencils, the illustrations cut meticulously by hand-held metal-tipped styli into the page of text, the sticky, awkwardly shaped stencil then attached to the drum of the mimeograph which supped on ink and spat some back. If one multiplies the paper sheets needed for an issue of the publication, (36 x 500 = 18,000 sheets), that needed to be collated and stapled to complete one issue, it truly baffles that this was a one-man operation.

This ‘zine was dedicated to free expression, defying taboo subjects, celebrating sexual liberation and the use of psychedelics years before the Summer of Love. Sanders and his collaborators bridged the Beats of the Fifties and the counterculture of the late Sixties, and helped define many of the differences between the two—the latter building on the breakthroughs initiated by the former."

The exhibition runs from the 19th February to the 8th March and is open every day from 11-6.



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